Through his many travels, Devon-based landscape and travel photographer Sebastien Coell celebrates the fascinating world in which we live with his stunning photography. Sebastien has developed his very own distinctive approach and style, providing his viewers with breath-taking images that display his passion for exploration and creativity. Sebastien’s body of work is quite expansive and he draws inspiration for his craft from his careful observations of his diverse surroundings. As you browse through some of the photographs from his collections below, I think you’ll agree that he is quite an accomplished artist.
Sebastien, thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughtful responses with us. I thoroughly enjoy viewing your images and I can’t wait to see more exceptional things from you in the future. Your body of work is truly inspiring.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
Yes, of course, I am a semi-professional landscape photographer, with a big interest in the outdoors and being among nature.
I also enjoy a bit of Rugby and surfing and in the past competed in Motocross racing.
Where is home?
My home is Newton Abbot, although I can often be found wandering my local area of Dartmoor.
After browsing through your website, I see that you have built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. When did you first become interested in photography and how long have you been involved with it?
I would consider myself to be relatively late to landscape photography, never having dabbled in film. I did however develop an interest in photography from owning my Nokia N95 at the age of 21 and using the camera on the phone.
When I turned 30, I was lucky enough to borrow my sister’s Sony DSLR for several months and was hooked from that point.
Having worked outside among the countryside for my job since a young age, I have always been amazed by the grandeur and changeability of our landscapes and loved being outside in nature.
Landscape photography gave me a creative pursuit and a way of sharing my love of the outdoors and favourite places. This is what drove me into photography as a hobby.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
I shoot a lot of sunrise and sunset photography. So it’s probably the thought of what might happen. The sky tells a different story every day and you never know what you might get. It’s the unpredictable nature that keeps you hooked.
Locations and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect of a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
It’s quite hard sometimes, you will go out and drive for an hour to a location or stay away and get treated with overcast skies, or you will be stuck at work during a great sunset. You learn to just write these days off and realise another opportunity will be around the corner.
We can sometimes mitigate a lot of these situations in landscape photography, overcast skies for instance can make for great woodland or waterfall photography. So you often choose the location based on the weather.
In regard to marketing, how much of your time do you dedicate to social media? Do you use any special programs or services?
Not as much as I should, I try and stick with Instagram and Facebook for posting but often only post after a successful shoot which can sometimes be weeks apart.
Social media requires a lot of work but it’s nice to build an audience and share my work, I also run a YouTube channel when I get the time.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I would say my biggest inspiration is my own desire to explore, photography to me gives me the reason to see new places and get out of the house, that being said. I took a lot of inspiration and learned a lot from YouTube which is a great resource for beginners.
Landscape Photographers like Thomas Heaton and Mads Peter Iversen are very entertaining to watch, as are many of the more amateur ones.
How did you develop your style?
It’s hard to get your style in photography and I would say I’m not 100% there yet, although it is very important to develop one.
I do seem to have a strong desire to capture man-made subjects set among nature, shoot a lot of sunsets or sunrises, and try and keep my images natural. So I suppose that may be a reoccurring theme.
Which is your favorite image? Could you explain the background story behind it?
That’s an extremely hard one to answer, a photographer is probably the worse to answer that. We tend to build emotional attachments to them. So I can tell you my favourite in that regard.
I would probably have to pick from two
The first one is a shot from Seceda on the Italian dolomites, which was taken during an amazing holiday with my partner Alice.
We met a group of hikers from Australia and wild-camped together around a campfire at the top of Seceda which is 2500m above sea level. In the morning we were treated to an amazing sunrise with the clouds coming up through the valley.
The second would be one of Pen Y Fan, it’s not an amazing shot, but I hiked in horrendous weather and was drenched through, but after an hour of patience, a gap appeared long enough to get the shot. I will always have good memories because of the determination I had to put in.
I have nice images from Iceland and Norway, but they tended to just work out so I don’t have that attachment to them.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
Hopefully, the inspiration to take up photography themselves, or simply an emotional attachment to them.
I sell through Etsy and my own site and a lot of orders are for places people have been married at, first met, or had a special moment at, and it’s nice I can provide people that joy through my photography.
Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
Don’t worry about trying to better every image you see online. Learn to love the outdoors and your subject and you will start to see unique features and compositions.
Don’t worry about equipment either, I have a very basic setup, I have had my camera for 4 years, the same tripod for 4 years, and basic filters and equipment. The best equipment is your brain, save your money for travel instead.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens?
I use a Canon 6D mk1, favourite lens would be my Canon 16-35mm F4 which gives really wide images. Wide lenses are great for adding a lot of foreground interest which I see as essential.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
100% my self-converted campervan, Sylvie, I have traveled to many locations on a shoestring budget and spent many nights in some stunning locations.
This means I can visit many locations just for a night or two with very little planning or expense.
A campervan has really opened up the opportunities I have to go away to locations, I’m not a morning person, so if I can roll out of bed next to the location is a big win for me.
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
I have always fancied the new Canon 200-400L its amazing for macro and wildlife something which I don’t have the patience for, but something which I would like to do more of in the future.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
Very important, however, I would say that if I can get away without using it much I do, I use physical Lee filters and try and get the image as good as I can when taking the image.
Photoshop is great though, every image I take goes through photoshop, mostly just for balancing the image. It’s also great for removing the odd person or sheep that happens to be in the way.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
It’s strange I tend to feel good about a shoot or about the weather doing what I want, or about the effort I put in paying off.
When it comes to editing the images it’s harder to have the same feeling, I would say I have around 40% of my photography which I’m really happy with.
I tend to feel good about my photography when I look back at it and it makes me smile, that’s when you know the image itself stands up to your self-scrutiny.
The tipping point however I would say came after my trip to Iceland when I started feeling really good about it. Iconic locations such as Iceland can feel overwhelming and I felt I did the country justice and got some great shots. So that’s probably when I felt really good about it and my portfolio.
Do you have any new projects coming up or plans to expand your portfolio?
Yes, I have quite a few images of Devon and Cornwall I need to work on, I also have a lot of time booked off work in September, we would normally head to Europe but with Covid, I wouldn’t mind exploring the Lake District.
I have been keeping busy recently launching my new website which has taken a lot more of my time than I first thought so that is a good project I have undertaken.