Are you ready to be blown away? Seriously, after reading this week’s Featured Photographer interview, you need to visit Alexandra Sophie’s site. I promise you will get lost in her art. Alexandra Sophie is an incredible fashion & portrait photographer – who recently moved to the most beautiful place on earth… Fiji. Could you imagine having her shoot your wedding there?!
Given all the hard work and hours involved in the photography business would you choose this line of work again?
I don’t see my work or myself like a business. Earning money and making a living from my passion is a bonus, and it have never been my goal. In this philosophy and while photography certainly keeps me busier than any conventional job would do, I’m very happy and always want and need more work! Sometimes though, it may be hard to find a balance between family life and work, thankfully my fiance is very dedicated to our family and gives me all the support I need.
Lessons learned from your years of experience, what mistakes have you made that you would never repeat?
It’s not really a “mistake”, however when I was younger and especially when I was not a mother yet, I was certainly not as busy as now but I felt like I was too busy and didn’t take enough time to work enough neither answer every e-mail. Now that I am a lot more busy with my personal life and while I work a lot more professionally too, I do my best to answer absolutely everyone. It’s very hard, but in general, I find that more I accept work, more I get new work. It’s truly rewarding and humbling, as all the work I do and accept is not necessary what I always dream to shoot or do. Unless a very special reason, work should never be rejected since it’s like sending a big note to the universe saying you don’t want more of it.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?
Paper work? It’s what connect the dream to reality, however it’s never very fun.
Has your contract had to change over the years as you have learned of sticky situations with a client?
My main activity is fashion, art and illustration photography. Each contract is very different and rarely made by myself.
What types of shoots have you vowed you would never do again?
After shooting my first wedding, many many years ago, I vowed I would never, ever want to hear the word “wedding” again. I don’t know how it came to my mind again, but I decided to give it another try recently as I moved to Fiji, and I had a completely different and positive experience. I am now developing this activity and loving it!
Do you have an absolute favorite photo you have taken that you feel you knocked the socks off of? If so, please provide and describe why it moves you.
I took this photo when I was 17, it was my first time shooting with a team with a make up artist, a hair stylist and an experienced model. It’s still by far one of my favorite picture.
What do you do to make sure people identify you with your images, and I don’t mean watermarking, I mean putting your own personality to your photographs? Is it editing, shooting style, sass or other?
When I started with photography, one of the first goal I had was to find my style. I was impatient and thought it’s me who would choose and decide it. I was watching nice photos and would think my style would be similar to this. Finally, after many months and putting all my soul into my photographs, my style came by itself and it was very, very far away from what I imagined it would be! I can’t say if the difference comes during shooting or editing, but I would say it’s a whole process, even if I don’t realize it. I exchanged my camera and lens with my own settings several times with some other photographers and what they came up with, on a same scene, was always very different. We could already recognize each photographer’s style.
What is a real day like in the world of you? Be honest, are you in jammies til 2pm like me?
First thing I do after waking up is checking my e-mails. After that, it really depends from what news or not came in my inbox or if something was planned on my schedule. I may already answer a few important e-mails and go out for a photoshoot if planned. If nothing was planned outside, I will spend most of the day editing pictures, answering e-mails, planning and working on different photography and art projects, translating documents and spending time with my son and fiance. Unfortunately, no jammies involved!
What is the number one piece of advice that you would give to someone just starting out?
Don’t adapt your style to your clients. They came to you because they like your particular style and they expect to see it in the photos. And work hard for your projects and to defend what you believe. When you think you are working hard, work harder.
What changes have you had to make over the years to stay at the top end of the industry?
As cheesy as it may sound, I would say that you need to make sure you stay yourself and do what pleases you, not conforming your work to other’s expectations. So… evolve if you feel like you need to, follow your instinct but never force it.
Would you change your style if given the opportunity or do you feel boxed in to what you have always done?
Last year, I felt stuck in my style which was very soft, sweet and innocent. I could not recognized myself in it anymore, but as my audience grew I knew my followers expected something precise from me. Thinking that way, I could never have evolved, and I’m glad I decided to take the risk and share very different pictures. I guess most people still identify my work from these innocent and sweet photos, and that is okay. I still like them, they are a part of me as I shot them with all my heart when I was younger. However, I feel more inspired to create stronger images now, with deeper meanings, often in relation to identity: human kind, human kind and its environment, sexuality, age, feminism… For some strange reason, it often leads me to take photos related to water.