Today we have an interview from self taught fashion photographer Anna Theodora, who tells us about how she got into photography and her journey so far.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Anna Theodora, I’m 31 years old. I majored in business administration and would take photos as a hobby to get my mind off of my boring job. One day I decided to quit it all and dedicate myself to photography. The beginnings are never easy and there’s a lot to learn, but with perseverance, I hope to make it as a fashion photographer.
What inspired you to get into photography?
I have always loved photography, who doesn’t? But I guess it were the many people telling me I had a talent to shoot people…
Are you self taught or did you study photography?
I’m self taught, everything I know I learned on the internet.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens could you not live without?
It depends on the shoot, if it’s going to be natural or flash light…
There’s always this question about which lens you can’t live without and photographers always answer it’s the 50mm 1.4. It’s a fantastic lens for anyone who’s starting, but you can make do with any lens and you build up from there. The thing is to always invest in good lenses and learn the effects each lens has on a photo.
Flash or Natural Light?
At first, natural only. I recently bought two flash heads, so I work accordingly with the mood wanted for the photos.
Can you describe how you use a flash, reflector, natural light when your shooting your portraits?
It’s always about knowing what you want your final photo to look like. And observing how the light behaves in given situations. I’ll adjust to suit.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
Oh no, I don’t have one favourite photo. I always put my heart into everything I do, some come out better or worse than expected, but I just love doing what I do, every photoshoot is an experience with a few people involved, usually with people I really like to work with, so most of my photos present me with nice memories.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was shot and how you edited it?
There really isn’t a big mystery in all that. There’s the idea for a photo, then you plan everything for the photoshoot: the hair, make up, model, production, location, then you position and direct the model accordingly with the idea, location and light you have available. Edition always goes through skin retouch and for last a little improvement on the contrast and adjusting the colours to my liking.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work?
I use Photoshop CS5 and there is no such thing as the camera doing all the work.
What’s your favourite photography accessory other than you camera?
A reflector is almost always needed.
Do you crop in camera or during post?
I never do anything in camera. If you only change whatever you want in post, you can always go back to it later, if you feel like it could be better if done differently.
How do you go about learning new techniques?
I still have a lot to learn, old and traditional techniques. But one’s got to always keep an eye on what’s going on in the trends. It’s important to keep on learning, but you can apply it to your photography or not, depending on your style or how you like the new techniques.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and where?
I’m always posting my photos on flickr, behance and wordpress.
oh, and Facebook as well https://www.facebook.com/anna.theodora.9
Do you ever get photographers block, and if so what do you do to get inspired?
I have only just started! haha It’s been three years only since I started to work as a photographer. I haven’t had time to get photographers block yet.
How much personal work do you shoot?
I am always shooting personal work. It’s important to keep the passion alive. When you shoot too much client work, it can go on a “do as you are told” loop and you can lose the sparkle. Client work can be fun too, if you are able to sell your idea, if they trust your vision.
Do you plan on purchasing any new gear? If so what are you eyeing off?
I still have lots of equipment to purchase. But I know I should get two more flash heads and modifiers.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Maybe take photography classes at a good school, it would have saved a lot of time. But I didn’t have money back then.
Which photographers inspire you and why?
There are so many! But actually you can be inspired even by beginners, just by looking at locations they have shot, I sometimes get ideas instantly.
If you weren’t a photographer what would you be?
Oh, it took me so long to accept myself as a photographer. When I started I knew I was just a clicker. I got a lot of criticism from “established photographers” in the beginning. Anyway, I can’t see myself as anything else, but I guess if I had to do anything else that I really love, it would be cooking. I love to cook.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
There are so many! Don’t lower your price just because you are a beginner. You can’t charge as much as a top of the industry photographer, but you have to keep in mind your costs and your bills. It does speak poorly of yourself if you are too cheap.
Respect your crew, the models, your clients. Don’t go walking around like you are the bomb, but don’t let them disrespect you either or suck you dry, as many will try. No one likes to work with arrogant people, full of themselves, irresponsible and rude. It’s always better to work around pleasant people, and that includes the team you will form.
Always always do your best, no matter how bored, frustrated or uninspired you are, you never know who might see your photos.
Photo Credits: Anna Theodora