Photography News Issue 53

Photography News | Issue 53 |

23 Interview

Are you nervous before a shoot or is it an adrenaline rush? Yes, I do actually get very nervous. Despite my experience and success, I still get moments of self-doubt. Many questions go through my head, such as, ‘Am I the right photographer for them?’ or, ‘AmI able to capturewhat they expect me to capture?’. And another common one is, ‘Are we going to click?’. But then, after my clients come through the door, all that anxiety disappears. Once I am in the working zone, I change. I am focused and just get on with the job. Obviously without being too specific, have you ever thought to yourself, ‘I’m going to have to work extra hard today’? What has been your biggest challenge in your career so far? The biggest challenge so far was applying for a business grant. I was at the beginning of my journey – October 2014. I went to the bank to open my business account after earning my first £50 from portraiture. The EU had given Corby town (my home town) money to help small businesses to grow and they were allocating business grants. I decided to apply for one, even though it was the final week to get an application in. I had to write a business plan and include cash flow projections for two years. I had no idea how to do it. But, like everything, once I set my mind to it, I just did it. I watched thousands of tutorials about how to write a business plan and in the end, I think I managed towrite about 15 A4 pages. Then I attended a meeting with five people representing the Corby Town and EU Business Grants. They asked me loads of questions – it was kind of like Dragons’ Den . Because I’mPolish, it was evenmore difficult for me – I was born in a small seaside town in north-west Poland in 1983 and moved to the UK in 2006 with my husband and children. But in the end, I was successful. I received my business grant and in January 2015 I was able to purchase my first full-frame camera and 70- 200mm f/2.8 lens, and that really improvedmy photography. Can you briefly outline what camera and lighting equipment you use please? At the moment, I use a Sony a7R II camera with 35mm Sony lens and Nikon D850 with Nikkor 105mm lens. In terms of lighting, I use either natural light or an Octa 120cm softbox. Travelling outside theUK to teachphotography during my workshops taught me that you can achieve the same effect with any equipment. You shoot with natural and artificial light. Do you decide when you see the subjects, or

the timing of the shooting session? Or is it just how you feel on the day? During each session I use both lighting types. It is a part of my workflow. If I go outside, I use only natural light. Are you one to move the lights around during a shoot or do you keep to what you know? I stick to what I know. I have got a very specific workflow and I try to be very organised. My lighting is actually very simple, which I think is the best way and I love playing with light and shadows. I don’t need to move too much during a session. How much post-processing do you apply and is this something you do yourself? I always do my image retouching myself. I love editing. It makes me feel like a painter. Music is a great influence on me, and I love listening to music as I edit my photography. In terms of time, it all depends on the photograph. Sometimes it can take just five minutes and sometimes it can take up to two

and Overall Winner of the Print Competition 2018. I was also told that I was the first woman in five years to win the Photographer of the Year title. I think the most important feeling for me is that I inspire others. And not only in the fine art sense, but by working hard and pursuing my dreams. I am showing other woman (not only in the photography industry) that despite having a young family and being a mum, it’s possible to follow your dreams and not feel guilty about it. At the end of the day, your kids are happiest when they see their parents happy. And my photography certainly makes me happy and therefore a better mother. So, into the fourth year of your photographic journey, what are your key aims for this coming year? Simple. I want to establish my portrait photography business and open a new photography studio. And I alsowant to domore outdoor photography. What is your ultimate photographic ambition? The ultimate dream would be to create an exhibition showing my work – the work that truly represents who I am as an artist. You’re in a competitive business, but do you have any advice for someone keen to become a professional photographer? Be prepared towork reallyhard. Followthe best in the industry and observe what they do. Find your own unique style – we are all different – and spend time working out who is your ideal client. Create work that appeals to them, but most importantly, just be yourself.

Images Paulina's work features natural and flash lighting in her workflow, and mostly keeps it simple – but she loves playing with highlights and shadows. You won the Overall Photographer of the Year title in this year’s SWPP Awards, and you are the only photographer in the Society’s history to have won that title twice in one night. How does that make you feel? Very proud! Honoured, of course. I won the double, Overall Photographer of the Year 2017 hours per image. The thing I spend the most time on is dodge and burn to get the effect that I’m after. Is it just you and your subjects in the studio during a shoot? Or do you have a team assisting you? Onlyme. I do everything myself. Maybe that will change in the future but, at the moment, I canmanage everything myself. I’d imagine your subjects must be so pleased when they leave you after the viewing. Have you ever been disappointed by a client’s less than enthusiastic reaction, especially when you are really proud of the shots? If I am really proud of my photographs there is no chance that I will not sell them. Clients always see how you feel about the session and the photo products. I have carefully selected the products that I sell and I am very passionate about them, and of course the images I’ve created. If I love the photographs and I’m emotionally attached to them this is something that is very hard not to show to the client. And if this is the case, I find that the clients then love them evenmore. You have won so many awards for your wonderful work, but which is the one you are most pleased with? Oh, that’s a tough one! I could not choose which one is the most important for me, actually. Each of the awards I’ve received were given for something different and they made me a better me.


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