Interview With Beauty Fashion Pinup Photographer Zairia
Enjoy this honest, personal Q&A with Belleville, Illinois based photographer Zairia. Female photographers have a very different style of doing these interviews, they are always refreshing and a nice read.
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: Generally I don’t like to talk about my personal life. I prefer to keep it separate from my business life. I love talking about my photos but I’d prefer to have others talk about them.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: Very short, unless something captures my attention or I’m behind the camera. Then I’m extremely focused. My house could burn down around me and unless the fire showed up in front of my lens, I wouldn’t know it.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: Over 4 years ago. I was told to get a hobby to occupy my free time. I was already playing with a photographer friend’s photos in photo shop, so it seemed to be a natural progression. When I picked up the camera, a whole new world opened up to me and I fell in love.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Photography is my passion and my joy. Remember what it was like when you were a kid Christmas Eve; The anticipation, the anxiety, the excitement? That is how I feel about a shoot. It’s how I feel when I’m putting entire concepts together, deciding on lighting, and contacting models and makeup artists. It’s how I feel when I’m shooting. The best shoots are when everything comes together. It like realizing that Santa actually brought you what you wanted for Christmas.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: It was a soft implied of my husband’s best friend’s wife. She looked beautiful.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: I’ve had no formal training but I’m uncomfortable using the phrase self taught because I’ve attended several workshops and have had a lot of outstanding mentors since I started.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: I’m still learning the technical terms and aspects. I’m more of a creative photographer. Meaning I can “See” how a photograph is lit, probably do it, but I don’t know the technical terms for the lighting setup.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: While I prefer to shoot directly out of camera and fill the frame, I don’t mind cropping when it’s needed or desired by a client.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I become more focused and confident. I can be a little bossy and demanding. I want things done in camera verses doing it in Photoshop. My house could burn down around me and unless the fire showed up in front of my lens, I wouldn’t know it.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: Extremely frustrated, sometimes angry and disappointed at myself.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: Always! Failure is a part of the learning process. It’s part of the business. You learn from it and move on.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: It was at a workshop. It was the first time using a wide angle lens. I told one of the mentors that I wanted to photograph the Harley Davidson guy. So I wasn’t shooting just to be shooting, he asked me what shots I wanted and helped me achieve my goal. I got all three shots I was striving for, ruined a t-shirt, had tar on my body, got my leg burned on the muffler of the bike, and felt like I had won the lottery. He made me think not only of the concept of the shoot, but the exact shot or shots I wanted to create and how I wanted them created. I now incorporate that lesson in almost all my shoots. It was a lesson learned and learned well.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: I’m normally up between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. I drink a gallon of coffee, have a shower and then start my day. I check my mail, browse the photography forums I’m on, and I print out the concept we are doing and release forms. The Makeup Artist and client arrive at 11:00. We figure out which concept will be done first. While the makeup artist is at work, I start setting up the basic lighting that will be used for the first concept. Depending on how involved the first look is we start shooting about 12:30 or 1:30.
After the first look is over, the client changes to the second then the third look. We are normally done by 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. I say my goodbyes, grab some dinner, fall asleep for a couple of hours, spend some time with my daughter, and then start editing. In between editing, I’ll browse the forums and answer e-mails. Sometimes I’ll make business calls or start putting a concept together for a future shoot. My husband normally calls around 9:00p.m. We discuss our day and then it’s back to editing until about midnight or one.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: I would have to say epilepsy and marketing. Due to epilepsy, I can’t drive nor attend certain events because of lighting. So I schedule appointments and on location shoots when my husband or an assistant is available to drive me. As for marketing, I’m still not sure how to market myself and my work. I’d like to have an agent who will do that for me.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Women, Beauty, Fashion, and Pinup.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Beauty, avant-garde fashion, and pinup.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: Who: Angelina Jolie for her beauty and use of facial expression, Sean Connery for his character lines and just to listen to him talk, the Queen of England for her stature, and Oprah as an actress and the characters she’s played. I see passion in each of these people whether it’s for their country or for what they do. They are Interesting.
A: What: Old Churches, I love the lines, character and architecture.
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Learn the basics first, take a class on marketing myself, and network, network, network!