Fashion Fashion Fashion, todays feature is with the extremely talented London based photographer, Rossella Vanon. Rossella’s portfolio is full of outstanding photos that you have to checkout. If your in UK you might also be interested to know that she runs photography workshops! Enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Rossella Vanon and I am a fashion and beauty (and secretly a nature!) photographer currently based in London, UK. I come from a small town in the centre of Italy, and moved to the United Kingdom almost six years ago following my creative impulse and aspirations. I’m a nature lover, a vegetarian, a sweet tooth and a big dreamer.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
Photography itself. I started playing around with photography about six years ago, just before I decided to leave Italy to move to London. After walking around this City with my camera for about a year and a half I already felt completely captured, and I knew that I would have had to give it a try or I would have regretted it for a long time. So I did! Of course at first I had no connections, no knowledge of the market or any friend or fellow photographer that could help me understand how the industry worked, so it took a while for me to realise how to position myself in the photography world and which direction to take with my art.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
I currently shoot with a Canon 5D MarkII and depending on assignment I usually take with me a couple of lenses, a reflector, and if needed my Bowens lights. I couldn’t possibly live without my Canon 50mm F1.4 lens! Hoping to upgrade to a Canon 50mm F1.2 very soon.
What’s your favourite bag and why?
I have a Kata DR467i that I find very useful for many assignments and even to take with me when I go away with my camera gear for personal time. It has a bottom camera compartment, padded and secure, that can be accessed separately from the rest of the bag, and a back compartment perfect to hold a laptop and a tablet. And it is waterproof – which is pretty necessary when you live in a city like London!
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
I have always been using social media and it has definitely played an important part in the promotion of my work, as it would do for any business nowadays. It is such a powerful tool with never ending possibilities – it’s all about having the time to update all the websites you ended up being signed up to!
I usually share my resized favourite images on my favourite platforms, with a small watermark, so I can also share the names of the people who have collaborated with me on a certain project, so they can all be credited for it too.
Word of mouth is another incredibly relevant tool: another important reason for making sure you keep your clients happy all the time, so they can spread good word about you.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
I tend to love images that come out of a free brainstorming session with my team. About once a month (more often if time allows) we call a model and get together in my studio to work on a personal project, which usually ends up being super-creative and a lot of fun to shoot. Those are my favourite images because even though they may not end up in any magazine or campaign, they are a pure expression of myself, my creativity, my taste and my skills. There are no rules, no guidelines and no deadlines, and they clearly show me the progress of my photography throughout the years. They are such personal creations that it’s also very easy to feel emotionally attached to them.
This image in particular comes from my very first editorial ever shot, titled ‘In Between Dreams’. It started as a free personal project and only after it ended up being published in a magazine.
It was shot in my house and I can still remember everyone blowing the huge balloons at 7AM in the morning. It was the first time I was collaborating with a proper creative team (models, make-up artist, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist) and it was so exciting and so much fun. This picture was the moment I understood fashion editorial was the path I wanted to take.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
This image is my favourite take from the editorial ‘The Irrational Bird’ that I shot in winter 2011 for Doze magazine.
The concept of the shoot was to portrait the woman as an ‘irrational bird’: beautiful and wild, always in movement, so strong-hearted and powerful, but fragile at the very same time. Since we wanted to convey the sense of dynamism in the image, I had the model slowly shifting from pose to pose, without stopping, and I was constantly looking through the viewfinder shooting when pose and composition were right. This gave me the chance of having unique and spontaneous body positions that would have been very hard to recreate from scratch in a natural way. I could also make a creative use out of the constant movement by shooting with a slightly longer exposure and create bits of blur in certain areas of the model’s body, increasing and enhancing the dynamism of the story even more.
This has been one of the quickest images to edit. In post production I have simply cleaned up the skin, increased the contrast and added touches of brightness to the points of interest of the beautiful outfit the model was wearing.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post?
I believe that in fashion photography both camera and post processing work together in creating the perfect image, and they are both relevant in the success of a picture. I am a photographer, so I like to achieve things in camera rather than adding or deleting elements in the editing process, and I also find it so much more fun and often less time consuming. Of course there are times where editing is simply necessary to take the photograph to a certain standard: cleaning skin, deleting a stray hair in the wrong place or just give a touch of contrast to make the image really top notch.
I edit using Photoshop CS5 on my Mac and I have recently discovered a love for my new Wacom pen tablet. To think I never thought I would feel comfortable using one!
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
Film. I love buying film, placing it inside the camera, shooting it, watching negatives through the light. I don’t shoot much film for my editorial work, but I still use both 35mm and polaroids for my personal work and for some client commissions who specifically request it.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
I have been sharing my work on Facebook since I signed up a few years ago and I’ve been finding it very good since. It’s the most used social platform out there and it can therefore potentially provide a lot of exposure. At the same time it is a great place for photography as it allows users to view a good sized preview of a picture when it’s posted, and gives people the chance to add a description at the bottom, which is perfect for adding team credits.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Definitely, I think all creative people go through a block every now and then, and in a way it’s good as it stimulates you to look for new inputs and inspiration, and therefore move forward, evolve and grow. I usually start by browsing on the net looking for inspiring images, watching movies with good photography reviews, or walk around keeping my eyes open for possible shooting locations. Inspiration can come from the smallest things, and it’s those things that then develop incredibly until turning into a whole new and deep concept that you can’t wait to shoot.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Sometimes I wish I had assisted other photographers for longer, or had more photographer connections when I first started, to have been able to gain a better insight on what the photography industry is about before jumping into it. But I learned by making mistakes, and it taught me a lot. Overall I can say I’m very happy with my journey so far. It’s been unpredictable and exciting and wouldn’t change anything about it.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Be patient and work hard! When I first got into fashion photography I thought I could take on the world straightaway, but I got to learn that creativity and art need their time to develop and refine, like any other skill. It’s good to have aspirations and dreams, but it’s important to know you may need to give yourself time to grow as a photographer, improve your skills, refine your taste and get your name known within the industry before aiming for the moon. But never stop dreaming 🙂