Photographer Paulina Wawrzak: The Most Important Thing For Me Is Emotions.
“The most important thing for me is emotions.“
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what was your route to becoming a professional photographer? Hi! My name is Paulina and I am based in Cracow, Poland. Since early childhood, I’ve been interested in Arts and Photography. When I became a teenager, I had a few photo sessions done for me. About two years ago I got my first camera and since then I haven’t been able to put it away. I don’t think about myself as a professional but every day I try to learn more and it helps me to create a better photoshoot every time. It is my passion.
What do you love most about being a photographer? I love everything that relates to photography, but the thing that most impresses me is the fact that through the image we are able to stop the time and show the beauty which is hidden in every one of us. I also love to work with light, where different angles can give us a completely different perception of the same scene.
Do people act different around you since you have become a photographer? On each journey, during any meeting or on holiday, people who are around expect me to offer them free photo sessions. However, usually it’s time when I try to relax . What is more, I would not have enough time to post-process the photos afterwards. People do not understand how much time a photographer actually requires to invest into preparation, the sessions themselves and post-processing the images, which sometimes results in smaller or larger conflicts.
How would you describe yourself and your personality? How does your personality affect the way you take photos? I’m always smiling. A romantic with a positive attitude to the surrounding world , I’m gifted with an artistic soul. These features mean that my paintings are vibrant, full of color and emotion. I love the motives of flowers, animals, fairy tales so if I only have time to prepare my own projects, that’s what they are based on.
What are you thoughts about the fact that everyone can buy a digital camera and start shooting in a day? What are the ingredients for real success with photography? It is true that nowadays anyone can buy a camera and start shooting, but not everyone can be a photographer. I believe that you need a great sense of aesthetics and color selection, and in my opinion it is something you can’t learn, you need to be born with it. Certainly, to achieve a real success you will have to work very very hard. Good marketing, and a bit of luck will be useful as well.
What do you do to prepare for a shoot? Any little rituals for luck beforehand? I love to have everything prepared before the session: the place, the styling, and above all, my vision. I often look for inspirations on the Internet , which I can browse for hours, trying to picture in my mind exactly the effect that I would like to get. I try to visit the spot several times just before the session, to see it at different times of the day and see how the light changes there.
Paulina, do you remember your first paid photography gig? How did it go?! My first paid photography gig was done for a friend of my friend. I remember that until then I did free sessions for selected models. That time I was not really interested as I didn’t like the topic chosen by the girl so I suggested that she paid. In the end, she liked the shoots so much that she helped me gain quite a few new clients and I came to realize I am good enough to turn my hobby into a profession.
In your opinion, what makes the shoot successful? There are many factors influencing the reception of the shoot. To me, the most important ones being the ability to use the light and models capable of showing emotions. And certainly, the better prepared session – the better results (usually).
What is one last impression you want to leave in your photos? The most important thing for me is emotions. I would like my pictures to convey something not just to show a pretty face.
Does the concept come first and then you choose the perfect location, or do you find the location first and build the concept around it? There is no fixed rule. Some of the ideas have been in my head for a long time, others are born instantaneously at a sight of some unique place, still others when I hit an unusual styling.
What has been the best source of information along your photography journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc.)? I’ve learnt everything about photography myself, using the Internet and various textbooks. On-line worshops conducted by Peter Coulson that I had a chance to take part in one day, made the greatest impression on me. I have always regarded him an extraordinary artist and I have always admired his work
From your point of view, what are the challenges of doing a magazine editorial as opposed to doing a test shoot? To me a magazine editorial must be much better prepared and well thought-of in advance. You have to have an idea, a well chosen styling, and a lot depends on the accessories and the spot at your disposal. On the other hand, test sessions sometimes spontaneously go well, it all depends on what kind of model we are able to work with.
Tell us why is having makeup artist, stylist or other professional creatives essential to a photographer? Do you have a support staff and what areas do they handle? Professional makeup and styling, as well as hair-do have a huge impact on the final result of the picture! A carefully prepared model and place allows getting a very original approach. We can be taken to a completely different world. I work with several make-up artists , stylists and sometimes hairdressers – everything depends on the expected effect. From time to time I take pleasure in preparing the styling myself.
How important is Photoshop in your final images? And what do you think it delivers in the final image? Image post-processing plays a very important role in my work. I love pictures that are perfect, flawless models, light reflections and perfectly matched colors. Usually it is not possible without Photoshop. In my opinion, taking the photo means half of the work done , the other half is retouching.
Do you feel Photoshop has created a skewed perception of the ideal body and face image? Without a doubt! For a long time, the media have been popularizing the image of idealized appearance. I once heard a sentence perfectly reflecting the phenomenon: “even the models from the covers of newspapers do not look like models from the covers of newspapers.”
A common misconception about photographers is that we…? … That in order to perform extraordinary images we need extremely expensive equipment. The truth is, if we do have the skills, we are able to perform a sensational session using a completely unprofessional equipment.
Can you name a collection or single work that you have created that has resonated with you the most emotionally? What is your biggest success or thing you’re most proud of? The work that has resonated with me the most emotionally is the session in the field of lavender with two beautiful models, which I called Lavender Dreams. From the beginning to the end it was my own idea – both the design and the execution – and I ‘d been preparing everything for a few months! In the end, the results exceeded my expectations! What makes me extremely proud is the fact that this particular session was published on the cover of Sheeba Magazine. This was my dreams come true..!!
Any cool projects that you’re working on or have coming up that you don’t mind sharing with us? Yes, I’m planning on an amazing winter session, where the theme will be long, airy dresses, snow and horses. I hope it will come out sensational!
Can you name the most important lesson you have learned in running your photography business? The most important lesson I’ve learnt along my way is that you always have to sign a contract before you start shooting! People are sometimes dishonest, sometimes uninformed. There will be no misunderstanding if you have everything in black and white beforehand.
What are your other passions outside of photography? I love travelling, and before I took up photography, dancing was a great passion as well..
Please tell one surprising fact about yourself. What surprises people the most is my profession. Photography is not the main source of my income – I am a dentist.