Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Zuzana Valla, I am from Slovakia, currently living in England for almost 10 years. I came to England because of my sister and brother. They were already here and I really missed them a lot. [Official Website]
How did you get interested in photography?
When I was a little, my grandfather was a keen amateur photographer, shooting in black and white. My grandmother used to colour paint all those black and white photographs by special painting method, which I learned from her when I was 8. I remember being amazed by their fantastic cooperation every time I watched them working together. I loved it. That time I wasn’t even thinking that photography could become my life…
I got more involved in photography two decades later after I realised that I really enjoyed capturing a life around me by my mobile phone. That time, there were no mobile phones with a good camera on the market, therefore, after trying three different mobiles, I have decided to purchase my first DSLR camera. It was Canon which changed my life.
Have any artist/photographer inspired your art?
Nowadays I mostly focus on a portrait photography. I love to work with females because of the way they are expressing their emotions. I am a big fan of the street photography and as I enjoy traveling, one day I would like to do photoshoots in streets of my favourite European towns and cities. Having my favourite street photographers really motivates me to carry on working on new projects as much as possible. I admire them. I would like to mention my personal top two street photographers; Henri Cartier-Bresson and Bill Cunningham. I have read Mr. Cunningham’s biography and I fell in love with his passion for fashion and his unique point of view.
Could you please tell us anything about your technique and creating process?
Believe or not I am not really a big user of Photoshop. I mostly use very simple editors, some of them are just a basic online editors.Natural light is my best friend. In combination with beautiful place and naturally looking model nicely dressed for the day, that is my favourite setup. I prefer to take my pictures inside rather than outside, especially inside of an older building with some character. Arches, solid doors, big old wooden framed windows, sometimes a mosaic.
Describe your ideal photographic situation
Great place, cool dresses, everybody is in a good mood and I am drinking my favourite soy late. Combination of all of it always create an unique photographic atmosphere which I love.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photography?
At the start of each session I always spend some time with my models.
This little conversation is by my opinion the most important part of creating the right atmosphere. I have found, that less physical preparation leads in to more emotional moments. If I did overthink the situation, I would get completely different pictures than I have planned. My golden rule is to keep everything simple while enjoying the moment.
In my mind I always imagine a raw picture of the current project and rest is an improvisation. Just follow the flow and listen to the voice within telling me when to press the button.
When I work on someone’s project, I try to get as much information as I can so I have a better picture of what we are doing. Best for me is when people give me full trust and I can work by my intuition and feelings.
What’s your useable-to-unusable ratio when you review images from a shoot?
On average I take 250 – 300 pictures. From those I usually use 2 – 10 pictures. This really depends on what photoshoot I do. It varies.
What quick advice do you have for someone who wants to improve his or her photography skills?
My advice is to focus on where would you like to be in one year, two years etc. Try to find somebody similar to your heart and work together. Keep questioning yourself all the time. Observe other photographers, check what lights he/she use. Do research of layers, filters, natural light vs studio light. I also keep looking at the picture as long as I need to work out how those have been done. This is how I do. Then I watch YouTube and search for my answers, techniques etc. The most importantly do not be scared to do it your way.
From time to time many photographers find themselves in a creative rut or uninspired to shoot. Does this ever happen to you and if so how do you overcome these phases?
Sometimes I am in the mood when I do not fancy to take any pictures or have no ideas at all. For me the best way to deal with this kind of life period is just to leave it, do not worry about that and have a rest. Reading a book or watching an old movie about Kings and Queens always helps. However the best solution would be a beach holiday (laugh). Just give yourself a time and do what you love. Make yourself happy.
What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I am always open for new projects. In the meantime, I still continue working on my two series ‘’In the Bath’’ and ‘’Freckles”. I also have some new cooperation coming which we are organising at the moment. I believe that there is a many things to look forward, so I am very excited.