“I like unique faces, which not necessary are classical beauties. I love freckles, protruding ears, diastema and everything what makes face distinctive.”
Maria, can you tell me a bit about yourself, your journey as a photographer and what sparked your interest in photography? Well, I think the biggest inspiration and motivation to start was my cousin Asia, who is professional fashion photographer based in Manchester. We live far away from each other (I live in Warsaw, Poland), so I followed her steps on flickr and later on facebook and was in love in pictures she creates. It was 3-4 years ago and I had no idea about photography then at all so I started to read everything that I found on internet. I was spending all my free time reading and watching tutorials. Firstly I was doing some dreamy portraits of some friends and friend’s friends, then I started to collaborate with people that I meet on social media. We made some stylizations, make ups etc. But still it was more conceptual. I actually never thought I would go into fashion.
So how did you move specifically towards fashion photography? It happened naturally. As I was going deeper into the photography, I started to follow great photographers and makeup artists. I was feeding myself by great pictures and I just start to like fashion and beauty aesthetic.
How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from other photographers? I can’t say that I already have my own style. I am still trying many things and seeing what I like and what I don’t. I am on the beginning of my road so I guess it will take some time before I will clarify my own style.
Can you explain some of the feelings you are trying to achieve in your photographs? It depends what kind of photograph I am doing. Sometimes it is reverie, sometimes desire and sometimes I just want to capture nice frame. When I am doing portraits I always try to convince my model to forget about camera and try to capture the moment when she or he is not thinking about posing but being natural. It’s not easy but worth to try. In fashion and beauty it is quite different, the model is not the most important but still showing any emotions make it more realistic and interesting in reception.
The vibrancy and clarity in your work is something that immediately stands out. Can you share your secret with us? What is your post-processing workflow like? How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos? Retouching is unfortunately quite time consuming process. I am lucky to like it, but still, when there is a lot to do in post, it can be frustrating. Depends on what kind of photography it is, it can take from less than an hour to even few hours per picture when it comes to beauty retouch. I always shoot in RAW and open it in Camera Raw. Usually I correct only white balance there and if it’s necessary exposure. Then I am going to photoshop and do all the rest: fix skin issues, transform, dodge & burn and correct colors. And that’s it.
Your projects are a collaborative process. Tell us what is like to always be working with new stylists, models, and designers. How do you deal with, for example, egos on set or behind the scenes? Or do you prefer to work with your own time-tested team? I have to say that luckily I never met anyone tough to collaborate. I always try to relax the atmosphere by preparing coffee and asking people to tell their stories. If someone have big ego will definitely want to talk about himself or herself so it works.
I have few make up artists with whom I usually work but always searching people with new ideas and different styles. I think it is even more exciting to work with someone with fresh eyes and different taste than you used to work before. So I am not closing myself to people I already know and still searching for new ones.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh? I am trying to watch good, classic photographers but also follow the trends. Internet can be such a waste of time but it is also a bottomless well for inspirations.
What type of sessions do you look forward to the most and what type of session you most often do? Lately I made a few fashion and beauty editorials and as I want to refresh my portfolio I need to do few more. But I love to do lookbooks for fashion brands, small shops and designers
What project or session is held dearest to your heart and why? I think it is the one that I made last summer in New York. It was my first sessions that I may call as a “fashion”. I met there such a beautiful person and model Jess with whom I made those pictures. They might be not so great – we used her clothes only, she made makeup and hairs by herself and everything was so unprofessional but it gives me confidence and actually push me to start my journey with fashion.
Is there somebody you are fascinated about and you’d like to work with in the future? Why? There is a lot of people I admire, not only great photographers who I follow and who inspire me but also many stylists, makeup artists and designers. I even have my list with whom I would love to collaborate. It is because working with the best makes you better, you learn from them and from their experience which makes you grow.
Describe your day at a shoot, what happens and what is the trick to capturing a great shot? How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs? In my workflow capturing picture is the shortest and quickest step. Much longer takes preparation and post-processing. I used to not preparing for shoots at all but since I started to collaborate with more people I think it is necessary, it makes all process more easy and efficient. Usually stylizations and more or less makeup and hair ideas I want to be prepared before shooting. Set and light we create during shoot. Sometimes conception completely changes during the shoot. So even the best preparation doesn’t mean that final effect will look exactly how you want.
From your point of view what makes the shoot successful? I think it is when everyone is satisfied with the results. Not only the photographer but also others who worked on shoot, feeling that pictures show they work in the best way they could.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera? Lately I fall in love with colored gels so you can expect photos with colorful light soon.
What kind of models do you prefer to work with? Do you have any physical aesthetic preferences in the girls and boys you shoot? I like unique faces, which not necessary are classical beauties. I love freckles, protruding ears, diastema and everything what makes face distinctive.
In your own opinion what are the most difficult aspects of professional photography? Well, I am not a professional yet but I guess it is that pressure to not disappoint the trust that customer gives you when he decides to hire you to represent his brand. Also, competition. There are so many great photographers in industry that it is really hard to stand out.
The one piece of advice you would give a photographer to improve his or her craft? Believe in yourself and keep it trying. It is the only way to achieve anything.
For those that would like to consider working with you, what’s the best way to start?
What do you like most about being a photographer? I think it is the fact that you are quite independent. You can work from any place in the world and if you don’t want to do some job, you don’t have to.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working? Travelling. I wish I could travel more often as there is still so many places I want to visit.