‘It’s not the camera or the price of it, which will determine how great photos you will be able to make. It’s always you – and that creative way of seeing things … it’s all about you!’. These are the words of Norbert Lepsik, very talented and thriving young photographer from Budapest we had a pleasure to meet and get to know better. He’s specialized in travel and architecture photography but he also works with many brands as a content creator. In our opinion his work often reflects his character – it’s unique, warm, speaks to your heart and it’s very professional. We managed to talk to him about photography, travel and social media just after his trip to Lisbon and before his trip to Berlin.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your photography journey?
I’m Norbert Lepsik, a cityscape and travel photographer and content creator based in Budapest, Hungary. Wherever I go, I always bring my camera with me. The first time I owned a camera dates back to 2012 when my parents thought that a small digital camera would be an ideal Christmas present for me. At that time, I was just a kid who was about to start high school, so my parents’ main purpose was actually giving something interesting to me which could help me capture my childhood moments. Those years were the ones where the first entry-level touchscreen featured phones were released and started to spread. They had no selfie cameras, and the main lenses in the phone were not as great as the current flagship devices have. Therefore during my high school years, I mainly used that little camera for everything, and that is how everything started. I tried to capture everything I could. I had no experience before that, so I had to learn everything about the process of making photos. My passion for photography grew throughout the years and my parents saw that as well. They surprised me with my first ever DSLR camera as a gift for my graduation. That was the point when I started to take photography seriously, and from then on I’ve always tried to grow my knowledge.
Over the years I’ve been searching the way, to find the style I like the best. For the past couple of years I’ve managed to upgrade my camera and lenses, which helped me a lot to improve my skills as well. For me, this is not just a profession, but a passion, really close to my heart. My most loved theme is the urban environment, cliché photography, with milder, more passionate colours. I like challenges and I always accept various requests with great joy and energy, representing them in a detailed, inspiring way. I’ve been working with several companies, accepting various requests from car brands, airlines or other companies, hotels, restaurants and many personal requests as well.
What is your favourite motif?
I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite motif in my photography. The most liked theme for me is architecture but this category has a lot of specified themes in it. I’m a big fan of reflection photos, so if the weather gets rainy, it’s always a great opportunity for me to capture something in a new way.
The only pattern I’m strict with is the whole look of my feed on Instagram. Somewhere I saw this “chess table-like” feed, which is basically a pattern of one dark and one bright photo. This was quite easy for me to follow as I like to shoot during daytime and at night as well.
What are the best photo points in Budapest that you would recommend?
Budapest is a great destination for every kind of tourist but it is also a paradise for photographers. The city has many sights to visit, and most of them can be seen from various perspectives. Apart from the basic, touristic locations, you can easily find a great perspective that can result in a really unique point of view. Some of my favourites are the following:
Jászai Mari tér – Margít híd pesti hídfő
This bridge is located close to the center of Budapest which offers a great panoramic view of the city. As you’re getting closer to the tram stop at the Pest side of the bridge, the Hungarian Parliament building will align perfectly with you and that is definitely a perspective that is not so common.
Spring framed photos at Gellért hill
As the title shows, this location is mostly recommended if you visit the Hungarian capital during spring. This perspective of the almond tree with the Liberty Bridge is totally becoming a number one place to go even for locals as well, so getting there early is a key to achieve the best photos! I really love it as the bridge seems to be hugged by branches of tree. The morning lights and hues are definitely adding more to this view!
Petőfi híd – budai hídfő
Another bridge, another great perspective of the center of the city. However, with this location, you can easily frame multiple bridges to your photo, with the Buda Castle district in the background. I would recommend going here at sunset or during blue hour, and for the best results, don’t forget to bring your zoom lens and tripod as well!
What are your favourite destinations that you visited and why?
After finishing high school, I started studying geography at university where I graduated in urban development. During those years I also started working at Budapest airport which made me realize that the best way to learn more about cities is to travel there and see them through my eyes. I’m lucky to say that I’ve managed to visit many European cities through those years and I’m always ready to discover a new place or to revisit an old one. My ultimate favourite destination definitely has to be Berlin. This was the first city that I’ve ever visited during my university studies and the whole city just immediately created its place in my heart. Apart from Berlin’s architecture, its history and its development through the 20th century could be worth a single article. I was amazed to see how East and West Berlin changed and most of these differences can still be seen in the city. Berlin is always a great destination for me, even though I’ve been there more than 30 times. The city is quite similar to Budapest and that is probably another reason why I love the German capital so much.
Which architectural piece that you visited impressed you the most and why?
