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Interview with Digital Artist and Photographer Antti Karppinen

Antti Karppinen is a digital artist, photographer, and retoucher who specialized in telling the stories of products, services or companies in his own way. I talked with Antti Karppinen about his career and the importance of photography and digital art in the business world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Antti Karppinen

Antti Karppinen


by Melisa Kaya

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Antti Karppinen is not only a digital artist who has combined his many years of experience and created his own style but is also an educator who transmits this knowledge to people who want to pursue a career in digital arts. Antti has been able to adapt his talents to the needs of the business world by interpreting any new project or competition as an opportunity to take him a step further. He continues to decorate his career with many awards and successful campaigns he has created. I talked with Antti Karppinen about his career and asked him about digital art and retouching and the importance of photography and digital art in the business and advertising industry.

Antti, before talking about photography and visual art, could you tell us about yourself?

My previous profession was doing graphic design and various content around mobile games and services. I have been using photoshop for 23 years and been always interesting creating something visual. I'm mostly self-learned, but of course, had some mentors in my early career with photography and lighting.

by Antti Karppinen

Doctor by Antti Karppinen

What are the differences between digital artist, photographer, and retoucher?

That is a hard one. I think digital artistry includes many of these talents. I consider myself also as a photographer and also retoucher, but I also come up with ideas and concepts my self for my own projects and also for client work. Being an artist also is important, you do work as a passion and are able to determine what is your own style and what kind of projects you do.

How could you describe your artistic approach?

My approach is pretty straightforward. I come up with ideas everywhere, I sketch them out in my small moleskin notebook. Then I do usually mood boards, collections of images that show the elements, colors etc about my image. Then the sketch where I try to do a simple wireframe presentation about the image. Then photoshoot, retouching. But I think one of the most important things is creating the content around work. So I do a lot of tutorials, BTS material, Vlogs, Blogs around the work and this way I will make my images more tangible.

by Antti Karppinen

Gary by Antti Karppinen

When did you get your first camera and when did you start to retouch photos? How did you decide to pursue a career in visual art?

I got my first digital camera around 2002 and started doing stock photography. Basically, I funded my gear with this income. And as I said earlier I got into photoshop really early on around 93 or so. This was a perfect way for me to experiment and get that art out of my system :D

You have your own style on your works. What inspires you?

I get inspired by everything. Not only images by other photographers, but everything from articles, blogs, videos, movies, music. I might read an article and get a flash in my head and I need to scribble that idea to the paper.

What kind of projects do you prefer to work on?

For client projects, I do a lot of brand images. Those involve usually a creative concept that I can work with the client. I try to tell stories with my images and help companies to make images that stand out from the crowd. Visual Storytelling.

by Antti Karppinen

Digital Artwork by Antti Karppinen

How do you combine your creative skills with the commercial needs of companies?

As I have been also an art director in my past I have been on both sides of the table. I have a good knowledge of what companies are looking for when it comes to brand images. I try to feed them new fresh ideas and push them to do something out of the box. This is a people business so helping others and networking will take you far!

How did your interest in portraits begin? What is the most special aspect of portraits for you?

I just love people. I have been always interacting with people so that is where the passion for portrait comes from. In my early photography career, I shot everything from kids to weddings and graduations. Loved the feedback and engagement with people. But slowly my work shifted from consumer side photography to advertising, but I always wanted to keep people in the center focus of my images.

by Antti Karppinen

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Antti Karppinen

What are the key points that you pay attention to most before accepting a new project?

I have tried to choose projects on the basis of these three things. Money, Networks, and Portfolio. But from these, I would always need two and then I'm interested. So I could do a totally pro bono case if I know what I will get an amazing picture to my portfolio and the networks I would gain doing the project would be really important when looking to future. So ... those things I look when it comes choosing the projects.

In your projects, do you work in a previously defined concept or are you creating your own concept?

Both. Sometimes client or ad agency have already the concept but I will try always to be part of the process. I do also a lot of my own concepts since I have been doing that as my previous profession.

You have won many awards, could you tell us about them?

Competitions are my way to push myself further. I try to experiment, do visually interesting images with a story and just push them to competitions to see how they rate against the best of the world. It is not all for the merit, but more to push my self to create something new.

by Antti Karppinen

Jammy Harris by Antti Karppinen

What do you think about the effect of a good artwork in the buyer's decision?

I think companies and buyers are looking something different. And in this, I always think that your own work should come before your commission work. Companies see your passion in images you create for yourself and also see how that style or concepts would translate also to being a client work.

What is the most important component of a spectacular digital artwork?

The concept and the idea. Techniques are always secondary .. original concepts are important to tell those stories.

What type of services do you offer to your clients?

When it comes to creating images, I try to offer a whole package from the consulting to the idea, photoshoot, retouching and also creating extra content around the work. In addition to creating images, I do a lot of educating, photography, retouching or even how to be more creative or marketing insights.

Is it possible for abroad clients to work with you for their projects?

Yes definitely. My work is not limited to Finland. I'm Global!

Which factors determine the project budget?

There are many factors. The concept, planning, models, location, styling, hair/makeup, assistants, rentals, image rights, content etc. Every case is unique and usually, my agent is doing most of my bidding for bigger projects.

by Antti Karppinen

Blind Eye by Antti Karppinen

What are your expectations from your clients for a successful collaboration?

When they choose me I think they already know what to expect. And I always try to deliver 110%. I think the most important thing is the planning, everything that goes before we do any photoshoots. That is where we are able to get to the same page and figure out exactly what we are going to create.

How do you protect the rights of your works in this online era?

I have seen some of my images being stoled and used without rights and I try to look for those. It is not easy, but luckily there are some services that you can use to track your images if they are being used without your consent.

Could your clients use the works in any publication, catalog, website, ad or other platforms in the future?

Yes ... everything depends on the rights people will purchase for the created images. Every media is possible.

What advice would you give to digital artists who want to pursue a professional career?

Don't just concentrate on techniques, develop your network and help people. This is a people business and networks will carry your far. And ALWAYS carry a printed portfolio with you to show your best work.

by Antti Karppinen

Endless by Antti Karppinen

What is your favorite work that you have ever created?

I think my all-time favourite image is still my Photographic Gold medal image Endless. It has so much personal meaning to me and also has taken me to amazing places to meet amazing people.

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

I try to be reachable in different social media and also try to find my own voice in every one of those. Instagram (@aliasantti), Twitter (@antti_karppinen), Facebook (@anttikarppinenphotography), Youtube etc. At the moment I think my Youtube Channel ( is something I concentrate more since I love the engagement the videos generate.

Thank you Antti for this enjoyable interview.

For more information, please visit the website of Antti Karppinen