Instagram is a wonderful marketing platform if used correctly. Going through my friend’s Instagram feed (she’s an incredible make-up artist), I somehow ended up noticing the work of Sven Kristian and naturally went over to check out his account. His work reminds me of the photos I saw paging through Vogue as a young girl and you’ll notice that his work reflects a warm tone which he says is just a phase: “These are decisions I make in post-production. I think 2019 will be a cold year”.
He worked in the hotel industry before taking the plunge into full-time photography in 2013 and has never looked back. Fast-forward a few years and he’s a fashion photographer doing shoots for brands like Truworths and Coca-Cola. Photography is a very competitive career so to ensure you benefit from an agency, Sven says that you should do research and approach an agency the resonates with your style. Fun fact: he has a musical background and his taste in music is huge and varied but you’ll currently find him listening to Wild Nothing, Francis and the Lights, Sufjan Stevens and Hammock, his go-to retouching music.
Tips to create a portfolio that stands out:
- Do your research! Find out why images are great, deconstruct them then take from that and apply that to your own work.
- Learn as much as you can about aesthetics.
- Less is more. Photographers often want to go into fashion photography guns ablazing with clothes, make-up, lighting and set dressing. Strip down and do less. Once you’ve taken some time to shoot beautiful images and are more confident, you can take more risks.
- Shoot as much as you can.
What is fashion photography and what gear would you recommend to aspiring fashion photographers?
“In a nutshell, fashion photography is a genre where fashion is the key element to the scene, to either sell the garment or to use fashion to communicate an artistic vision. Fashion is fast-paced with trends changing every season. Commercially, it’s a great industry to get into but difficult as it’s fiercely competitive from high fashion to retail fashion and social media. It is, however, not impossible if your head is in the game. I enjoy using fashion to create beauty and interest in my personal work and it allows you to work with all sorts of interesting subjects.
And when it comes to gear, it all starts with a good eye and any tool to capture your vision, even if it’s a smartphone! Good light and a great eye goes a VERY long way.
When it comes to creating a great fashion photograph the team you work with is key! It’s essential to have a great model that understands his or her body, how to use and move it. A stylist is paramount; they can make or break an image. Make-up and hair create context as does the styling, so a good make-up artist is important. Having a creative director on set is definitely handy as they hold the vision and communicate it to the rest of the team so that the vision is successfully realised. “I am fortunately in a place in my career which allows me to create imperfections with intent, but starting out, learn all the rules, understand them and how to apply them, then do what you want.”
“I shoot mostly with natural light, however, I do use studio flashes on location as well, but mostly hire them for commissions.” When it comes to cameras, lenses and accessories he uses the following: