In the ‘Discover’ series, we highlight distinct up-and-coming photographers on 500px, sharing their experiences from behind the lens. In this instalment, we’re featuring Jordan Kines, a travel and lifestyle photographer from Boston.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself as a photographer—give us your 20-second elevator pitch!

A: I am a Boston-based travel and lifestyle photographer with a passion for capturing the magic in everyday moments with a dramatic, versatile style. My work spans from weathered skies and scenes in nature to social gatherings. I’ve come to embrace the beauty and challenge in capturing unplanned and uncontrolled occasions.

Q: How would you describe where you are now compared to five years ago?

A: Five years ago, I was lost and a complete novice. Today, I have gained so much clarity and have sharpened my eye to an unimaginable degree. In 2013, I wanted to ask for permission, follow popular trends; I aspired to have work that resembled the photos and photographers I saw on 500px, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram. Now, I thrive on trying to be more of an outlier. I strive to be audacious and experiment outside of my comfort zone.

Dyrholaey by Jordan Kines on

Five years ago, I thought I had to move toward what was comfortable and what was accepted by the masses. Now, I would tell that younger version of myself to move towards discomfort and shoot what you’re passionate about without asking for approval. I can’t wait to see the photographer I grow into five years from now.

Q: What tools have helped you develop your skills?

A: I have used my eye and my love for telling stories as my guiding light in developing my skills as a photographer. Five years ago, I was consumed with the idea that one’s camera equipment and one’s editing software were the most essential tools in creating alluring photos. My studies and practice as an aspiring director at film school was crucial in developing my sense of story.

Now, I realize that cutting-edge gear assists in capturing great imagery, but it is not a prerequisite. Getting to that point started with training and sharpening my eye. I encouraged that in a few different ways over the years, like walking around the city or my neighborhood and making a mental note of photographic opportunities. I spent considerable time observing how light impacts locations and subjects. Another exercise I used to do was take my camera to familiar places like school, work, local parks or supermarkets and aim to capture them in one still image. This practice gradually helped to evolve my eye.

Gloomy Mornings by Jordan Kines on

Q: You’ve created a great personal brand. Did this come naturally to you or did you spend time developing it over the years?

A: My brand image was created both organically and deliberately. I never sought to achieve a certain look for my content, in part because I was somewhat obsessed with the process of creating and exploring. But with my excursions, gigs, and passion projects over the years, my content style progressed to a stage of which I could’ve only dreamed.

Once I realized I was advancing in my craft, I wanted to maintain that momentum. I honed in on strengthening my post-processing, which ensured the tonality in my photos was consistent across the board. My post-processing became another tool for bolstering both my shooting style and my brand. This consistency helped me to cultivate my content’s personality and continues to steer me toward growth.

Butterfly by Jordan Kines on

Q. Do you have any advice for younger photographers building their own personal brands?

A: If I could give younger photographers any piece of advice, it would be to not ask for permission. Explore and be fearless in developing your brand. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and there isn’t a right or wrong way when it comes to cultivating who you are as a photographer or artist. You have to follow what feeds your soul, what fulfills you, and what allows you to grow and connect with other photographers.

I would also recommend not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Take advantage of all photo-sharing platforms and mediums that resonate with you. When I created my Instagram account seven years ago, I thought it was the only app I needed. Sadly, I was wrong. If I hadn’t grasped onto 500px, I would not have had the humbling opportunities to collaborate with them and familiarize myself with the plethora of talented photographers on their platform. You never know who’s watching. Remain true to who you are and hold onto to what makes you you—the uniqueness of your brand is what people will gravitate to.

Boston Public Garden by Jordan Kines on

Q: How has 500px helped you in your experience with photography?

A: 500px brims with quality content; it has been pivotal in helping me recognize and appreciate quality. What I value about 500px is their commitment to catering their platform strictly for photographers rather than for the general public. The work comes first with this platform, and that indirectly pushes me to create the best images I possibly can.

500px gave me my first real-world freelance opportunity. I signed onto a challenging gig with them, which gave me the wisdom, knowledge, and confidence I needed to navigate the freelancing world. I have undying gratitude for their support, their invitation to collaborate, and their generosity for promoting me. I received my first ever feature on the 500px Instagram page this past summer, and it truly meant the world to me! To be recognized by a photo-sharing platform that I use was huge.

Swerve by Jordan Kines on

Q: How do you use 500px to market yourself?

A: When it comes to sharing on 500px and utilizing the platform, I tend to subconsciously filter what I post. I want 500px and other photographers in the community to see my best work. Much of the content I scroll through and am amazed by sets the bar high. The elegant atmosphere doesn’t encourage feelings of insecurity, instead, it inspires me to produce and share excellence. With this perspective and understanding, I strive to engage the community with consistency in execution and output. Share-worthy content allows me to license directly through 500px.

Q: What’s your experience been like with licensing your photos on 500px?

A: I have been licensing photos with 500px for a little over a year now. So far I have not sold any images, but the fact that my work is worthy of licensing speaks volumes and reinforces what I mentioned in the previous answer. It is humbling to be recognized and celebrated by 500px!

Follow Jordan Kines

Instagram: @jordankines