This month I interviewed Lisa-MariePhotog ! Lisa is a Scottish-born photographer currently living in Canada. Despite the fact that she's only been on DeviantArt for 4 years, her gallery is filled with wonderfully dreamy and colorful photographs that never fail to leave me in awe! I hope you enjoy reading about her work straight from the artist herself!
What made you decide to photograph people? And was fashion the type of photography you first started out creating?
When I first started falling in love with photography, I was interested in all genres. I really wasn’t sure what my main focus was going to be until I enrolled in University studying photography. Food photography became an instant love for me and was the genre I was going to pursue as a career. During my second year of University, we had an assignment to photograph a classmate using different studio lighting such as side lighting, butterfly, Rembrandt etc. I remember feeling so proud of the images I produced but my teacher took one look at them and looked at me and said, “People aren’t your thing.” I remember feeling so crushed and disheartened. I wanted to prove him wrong. The entire summer before my final year I spent creating concepts, finding models, styling and doing the makeup myself just so I could keep practicing. By the time our final year was over and our portfolio night was upon us, my entire portfolio was of fashion and beauty. I fell in love with it completely and knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. If it wasn’t for my teacher telling me that all those years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Please, briefly describe your fashion photography style.
I would describe my photography style as feminine, ethereal, clean, and at times edgy. Depending on the concept I am going for, my style changes and evolves. I can go from shooting something soft and fairy-tale inspired to something more dark and moody.
Are you self-taught or formally educated in photography? And if you're self-taught, what resources have you found to be the most helpful on your journey?
I took three photography courses in high school then enrolled at Grant MacEwan University in Alberta, Canada majoring in Design and Photography. Although it taught me the fundamentals, it was researching and practicing and developing my style that really helped shape me as a photographer.
Do you think in this age of technology that photography is "easier" or more "accessible?" And does this matter for the industry?
I think everyone thinks photography is easy. I was one of them before I started. I quickly realized that there was so much more to photography than I ever imagined. Nowadays with camera phones, it’s much easier for people to snap and go. What I love about photography is that it’s an industry that constantly keeps growing. You will never fully know everything about photography because there is always new techniques and equipment. I love that. There are always new things to learn and experiment.
What do you find most inspirational for your creativity?
For me, I think the most inspirational thing is that I am always trying new things. I like to try new things and experiment. Whether it’s lighting, editing or just something I have never done regarding fashion or beauty. I try and think outside of the box. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I find the latest trend I am seeing with photography is the dark and moody editing with muted and desaturated tones. While I’ve done that myself, I edit depending on the shoot and I absolutely love shooting colour right now. Yellow, orange and blue are some of my go-to colours at the moment. Another thing that I don’t think a lot of people know is that I almost gave up photography a few years ago. I was so down on myself and my work as a photographer that I almost sold my camera and lighting. But my Mum was the one who pushed me. She told me to go shoot something, shoot something just for you and no one else. That really pulled me out of my own head and brought me back to the realization that this is what I love to do and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Do you plan out your photoshoots extensively beforehand? Or are you a bit more spontaneous when creating a fashion series?
It depends on the shoot or concept. What I’ve found over the years is that the original concept I have in my mind, usually never ends up going exactly as planned. Those end up being my favourite shoots! My beauty shoots usually start off simple and we build up and once we’re finished, we just go wild and those end up being the shots we love the most. Sometimes you need to do a spontaneous shoot just for fun, I find it keeps my creativity flowing.
What has been the most important piece of advice you've been given on photography? And what advice would you give to a fashion photographer trying to start out?
The most important piece of advice I’ve been given is to keep shooting and that’s honestly my best piece of advice. During my seminars I have people come up and ask me “How do I get better?” and I tell them to keep shooting. That’s what I did. I shot as much as I could, every concept I could think of. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. There are going to be photoshoots that you may end up not liking as much as others and sometimes you may struggle portraying the concept you want but that’s okay! Try again. And again. Keep shooting until you are 100% happy that you have fulfilled what you want. Don’t give up. Even when you feel discouraged or are feeling like you aren’t progressing.
What is your favorite and/or most successful photo-shoot you've created?
That’s so hard to decide! I have so many favourites. One that sticks out to me has to be my “Twisted Fairytale” shoot which I shot in December 2015. We had such an amazing team for that shoot. It all started when a friend of mine, who is a wedding dress designer from Vancouver, came back to visit and she had brought some of her new collection along. We wanted to do something completely different than the normal “bridal shoot” and since I am a fashion photographer, we put our own dark twist on it. Each dress would be based on a different Disney princess but would have a moodier edge to it. The first image I took was a test shot and I entered it in a contest a few months later, just for fun. It actually ended up winning the contest and it opened so many doors for me and gave me so many opportunities. If I hadn’t entered that contest, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
Putting together teams for photoshoots can be difficult, and many new photographers don't know where to start. How do you find people to work with? What kinds of qualities do you look for in a creative team?
When I started, I knew no one. I put out a model call on Kijiji and ended up befriended the model who replied. She became my muse for the first little bit of my “fashion” journey and I would do the makeup, style the shoot and even do the hair. It wasn’t until my work started being noticed around my city and models started following me that I was able to network. I joined some Facebook groups and through that I met some wonderful models and makeup artists that I still work with today. Nowadays, I look for a good quality portfolio. Depending on the concept I’m shooting, whether its beauty or fashion, I look for a team that I feel can pull off what I am looking for. A good thing I’ve learned is to do a test shoot with a model and makeup artist. This allows you to see if they will be a good fit for your creative ideas.
How do you connect with your models when they're in front of the camera? Do you do lots of model directing on photoshoots?
I’m very lucky that I work with wonderful models that model for their profession, but I do still direct when needed. During the time when the model is getting her makeup done, I love to spend time with them and get to know them. It really helps break that wall down when you get to know them on a personal level. I also play some music during the shoot. One thing I do, that people laugh at me for because they think its funny, is every shot I take I always mumble “Beautiful. Gorgeous. Love that. Stunning. Wow!” I find when you’re telling the model she’s doing a good job and giving them feedback, they relax much faster. We always have a giggle about that and that definitely eases them into the shoot. If you want a particular look or pose, don’t be afraid to tell the model. When I first started, I was so scared to speak up and there were so many times I wanted the model to pose a certain way but didn’t want to “offend” them. Throughout the years, I am more direct with what I am looking for, even before the shoot starts and during the shoot. The model can’t read your mind; so if you want something specific, tell them. They want to bring your vision to life also so they are always open to being directed.
What kind of goals are you currently working towards with your photography?
I will be taking a break from photography come fall as I am expecting my first baby! I will be back to shooting sometime next year. I’m so incredibly blessed that the goals I set for myself when I graduated, I have far exceeded. I just strive to keep creating my art and I am so lucky that I get to do what I love for a living. I hope to keep hosting my seminars, writing articles for magazines and eventually hosting bigger workshops all over the world. The ultimate dream? Shooting exclusively for Vogue. What fashion photographer doesn’t dream of that!
More work by Lisa-MariePhotog
Catwalk Talk is...
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- Nov 29, 2009
- Jul 25, 2018
- Aug 5, 2006
- May 11, 2013
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- Mar 11, 2016
- Sep 15, 2016
- May 21, 2013
- Mar 13, 2009
- Nov 29, 2014
- Jan 25, 2014 (so close...)
- Nov 24, 2010
- Feb 2, 2010
- Dec 6, 2014
- Dec 18, 2007
- Oct 19, 2015
- Aug 16, 2010
- Apr 28, 2013
- Feb 19, 2013