Interview With Local Photographer, Daniel Nielsen

by Lucas Reiman


Daniel Nielsen is an aspiring photographer from Des Moines. I went to school with Daniel for four years of high school and grew up playing youth sports with him. His ability with a camera after taking photography seriously for only four years is inspiring and drives me to continue my own photography. I am incredibly proud to know him and am proud to be able to share a bit more about him. I sat down with him during this winter break to get his journey in photography and to listen to some of his opinion on the photography world.


Q: Give us a little Background about yourself.

A: I am 18 years old and I am from West Des Moines, Iowa. I graduated high school from Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines and I currently attend the University of Northern Iowa.


Q: What are you studying in school?

A: I am currently an environmental science major and I plan on adding a photo journalism minor in the spring.


Q: What got you interested in photography/filmmaking?

A: I have always been really into making videos since I was in middle school. I would try to make short films with my friends. I always had a camera on me in those days and it led me to go and buy my own personal DSLR. I bought a Canon T3 and I used it for photos and short films. Once I got the Canon, that really inspired me to pursue more of photography.


Q: Was it easy for you to learn or was there a slight learning curve?

A: Transition from film making to photography wasn’t easy. My film making past made the technical side of operating a camera easier but I had so much that I still needed to learn. It took me a while to get really confident in my work.


Q: Do you think too many people are photographers?

A: I don’t think there are too many photographers but I do feel like there are a lot of people who give up too soon.


Q: Do you feel there is often a stigma against people trying to get into photography?

A: Yeah I feel that sometimes new photographers are knocked for trying to get into the field. Some photographers react this because they may feel threatened that a new photographer could steal their style. I honestly don’t get it though because every photographer at one point was new to it. I feel that photographers should try and be mentors to new photographers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Q: Do you wish you would’ve had a mentor through your growing process?

A: Yes, to an extent because I could’ve grown quicker but I learned so much on my own. All the information I’ve learned on my own has been incredible and I’m glad on the way I got here.


Q: Opinions on people doing photography just for the sole purpose of being popular/liked?

A: I’m not going to judge but sometimes I feel that people forget about the art of photography and use it as a way to get popular. I’m not going to bash on people who enjoy it for the attention, that just isn’t the reason I’m in photography.


Q: Do you feel good equipment is super necessary or should the technique come before the gear?

A: Passion I think should come before gear. You often can get away with having good equipment even with poor technique.


Q: Advice for new photographers/filmmakers?

A: Take lots of photos. I did a project where I took a photo every single day for an entire year and I learned so much about how to take quality photos in that year.


Q: Favorite shoot?

A: I did an engagement shoot at it was a lot of fun. Capturing all of the emotions between the couple was incredible.



Q: Would you ever do something even more emotional like a wedding?

A: Definitely not at the moment because it is a huge responsibility to capture something that important. Maybe in the future but I don’t really have any interest in doing any weddings.



Q: Favorite photo?

A: It was a photo taken early morning at clear lake. I just thought it was such a cool shot with the amount of fog blocking out any view of the actual lake but the color of the dock just makes everything pop out. I am always asked how much touch up was done to the photo and all that was done was a bit of color touch up on the dock. That’s why this photo is my favorite because I didn’t have to do a lot to it.


Q: Instagram, Twitter or VSCO

A: Instagram


Q: Dream destination to do one shoot at?

A: Alaska is a huge dream of mine. I don’t think it is photographed enough and I would love to explore the state and photography my trip.



Q: Favorite photography social media accounts?

A: Jason Charles Hill, Matt Cherubino, Andrew kearns, Ben Brown, Rj Bruni

Sam Kolder, Eric Pfohl (friend from UNI), just to name a few off the top of my head.


Q: Where do you see, photography taking you?

A: At this point it is just a hobby but I want to take it with me into my career. I would love to use photography and videography over the environment to make every day citizens more aware of Earth.



Thank you to Daniel for taking the time to do this interview with me. Please go support him by sharing his work or just follow him on his social media pages.



YouTube: Daniel Nielsen

Instagram: @danielsen02

Twitter: @danielsen02