Interview With Photographer Judith Bender – Jura

Maybe the business is harder for a female photographer but on the end of the day the quality will win, not the gender.”

2016 #16 April VOL I Bender Jura webcutJudith, can you give us a little intro as to who you are and how did your interest in photography develop? Hi, I am an Austrian Fashion and Beauty photographer. Based in Lower Austria near Linz. To describe my style I think it is best described as a mixture between fashion/beauty and art.

In addition to my Job as Photographer, I also have a job as Geotechnician and I am a mother of two little boys.

I started photography about 5 years ago. Before that I was working as nude and sports model, this is how my love for photography was awakened.

What inspired you to get in to fashion photography?  What fascinates you about fashion photography most? The fashion beauty photography gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of people and to be creative. In fashion photography everything is possible and allowed. There are so many ways to put fashion in scene. It’s fascinating! I love it!

What is it like being a female photographer in field dominated by men? I think a female photographer has different feeling for the picture than a male photographer. The pictures are also more sensitive, that means not soft but with more depth. And a female photographer looks at the sexiness of a model in other way. The model is never a sexual object like a „bunny“ rather than a strong person who knows about her sexiness on a self-conscious way.

Maybe the business is harder for a female photographer but on the end of the day the quality will win, not the gender.

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Do you remember your first paid photography gig? How did it go? My first pay-job was for an Austrian Fashion magazine. It was very commercial and at the beginning I was very nervous and it was difficult for me to give the decision about cut and styling to the editor. It was my work but in some kind it wasn’t really my style.

What gives you ideas and what inspires you to create your beautiful images? The source of my inspiration is diverse. There are other photographers who inspire me, art pictures, movies, music videos. I think the best inspiration is to work with a team where all the people are involved in the creative way. I think the result of such a teamwork is always the best.

2016 #16 April VOL I Bender Jura3webWhat are you looking for in a fashion model? Do you have any physical aesthetic preferences in the models you shoot? A fashion model should have something special. It must not be „perfect“ but perfect for the idea. For me a fashion model should have the right body proportions. I love long legs and a rangy body. I love short hairs also than long hairs. My face preferences are full lips, big eyes, distinctive facial features.

What is your beauty philosophy? How would you define word “beauty”? Beauty is a very individual thing and there a so many absolutely beautiful models but they really have no attitude. And on the other side there are models who are not beauties in traditional sense, but they have an aura, a camera presence, an attitude that you where flashed.

In your opinion what does it take to capture great portrait? What is the key to getting the best out of someone? What do you think makes the good picture stand out from the average? I think the best portraits and the best pictures have a little bit coincidence. They are not 100% predictable. In think you can see it in the eyes of the model if a picture is true or not true. In my shootings I want the model to move, to change the posing and the expression without exact instruction. The credibility and tension of a picture comes out of the dynamic and spontaneity from that what happens in front of the camera.

2016 #16 April VOL I Bender Jura7 cutYou work with new models every day, new make up artists and hair stylists, how do you make them work together as a team? What are the biggest challenges of working in fashion photography? I think it is easier when all the people on the set know the plan, the idea and knows what should happen. If it is possible I introduce the team before the shooting. I give them mood boards and a description what we will do, so that everybody knows the way and the goal.

Sometimes it is harder to work together if someone speaks other „creative“ language. And sometimes – the best time – you don’t need to talk and explain a lot because the team has the same intention and feeling.  

Can you please share your strangest work story? My strangest work story? I think the most terrible situation was during a fashion shoot for an Austrian magazine on board of ship. There comes a gust of wind and one of my flashes was blown and fell into the blue blue Danube River.

What is your goal from the beginning to the end of the shoot on set? What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? I think a successful shoot is when the team makes a circle, when there is a harmony and a common way and a common goal. I think you can see it in the finale pictures if there was a synergy between the persons on the set or not. The goal is perfect and great pictures, but the way to it and the shooting time is also important.

2016 #16 April VOL I Bender Jura7 cutjjHow long does a shoot day typically last and what is the preparation like? A shooting day typically lasts about 6-8, sometimes 10 hours depending on where we do it (in studio or on location) and how extravagant the style is. The preparation time also depends on where we do it and what we de. Sometimes it isn’t so easy to check the perfect location, the right outfits and also the right model.

Where do you like shooting most? Is there anywhere in the world you are fascinated about and you’d like to become a location for a shoot? I love to shoot in studio and on location. On location you have to be more spontaneous and everything could not be so precisely scheduled. It is more exciting. There are so many interesting and fascinating locations all over the world. You could do great pictures everywhere.

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You bring a very high production value to your work. What is your retouching/production philosophy? How important is Photoshop in your final images? Postproduction is a very very time-consuming procedure. I think you spend a fifth of production time for shooting but 4/5 for postproduction.

Some pictures don’t need a lot of Photoshop, but others need so much time for retouching. I think the picture should be done in the camera as final as possible, but Photoshop gives the picture the final cut, the perfection. It is fascinating what you can do in postprocessing and how many ways are to make a picture look different by using different retouching technics.

How do you choose which images you ultimately provide to your clients? I think my picture choice is made by my stomach. 🙂 I see the picture and I know this is the right, this is the one!

What is your favorite must have piece of kit other than a camera? My favorite must have is my 85mm lense and my beauty dish with comb.

2016 #16 April VOL I Bender Jura4web cutWho or what was your biggest influence in photography and why? My biggest influence in photography are those photographers who are extremely creative and do a lo of different styles and forms.t Photographer like Paolo Roversi and Jarek Kubicki make such great art. I love them.

What is your usual advice to those looking for advice from recognized photographers? Play with the photography. There is no limit in possibilities and creativity as long as you set yourself no limit.

What role does social media play in your photography business? It plays a very important role. It gives me the possibility to show other people what I am doing, to get in contact with a lot of people in this business, to promote myself.

Can you tell us where readers can find more examples of your work?




What are your future ambitions? I think it is the same as a for many other fashion photographers – to be published in big magazines like Vogue and to earn enough money for my work. And sure to have the possibility to realize creative projects.

What do you love to do when you are not working? I love to spend time with my kids and my family, to travel and to be creative in other ways.

Please share one surprising fact about you. I am an avowed chaotic :-))

Thank you, Judith.

Published 2016 April Vol I: BUY NOW

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