Questions & Answers Part I

Lately I received a lot of questions in my email and on Facebook, so I collected a few and answered them here!

Lesia: How did your fascination with photography begin? For how long have you been shooting now? 
It all started at the age of 15. I already knew that I was interested in fashion and portraits so I made many pictures with my sister and friends acting as my models. In that time I experimented a lot and one year later I decided to follow a course at an Art Academy to learn more about the creative process. At the age of 17 I was accepted at the Art Academy in Rotterdam. I was really inspired by how I could bring conceptual art into fashion photography, in such a way that I also could use my own imagination. In fashion photography it’s important to collaborate with stylist, make-up artists and model agencies. So I did, and it is great to work with those talented people in this industry.  At the start of my third year, I decided to participate in an exchange program, so I studied for six month at the Art Academy in Milan, Italy. I could not resist arranging a lot of photo shoots in my free time. It was great to meet all these international talented people. During this period I learned a lot about myself and my photography. During the graduation period I went to Paris and Milan to work on beautiful locations. For me it’s important to expand my workflow and I’m constantly searching for new sources of inspiration. Besides that, I set new goals for myself in order to expand my knowledge. My network is very important so I work with many different teams and agencies all the time.

Lesia: The technical side of shooting can be a bit confusing. How did you study it? 
I can’t remember exactly, but I learned a lot by just experimenting and seeing how the results are, so I knew what I could improve for the next time. Of course I also had technical lessons at the Art Academy where I learned some extra. But I still believe that you can’t be a great photographer if you are only good at the technical part of photography. It’s all about the creative part, so in the same time that’s the reason why I went to the Art Academy instead of a ‘photography school’ where the focus is more on the technical side.

Emeline from all-essentials.com: At the moment I am using a Fujifilm compact system camera, but I would like to make more professional pictures and I’m thinking about a DSLR camera. I would like to make outfit pictures for our blog and detail shots of products. What kind of camera and lenses are the best for me? Compact system camera’s are quite good, if you want a blurry background for your pictures, you have to make sure to use a lens with a low aperture number (f/1.4 or f/1.8 for example). But I can imagine you want to use a DSLR camera. I’m not going to talk about all the brands, you have to make that decision by your self, because every brand is almost the same! But to help you a little: one thing I heard and noticed is that Nikon is better for green colors (good for landscapes) and Canon works the best for skin tones (good for portraits). Then you need to decide if you want a crop sensor camera or a full frame camera. I had two crop sensor camera’s (Canon EOS 400D and 7D) before I made the step to a full frame camera (Canon EOS 6D). With a full frame camera you can make bigger pictures, what is good for prints and publications. Of course there are more differences. But I think a crop sensor camera will work perfect for you! And about the lenses: I wrote a whole article about great DSLR portrait lenses here and I made a post with photography tips for fashion bloggers here to help you. Good luck!

Stephanie: What are your short term dreams or goals?
I would like to work for a photography agency, in The Netherlands or somewhere else. Last year I went to Milan to talk with a agency in Milan what was very instructive. My goals for 2015 are to make more editorials and publications in different countries and cities (New York, Los Angeles and London are at the top of my wish list!). It is important to keep pushing my personal style and meet and work with new creative people. I’m really looking forward to all the new opportunities. Besides that, I like when things are happening by coincidence, I’m not that person who is writing down all his exact plans and follow this exactly. I don’t mind taking some risks, and see where it will bring me.

Tim: What do you think about Photoshop?
I think retouching is also an important part of being a photographer. When I make a picture, I’m already thinking about how I would like to do the retouch. I use Photoshop to finish the pictures, give them the right colors and contrast to achieve the ambiance that I had in mind. And I do some retouch on the skin. But what I don’t like, and never did, about digital editing, is to make 1 image out of 2 or even more pictures. Then it’s fake in my opinion. I want to keep it real and don’t like to cheat too much :)

Bianca: What is the best way to learn how to shoot for a beginner?
The best way is to know why you are making pictures, find your inspiration and then practice a lot. Don’t give up and try over and over again. Then ask people to give their honest opinion and bring that information to your next shoot. Of course you can also decide to follow a course or even a study if you want to get involved with photography everyday, because you can also learn from other creative people around you. And don’t make something because your teacher will like it, make something because YOU like it!

Do you have a question for me? Leave a comment and I’ll answer your question in Q&A part II!
(photo: INDIVIDUALS, photography Liselotte Fleur)