LONDON – As a little girl I always admired the photography my dad (a professional photographer himself) was showing me: high-gloss magazines, incredibly tall and eccentric models and breathtaking gowns. It all seemed like a distant dream of a world I didn’t think I would ever come so close to experiencing. Coming from a small countryside town in Germany my understanding of fashion was somewhat different, but a fascination that I Ionged to explore. I remember it like yesterday when I held my first ever VOGUE in my hands.. 10 years ago. It was my 14th birthday and it was my only birthday wish.. I kept my first ever VOGUE until now and every now and then I have a look at it again to reminisce in my dreams.
I started getting into photography and shooting portraits but it soon drew me into the magic of the infinite possibilities of the big city. When I first came to London I thought the word ‘fashion blogger’ was a new vocabulary I had to learn and I was somewhat overwhelmed with all the talent, success but also struggle in the industry around me. London is an incredible vibrant and inspiring city and I spent a long time wandering around the city soaking up everything from culture and architecture to fashion. I discovered a whole new world of creativity and especially freedom of expression. But only last year I really felt the creative influence and demand develop into something that I can work and express myself with. And it did take time… So I can only say to all at the beginning of their career and creative self-finding process: Don’t rush it, you will feel when you’re ready for it. I read this great quote the other day: “Don’t ever give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to achieve, as time will pass anyways.”
So last year I started collaborating with fashion bloggers in London to practise my photography skills and at the same time provide the bloggers with professional photographs for their blogs. The creative industry in London is amazing like that, the word ‘collaboration’ is probably the most important one when you start. There are so many creative people who need a little support, just like I did at the time and still do. I enjoyed shooting the bloggers as they are the stylist, model and makeup artist at the same time, most of the girls knew exactly what to wear and how they wanted to look like. I then started to get brands involved as well which again amazed me with how many incredibly talented people there are that are all looking for their break in the industry.
I was always more comfortable behind the camera, and I never fitted in back home with my style and fashion sense. But what London and the work with all these other creatives has taught me is: be yourself and be proud of it. I suddenly felt that people on social media not only want to see what I was shooting but also who I am, what I am wearing and what inspires me. There will always be critics, especially when you can hide under the mask of online profiles, but the overwhelming motivation and positive response to showing off a little bit of yourself is a wonderful feeling. Surround yourself with positive people who support you, love you for what you do but also give you honest critique you can grown from. And you might not live in a big city and feel that you can’t really connect with the people around you. But nowadays the possibilities and freedom of expression that social media give you are endless.
When it comes to the social media sphere I can see the photography industry changing rapidly with the rise of budget DSLRs and instagram. Nowadays the fact that we can share our images instantly to a global audience is putting a focus on photography skills. A good eye for composition and creativity is getting more and more important. The creative talent overflow on social media can be motivating and frustrating at the same time for me… It motivates me to try new things and always shoot more and better, but it is frustrating to not always get the desired response or worse the comparison with other creatives who have many more followers. It seems if you want to be a successful blogger nowadays you need a constant companion on your side who can take high quality fashion images and as mentioned an eye for composition and details yourself. That’s where I found a niche for myself with shooting the fashion stories for the bloggers.
My biggest advice is to watch the trends on instagram and try to be part of it – the black and white simplicity influenced by the Scandinavian bloggers, the boho chic of coachella and australian summer… the creative inspiration is endless and it will help you become a better visual storyteller yourself.
Ella Hansmann – Ella H. Photography
ELLA’S FASHION PICKS