Gunn Kristin Monsen (@GunnKMonsen) has got Scandi-style nailed. From her minimal shots to her blue and grey palette, all of her photography is beautifully Nordic. She works full time as a photographer and content creator and here she shares with us her advice for creating amazing images and photo products.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Gunn Kristin Monsen, I’m a lifestyle photographer, content maker for social media and a visual storyteller. I live outside Bergen, Norway, in a small wooden house close to the lake. I have a husband, two teenage girls, a golden retriever called Romeo and a cat called Leo. I work full time creating content, taking photos for clients, but I always need personal creative projects. I have a thing for interiors, cities, nature and people and these are often what you find in my photos.
How would you describe your photography style?
I always take my photos in natural light and I think you would call my photography style natural, never over styled and inspired by the Scandinavian pallet. The colours we have in nature on the west coast of Norway and the fact that I live so close to the lake and the sea means grey and blue are always a part of my photos. Even when I take portraits.
What’s your favourite thing to take photos of and why?
I love taking photos of nature, the cities I visit, daily life, interiors and people. As a lifestyle photographer, I am always looking for a moment to keep and to take a photo of.
How do you deal with photographing children? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?
I love taking photos of children and I always try to go on sessions where the children can feel free, play and discover. The best photos are always happening when the children “forget” that we are taking photos and feel relaxed. My best tip is keeping the parents out of the way. It is so much easier to connect with a child if the parents are not to close, and then the magic happens.
Where’s the most impressive place you’ve ever travelled?
I have been to many European cities, and my favourites are Rome, London, Budapest, Dubrovnik and my forever favourite is Copenhagen. I am not looking for grand moments when I travel, but the life and the mood of every city. I must say my visit to Croatia last summer and the beautiful sea and nature in that country are still on my mind and a place I for sure will return to.
What is your favourite European city and why?
My favourite is Copenhagen. I have been there so many times and I’m always longing to go back. The city is so beautiful, alive and has the best relaxed vibe, the coolest people and so many great shops.
What’s the thing you most like about Bergen?
For me it`s my hometown and I just love the contrast between the city and the nature surrounding the city. Its tiny wooden houses climbing the foot of the mountains, the sea and the light.
What’s your hot tip for anyone visiting Bergen?
There are so many great places, but I would for sure take a walk between the small wooden houses at Nordnes and relax in the park at the tip of the bay.
Where do you go back to time and time again and why?
Copenhagen, for sure! I love the city, the Danish way of life, the good sense of style and it always fills me with inspiration. In Bergen, I must say Nordnes. My grandmother was born in one of the small wooden houses and I love that part of Bergen.
What do you usually base your holiday choices on? (EG food, landmarks, culture, weather)
In the summer it’s the weather, sun and sea, and some city life. The rest of the year I go for city life, culture and inspiration.
What do you take your photos with?
I use my iPhone and my Nikon D750.
Do you use any editing apps or tools?
I edit a lot on my phone and use the app VSCO or Lightroom. I have a wifi on my digital camera and even download from that, to edit on my phone.
How do you organise your photos?
I have my phone connected to Dropbox and use it also to store my work from my laptop.
What do you do to your photos before uploading them to social media? Do you have a vetting process for what makes the cut and what doesn’t?
I try to have a story behind the photos I upload to social media but must admit sometimes it’s just because I like them. I do edit my photos before they go on social media and I try to keep the editing process similar so there is a consistency in my feed on Instagram. On Instagram Stories I am not at all serious about it and do more of what I feel like there and then. On the blog it’s all about the story I want to tell.
How many photos do you take in an average week?
Between 100- 500 because of my work with clients who needs a lot of content for social media.
What advice would you give to people wanting to expand their photography skills?
Take a lot of photos! Get inspired by others but then go and do your own versions and the more photos you take the more your own voice will be clear and your skills will improve. You have to put in the hours.
What photo products do you like creating and why?
I make photo products of all kinds for my walls. I started to put my photos on the walls a few years ago and now I keep getting new ones.
What photos make it into your photo product? What does your photo product usually feature?
I use a lot of everyday moments in my products, stills and interiors mixed with moments of my girls and my life.
How do you get ready to create a photo product? What do you do first etc?
I must say I start with a photo I like, and focus on the joy of getting it off of my phone or camera and showing it off on my wall.
Do you look anywhere for inspiration when creating your photo products?
I am always looking for inspiration in interior design and the way to mix my photos with the interiors and make it more personal.