Interview: Photographer Isabelle Donga (Netherlands)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I’m Isabelle, a 23 year old student from the Netherlands with a passion for fantasy photography. I’m studying Communication and Multimedia Design in Utrecht and I’m in my final year now. In addition to photography I also love to play video games, watch movies/series, illustrate and make costumes. I also love to model at fantasy events in my own costumes.
How and when did you get into photography?
In the first year of my study we got a small photography assignment and I loved it. I bought my first DSLR camera and started shooting my pets, friends and some landscapes. I was very shy when I started photography and I could never find models to shoot with, so after a while I sold my camera and took a break from photography. About 2 years later I visited a fantasy costume event and met many new people. I started making my own costumes and modeling at these events. Last year I bought myself a new camera and took it to one of the events to shoot some models there. After that’s one of a kind, and was the perfect name for my photography.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography really challenges me in comparison to my other hobbies. Every photoshoot is different and that is something I find really important. I always get to try something new and work with amazing people. The thing I love most about photography is making people happy with gorgeous photos of themselves. It gives me the motivation I need to go on and get better.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
Most of my work is fantasy related. Some more obvious than others, but there’s always something you wouldn’t normally see on people in their daily lives. I like shooting normal portraits, but adding something extra can make it stand out in comparison to other photos.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I’m going to be very boring and honest here. I’m addicted to pinterest and that’s where I get most of my inspiration from. I discovered many awesome photographers there like “Bella Kotak”, “Amanda Diaz” and “Margarita Kareva”.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Not really. I can have some general plans like working with smoke or certain outfits, but usually I just see where it goes. It’s funny because normally I’m a total control freak, but with my photography I just go with the flow.
Studio, on location or both?
I don’t have a studio, but I would love to try it out when I have the money. I always shoot outside near my house or inside when it’s really cold. Also I don’t use lights or any other tools. Natural light is fun to play with, and lets me get creative.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m a hobbyist, but would love to do it professionally in the future. I do offer paid shoots, but that’s more because I need to cover the hours of editing I do. For now I need to finish my study and I'll see what happens after that.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I think my most memorable shoot was when I worked together with Atelier Chimaera. She is a stylist and brought 4 stunning outfits to shoot with. We found two models and two make-up artists to work with and the results were amazing. We were outside all day and it was cold and windy and the restaurant nearby didn’t allow us to come inside. The peacock outfit was a real challenge to shoot. If the stylist wasn’t holding the model in place, she would have just flown away. We had lots of fun though.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The biggest source of inspiration were the few amazing photographers I mentioned a few questions back. I would love to reach that level of photography one day. It really inspires me to keep learning and try new things.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Nikon for sure. I’ve tried Canon, but it just doesn’t feel good for me. I have the Nikon D5100 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8f lens and that is what I always use. Lenses are so expensive and I don’t think it is worth it for me yet. Especially because I do mostly TFP shoots.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I can’t give you advice for starting a business, but if you want to start photography I’d advise you to learn using editing software as soon as you can. Editing can really change a picture. I know many photographers who don’t edit their photos, but that style is not for me. There are so many simple things you can do to make your photo just a tad more interesting. It can take quite some time to get the hang of a program like Photoshop. Watch many youtube tutorials and discover your own style.
What do you think of our new magazine?
The magazine looks great! It’s really nice to see so many different people within the photography/modeling world and it’s an honor to be a part of it!