Matthew Studebake: How I Became a Wildlife Photographer at 10

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Our guest today is an interesting personality, the ornithologist photographer Matthew Studebake. He was lucky enough to start shooting wildlife from his childhood.

Today, Matthew Studebaker not only photographs, but also organizes photo tours of wildlife, exotic places, helping other photographers capture the most fascinating photographs of animals and landscapes.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Since his first tour in 2006, Matthew has traveled to almost every continent, including Costa Rica, the Arctic and Alaska. Today it is difficult to judge what brought fame to the author of his tour or his photograph. demand for Matthew in all his business areas is very high.

Matthew grew up in a 100-acre forest in northeastern Ohio. From an early age he studied at home and daily studied the biodiversity of the local deciduous forests, making what he saw with pencil and paper. When Matthew was 10 years old, his uncle gave him his first 300mm telephoto lens and a reflective camera and since then Matthew has not left the camera.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

20 years later, it is amazing to see what Studebaker has achieved. Some incredible shots that show why bird photography is one of the most difficult species for any photographer. I was really impressed by the beautiful aspect of the composition and the majestic sense of color in his work.

For his work, Matthew is also grateful to wildlife artists Steve Leonardi, Robert Bateman and Arthur Morris, “the father of modern bird photography”, for their genuine guidance and influence on their careers. The famous ornithologist photographer graduated from the Meyer School of Art at the University of Akron with a double Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and painting.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Almost immediately after high school, with the encouragement of Morris and other famous wildlife photographers, Matthew began leading photo tours in 2006. “While I like to take good pictures, I think I also like helping others take the pictures of their dreams and giving them the joy of a life journey.” He says.

Small dedicated teams allow Matthew to devote a lot of time and attention to improving each photographer’s wildlife photography skills while ensuring that everyone takes the highest quality photos in optimal time. Communication and guidance follow naturally, as each brings different stories and skills. “Organizing photo tours allows me to connect with people who share the same passion and allows me to spend the day helping others do what I love most.”

Composing and taking a wildlife shot requires a lot of patience and a quality meditative mind. Matthew has both and let’s learn more about him from the photographer himself.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Tell us a little about yourself Matthew!

Matthew Studebaker: I love art. Photography is my medium. nature is my subject. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in photography from the Meyers School of Art, I found that I enjoyed helping others photograph what I loved. So I decided to organize and run photo tours to earn a living.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Why is photography so important to you and why are birds your main works?

Matthew Studebaker: I got into photography after my uncle gave me the SLR and the 300mm lens when I was 10 years old. I have never downloaded the camera since. Want some tips on how to take a good bird photo? First, find an available topic. Once you have an idea and a theme to shoot, imagine that you are an abstract artist when choosing a composition. Much of my inspiration in nature photography comes from studying the history of painting. And the best shots are not the spontaneous photos, but the thoughtful ones. How is this possible, you ask? Everything is simple! I visit in advance the place where the bird I need should be, and only after it appears there, I start waiting … I wait until I see this exact frame.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

Could you talk about what you have learned over the years in this genre?

Matthew Studebaker: I have learned to trust my instinct as an artist. I have learned that finding a mentor who will give you honest feedback on your work is invaluable. I learned not to be afraid to take risks and reinvent myself as an image maker instead of just finding a formula that works and adheres to it.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

What motivates you to constantly engage in photography, photo tours?

Matthew Studebaker: I’ve always needed to take pictures since I was 4 years old. I’m not sure why I need to create, but I know I get irritable if I don’t press the shutter button for a while.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

An essential component of a photographer’s success?

Matthew Studebaker: Photograph what you love, photograph what you know.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

What equipment did you choose for most of your shots?

Matthew Studebaker: My equipment is constantly changing. Now I mainly use Canon 5d3. My favorite lens is the Canon 70-200mm, but I often have to use a 600mm lens to get enough magnification for a lot of wildlife. I also like to take pictures using my iphone whenever possible.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

How do you plan a day for photography?

Matthew Studebaker: To schedule a day for photography, I usually just try to get to a place just before dawn where I know there will be natural objects that are likely to be photographed. Once I arrive, I just follow my instincts, seize the opportunities as they arise and always pay attention to the light.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

What or who inspires you?

Matthew Studebaker: Authors such as Vincent Munier and Robert Bateman.

photo: Matthew Studebaker

What advice do you have for aspiring wildlife photographers?

Matthew Studebaker: last tip? Be as original as possible in everything!

Leave a Comment