Pulling off a professional fashion photoshoot on the streets of Paris is no easy feat for a photographer. You have to be able to marry the creative with commercial. You must adapt to changing surroundings at a moment's notice. And you need to get that perfect shot in a matter of seconds. There are no second tries. On shooting day it's all or nothing. These are just a few of the valued skills in a winning fashion photographer. Which is why we are so honored to be able to work with London's Louise Kragh on all of our photography for Les Sublimes. For her, these skills have become second nature. Here she shares with us more about her craft, her experiences and how she became a highly sought-after photographer.
How many years have you been working as a photographer now?
I have been working as a professional photographer for 5 years, and before that I was an apprentice, which was part of my education (in Denmark it takes 4 and a half years to become a professional photographer). I also worked for other photographers while working on my own project and clients. So I have been working with images for a long time and I love every day doing it.
How would you describe your photography style?
I like my pictures to be clean, edgy and sometimes a little dark. I like to keep it simple and let the light tell the story.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I have always been drawn to art, and for a long time I painted abstract pictures to channel my creativity, but I always had a little thought in the back of my mind saying that I wanted to work as a photographer. However, it took me some time to actually make the jump and change my major from Marketing to Photography. The journey so far has sometimes been hard but absolutely amazing and I have never regretted it and never looked back.
After taking the leap into the world of photography, what actually inspired me to take on Fashion Photography was a fashion editorial in Vogue shot by Nick Knight. It was a very simple story where the only twist was that is was shot on a wide lens and from a low angle which gave the model abnormally long legs. I still have the magazine and it was actually one of 5 magazines that I chose to take with me to London when I moved there in September 2015. It will always be very special to me :-)
You live in London but you are originally from Copenhagen. How have both cities influenced your work?
I think Denmark represents the clean, simple side to my images and London adds the edgy and contrasting side. For me it works. I love Copenhagen and it will always be with me in my soul, but London and New York are where I can really be free as a creative person and not care about what other people think.
What is your dream shoot location and why?
There are so many places I would want to go and shoot, if I could have a new country as my location for every 2-3 shoots I would be so happy. Traveling to amazing places and shooting fashion would be my ideal scenario. (hint hint Les Sublimes lets go)
At the moment I am very fascinated with Cambodia and it is on my travel list. I would love to combine that with work at some point, I just need to figure out how. Or Borneo, with orangutans in the background of the images, how amazing would that be? Just the model and the rainforest. I see something amazing coming out of that. I have always been fascinated with Montana just because of the cleanliness and the nature, but also how rough and wild it is. I grew up with a dad that is obsessed with John Wayne so it might have rubbed off on me a little. I would love to go and do either a campaign or a men’s story there.
Morocco is another place I just love. I have already been there 5 times, both for work and on holiday, and it just always makes me happy. I think I will always come back to Morocco. I love to travel, it is what gives me time to breathe and where I find some of my inspiration, but also where I let myself be open to new inspiration.
If you could shoot anyone, who would it be?
Again the list is endless... I love shooting people, figuring out their face and bringing out a person you don't really know, but every face tells a story and it is so fascinating.
Brett Anderson, because I have loved him for years. He defines the London vibe for me, and his face just draws me in. This would definitely be a top 3 shoot for me. I am very professional when it comes to shooting “famous” people but not sure I could get through this shoot without blushing a little :-)
Justin Bieber because the pictures (and his abs) would look amazing on my website, Pink because she kicks ass, and Ellen Degeneres because she is so funny and does so much good for people in need.
Who is the most exciting person you have ever shot?
I am not sure I have done this shoot myself yet :-) But as an assistant I have meet some funky people :-)
As people close to me will know, I am sometimes quite oblivious to who people actually are, I am more interested in the person and their story. Not that I cannot get starstruck, but it has not happened yet. Actually that is not true - I once assisted on a shoot in Denmark where we had to do pictures of a band that I loved when I was a teenager. I had such a teenage crush on one of the guys, but not having thought about them or him for years, I didn't see it as a problem. I was a little nervous before they came, but played it totally cool during the whole shoot and talked and joked with the band as if I didn't even know who they were (they are not really that famous anymore, except in Asia ;-) I credit myself as being very professional.
It was all good, until we had to say goodbye. I was helping carrying all of their clothes to the car, when my teenage crush comes and asks if he can take some of it for me and at the same we are kind of saying goodbye. So without thinking, I jump around his neck giving him a huge hug and smiling like a crazy teenager. Everything that I had been keeping back all day came out in one motion and I had no control. The guy was very surprised, and let’s just say the photographer was dying of laughter behind me.
Any crazy photoshoot stories you can share?
There are a few from my time as an assistant. I assisted a photographer in Copenhagen at one point and we were shooting a campaign for a Danish brand with a famous model from New York. The shoot was in an old factory in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, and on the shoot day we were all ready and waiting when the model comes into the room only wearing black trousers and a tuxedo jacket with nothing underneath and clearly just came from a night out on the town. The first thing he does is open a bottle of champagne he had brought from the mini-bar of his hotel, saying: "I need to keep this party going". Everybody just smiled. They didn't know what to say or do, because he was just there for one day and we needed the pictures done. I will say, it set precedence for the day and it only got wilder from then on.
His second comment to was: oh by the way, I only shower at home (NYC) and I have not been home for 10 days. Let’s just say the make-up artist doing his hair was not impressed. Furthermore, he had let some girls he met partying the night before paint with permanent marker on his body, it took some time getting him ready for the shoot. By the end of the day he was hammered, but he delivered and the pictures were amazing. But all day there was an elephant in the room that nobody talked about, because the client was there and nobody wanted to state the obvious, and nobody really knew how to stop it. Had he not kept drinking he might just have fallen asleep. It was a nightmare at the time but so funny thinking back on it now.
For more about Louise, visit her channels below.
In our next post, Louise will share more about what it takes to make it as a successful fashion photographer in a competitive market.
All you photography hopefuls, stay tuned!