There are many buildings that took my breath away when I first saw them. Starting with the Eiffel tower, the Colosseum, the Sagrada Família or the Acropolis of Athens , these masterpieces are just a few examples that you have to see in your life. The Hungarian Parliament building has a special place in my heart, and it is definitely one of my most favourite buildings of all – lucky me, I can visit it any time I want! Nonetheless, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi was probably the most amazing building I’ve seen so far. This mosque is one of the eight largest in the world and is impressive not only for its size but for its architecture. With marble walls, intricate stone work and crystal chandeliers, this mosque truly is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Can you tell us what you liked on your recent trip to Lisbon?
The Portuguese capital has been on my bucket list for years now, and I was really happy that I could manage to visit it this year. Since this trip was planned for a while, I managed to create a really detailed guide for myself, saving all the locations where I wanted to go. Some were easy to find, some needed more time to locate them properly, but I’m happy to say that I could capture everything that I wanted!
Timing is everything, and it was the same during my trip in Lisbon. I added extra information to all of my saved locations, so that I can try to capture the given perspective with the best lights possible. The pastel-colored houses, hilltop views, vintage trams, and windy cobblestone streets all conspire to make Lisbon an utterly charming place.
I could list a few sights that I really liked during my trip, but honestly, those little vintage trams were the best for me. Some of them have a great route as well, so it’s really easy to create a composition featuring these vehicles.
What are the 3 most important things in your opinion for anyone who wants to be a photographer?
I got this question quite frequently, not just from my followers but also from my friends as well. I think that in this current era of technology, creating photos might not require a professional camera – at least in the beginning when you’re still just gaining experience in this field. I like to use my phone as well to create photos, even if I have my camera in my backpack on me. Of course having the right equipment is essential if you want to deeply dive into photography, however it’s not the camera or the price of it, which will determine how great photos you will be able to make. It’s always you – and that creative way of seeing things, already creating perspectives through your eyes. This thought already suggests what would be my three most important things in photography – it’s all about you!
Practice – no one is born to be a professional photographer. Not every photo that you take will be a good one, but all of them are good to show you how you can improve yourself. Though it might seem easy, taking photos is a complex process, not even mentioning the editing process. There are many settings that you need to change as you change locations or subjects. Once you start to experiment with these, you will manage to understand what changes are needed and when.
Patience – Just as with practice, you can’t expect the first pictures to be good. Patience is a key factor for photographers, especially for those who are mainly interested in nature or cityscape. I always tell my friends that approximately 70% of the time when I’m outside making photos I simply just wait for the perfect moment. Whether you’re waiting for the perfect lights or a tram to appear into your perspective, patience is really needed in every case.
Editing – now don’t get me wrong I love to see photographers who can create mesmerizing photos without any additional editing involved. However, I think it’s equally important to find your own way of creating photos. Even though it all starts with your own perspectives, your own editing style can add a lot to your photos as well. That is how you will create your own style, a style that others might like too.
What do you think about the future of the social media regarding travel?
I think social media had and still have a huge part of promoting a given destination. Although this current pandemic situation really affected every aspect of our lives, the urge to travel will rise back to its pre-pandemic levels and I’m sure social media will be a major determinant of this.
What is your opinion about TikTok? (Will it be more ‘popular’ than Instagram or YouTube?)
TikTok has skyrocketed during quarantine and it’s still gaining more users every day. This interface which is based on short videos appeared probably at the best time, and consumers absolutely loved the idea if it. There are many examples when an artist’s song became popular simply because that song went viral on TikTok.
TikTok successfully filled a gap in social media with its platform, but it is completely a video based application, mostly for short ones. Therefore, I don’t really think it will be more popular than Instagram or Youtube, as each of them have a different purpose. However, it would be great to see how the appearance of TikTok changed our time spent on our phones.
In your opinion, will video be more popular on Instagram? (Instagram reels and IGTV)
Based on the changes of Instagram and the current news in this field, Instagram is trying hard to compete with TikTok. Because of this, I’m sure videos will be more popular than they currently are.
Unfortunately, Instagram Reels haven’t been introduced in Hungary, therefore I cannot say much about it.
Based on many articles and feedbacks from my friends, videos do have a higher engagement and exposure on Instagram. The main reason behind this is that Instagram is trying to encourage its users to post more videos, as the new updates are mostly in connection with videos. Since many of us are already posting videos on TikTok sharing it on another platform might seem like an easy and comfortable option to keep our regular activity on a high, frequent level. On the other hand, Instagram is the main platform to share photos, and I think most of us will still continue sharing pictures there, as there aren’t many other alternatives to do so.
What are your plans for the future?
For the next couple of years, I would like to achieve some personal goals, such as obtaining a master’s degree and a driving license. Apart from this I would like to travel more – just as everybody I guess – discovering new places, or popular but less crowded ones.
Interview by: Jasminka Đaković