Emily explores her creativity through constantly evolving and trying new things.
“In the beginning I really looked up to Annie Leibovitz and the Flickr photography community- especially the photographers doing composites and crazy, elaborate shoots. It really inspired me to try and involve that kind of creativity and narrative into my photoshoots.”
In the past few years I’ve toned down a lot of my more elaborate style choices to try and attract a certain kind of client, but then I saw myself going too far in the other direction and felt that I was losing some of the creativity that set my work apart. It has been a fun challenge to bring some of that creativity back and find a middle ground.
Like many photographers; Emily started her lighting journey with a speedlight. “I had no idea how to use it and my lighting looked horrible at first – but I kept with it and got triggers and receivers to shoot with that light off camera and it started getting better” but it was still difficult to achieve the look she wanted with the small, hard light source.
When Emily was about 17 years old she read somewhere that Annie Leibovitz uses large Elinchrom Rotalux modifiers. After saving up weekly money she made working at a tamale stand and went out and bought a 175cm (69″) Rotalux Octabox to start exploring a new way to light with strobes that resulted in a much softer and more flattering light.
“Going from an undiffused speedlight to a strobe with a 175cm (69″) Rotalux Octabox changed the game for me. I loved having the soft light and the wrap it created around my models was beautiful.”
Now she loves using multiple strobes with modifiers in her photoshoots – adding in more to highlight areas she want accentuated and using flags and tools to help define shadows is a process she learned to really enjoy.
“I love storytelling – and with fashion photography I love that I get to take clothes with a certain aesthetic that I find appealing, figure out the story I want to tell, and then complement the stories through lighting. It’s really fun for me to tell visual narratives through beautiful things.”
Someone recently told me their favorite image in my portfolio is this wild conceptual portrait I took when I was about 19. It’s very different from the work I create today, but I think there is a way to take in that playfulness and creativity and mix it in with the fashion work I want to be creating.
This is one of the reasons I’m really excited about diving into set design and bringing back that creativity I used to thrive on.
Coming up soon I have a project in collaboration with Elinchrom where I have a challenge to get out of my comfort zone and take a risk – and for me that’s set design. It’s something I don’t have experience with because I haven’t had the crew, budget, space, or connections to make it possible.
So for the first time these restrictions are taken away and I’m thrilled to add to the narrative of the photoshoot with the set, clothing, and lighting I’m creating.
It’s also really fun to look at color and the aesthetic of the props and clothing and imagine how I can complement that with the lighting to tell story.
When asked about her favorite lighting setups Emily explains usually she uses 3 Rotalux Octaboxes varied in size but for her new project she is excited to try to light her set using 5 lights to create a layered and more complex lighting diagram.
Her favorite modifiers are the Rotalux Octabox 175cm (69″) and the Indirect Litemotiv Octabox 190cm (7″).
We’re looking forward to seeing what she creates.
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