” Feminine beauty creates my photographs. Every single woman is different and once they trust you and they open themselves in front of your camera, then you can see their inner self. “
Photographer Paulina Czochra
Paulina, could you tell us who you are and how did you get involved with photography? I am a girl behind the camera, which loves people and wants to empower all the women in the world!
We always have had many different cameras in our house, my mum was taking pictures of everything and everybody – especially me as a child! Over 12 years ago I have picked up one of the cameras and went for a walk… I did photograph everything what I have seen and this is how I fell in love with the world seeing through the lens. Two years later my amazing mum bought me my first Nikon camera for Christmas… That was it!
How has photography influenced you as a person and what do you love most about being a photographer? Photography and my love for it changed the way I work and look at life, goals and dreams. What I have learned is that you never work hard enough, so you can not work harder (or smarter!). That you must do the best you can to stay on the top and feel this spark inside you all the time. That being patient is the key to the success.
What I love the most? Meeting new people and listening to their stories is the best part of my job, I cannot see myself doing anything else.
What is ‘boudoir photography”? Why did you move specifically towards it and what do you find most appealing about it? For me Boudoir is a very intimate and unique photography style. It is about the connection with your model, about giving women confidence boost and let them be whoever they want to be. I never though about boudoir, till one day, beautiful model and now my very good friend, emailed me if I would like to do boudoir photoshoot for her, which will be submitted to the magazine. I was very nervous, and I was not sure if I am doing the right thing, but I have said ‘yes’. That was one of the best days in my life. Photoshoot was absolutely amazing, and we have created wonderful images – at the end we did not get publication only but also a cover! Once, I have published this photoshoot on my social media, I have received a lot of messages from private clients and models asking about exactly the same images. I did not choose boudoir, it was all the way around, boudoir chose me.
What has been your most successful moment to date in your career so far? My most successful moment… happened by the accident! I have submitted one of my images for a photography competition. I did not even remember that I did that, as I did not chase the results either. Two years later I have been invited for an interview, because this picture was a part of a few photography exhibitions across the Europe! This is how I found out about it, it was actually so funny!
What are your top 5 pieces of equipment you cannot live without? 50 mm lens (nifty fifty!), extra batteries and SD cards, my camera bag, light reflector and… Bluetooth speaker! We just love to listen to the music during the photoshoots!
You are going about conducting a photo shoot, could you take us through the typical planning process for your images? Probably you are not going to like my answer, but there is no typical planning process with me. Every photoshoot is different, it depends if I work with private clients or with models. Sometimes we do plan everything, every single detail, sometimes we agree for the location, date, time, theme and that is it! I used to plan photoshoot step by step, plan all the outfits, hair and make-up changes in the meantime… but we never really stick to the plan, so I have stopped doing that. Imagination takes the lead on the day.
When you take a photo, how do you live this moment? How do you feel? I can see the final picture in my head and sometimes all I want to do is just run to my desk, do post processing and show this beautiful picture to everybody! It is a very exciting and wonderful experience. You are so close with people, who are in front of your camera – it is unbelievable. I love my job!
Tell us why is having makeup artist, stylist or other professional creatives essential to a photographer, especially in boudoir? Do you have a support staff and what areas do they handle? Being professional means everything to me. Even if I would love to, I cannot do professional make-up and hair for a photoshoot, that is why having skilled people in your team is necessary. It also takes a lot of pressure from everybody, while model is getting ready, I can focus on making sure everything is ready for a photoshoot (equipment wise) and make delicious coffees in the meantime!
I work with many wonderful people, mainly with hair stylists, make-up artists and designers but I would like to expand my team in the future.
How do you manage to make your models feel comfortable in front of the camera? Music, drinks, laugh and very open and honest chat! Sometimes we can chat for hours before we take even one picture, but it works. You need to show them, that you are in a one team, that there will be no judgment and that they can trust you 100%.
What do you usually look for when selecting a model? Character. Weight, height, shape, hair color – all of that does not matter. I want to see that bit of spice in their eyes and then I know that we can create magic.
Paulina, what are some of the struggles you have faced as a boudoir photographer in a niche market? People classifying me as a ‘porn photographer’ and not taking me seriously, but I do work on educating people and showing them how this is done – and that boudoir is far away from porn! They need to see the value, without it no matter what photography do you do, people are not going to support you.
What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? Reaching that point when your model feels 100% comfortable with you and she just ‘let herself go’.
What does feminine beauty mean to you as a photographer? Feminine beauty creates my photographs. Every single woman is different and once they trust you and they open themselves in front of your camera, then you can see their inner self. Some of them are very sensual and classy, some can be very flirty or a bit kinky. This is feminine beauty.
What is the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you? I do not judge anybody, and this is my job to take the pressure off the team and the model. I want it to be fun, I want people to play with photography. As long as we are having fun and we are open for the new ideas – it is a win-win situation.
How do you feel about digital manipulation and post processing programs? What do you think it delivers in the final image? I use them by myself and for me post processing is a huge part of my job – I always see the final picture in my head, sometimes even before the picture was taken. Playing with colors and tones helps me to create exactly what I have seen through my imagination. Final touch is necessary in photography. Unfortunately nowadays people use post production to change absolutely everything. This is not right. Create an art, not a fake reality.
Any cool projects that you are working on or have coming up that you don’t mind sharing with us? I cannot tell you any details (I am sorry!), but you will see more of your favorite pin-up models very soon. We are working on something WOW and I know, we will smash it!
Would you have some tips for someone to market themselves better? Be out there, show everybody how it is done. I will say it once again – people need to see the value and photographer (or any business owner) is the only person who can show it to them. If you do everything the best you can, one day it will pay off.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you? Definitely my social media – Facebook and Instagram! I am also working on my blog, so keep your eyes peeled! Facebook @paulinaczochraphotography and Instagram @paulinaczochra.
Is there somebody you are fascinated about and you’d like to work with in the future? This list is endless, there is so many people I would like to work with! Other creatives inspire me and I love to watch other people’s art. No names attached!
How does the day of Paulina Czochra looks like? It depends from what is on my ‘To Do List’, but my days are full of coffee and in a rush, that is for sure! Post processing, looking for ideas for the future photoshoots, social media and business marketing is a big part of my day. Whenever I can, I do educate myself about photography itself or how to run your own business. I plan to start a blog and currently trying to figure it out how to fit this in my schedule too! It is hard to find a balance between your work and life when you are self-employed, but I always make sure I find some time for myself, my other passions (like pole dance or burlesque) and of course my better half, our two cats, my family and friends!
Also, I wake up every day no later than 8:00 o’clock – even when I have got a day off. There is always so much to do!
A common misconception about photographers is that we…? That we are just pressing a button. You would be surprised how many people still think this way!
Two things that bugs you about humans is that…? People with low self-esteem try to make themselves feel better by hurting other people around them… and that people are not grateful enough for what they have got. It is never enough, we always want more, but the truth is once you are grateful for what you have got, you will receive even more. Life will give you everything what you deserve to get.
Please tell one surprising fact about yourself. I cannot swim… Everybody seems to be surprised when they found out about it.
Thank you, Paulina.
Published in Sheeba Magazine, April 2019 Vol I: BUY NOW