Between competition, time management and passion
Pictures do have something MAGIC, especially pictures, which are showing people. They can stimulate emotions, for instance they can make you feel sad, thoughtful, happy or furious. It must be so much fun to see people slipping into the different kind of roles when they are in front of a camera and to create beautiful pictures and capture great moments. But did you think about it further, what it means to be a photographer? Today we provide unique insights into the daily life and thoughts of a portrait photographer.
Petra, would you be so kind and briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, my name is Petra Baumann and I am a portrait photographer. I have my own little business and I photograph people – in any form.
What fascinates you about the photography?
The collaboration with customers. Every person is different. So every shooting is different. You have to get involved with the people. Developing intimacy and trust, so that there is a good atmosphere, in which the customer dares to be open. Creating a beautiful picture, that lets the customers recognize themselves in it. I really love it….
Where do you get inspiration?
Of course I sometimes get some inspiration by photographic magazines. It is good to just try out, what is in my head and to simply change something. I give new avenues a go.
In which situations are you particularly creative?
When I feel comfortable.
How do you define Art – in general and in the field of portrait photography?
Art in general, for me is everything that catches eyes. It can be abstract, even dark and also bright. It is realized creativity.
Do you see yourself as an artist?
Do you feel as artistically free?
No, in the moment, where I begin to respond to customer wishes, I am not artistically free. I can control the direction, but for me the wishes of my customers are the most important.
Is it hard to find the balance between > realisation of own ideas and style < and > mention the customers´ wishes <?
It has happened that I rejected an order, because it was not my field of work. As a photographer it is important to find your own style and to follow this style consistently. Obviously that doesn´t mean that photographers cannot change his or her style. On the same time I find it difficult to just try hard realizing this style. For me the customer´s wishes are first priority. To a certain extent I customize my work, everything that is beyond my personal border or everything that is not in the field of my competence I have to reject.
How important is it to you to follow trends?
In my opinion, it is important to have a look at these trends to be updated and so on. But it is not necessary to follow (each) trend. For example a big hipe about pictures and scenery with a vintage look emerged. I didn´t like these pictures at all, up till now, except very few really good pictures. In general I don´t want to put any filter over all my pictures. This is my free decision. It is certainly a matter of taste. But I don´t follow a trend that is totally against my principles and against what I like.
Do you have an idea how trends come up?
I think very often trends emerge from advertising. Think about a scene from perfume advertising…. People are filmed at the beach… there is sand on the skin, naked skin….
Do you feel a high competitive pressure?
How do you differentiate yourself from other photographers?
Via my education and quality. Because nowadays everyone can call themselves a photographer, you see and hear more and more about not skilled “photographers”. Of course that doesn´t mean that everyone has to like my style or my pictures. Everyone has a different taste. The point is, that photography is also in part a trade.
What does quality means to you in the field of photography?
I really appreciate the time and the effort of the development of the pictures. That means that someone strives to create a good photo. When a photographer takes some time to let a good picture arise (with the help of different perspectives, image sections and light guidance), that’s good quality. A photographer should worry about details and the impact of the picture, try out different options, make preparations and good rework and create a comfortable atmosphere.
Within the photography, there have been a lot of changes in the course of time. How do you perceive and evaluate these developments?
There are positive but also negative developments. At times of analogue photography many things were different. You just had a few shots until the film was full and you need to wait several days to see the outcomes. Therefore you really had to think about it much more and photograph more conscious.
These days, on the basis of digital photography you can make masses of pictures in a very short time. Quantity is of course not the same as quality, but you are able to catch moments as well as motions and to photograph more lively. Furthermore you can be very creative on your PC. Regarding the technique, you have much more options and possibilities. But on the other side this leads to much time pressure for the photographers. After the shooting the customers want to have the pictures as soon as possible.
How do Smartphones affect the photography sector?
The pictures everyone makes with their smartphones have nothing to do with photography. These pictures are more like snaps.
Does Social Media influence the photography?
Yes, for sure. Social Media affects the perceptions and wishes of the people. Many customers come to me and show me pictures they found in social media or Internet. They say “that´s what I want” or “that´s what I like”.
What is your biggest, current challenge as a portrait photographer?
some impressions of the studio^^ – made by myself and with my smartphone – so not that of a good quality, as you can see 😉
What is the role of dreams and wishes in photography?
People act out dreams and play out fantasies with the aid of the photography. For example…Once I had a customer, who dressed as a woman at every shooting. He was so happy then. We really had a lot of fun.
Can you imagine that in the distant future robots will replace photographers?
Image- and face recognition already exist, but I doubt, if robots can realize creativity and I think there will always be humans who like to photograph and who want to experience this feeling.
What is your wish for you as a photographer and your wish for the photography in general?
I just wish to continue working in this way. And my wish for photography in general is, that more quality appears in the mass again.
Many thanks for taking the time to do this interview Petra, much appreciated!