Interview with Czech Republic Based Photographer Simona Smrckova
How do you come up with your concepts? What’s your thought process?
During the day, I write down every little detail, small things I have seen. For example, interesting details on styling, a particular mood evoked in a picture or a film scene, and build upon my own story. Sometimes the best sources of inspiration are models.
Your portraits are always so vivid and colorful. Do you achieve this in-camera or in post-production?
I usually think about how the photo will look like before the photoshoot itself. Yes I do some post-processing work on the colors as well because I find it impossible to work with real colors sometimes.
Aside from brilliant color management, you also have a way with lighting. Can you share some of your go-to lighting setups?
I love to work with bulb and lamps around. Sometimes I use LED lamps, combined with daylight to create color effects. I’m quite fond of just using available light, too.
Do you include a specific color palette when planning for a shoot, or does that come afterwards?
I usually plan all color combinations beforehand, but it turns out differently from what I had originally envisioned almost every time.
How much preparation goes into each photoshoot?
The most complicated aspect of planning a photoshoot is coordinating a schedule that works for everyone on the team. It also depends on whether or not I’m given a short time frame to realize a project.
How important is it to work closely with your make-up artists, stylists and models to achieve the look you have envisioned?
Yes, I describe my vision to them, but what’s more important is to tell them to do what they think is best. They specialize in their respective fields, so I trust them to make the appropriate decisions. I find that that works well for me.
Do you retouch your own photos?
Yes of course. I can’t even begin to imagine somebody else retouching them instead of me. It’s an essential part of your work process, being able to command the different components of the project from start to finish.
Do you have any tips for beginners who wish to work with professional models?
From what I remember, it can be very difficult to start working with professional models right away. You need to have an impressive portfolio because they’ll decided whether or not they’ll want to display your photos in their portfolios as well. However, if you’re having trouble contacting people to model for you, I’m sure you can get creative. Maybe you can start with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or someone familiar. You might even feel much more comfortable shooting with friends rather than professional models when just starting out, so why not give that a try?