Interview with Caitlin Bellah, a Fine Art Fashion Photographer.
At AGORA we are always on the look-out for promising photographers so we can share their story, their professional tips and artistry. If you enjoy the following interview you won’t want to miss our article on portrait photography with Luis Garvan, this article on #Sound Contest winner Michael Aboya or this article on dance photography with Dayron Vera.
Caitlin Bellah is a self-taught fine art fashion photographer and storyteller originally from San Francisco, CA, based in Europe. Her work is inspired by painters of the Renaissance and the romantic era. The ethereal beauty, subtle sensuality and vulnerability of her subjects create a nostalgic beauty in her pictures.
I met Caitlin in a small and quiet cafe in Barcelona. I was touched by the elegance and the level of maturity that Caitlin achieves in her work at such a young age. Lately she has moved from San Francisco to the Netherlands, Barcelona, Paris… looking for the best scenarios for her fantasy storytelling to come out of her lens.
Thank you for sharing your story with the AGORA community Caitlin! Tell us, when and how did you become interested in photography? And when you knew you wanted to be a fine art fashion photographer, more precisely?
As a child I was into drawing and painting and in high school I had an art teacher who told me I wasn’t very good at it, he handed me a stack of black & white photography magazines and told me: “You can do this”. Since then I had the support of my mother who gave me a point-and-shoot camera and encouraged me to begin taking photos. So, my first camera was an Olympus point-and-shoot and my first models were my friends, because there was a good connection – which is very important – and they trusted me, they allowed me to play with them, to make them wear crazy outfits and take them to abandoned buildings where we did the shoots.
“If you wish to make photos with a film mood, you should take your time to focus on the details: location, models, amazing wardrobe and stylists”.
What is your source of inspiration? How do you prepare your shoots?
To find the inspiration for my shoots, the first step is searching the internet for painters that move me (Pre-Raphaelites, Renaissance), as I come from a painting background that’s what I want to reflect on my work. Then look for the exact location that fits with the atmosphere of those paintings, spend time at the place, get familiar with it and visit it several times to find the exact spots to get the best angles. Go on a walk a find interesting places that look similar to what’s on your mind.
Models are an essential to your fine art fashion photography storytelling. They contribute to the sensual elegance and beauty of your images. How do you get in touch in them?
To find my models, I send messages to modeling agencies with the information I have about the shoot, mood boards, locations and they send me packages of models. I prefer to pick women models because I feel a connection with them, usually the stories I try to tell have something to do with myself. It’s very important to meet the models beforehand to get to know them and give them the opportunity to learn about the characters they are going to play. It is better to chat with them because sometimes it is not enough for the model just to be beautiful, she might not understand what’s going on during the shoot and it can be frustrating.
“I prefer to pick women models for fine art fashion photography because I feel a connection with them, usually the stories I try to tell have something to do with myself”.
How do you achieve the final pictorial look of your images?
Actually editing my fine art fashion photography has become one of my favorite parts of the entire process. I treat it like it was painting, to highlight that romantic and dreamy atmosphere in my photos, but not to make people look prettier.
Looking at your work, it seems that as a fine art fashion photographer you have a preference for outdoor shoots. Would you share some tips about this that could be useful for the AGORA images community of photographers?
To get the best results while using natural light, it is better to start when the light is best, at the beginning (blue hour) or at the end of the day (golden hour) when you can get a glorious golden light, and mostly avoid the hard lights and shadows of the midday. But if you get to the day of the shoot and there’s a little bit of rain, don’t be afraid of bad weather conditions, because sometimes the rain could be a great ally to get strong beautiful pictures, it could add amazing texture to your images.
Watch the Caitlin Bellah, Fine Art Fashion Photographer Interview
The ideas presented here are Caitlin’s point of view. We would love to know yours, so we can all share our unique point of view with the entire AGORA community. Remember that AGORA is built among everyone!
QUESTION FOR THE COMMUNITY:
Which theme do you enjoy most for your photo shoots: portrait, fashion, nature, architecture, street photography?
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