Photographer: Diana King
Model: Liza G. @ Ford LA
Stylist: Lisa Katnic
Makeup: Shelly Samia
Hair: Gaelle Secretin
Photo Assistant: Sophia Chang
Special thanks to Charlene Chiu and Monica Diaz at Ford LA
We are incredibly excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. Each month we’ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Diana’s WAH photoshoot and interview…
How did you get to here? (What’s your photographer history?)
I had a quarter-life crisis about what I was doing in life and was not happy working in film production. I had an epiphany and decided that I wanted to do fashion photography so I got an internship with this amazing female fashion photographer and quit my job the very next day. From there, I assisted the last few years as well as started to test and shoot as much as possible on my own. During that time, there was a lot of hard work, long hours, and crying over the ups and downs to get to where I am now. And it’s still like that to this day.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
Both. I didn’t go to photography school so everything I know is from learning the mistakes I make on my shoots and figuring things out as I go along. I also learned a lot from observation and starting out as an intern for the fashion photographer who set the groundwork for me when I became freelance.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
As corny as this sounds, I was truly inspired by the cherry blossom trees blooming right now and by the name and prints of We Are Handsome’s Romantic Collection. When I was given this collection to shoot and I saw the colour scheme of the floral prints, I immediately knew that I wanted the mood of the story to feel dreamy, romantic, and feminine.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
Being creative and shooting what I want to shoot is the best feeling in the world and it makes me never want to do anything else ever.
Describe your approach in three words.
Fun, cinematic, and energetic
Black & white or colour?
I love both. I think it heavily depends on the story and in this case, color!
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
Ack! It’s like asking me who my favourite child is!
I love digital for the instant gratification and cost and time it saves. But I love film because of the colours and the thrill of the process of being technical and artistic at the same time.
My absolute favourite is the Canon AE1 that I bought myself when I was 16.
Now I always use the Canon 5DMKII and the Mamiya RZ67II
Describe your photographic approach.
I always start off with a visual mood board that lends itself to creating the mood and the narrative of the story. I then share my ideas with my team and collaborate with them until I feel like I have something cohesive before I start casting and scouting. I do a lot of research and thought into my lighting and plan my shots before the shoot. Basically I’m very methodical in preparing for all my shoots but once I’m on set, I have a very ‘C’est La Vie’ attitude and can be very inspired by the moment in which the model is at and by the light at the location.
I have so many that I admire! Some of my favourites who are my constant inspirations are Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, and Camilla Akrans.
Dovima With Elephants By Richard Avedon
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
Being mean and condescending
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
I always create a visual mood board for all my shoots, which helps me decide what kind of mood I want the overall story to feel. Based on that and my budget constraints, it determines what kind of location and model I use.
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
Hmmm. If I had no fear of failure or fear of rejection, I’d move to Paris tomorrow and push to elevate my portfolio and photographic style in a whole new direction. And I would always only shoot on film.
Best advice you’ve ever received.
To make yourself look bigger than you really are 😉
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
To believe in yourself and to work hard in what you believe in.
Where to next?
To elevate my portfolio and to shoot more, whether it is creatively or commercially. I’m determined to shoot more advertising and my goal this year is to be signed to a photo rep. Not easy goals as I’m sure every other photographer has that same goal but that’s where I’d like to be next.
Besides that, I’m currently prepping a cover shoot with a big swimsuit model (eek!) while at the same time, I’m trying to manage my time and retouch all the shoots I’m behind on retouching. Ahh good times!
We would like to send smiles and sunshine Diana’s way for creating this beautiful shoot. It really does brighten up any day. Flirty florals, pretty styling and softly feminine charm lend themselves perfectly to the Romantic Collection, and we’re so excited that that was the direction she went in. LOVE! xx