photography Melanie Feuerer
model Marta Moreno Saborido
An Exclusive Interview with Switzerland's Photographer Melanie Feuerer.
Tell us a little bit about you:
My name is Melanie Feuerer and I’m a professional Photographer based in Switzerland. I specialize in beauty -, people- and fashion photography. It is my passion and I am grateful that I can live my dream every day.
Where is home?
I am a bit of a migrant bird and have lived in many different cities and countries. For the last several years Switzerland has been my home and I feel very comfortable here.
If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet, where would you build your dream home?
My dream home is not bound to any particular place; it is a feeling that must be present. I love a broad landscape view, the sea, the mountains and the hustle and bustle of big cities. The most important thing for me is to have open minded and sympathetic people around me.
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
Happy. I am a cheerful, open and happy person and grateful that I can live my dream.
What sort of work do you specialize in?
Beauty, fashion and fine art photography. Including retouching, beauty retouching, and compositing.
Did you go to school to study photography?
Yes. After getting degrees in Business Management and Spanish, I studied Photo design in Zurich.
How long have you been a photographer?
Photography is what I always call "my second life" and what I want to do for the rest of it. I started photographing people about three years ago, during my studies. Directly after finishing my studies in Photo design I started working as a self-employed photographer.
What or who got you started in photography?
I didn’t want to go on with my old job – I could not live my creativity. I was really unhappy and had to change something. So I took a sabbatical and started to photograph, at first, only to get my mind at ease. My interest grew every day and so I decided to study photography and change working sector completely.
How would you describe your style?
Some friends of mine always say: “Through the eyes of a woman”. Women see things differently and I’m capturing these moments. I would say: Different and colorful. Color design is an important part of my picture style.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
In fact, I would happily shoot with any camera you give to me. The result (apart from technical quality) doesn’t depend on the camera. For most of my work, I use my Canon 5D MII.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
Definitely my reflector, “sunbounce”. It’s always with me and the best investment I ever made.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
50mm f1.2, because you can do everything and every kind of photography with that lens and the look you can create is just amazing.
What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?
Depends on what kind of shoot. I always bring the reflector and some speed lights. Therefore I can be as flexible as possible in every situation. However, I do a lot of planned shoots and the light setup is also planned very well. So it’s completely different, I’m using big studio lights as well as available light. Always depending on the look I want to create.
Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light during a shoot?
It really depends on the subject, the location and the look I want to create. Outdoor I often shoot just with a reflector, beauty often with video light. But this is not a rule!
What are your favorite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?
Definitely my tablet – essential for editing my images.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Very important. I need Photoshop for the final look of my photos, especially the color look. I do retouching and beauty retouching with Photoshop. But in my opinion, even if it’s used you should not see the usage of Photoshop in every picture. Photoshop is not the solution to rescue bad pictures; it’s the tool to create amazing photo art from great photos.
Are you a MAC or PC lover?
I love my MAC
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
Yes, a new camera and some lenses
Can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow?
My photo shoots are always planned. So the workflow is finding an idea, working on it with sketches and mood board, planning and finding the team, organizing equipment and accessories, planning and doing the shoot. After the shoot, selection and editing.
How do you feel about cropping an image?
Yes, why not! Better to find the best frame directly at the shoot but sometimes you see the best section quite better on a monitor.
What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?
Other great images, films and books inspire my fantasy. But also normal life, seeing scenes, products, landscapes…
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
A beauty shoot with 3 dark-skinned models. The idea was to photograph them in a dark environment with only little light. The location was not a studio but a cellar room with a ceiling height of about 2 meters and all painted in white! So it really challenged me to create the look I wished for. I’ll never forget the experience of this improvised studio. The best thing about it is, that no one will ever guess the circumstances these great pictures were taken in.
It was a funny day with an amazing team and lots of creativity.
Do you have an assistant? If so why?
That always depends on the kind of photoshoot. Often I have a make up artist and sometimes an assistant for light. But I love to keep the team simple and small.
Where would be your dream destination assignment?
An outdoor shooting in Iceland. There is such an amazing landscape – perfect for a fashion shoot.
What is your favorite image you have shot recently?
At the moment, I love a picture from my last shoot which by today is still not edited at all. It was a free work and we experimented with only one light source (beauty dish) from above and plastics which got me a great underwater-look.
What do you think of the photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
If you have a look at the last five years, we had an incredibly fast development. A lot of images are needed for uncountable websites and advertisements. Cameras, programs, and light systems changed completely. So I think this will continue. Photographers will still be needed but it will be hard for new photographers to become accepted in this time when everyone can buy a camera and call oneself a photographer.
A photographer who inspires you?
A website and/or blog you visit often?
I have a really good selected facebook list which reflects all my interests. That’s what I’m visiting daily, but there is not a particular one.
The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?
Julia Margaret Cameron. In a time where photography was really not as simple as today (and also the role of a woman) she lived her passion and created unforgettable portraits.
The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?
A photography masterclass workshop. I love to see the work style of different photographers and how they teach it.
One way you market your photography?
On social media platforms
How important is an awesome website for your business?
It is one of the most important parts. It represents my portfolio and is the first thing an interested person is looking for.
Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
Yes, I would love to photograph Madonna. She is a very impressive and interesting person and I think we would have a lot of fun on the set.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Never give up, do what you love! Follow your way and don’t give too much thought to the opinions of others. And very important: Don’t hide your work!
Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
Walk through this world with open eyes. Our surroundings are great sources of inspiration.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...
I would be behind the scenes of a Hollywood production to show the normality of the characters.
I’ve learned the most from…
Experimenting a lot. I analyze pictures I like and I think about how I would do it. It made me learn a lot, without copying someone’s style.
What talent would you most like to have?
Drawing – for a better illustration of my ideas
Something you’re still learning?
Learning never ends – in all aspects. I’m still learning everyday in every part of my life.
Something that is overrated?
Something you’re saving up for?
A full frame medium format camera
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?
Joanne K. Rowling
Your favorite film (movie) of all time?
Avatar – it’s so inspiring!
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
As I never play the lottery I never thought about this question. It will never happen.
What photographic ambitions have you not yet achieved?
Oh, so many! But I’m on my way to achieve them. These are things like: more publications, giving my own workshops, doing an underwater shoot, …
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
Working as a well known photographer traveling around the world for photo shoots and workshops
And the last questions, if you had one wish…
I would turn back time and start my photographic journey right after school.
Where can the PQ readers find out more about you?