Outdoorphoto Blog » Wouda Interviews International Photographer Jana Cruder – Celebrity Portraits

Wouda Interviews International Photographer Jana Cruder – Celebrity Portraits


It was next to impossible to set up an interview with her since we live times zones away apart from each other. When it’s early here, it’s too late there and vica versa. So, we devised a plan. I emailed her all of the questions and she was kind enough to send me voice recordings with all her answers.

Portrait of Robbert Pattinson

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

This is Jana

Jana Cruder is a friendly, nature loving and talented photographer who shares her heart and soul with the world by means of photography. She describes her work as ‘hyper-real with a sense of soul’. Her energy seeps through it and evokes emotion in the viewer. “I love that what I see in my work can be so different to what other people see in my work.”

Portrait of Malin Akerman

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Discovering her love of people

Her first paid job was taking photos of her father’s construction site at the ripe age of 15 and strangely enough, discovered that she loves looking at someone through the lens, especially when there’s an interesting location included.

Portrait of Brooke Shields

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Strive to be unique in an otherwise generic world

Because of all of the different Instagram, Lightroom and Photoshop effects, she tends to feel that people’s work are all starting to look generic and she strives to be unique – let’s say, the rainbow between all the clouds.

With her background in film photography she tends to use a lot of ‘old school in-camera’ techniques, which she feels strongly influences her work and gives her that unique edge. You’ll always find her playing with bits and bobs in front of the lens and dares the photographers reading this, to go out and explore!

Portrait of Inara George

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

How to capture a genuine smile

A portrait photographer has to learn to be able to connect with anyone, at anytime and anywhere, at a moment’s notice (keeping in mind that the connection needs to be authentic!) And to get that genuine smile? Create a relaxed and comfortable environment, set up a moment for laughter to occur and make sure you’re ready to capture it. “Making your subject feel relaxed and comfortable is something that you learn over time.”

Portrait of Zooey Deschanel and Anna Faris

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Zooey Deschanel and Anna Faris

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

What to do with those nerves?

Looking through the celebrity portraits section of her website, I couldn’t help but wonder how she handles the nerves. Like a champ, she replied with, “A little bit of nervousness is good since it helps you to be prepared. Making sure everything is in order and double-checking everything!” Adding that the second she steps on set, something happens and all of that nervousness disappears. If you feel your client is at all nervous, her advice would be to be open up about it and ask what you can do to make them feel more comfortable.

Sometimes that might mean asking people to leave. When shooting a celebrity, there can easily be 15 people standing behind her, staring at the monitor. That can make both the photographer and the person in front of the lens nervous. So, she’s come to a point in her career that she just turns around and says, “Hey, can we get some privacy?”

Portrait of David Duchovny

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Amy Adams

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Shooting celebrity portraits

Jana compares shooting celebrities to opening up a can of worms, you never know what you’re going to get. You have to go into the shoot with a loose idea of what you’d like to accomplish, without getting attached to any of that. It’s a really delicate situation that needs to be handled differently each time.

She shares a few tips for doing a celebrity photo shoot, which I personally think is important for any shoot you do for a paying client:

  • Most importantly, have everything ready and tested before they walk on set. They shouldn’t have to wait for you to fiddle with the lights.
  • Be super calm
  • Stay confident and grounded
  • Remember to be flexible

From starting out using disposable cameras to living the life of a professional photographer, shooting celebrities like Brooke Shields, Robert Pattinson and Oscar winner Lupita Nyongo. Jana’s life just shows that by the simple and small actions, great things are brought to pass.

If you want to see more of Jana’s work or get some inspiration for your next fashion shoot you can follow her on any one of these social media platforms or go and have a look at her website:

Portrait of Zac Efron

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Lupita Nyongo

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Lizzy Caplan

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Birte Glang

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Kelly Rowland

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

Portrait of Fred Armisen

Photo Credit – Jana Cruder

About the Author:

Wouda McMicken spends her work days as part of the driven Outdoorphoto team. She enjoys photography, especially experimenting with her treasured Nikon Film camera. The privilege of doing interviews with Professional Photographers all over the world is what makes her get up in the mornings, excited for a new day’s work. She is a self-confessed klutz and can be easily bribed with a stylish pair of jeans or good food. Having the ‘need’ for her nails to be neatly painted at all times, fresh jam doughnuts and salted caramel ice cream is her kryptonite. She dreams of a future filled with sunny skies, palm trees and sandy beaches with her Ukulele and a Piña Colada close by.

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