The 500px Prime Creator program recognizes photographers who excel in Licensing and Commercial Photography. Our Prime Creators will serve as ambassadors of the 500px Licensing Collection, showcasing their exceptional talent and representing the best of the best.
Meet our newest 500px Prime Creator and learn more about how Licensing is creating a more inclusive world through visual storytelling.
Iza Lyson is a Polish photographer specializing in dog photography and lifestyle content. Having been a 500px Contributor for over eight years, her Portfolio has captured the attention of 500px for its stunning and genuine content that encapsulates various timely themes and concepts. Iza’s approach to Licensing is consistently fun and personal—traits that are often overlooked when shooting commercial content. By incorporating her passions and daily life into her shoots, Iza has successfully captured everyday micro-moments that consumers can relate to.
Q: Hello! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Hi, My name is Iza. I’m 26 years old and have been a photographer for the past 14 years. I don’t really remember a time in my life without photography. From the very beginning of my photography career, I began photographing dogs—my adventures started with my golden retriever, Luna, that I got when I was 12. Hundreds of thousands of photos later I found myself here, a 500px Ambassador for the past six years. Throughout my career my pictures have received awards in top-class contests. Additionally, I was honored as a guest judge for Dog Photography Awards—largest dog photography contest. Other than that, I am a proud owner of two border collies—Opi and Tra—with whom I frequently travel through Europe.
Q: We are thrilled to have you as a 500px Prime Creator! Your commercial Portfolio illustrates the type of content we advocate for in our 500px Licensing collection. Can you tell us about your experience in Licensing and how it began?
A: I remember when I sold my first picture—I was in high school at that time, so the amount of money that I earned seemed so huge, I thought that I would never have to work another day in my life. What was even more surprising, was that I just uploaded this picture to my 500px Portfolio and ticked one checkmark—add to Licensing. Of course, later on, the tough reality came that I actually needed to sell a few more photos to sustain myself in my adult life. Since then, I have been adding to my Licensing Portfolio on 500px and building up my gallery of images on a regular basis.
Recently, I started capturing lifestyle content strictly to be sold as “stock” photos. I am currently very happy with my 500px Licensing collection, which I must admit sells quite well.
Q: You are traveling to the Netherlands soon! What are you most excited about, and do you have any photoshoots planned?
A: Apart from the photoshoot I have planned of my own dogs in the tulip fields of Netherlands, I cannot wait to meet up with my friend Auderey Bellot. Auderey is also a dog photographer! Photography is not only about taking pictures, but it is about the community and new friendships. I enjoy talking and exchanging experiences with other photographers.
Additionally, I would also like to recreate some of the shots I took last year in a much smaller tulip field in Poland. The shoot I would like to recreate was of my younger dog Tra, who was four months old at the time. I would love to see the contrast between the two photos as a representation of how she grew.
Q: Your Licensing portfolio is a great example for other Contributors to learn from. Can you share with us your process of conceptualizing and executing your lifestyle shoots?
A: Most of my lifestyle photos were taken because of the 500px Licensing Quests. The first brief I participated in was based on the topic of “sustainability”. This was at the start of the pandemic. That was the first time I asked my friends to pose for photos; this was a completely different genre of photography than I was used to. The next Quest I participated in was “home sweet home” during the pandemic. I taught myself how to cook (so I could photograph this process). The results I achieved led me to keep participating in 500px Quests. The Quest “50 over 50” allowed me to finally take the time to get some pictures of my dad and grandmother. Now I am a big fan of the Monthly Shot List Quests! Apart from that, I just like having my camera near me to photograph my dogs when they play or sleep. Same with my dog photography—apart from beautiful portraits I try to catch the moments where the dogs are just being dogs and are enjoying themselves.
Q: In regards to your dog photography, can you tell us how you recruit your models?
A: I always start with asking myself, “what do I want to photograph?” Then, whether I can execute this plan with the cooperation of my dogs, or my friend’s dogs. If not, I announce on Instagram or Facebook that I am looking for specific models, and quite often, I manage to find them. Sometimes I just find an account of a dog on Instagram, and it inspires me to visualize a photoshoot in some specific location and then I write to the owners with a proposal for cooperation. And other times the customers contact me, and together we choose the best conditions for their dog.
Q: We are always reminding Licensing Contributors that you can usually find great models pretty close to home, whether turning the lens on pets, family, friends, or even yourself. Do you have any tips or tricks for shooting self-portraits?
A: Of course—I take hundreds of pictures using myself as the model! Currently the most convenient solution for me is to put my camera on a tripod, books, or even a stack of clothes, and then launch the remote app on my phone. If you don’t have the ability to connect to your camera via Bluetooth or WIFI, you can use a remote control or set the camera to take pictures every two seconds. In situations where I am taking self-portraits with my dogs, I often need the help of another person who can press the shutter button and photograph a series of predetermined shots I have planned out. That’s how most of my portraits in the mountains were made.
Q: What are your go-to camera and lens choices? How does shooting dog photography versus lifestyle content influence your setup?
A: Currently, I use Nikon Z9, which I must admit is quite heavy, but the quality of photos is just astonishing. Thanks to a high number of FPS, I can capture the ideal moment of even the most dynamic scenes. When it comes to the lens, in dog photography I mainly use the 135mm f/1.8 for both portraits and dynamic pictures. On the other hand, when I create lifestyle content, I prefer a shorter focal length—for example 35 mm. This allows me to be closer to the model, and show more of the surroundings.
Q: Commercial photography and Licensing are always changing and evolving to reflect the concerns, needs, and values of the times. What is one way you would like to see the industry change in the future?
A: I hope that it will change in such a way that my pictures will be the ones selling the best! Of course, I am joking, but just a little. In my photos I show the everyday pleasures that are sometimes hard to admire. Of course, I also love to capture the pure happiness in dogs that I think we can all learn from!
Q: If you had an unlimited budget to execute any shoot you dream of, what would it be?
A: I would love to do a photoshoot of my dogs in Iceland! Unfortunately, the thing stopping me is not only the finances, but also the fact that you can only bring your own dog to Iceland after a one-month quarantine there. That is why I probably won’t be able to fulfill this dream, but maybe I will be able to compromise and photograph someone else’s dogs
Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do to get the perfect shot?
A: There have been times when I had to lay on the ground in crowded city streets or have someone piggyback me, all to capture the best perspective. I also drove 1,500 kilometers one way just to photograph a beautiful ice cave in Switzerland. As it happens, while I was returning from the ice cave, I stopped at a waterfall where I took my most famous photo featured in the Sony World Photography Awards.
Q: Do you have any unique or quirky personal rituals or routines that you follow before a photoshoot?
A: Usually, my rituals are arriving a little early to scout the best location and get familiar with the space and best lighting. Thanks to many years of experience, it only takes me a moment, after which I can move on to shooting. But, if I photograph my own dogs, I always give them as much time as they need to familiarize themselves with the place and to calm down.
Keep up with more work by Iza Lyson:
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