Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Dawid Bała (Poland)
Tell us something about yourself
My name is Dawid, I was born in a small Polish city – Tarnow. I currently live in Cracow, where I work an study Digital Design at the Faculty of Arts Pedagogical University.
How and when did you get into photography?
Everything started when my father changed his job. He started driving around Europe in a truck. There was this opportunity to go on a two-week “tour” by truck to Portugal with him. I thought it was a good idea to bring some pictures from the trip so I bought my first camera…
What does photography mean to you?
Actually, photography defines who and where I am today. Thanks to photography I met people with whom I am really close. If I think deeply about it, most, if not every of my decisions over the last few years had to do with photography.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
People often tell me that they recognize my photos even when they are not signed - that means my work represent a style. However, I am not able to specifically describe what it is. I think it is about how I illuminate a model and how I later do the retouches, but I'm still working on it and it changes over time. Also, I believe that I have not chosen a particular style and I do not think that it is something negative. I mostly do studio pictures of beauty, fashion and outdoor portraits. As I just like to take pictures, I frequently perform other sessions of products, from events, culinary shots etc.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by everything I see around me. First of all, I am inspired by different places, situations that I am going through and by people. I check a lot of pictures from other photographers, but I try to do it, how can I put it..., carefully so that I would not copy someone else’s style.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
When I am preparing for a session I imagine how I want to illuminate or crop the scene. However, I never know how it is going to turned out at the end. I keep my mind open and the idea is polished during the shooting.
Studio, on location or both?
Both! Studio and outdoor photoshoots are quite different experiences. In a studio, you have control over everything, you can control every ray of light, and that is great ... but the magic of the golden sunlight just before sunset (or just after sunrise) is second to none.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I shoot a lot. I do some of my pictures for my own projects and some as a paid job. I have a serious approach to each topic and I am always trying to do my job professionally. Certainly, I consider photography as my profession, but I let my customers decide whether I am a professional or not.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
In April 2011 a classmate introduced me to the owner of a clothes shop - 3majfason. His name was Artur and he was about to open an online store and needed photos. Back then, my only knowledge was from the books and I had no experience but I got access to a very intimate store studio where I did my first studio photoshoot. The photos did not represent anything special but after this experience I went into detail about the topic and I finally fell in love with the studio.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
As I mentioned earlier, basically I am inspired by everything. It is difficult to determine by what more and what less. Certainly it is people with whom I work that inspire me to a great extent. It is often people that are the source of the ideas, I just illuminate them and choose the angle at which they will be viewed by others.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I started with Sony, I also used to work with Nikon and at the moment I am shooting with Canon. I do not know with what camera I am going to work next year. For me, logo is not relevant. The main task of the equipment is to not disturb the work of the photographer. It is supposed to let me focus on what is really important and that is – on shooting and not on reflecting whether the picture is sharp enough etc. About my lenses. I use 100mm f /2.8 Macro and the 85mm f /1.8. The first one is super sharp and as it is a macro lens, it is made for a very tight, close frames. I take all of my beauty photos with it. The latter (85mm) allows me to shoot with a very shallow depth of field, which blends perfectly with the delicate light before sunset.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Do not think about making money. In my opinion, when you shoot from the heart, you can reach a success, also financial one, and it comes much more natural than when you are paid for every snap.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I will not say anything revealing. I like it. I like reading magazines and I am happy that there is one where you can find interesting information about the selected people from my industry.
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