My photographic journey: From capturing memories to creating great images

Hi, I am Pantelis, an amateur photographer from Thessaloniki, Greece. With my brother, I run a small business that manufactures candles. In my 40s now, I don’t do sports anymore, but I played basketball with a bit of success in my youth. Now, in my free time, I like to listen to music and taking pictures for the last 5 years!

I grew in a family that loved to take pictures, and my family house is full of photo albums with hundreds of photos. Finally, in my teens, I had my own camera, a small Olympus compact camera with, of course, film. Those days I used to photograph family moments, vacations and my friends! So photography, for me, started as a way to capture memories.

After taking a break, a long break actually, from photography, I started again taking pictures in 2010, the year that my daughter was born. So, my first model was Nefeli. And like most people, I used my smartphone for this.

A big part of my job is to travel a lot. I get to see beautiful places here in Greece, at the sunshine and sunrise, seascapes and beaches, mountains and forests. I wanted to share these stunning landscapes with my friends and the obvious way to do that was with photos. In the beginning, the biggest part of photography was mainly landscapes of the places that I visited because of my job.

As I was getting more into photography, I started to watch the work of other photographers, amateurs and professionals, on Instagram and YouTube. I wanted to take great photos like them, and I realized that I had to upgrade my gear. I decided that it was time to buy a camera.

I looked directly in the mirrorless category because I liked the small size of the bodies and lenses. After a big search of the market, I purchased a used Olympus PEN E-PL7 with the kit lens 14-42mm. I am very excited about my camera, and I believe it is perfect for anyone who wants to take the next step after a smartphone.

The great advantage of the Olympus PEN E-PL7 is the size. The camera’s body is compact, and the lenses are pretty small so that I can carry it almost always without a problem. Another plus of the E-PL7 is the built-in body stabilization.

You can hold the shutter open for longer shutter speeds with no worry of taking blurry images. And of course, you can connect your camera through WiFi with your smartphone or PC.

The E-PL7 also has some disadvantages. It lacks a built-in viewfinder and isn’t weather sealed.

Although I own a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which has great cameras and takes stunning photos, I use mainly the Olympus E-PL7 for my photography. Now, after 5 years of taking pictures regularly, I shoot pretty much everything that drags my intention.

Of course landscapes, but also street photography, cityscapes and portraits. I like to experiment with different styles and techniques of photography. Light trails, long exposures and reflections… My main difficulty is taking pictures of strangers. I find it very difficult to point the camera and take pictures of people.

Lately, I like to give my images a vintage style. Not only in post-production but also as a theme. Old cars, abandoned buildings and facilities.

I always post-process every photo that I took. I like to tweak the colours and give my images a faded look to achieve a vintage style. I use mainly Lightroom mobile, and fewer times Snapseed, as I do all my editing on my smartphone.

Photography, like all kinds of art, has no rules, no wrongs and rights. It is the way that we see things and how we want to express ourselves. This does not mean that we cannot become better with the type of art we make. And, in my experience, practising and observing the work of other photographers are the best ways to become better.

So, if I can give any advice to someone who is a photography novice, go out and take pictures and then see images from other photographers to get inspired and find your own style.

"My name is Pantelis Paizanis, born in August of 1979. I am an amateur and self-taught photographer based in Thessaloniki, Greece. I like to experiment with different types of photography, and you can see my work on my Instagram page."

21 Comments

  1. It’s amazing what you have achieved with an entry level camera. There is no excuse for a begginer starting with a small budget. It really is the grey matter behind the camera that takes the picture. Hat’s off to you mr Pantelis!

  2. Pantelis, you take amazing photos and I like also the vintage style of your post processing. I think, weather sealing of cameras is overrated and sometimes hyped for normal daily photographing. I use my actual cameras (E-PL7 and E-M10II) in any weather condition inclusive frosty, snowy and rainy weather and I never had any issues with them or any non-weather-sealed lenses.

    And your photos also shows, that it’s not the camera but the person behind the camera makes the photos, even with a “entry level” or a “professional” camera.

    Best regards,
    Manfred

    1. Thank you Mr Manfred for you kind comments! I appreciate it! And I also believe that is the soul of the photographer that makes the difference!

  3. Hey Pantelis,
    I really enjoyed reading your story and absolutely like your images. Even your post processing is great. Your images are so colorful and dynamic. They tell stories and are authentic as well.
    About one year ago I changed from my lovely E-PL8 to an EM5 Mark ii, because auf the missing viewfinder. Sometimes I really miss my E-PL8, because of it’s small size, super cool handling and absolutely lovely design. I wish Olympus would purchase an E-PL8 with a small and cheap viewfinder, then I’d never changed to the EM5 Mark ii, nevertheless it is a gret camera.
    Keep on taking your stunning images. I’d like to see more of your images and maybe a small behind the scenes tour 😉

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, you give me the motive to become better to what I love to do! As for the behind the scenes tour, hmm I don’t know, it is intriguing though 😊

  4. Excellent work with the E-PL7 Pantelis! I currently shoot with the E-PL6 and love it!

    Your work resonates with me since I shoot with similar interests. You’ve inspired me to delve more into post production with Lightroom and Snapseed.

    Thanks for sharing a great article! All the best!

  5. Thank you Victor for your comment. I feel honoured when I hear that I inspire someone else, it is really awkward for me as I am an amateur in photography! If you have an Instagram account I would love to view your photos!

  6. Gia sou Pandeli,
    I too live in Thessaloniki and I shoot with an E-PL7 or sometimes an older Pen E-P3. I like your work and recognize many of the locations. Your work has a good look to it and the post processing is excellent. I think the Olympus Pen cameras are really excellent and great for walking around the city.
    Regards Steve.

    1. Hi Steve! Too many coincidences! Thessaloniki and epl-7! Thank you for your kind words! I really want to see your work, if you have an Instagram account please send me to check!

      1. Hi Panteli!
        No Instagram but I post my work here on Flickr. Thanks for your kind reply.
        Urban Colour Splash
        Regards
        Steve.

      2. I wrote the link on the reply but it has come up as an image. Please remove this from your page as I am sure that you do not need to see it here. Oops! Sorry my friend. I didn’t realize it would embed itself on your page.
        Steve.

        1. No worries my friend! You have beautiful images. I liked the colours and the compositions you make! Excellent!

  7. Hello mr. Pantelis Paizanis
    From the Netherlands a message !! This to inform you that with much pleasure I have watched your beautiful pictures and the addtional text is very clear and understandable. I would like to let you know that also on the basis of your photos shown in this OLympus magazine, to-day I decided to order the Olympus passion Magazine of April from the publishers… !!
    With much interest looking forward to receive my copy. To you :
    wish you a furher great succes and growth with your and my beloved hobby. I myself after Om-2 N analoque !! camera have E-M5mkII with various lenses but particular : macro lenses 30 and 60 mm. If you are widening your interests and you live in a beautiful country !! on forthcoming trips your eye on the “”small”” world is not far away ! Best regards and thanks again good health !! Frans H.J. van der Hargh

    1. Thank you Frans! I am really glad that you liked my photos and also that you order the magazine! Unfortunately my photos will not be in the published magazine but they host some great photographers with awesome photos and very interesting articles! I will do my best to have my photos in a future publish! 😊😊 . I hope you enjoy your hobby too! If you have an Instagram account, I would like to take a look on your work!

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