Photographer Interview

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.

 

Matthew Vandeputte

Matthew Vandeputte, born in Belgium is considered one of Australia's leading hyperlapse photographers. Matthew currently resides in Sydney. 

 

Q. Did you study photography at university or are you self-taught?
 

A. I am completely self-taught. In film school we had an intro to photography, which was nothing more than talking about the basics. 
My photography became more serious when I started exploring time lapse two years later.
 

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

A. Depends on the project. I often go out to shoot just because I enjoy doing it. Other projects are more storyboarded (The Dish, for example). Depending on the time constraints of course. Most of the time I create the video in post, meaning I shoot as much as I can on the spot and figure out how I want to deliver it while editing. Just kinda pop into my head and then I write them down.I’ve got a lot of notepads with a lot of ideas scattered around. 
I draw inspiration from others too, however I hate totally copying a style or idea. When I even get faintly inspired by someone I make sure to let people know where that idea came from.

 

Q. What’s your go to gear? E.g. I see you use a Kessler crane a lot , and why? 
 

A. Kessler Crane is my preferred motion control gear for sure. It’s totally reliable and built like a tank. I can fit the moco head on my slider for three axis moves or chuck it on my tripod for a more simple pan and tilt.
As for cameras: I’m a Canon man! I’ve started out shooting Canon and feel very comfortable using their bodies and glass. Aside of the gear, my relationship with Canon Australia has grown over the years and I consider a lot of the people there as friends. It’d be hard to let them go.
 

Q. Who’s been your favourite person to work with and why?

A. I’ve been fortunate to have worked alongside some very inspirational people. Since my move to Australia one of the most important ones has been cinematographer Abraham Joffe. A passion for cinematic documentaries and a very helpful guy.
 

Q. Where do you prefer to shoot? Studio? On location? 
 

A. I don’t think I’ve ever shot in studio! Definitely on location, cityscape or landscape doesn’t matter, as long as there’s a few clouds around.
 

Q. Do you like shooting on different formats? 
 

A. I shoot full frame and full frame only. I’d probably explore medium format too.

 

Q. Do you shoot in abundance or do you really minimize your work?

A. I try to keep it to the ‘bangers’, although it’s important to have enough cutawayshots or b-roll. Over the years I’ve grown in that aspect, I used to shoot everything I could.
 

Q. How did you come across photographing with the canon collective?

A. After getting to know a few people at Canon the Collective asked me to host a few events. They’re all about providing people with great experiences and opportunities and I’m all for that!
 

Q. Your photos are very prominent in quality and clarity, how do you achieve this?

A. By shooting stuff that looks good in real life you have very little work in post!

 

Q. The colour in your photos are so vivid and spot on, how do you achieve this?

A. Same as above. I almost exclusively shoot around golden hour which enhances everything around us.
 

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

A. I edit my RAW files/sequences to my liking in Lightroom then use After Effects to create up to 8K video files. These get edited in FCPX or Premiere Pro.
 

Q. Why did you start shooting hyper lapse?

A. I saw ZweiZwei on Vimeo post a few shots and they blew my mind. The technique didn’t even have a name yet and he wasn’t giving away much info about how he did it. Me and a few others on the Timescapes forum exchanged info and tips and that’s how I came to shooting hyperlapses. A couple months later I got my first paid gig shooting Tomorrowland (a massive dance festival in Belgium) with Epic Cinema and it kept growing from there.
 

Q. Tips to others trying to get into hyper lapse?

A. Shoot shoot shoot. The only way to get better at it is to learn from your mistakes. Youtube and Google have all the tutorials but it’s all about getting the feel of it.
 

Q. What camera do you shoot with?

A. My main camera is the Canon 5DSR followed by two 5DMkIII’s. I’m waiting on news on new cameras to see whether I’ll invest in the 1DXMkII. I’m very intrigued by the low light performance and video on that unit!
 

Q. How did you come across “Bruce” your DJI Phantom?

A. Ever since the first few drone videos hit the internet I’ve wanted one. When the Phantom 3 came out and I found one secondhand but new for a decent price I couldn’t help myself. I wish I had made that jump sooner as I enjoy flying and shooting so much.
 

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

A. I recently bought a Ricoh Theta S 360 camera. Amazing little toy, keep an eye out on my youtube channel as I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on. The resolution isn’t mind boggling but that’ll improve in no time.