Lisa Saad

Photographer Lisa Saad won the Australian Institute of Professional Photography award for best Professional Commercial Photographer of the Year with her awe inspiring photographs that look just like paintings. 


Q. Where were you born and raised? 

     A.  I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia

Q. Did you study photography at university or are you self taught? Do you think it’s

important for photographers to go to university and perfect their craft? 

     A.   In part self taught, but I studied photography at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Photography. University (School, TAFE) can only really teach you so much and because photography has an organic component I think it's important to keep self learning and discovering new techniques and styles.

Q. What made you decide you wanted to be a Commercial and Advertising photographer?  

      A. From early on I knew I was going to be a commercial and advertising photographer. The other genres did not appeal to me and I liked the idea of working on a brief and with other creatives to create something relevant at that particular time. 

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Q. Is your work pre conceptualised or is it on the spot? 

     A. Both. Some briefs require you to design and show the concept beforehand in a Treatment presentation so approvals and budgets can be made whilst other shoots are determined on the spot and moving quickly and efficiently is always a must as a professional photographer. Your basically someone who is a trouble shooter. All my personal work however, is pre conceptualised with every element and lighting design worked out prior to shooting and post production.

Q.  If it’s Pre-conceptualised, what’s your process on doing this?  

     A. The images in "The Anonymous Man" series always start with an in camera capture. The main structural elements are photographed and keep their integrity throughout the process. All images contain only photographs and no other elements such as the use of CAD is utilised. Once all elements have been sourced and photographed individually, I then use Adobe Photoshop to combine and composite the images.

Q.  What’s your go-to-gear? 

A. My go-to-gear is my two Nikon Cameras, D800 and D3 plus all my lenses; 80-200mm AF f2.8ED, 17- 35mm AF–S f2.8 D, 24-70mm f2.8 D-AFS, 105mm AF Macro f2.8D, 14-24mm AF-S f2.8ED, 50mm AF f1.8ED and 85mm AF f2.8ED. 

Q.  I see you won one of the 2015 AIPP award, what is it like receiving such a highly

regarded accolade? 

A. The 2015 AIPP Professional Commercial Photographer of the Year award was particular significant to me as it cemented all my efforts of the past couple of years. I had made some major business changes which effected the way I shoot, obtain business and even personally thought about myself and my photography. Winning the award was a big achievement and also quite humbling. I have also gone on recently to win the 2016 AIPP Victorian Commercial and Illustrative Photographer of the Year as well as the 2016 AIPP Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year.

Q.  Do you prefer to shoot in abundance or minimal? 

A. Those that know me know that I shoot in abundance. I have always believed that you need to shoot the most out of any subject and explore it in as many angles as possible but in saying that my style is very minimalist, clean and composed.

Q. The backgrounds in your photos are very prominent and almost a subject themselves. Do you do this purposely to create an environment for the photo?

A. Yes, the backgrounds are an integral part of the story in the images. The play of scale as well as the fleeting figure conjure up all sorts of feelings and emotions. Having the backgrounds weigh in as much as the figure is the tension that I am looking for.

Q. What would be your #1 tip for budding photographers trying to break into the already competitive industry? 

A. Be consistent and always have your best foot forward. At the end of the day you need to be a solution to a photographic problem with as much ease and grace as you can. There should never be an issue with the camera department on any shoot.

Q. What’s your process on editing your images?  

A. The process is all completed in Adobe Photoshop. I do not use any CAD or rendering based software. All images are built using images as layers.

Q. commercial - why did you start shooting it?  

A. I am always swept away by infrastructure and industry. I love man made objects as well as freeways, roads, car parks and anything that has been built. I enjoy the building industry and also working within the B2B world. I was never interested in working within the retail side of photography and prefer supplying corporates and advertising agencies.

Q. Do you like shooting on different formats such as 35mm film, Polaroid etc? 

A. Yes, I still have my Hasselblad 500cm 120mm medium format camera that I shoot on occasionally.

Q. What’s been your favourite project to work on and why?

A. So far "The Anonymous Man" series has been my favourite to work on. I have been constructing and conceptualising the images based on what feels right as opposed to what I think is right so pushing my creativity this way has been pleasantly surprising.

Q.  Any new gear you have that you have fallen in love with? 

A. I don't have one, but the Nikon D5 is on my list and I would love to have it in my kit.