Ilkka Rytkönen, Photographer

From hobby to work

I'm Ilkka Rytkönen and I live in Ii in Finland. I've completed vocational examination in photography in 2012.

Photographer itself in Monza
Photographer itself in Monza

Photography is very interesting thing because of there’s always something to learn and new cameras and lenses are coming to market all the time.

I started photography in the turn of the millennium. There weren’t digital cameras available to consumers in that time so I borrowed a film based Canon SRL from my mother often. In 2003 I bought Canon G3 and it was my first digital camera. Pretty soon I noticed that G3 wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more speed, sensitivity, better and faster lenses and so on. When Canon published new EOS 20D with 17-85mm lens I immediately ordered it. A bit later I bought also 100-400mm telephoto zoom and used that combination many years.

It didn’t take a long time when people started to ask me photographing their events and other things. Good hobby was changing towards a job. And 2009 I founded small business about photography. I was studied photography on my own but I wanted to learn more. I started my studies in Vocational College Lappia in Tornio and graduated 2012. Vocational examination in photography was completed!

But examination is just a start. It gives you good guidelines how to continue studying photography and other things around it as business.

I like to shoot many kind of photos like people, landscapes, events and motorsport. I cannot imagine that I’d go to rally Finland without camera and look the cars just with pure eye. I need a camera between me and the cars.

Besides knowledge of photography and the camera sets you need also good physical endurance while shooting. Sometimes gear is heavy and you need to be awake and ready to catch the moment any time of the day. Luckily I like rollerblading and cross-country skiing which helps me when I go photographing.

I check always my gear before the assignment. I load all the batteries, format memory cards, set the cameras clock on the same time and so on. Then it's possible to concentrate just shooting, not the equipment. If it’s possible I like to check location beforehand.


I shoot always RAW. It’s only correct method when shooting important moments of the life. Sport photography like rally or formula 1 is an exception. I shoot so many frames during a day so it would be impractical in many ways. In that case I have to be very careful with the exposure. Limits in post-processing are more decreased in JPG compared to RAW images.

RAW format gives me freedom to process photos more when needed. Processing is not always necessary but sometimes you know before shooting that post processing must done before you’ll get the shot you’re shooting.

I have always at least 2 camera bodies and several lenses. If something happens I can still continue shooting. And with two bodies I can have more focal lengths available for capturing moments. It’s not always time to change the lens.

Good cameras and lenses don’t take photos itself. There must be always person who understand the equipment and the situations and can control them. Ambient light might be good but sometimes it’s needed to have own lightning setup for getting a result that you’re looking for.

In studio
In studio


When I come back home from an event I’ll backup my photos to two different hard drive before formatting memory cards. There are always risk of hard drive failure. All hard drives will broke sooner or later.

Images can be sometimes ready from the camera but usually they need some extra touch with Lightroom or Photoshop. When I shoot whole the day post-processing takes usually couple of the days.

Photographing can also be an excercise

I view my own photos critically and try to found out good and poor points of them. I try to get better images next time. I like also watch, and read books about photographing where I can learn new techniques and tricks.

Clients gets full access to images. You have rights to print photos and you can make any photo products like mugs, t-shirts etc. Customer can also share photos on social media. In this case it’s recommend to tag photographer. Rights cannot deliver to a third party and commercial use is forbidden without a new contract (excluding business photography).

Mainly I work in areas of Kuopio and Savo but also other regions.

Testing Pentax 645Z
Testing Pentax 645Z