Interview with Fashion Photographer Emiliano Santapaola

Can you talk a little bit about your background and how you got into fashion photography?

I was born and grew up in the beautiful town of Buenos Aires. I moved to the city where I discovered my passion for photography. I have always been passionate about art and painting but had never thought that I would become a professional photographer one day. Now it is my full time job which makes me feel happy and accomplished.

What camera do you use? If you had to choose one lens which would it be?

I have a Hasselblad H6D and my favourite lens is the very lovely 85mm f1.2

Would you say your style has emerged or was it always very distinct, how has your work changed over the years?

My style has definitely emerged over time. It’s something that I have conciously worked on, it’s very important to find your voice, and your visual style is a big part of that. It’s not a case of forcing something that doesn’t come naturally, more tuning in to what you really like and what feels right for you, and it can take some time.

What is your creative process like, do you have any notable routines?

I’ll put together mood boards for the client and team, which show the general mood of the shoot but also specific aspects like make up or set design. Recently I have tried to do more research and go deeper with the concept and narrative, rather than just the visuals.

Where do you draw inspiration from? What do you think your message is?

I obviously look at lots of other photographers’ work, but also films, books, non-fashion magazines, set design at events or in shops, nature, and travel! I think it’s important to try and get away from social media when looking for inspiration, otherwise the algorithm just starts to dictate all your ideas.

What did you want to do as a child?

I think I wanted to be a photographer! I remember taking a camera to show-and-tell when I was about 11 years old…

What would you say to an aspiring fashion photographer? What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt? What would tell your younger self?

Firstly, you don’t have to go to University. What you do have to learn to do however, is think critically about images. Learn to recognise what makes a sucessful image and what makes a terrible image. Train your eye!

Secondly, shoot shoot and shoot. Just practice as much as you can. The saying about practicing something for 10,000 hours before you become good at it is definitely true!

Thirdly, be a nice person, have confidence in your ideas and ability, but don’t be too cocky.

Who inspires you? These can be personal or professional.

I get my best ideas playing music and reading books. It’s like I’m able to switch my brain into a different kind of state and mull things over.