Photographer Timea Ruman-Roka: “If there’s harmony, then the set turns out great.”
“If there’s harmony, then the set turns out great.”
To begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what first made you interested in being a Photographer? The bloom of the art of my hometown gave me the passion for photography. I was born in Budapest, Hungary and when I was a child, I used to look all the fashion magazines. I really like the models and the beautiful dresses they wore. As a consequence, after the high school in my age 18, I decided to learn and then I attended and graduated in the Official Photography School in Budapest. After this, I had the certificate for joining a Film and Photography Lighting Master Course at the Tripont Light Academy in Budapest.
What do you love the most about your profession? I love all of the workflows from the mood board making to the post-production, but maybe I love the most the day of the shoot, when all of the team are working together to get the best result and to call alive the image that we had in our mind at the beginning.
A common misconception about photographers is that we…? That for us to make an image costs only a couple of clicks with our cameras and there is no fees to pay because nowadays everything is digital (laughing).
How important is it to be knowledgeable about fashion and the latest trends to be successful as a fashion photographer? It’s important, but I think it’s even more important to have a huge passion about fashion and to be up to date with all of the actual and upcoming trends and styles well.
From your point of view, what are the most difficult aspects of professional fashion photography? I think the hardest part is growing and emerging, as in all kind of professions, it’s hard to break trough. For sure you need to learn a lot and be very good in the technical part, but you need to be courageous and a bit lucky too to get in the inner circle and to get the bigger jobs.
What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? The good teamwork is really important during any shooting. If there’s harmony, then the set turns out great. Of course, the success of the shoot depends a lot on the model too. If he or she is a professional one and/or takes part of a model agency, then it gives some kind of guarantee, for example he/she arrives in time on the set, already knows the poses and understands the concept, so it’s more easy to work with.
Fashion can be a somewhat unforgiving industry with allot of egos, how do you deal with it on set or behind the scenes? For me, it is quite easy to get on well with almost of all kind of personalities. But for sure, you will have more success in this industry, if you are open minded and blessed with kind personality. Sometimes, you just need to be a bit emphatic and see trough the situation, so everything going on the best way.
Could you take us through the typical planning process for your images? Is there something you always ask yourself/think just before you press the shutter button? First of all, I always build a mood-board (if it’s a personal project, than we make it together with the team). I make some research of the style, the colors, the location and even of the hairstyle and makeup for the project. After this, we discuss everything with the team and we are searching for the model. When we have the model then the stylist starts to create the outfits and contact some designers and brands. So on the day of the shooting everything is ready and there’s only need to take care about the lighting setup in the studio or on the location to begin to shoot. During the set, I’m always giving some instructions for the model and I’m trying to do my best.
Can you please explain some of the feelings you are trying to achieve in your photographs? It could be happy and colorful or dark and melancholic, in every case, for me a personal project means that the idea of the makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist and the photographer meets together. To select the mood, I often take a look on the actual magazine submissions, so it’s often depends on the theme request of the magazine, where we would like to publish our editorial.
Timea, what is the key to getting the best out of someone? I think it is important to know the person, also if only a bit, but trying to come up with some short conversation with him or her before the shooting. It often helps to get in symphony and the final result will be much better. Of course behind the scenes there is always a good and professional teamwork, which is the key of the high quality work.
How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge? I never stop looking for new inspirations by the top fashion magazines, designers and of course I’m inspired by the greatest fashion photographer’s work like Helmut Newton, Mario Testino or Annie Leibovitz, Ellen Von Unwerth or Miles Aldridge, just a few ones of my favorites.
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? Without a group of professionals there is no professional result on a fashion or beauty photoshoot. Yes, I have a great team formed by a makeup artist and a hair stylist, with whom I work continuously but I’m open minded to collaborate with other professionals as well. I think it’s always good to know new creatives from the industry and to expand my portfolio with different kinds of works.
What would be your tips/advice to models looking to expand their portfolio? To shoot with more (good) photographers, to create a strong portfolio with different styles of images and possibly with some advertise references in it.
How do you feel about digital manipulation and post processing programs? Are they important in your photography? Is it fair to alter reality by adjusting images in post-production? What do you think it delivers in the final image? Of course like most of the photographers, I’m using Photoshop and Lightroom to develop my images. I’m using Lightroom for the editing process but for the retouching I prefer Photoshop. The post-production takes part of my artwork, because I think that completes the whole image process. For a fashion, and upon all on a beauty shoot, there is essential to correct the small imperfections of the skin or of the makeup, to bring it all on a higher level. In every case I think that less is more, important to stay true of the original image as more as possible, always with a good sense.
How do you choose which images you provide to your clients? In your opinion, what makes the good picture to stand out from the average? First of all, I make a kind of selection of the best images of the set and I put them into a new folder. If there are two or more similar photos, then I often compare them next to each other, and I look of the details. For example, the pose, the lighting, the expression of the model etc. etc. When I made my choice, I make a final selection to edit and retouch, so I go into the post-production.
What are your thoughts around social media? What role does it play in your photography business? I think that nowadays for an artist it’s very important the online presentation. There are specific pages too to share our work and to receive some useful feedbacks. Sometimes people are more interested about the backstage, they are more curious to see how is the life behind the scene.
Any words of wisdom for photography enthusiasts at the beginning of their journey? My humility doesn’t really embrace giving advices, but I feel that everyone who join the world of the fashion photography, has to look as many images as he can, study lighting, poses and he has to find a certain symphony with the team and models with whom he works. Who wants to try this kind of photography, needs to know that he has to work 24/7 and he has to be updated on everything, besides the sacrifices he needs to make.
What is going through your mind when you are on set behind the camera? When I’m on the set, I need to have control of all of the technical things: the lighting setup, the camera details etc., and l need to take care of poses of the model, the hair, the makeup and the dress too. In the moment of the exposure all needs to be perfect. I’m a bit perfectionist in general, I’m spending a lot of time on all of the processing things, but after this time usually I can save on the editing.
One thing that bugs you about humans is that…? I can’t stand jealous people who speak behind your back, just makes me nervous. Maybe I am a dreamer, but I still believe in a world of humility.
What superpower you wish you had and why? I wish I could stop the time, because then I would not be late anymore (laughing).
Please tell one surprising fact about yourself. I needed to skip my job for a while, because last year I became a mom, I have a little girl.