Snap Happy – Lisa Frost

Lisa Frost, winner of Camera House’s 2010 Joshua Shearer Photographer of the Year Award. Better Pictures shines a spotlight on this talented young photographer and discovers what inspires her unique vision.

Where did your Passion for Photography stem from?
I always loved taking photos of my family and friends, then when I was about 23 decided to buy an SLR and learn photography ‘properly’. With the help of books and the internet I pretty much taught myself, and the more I learn the more I love it!

Did you come from a snap happy family?
My family’s always loved taking snaps for memories but we aren’t what I’d call a photographic family. I’ve noticed that everyone does seem to have a pretty natural ‘eye’ for it though.

What’s your earliest photographic memory?
I remember getting some photos back from a skiing trip to New Zealand and there was this one panoramic shot of a lake with mist above it, yellow trees in the foreground and beautiful blue sky. It’s the first landscape photo I’d ever taken that I was really proud of and that’s when I decided it was time to buy an SLR and learn the art of photography.

What do you love about photography?
Photography’s opened up my eyes to the world and allowed me to see things that were right in front of me that I’d never noticed or appreciated before. I also love that I get completely absorbed in the process of taking a photo and forget about everything else going on in my life other than what’s right in front of me at that moment.

What was the inspiration for your winning photo?
I was travelling in New Zealand around the Golden Bay area and heard about this lovely, out-of-the-way beach. After driving a few km down an unsealed road then walking a couple of km over hills and fences through sheep paddocks I reached this beautiful spot to discover I was the first person to walk there since the tide had gone out. In the 3 hours I spent at the beach I saw about 6 other people, so I really just wanted to capture the remote and peaceful beauty of the place.

What were the challenges in taking this shot? How did you overcome them?
I was looking into the sun which meant there was the potential for lens flare, as well as for underexposing the image. I u se mostly prime lenses because they have less glass elements than a zoom lens, which means much fewer problems with flare in situations like this. I a lso made sure the lens was clean! For exposure, I s pot metered the sky away from the sun, then because I was shooting slide film bracketed the exposures. Nowdays with digital I’d check the exposure by checking the histogram of the image.

What equipment did You use?
This was from back in my film days. Canon EOS 300, 24mm f/2.8 lens, Manfrotto tripod, cable release, Fuji Velvia (a beautiful ISO 50 slide film)

Is rapport with your subject necessary to achieve a great shot? Why/Why not?
Even though I’m primarily a landscape photographer I’d still say yes. I think a great landscape photo conveys something of the relationship the photographer has with the subject – so the feeling of actually being there, like warmth or cold, awe, peace, joy or whatever else it may be. I think if you don’t have some connection to your subject then no one else is likely to have any connection to your final image. So shoot what you love or find fascinating!

What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given for taking better photos?
That it’s all about the light! To me it really is about looking for interesting light, waiting for the right light or using the light that’s available in the best way (for example, a rainy day usually isn’t great for sweeping panoramas, but can be the best time to take photos inside a rainforest).

You can see more of Lisa’s work at

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