Fashion with Christian Amman


Christian Ammann is a Swiss/Irish Fashion and beauty photographer. He works internationally for various clients such as Chanel and L’Oreal and has established a name for himself in the field of fashion, shooting for clients in both the editorial and advertising sector.

The vision of Christian is gained from his ever-evolving approach to fashion. His photographic style is elegant, timeless, the use of color and lighting make his work unique. He likes strong images that stand out and span fashion and art.

Elinchrom: What are your main influences in your work?

Christian: The essences of my images are based on light, location and the staging of my subject. I also get inspiration from the paintings of old masters. Nature also provides me with all the inspiration when it comes to lighting.

Tell us how you started with photography and especially what brought you to flash?

I did an apprenticeship in Zurich with a still life photographer. I learnt how important light was to bring these “still“ objects to life. Flash has the beauty and magic of freezing moved objects and the ability to enlighten large spaces. It also has a very crisp distinct character and has an endless array of shaping tools, which make it a very flexible, creative and versatile source.

“I use the ELC pro HD, they are the most reliable workhorses I have ever used!”

How did you come up with Elinchrom gear for your lighting?

I have been using Elinchrom as my brand of choice for many years now. The reasons are the following, very innovative product, Swiss quality, very lightweight, thoroughly thought true design/functionality and extremely reliable. There is no other product out there that offers these qualities and at the competitive pricing. I take my lights to all corners of the world on my assignments and can only do so because they are so lightweight.

What are your favorite Elinchrom products you work with?

I use the ELC pro HD 1000 and 500 sets. For me these are the best flash heads on the market. They are precise, easy to use, very lightweight, and have state of the art technology in them. They are the most reliable workhorses I have ever used. Also, the pricing of the units is very competitive and replacement of flash tubes accessories too.

The light shaping tools that I use range from softboxes with grids, Rotalux indirect and also a lot of mood lights using grid sets. I love the fact that all units are so easy to control, have amazing functions such as strobo mode and of course also the action freezing flash duration times.

You are known for your fashion photography projects, do you also work on other styles?

Well, I also do advertising photography where clients wish my lighting and directing style. This is very related to Beauty and Fashion and is a great way of using and adapting the skills I have attained. I used to do a great amount of portrait photography at the beginning of my career, however I have concentrated on the field of fashion and beauty in recent years. This is where my passion lies. Fashion photography is much more conceptual and directive. I have more control of the end-result as the subjects can be directed to create my vision. With portrait photography it is much more about integrating the person in front of you and showing a facet of their character. Personally for me I am set less boundaries in fashion photography that is why I choose it.

How is your implication in a photo-shooting? Could you describe your process from basic idea to production?

Usually I start my ideas based on an inspiration, which comes from a location or a lighting mood. I then look to see what fashion from the current season would work with it. Sometimes the process begins from the fashion design, for example in one season religious catholic elements were very present in fashion so I started thinking of all the ways to shoot this collection. From a modern church to derelict graveyard, which was too obvious, I then continued and ended up shooting in a marble quarry. There I found the needed elements, which were altar like, white immaculate and the location even had an atelier with religious statues.

“The FS30 can really add a distinct style to your images. This type of light is very unique, it is like strong sun light through a window.”

You recently did a shooting with the new Elinchrom Fresnel Spot, the FS30. What was the concept behind this shooting?

The FS30 Fresnel spot was fantastic to work with, a very high quality lens and again I managed to bring it to London without paying overweight due to its lightness. In the shoot we wanted to show a new twist on the old Hollywood Divas. A lot of images from that period were shot using Fresnel spots. The FS30 gives off a very clear contoured light whilst giving the skin a wonderful beautiful clean look.

What is the benefit of such a product in your work?

The FS30 is another great light source that can really add a distinct style to your images. It also gives a very sunlight like character to your shots. Great to add glamour and drama to an image. This type of light is very unique, it is like strong sun light through a window. It can let you create an atmosphere of daylight character wherever you needed it to. Due to it being so portable you will actually take it with you. All the other or older systems were so heavy that you only used them stationary. Creativity is when you choose what is best for the image.

What are your goals as a photographer in the future?

I am very happy with the way that my work is progressing. I want to further expand my skills and networks. I will continue to strive to get further with both my fashion and beauty photography. I will also be passing on some of my knowledge in workshops and at university courses.

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