PROFILE

Erik Tomašák

A fully clothed man appears suspended in mid-air as he falls backwards into a swimming pool.

A portrait of a Slovakian musician falling backwards into a swimming pool, fully clothed. "I did my best to capture this on the second take," says Canon Ambassador Erik Tomašák. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM) at 45mm, 1/400 sec, f/3.5 and ISO400. © Erik Tomašák

They say there's nothing better than fresh powder, but when keen snowboarder and Canon Ambassador Erik Tomašák isn't hitting the slopes himself, he's capturing others in their element. "I just love what I do," the Slovakian commercial, portrait and sports photographer says. "Don't be afraid. That's one of the main lessons I live my life by."

Having built a solid reputation for producing dynamic images, often charged with an almost tangible energy courtesy of his experiments with light, Erik has produced visuals for a multitude of international and local brands. These include household names such as adidas, CTM Bikes, Monster Energy and Faction.
"My work can be spotted on billboards, magazines, CD covers and many places in the online world," says Erik. "I really enjoy dynamic and challenging projects. I just love playing around with different sources of light. I think that's what's most unique about my pictures."

Erik, who is a completely self-taught photographer and retoucher, made the decision to team up with fellow creatives and form Visual Gang, a collective of like-minded and talented artists, to expand their impact and reach. "Visual Gang is a production agency where anything is possible," Erik explains. "My best friend and I created it and I wouldn't change it for the world. Working in a collective is fun. It's priceless."
A black and white headshot of Canon Ambassador Erik Tomašák.
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Specialist areas: Sports, commercial and portrait photography

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS R5
Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM
A snowboarder performing a trick in mid-air. The tiny figure is framed by the supports of a ski lift and shrouded in fog.

As well as being a talented sports photographer, Erik is an avid snowboarder and skateboarder, which he says provides him with an instinct for what the subject might do next and allows him to better prepare for the shot. "After three days of sun came moody fog for 10 minutes. I was in the right place at the right time to capture this image," says Erik. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens at 170mm, 1/800 sec, f/13 and ISO125. © Erik Tomašák

Although now based in Bratislava, Slovakia, Erik was born in a small village near Martin, a city nestled between mountains in the country's north. After high school, he moved to nearby Žilina for university, before putting down roots in the capital. "Without question, Žilina and Martin helped to form my love of sport photography," Erik explains. "It was here that I started my snowboard career. Judging competitions followed, as did my interest in shooting action sports, not just snowboarding but skateboarding too."

Erik landed his big break during these years of study. "The moment I felt like my career was beginning was when I got the contract with Monster Energy," he says. "It happened almost exactly a year to the day from when I got my first DSLR, a Canon EOS 7D (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II). That was in my second year of university. I was shooting mostly sports and events back then."
Two cyclists appear to be riding invisible bikes in a forest setting

As well as shooting high-energy sports photography Erik captures portraits and commercial-focused imagery for a wide range of clients. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 145mm, 1/100 sec, f/5 and ISO100. © Erik Tomašák

Life in Bratislava after university opened Erik's eyes to greater possibilities, and it was here that he made a move into commercial photography. "It was around this time that I produced images for several exhibitions held throughout Slovakia and the Czech Republic," he says. "That was a huge achievement for me."

A change of genre wasn't the only thing Erik began experimenting with. "The external flash really did help me to shine my way to where I am today. I started to learn more after university," he explains. "Step by step, I discovered something new from each and every project, from the small ones at the start right the way through to the big clients we shoot for today."
What are your top tips for capturing subjects within your favourite genres?

"Shoot until you get the perfect shot and then change the perspective. Combine different settings and lights if possible."



Why did you choose to form a collective?

"If I hadn't, there would be nobody to listen to my amazing jokes or for me to boss around! I definitely recommend it for other photographers and video artists."



How much retouching do you do?

"To be honest, not a great deal because I live by the idea that you should shoot as if post-processing never existed."



Is there a tool you wouldn't be without?

"For me, I'd have to say the control ring Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R. It is such a smart and helpful device that I think a lot of photographers overlook. It's easier and faster to set up your camera with a control ring. What's more, it also means your EF or old analog lenses are still in the game. What's not to love?"



What advice would you offer a photographer hoping to break into the industry?

"Be in the right place at the right time with a good camera, the right lens and the right settings. Then all you can do is your best. Also sleep well and don't be afraid."

One thing I know

Erik Tomašák

"The most valuable lesson I learnt during my career to date has been the importance of not getting stuck at a certain level. What I mean by that is, once you feel you have mastered a certain level of something within your field, it is easy to stay at that level you have achieved. It's comfortable. But that's where people go wrong. At that point, it's important to realise that success is temporary and you have to be always moving forward. Don't get stuck!"

Erik Tomašák's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Erik Tomašák's kitbag containing Canon cameras and lenses.

Cameras

Canon EOS R5

Capture sensational 45MP photos at up to 20fps, or cinematic 12-bit 8K RAW video using the entire width of the camera's sensor. "I was waiting for this camera for a few years," explains Erik. "The features that really drew me in were the eye AF, which I trust 100%, and the Image Stabilizer with IS RF lenses. Together they create next-level photos without noise."

Canon EOS R

A full-frame mirrorless camera that opens up new creative opportunities for photographers and filmmakers. "My second body of choice is the Canon EOS R," says Erik. "With the awesome digital viewfinder you can see your shot before you push the trigger and the double exposure features have helped me unlock new creative opportunities."

Lenses

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

A 50mm f/1.2 prime lens for supreme sharpness, plus remarkable low-light performance. "This is my go-to portrait lens," says Erik. "With the Canon EOS R5's eye-AF function I can use the full potential of this amazing lens. Perspective and aperture f/1.2 push my portraits to perfection not only with perfect light condition but also in low light."

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Ultra-wide and super sharp thanks to L-series optical quality and 5-stop image stabilisation for dynamic angles even in tight spaces. Erik says: "With no distortion and a fantastic wide angle, it's perfect for architecture. Perspective, an aperture of f/2.8 and the possibility to zoom in to 35mm makes this a really nice portrait lens, too."

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM

A fast-aperture 35mm f/1.8 macro lens for wide-angle perspective, close focusing and Hybrid IS. "This small multifunctional jewel can go everywhere with you," says Erik. "You can use it for wildlife, low light and macro, but my favourite is street photography and portrait. It's the ideal five-in-one all-rounder."

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