Yesterday was a public holiday here in Perth, so as you would have guessed there was no post on RAW. The reason wasn’t actually the public holiday but, the new Tristan Jud Photography website we are working on. It has taken a little longer then expected to get going so all hands were on deck over the weekend to get it ready for launch later on today. Today’s interview with with an talented digital artist and photographer called Ana Cruz. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a digital artist from Portugal with a strong passion for photography. Even as a child, I was the one who always wanted to be in charge of the family trips’ photos and I always wanted to capture everything the best way I could.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
Since I was a child I was passionate about photography. I used to read a lot of magazines (fashion, nature, etc) and I wanted to capture moments like that. Later, after going deeper into the digital art world, I realized that Photoshop was a very powerful tool and, getting the ability to take photos and then change them into my own “dreamland” vision was the most perfect feeling ever. Soon I bought a SLR camera, some lenses, filters and I was ready to face the world through my own perception of things.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
Since I became trully passionate for portrait photograhy, I cannot live without my 50mm lens. It’s definitely my “must have”. Also, I love nature and scapes so, ND filters, IR filter are also in my backpack because the perfect photo can be just around the corner.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
The first artistic community I joined (back in 2005) was deviantArt and I still believe it’s one of the best to market yourself and to share your art & photography to the world. Currently I also use and abuse of FaceBook tools; more and more it’s becoming a very important social media, in order to advertise you work, either as an enthusiast or as a professional. Social media are definitely one of the most important ways for an artist and photographer to get known and to advertise their work.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
Choosing one… that’s really dificult.
Regarding photography I have to say that my favorite is my self-portrait “Prelude a la nuit”. I was still learning about lighting and this was the first time that my inner vision was brought to life exactly as I wanted. It’s really gratifying when your vision turns exactly perfect and the way you were hoping to.
Regarding photomanipulation, my favorite is “Fragile pictures of silence”. It was the first time I was using one of my own nature photo’s as a background. Adding the model to it and playing with the whole scenery was fantastic. I took that photo and I was there when that moment was captured… seeying the final result turned into a magic realm, with such intensity and feelings… I have no words to express how I felt.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
“Of fractured light and void”. I had this model’s head photo available for photomanipulation. When I saw it, I instantly had a vision of a complete artwork. I needed a body to complete it so, I set all my gear and, after studying the model’s head position & lighting, I took over 50 photos of myself. On Photoshop, I chose the best fitting photo and I merged her head with my body, in order to create something singular and unique. it’s harder than I thought it woudl be. Proportions and position, skin tones, textures… all of this must be taken into consideration to make the merging perfect, rather than just a bad collage. In the end, it turned out just as I wanted to.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post?
I work with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom (along with some other pluggins). Despite I love post-production and playing around while editing photos, I find very rewarding when I’m able to capture a moment and it remains perfect as it is; when I notice that it doesn’t need any post production at all.
The photo “Within my dreams” has no editing; the secnery was exactly like that. I just enhanced a bit of contrast in my old Sony camera and that was it. Why should I edit something that was already perfect?
In the end, it always depend on the situation. I love editing but it’s also very rewarding when the photo comes out just perfect as it is.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
Definitely my filters. I never go to shoot landscape photography without my filters: ND filters, IR filter and Polarizer.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
Like I mentioned before, the first artistic community I joined (back in 2005) was deviantArt and I still believe it’s one of the best to market yourself and to share your art & photography to the world. It’s a popular artistic community and it’s a good place to present yourself as an artist and photogrpher.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Of course! Sometimes I get stuck and nothing good comes out of my head. I’m fortunate to live by the sea shore so I take a walk along the beach, clear my mind and then, inspiration pops out sooner or later. I believe that, the most important thing is to relax, stop thinking about it and clear your mind.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
No! I learned everything step by step and later, when I realized this was what I want to do for a living, I took some studies to expand and refine my knowledge. Self-learning is also very important and most of all, the passion; and I always had it inside of me. I don’t regred about anything or the way I did things. Everything is a learning process.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Try, experiment a lot, be intuitive. Read and study; but most of all, always keep your passion alive. Never give up and fight for your dream.