Natalie Walsh is a fashion photographer working out of New York City. She’s reasonably new to photography, but she has a unique eye and undeniable talent. I asked her to share a little about herself as a photographer. The remainder of this article comes from her. Thanks for sharing, Natalie!
I started pursuing photography about a year and a half ago. I originally left England in pursuit of an acting career. I fell out of love with acting, so I had to find another creative outlet. I fell in love with being behind the lens. So much so that I would take random photography walks around the streets of New York–the subject didn’t matter, I just wanted to shoot.
Within the last year, I started into fashion photography. Basically, I’m just working on my portfolio. It’s a slow process to build up a strong collection of work. I’m gun-shy when it comes to fast-tracking my career because I favor longevity over speed. I will occasionally catch myself feeling like I’m a running wild horse. The excitement of developing quickly can get out of control if you don’t pay close enough attention. In my opinion, nothing can compare to the importance of studying, assisting photographers, and experimenting with tests. So this is what I do. I want to take my time and carefully build a strong foundation.
I keep my shoots simple, for now. I work with a hair and makeup artist occasionally. I prefer to style the wardrobe myself. I will occasionally use a single light setup, but for the majority of my work I use natural light. I have a small studio setup in my apartment, and I shoot on location. New York can be an amazing background.
On a recent shoot with Anne-Marie, the yellow chair was a happy accident. Yes, the Anne-Marie Mueschke from NBC’s Siberia. We planned for an outdoor shoot in a local park. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t agree with our plans. It rained most of the day. I improvised with a vintage chair and some flowers that I had at home. I used natural light from a nearby window–I wanted to give her a softer feel than the character she plays on TV. This was my third shoot, ever. Aside from a few setbacks, I thought it was successful overall.
The shoot with Vera was done with this article in mind. We took a short trip out to the lower east side. I enjoy returning to that area because it was the place I first called home when I moved to the U.S. For me, it gives the shoot the feeling of a girl who is all about New York. Vera hadn’t been to the lower east side, so it was interesting to share the location with her and tell her stories. Personal interactions like this can help put model’s minds at ease, so I kept them coming. We shot in an old telephone booth and made use of the different backdrops and textures that we could find. It was just me and her on the location as not to draw a crowd.
Sam, the blonde, was shot in my apartment along with Vera. I shot with Sam while Vera was in makeup. I kept it simple. I took shots that were all about the talent. I recommend doing this when you’re shooting for agencies. They have to use your images to promote the model, so I want to make their job easy.
Sam is new to modeling, so we started on the chair. This is a good place to start posing because it helps newbies relax into the shoot. Both the model and the photographer need to get acquainted before we can work well together. Also, it’s best to review the model’s current portfolio prior to the shoot. You don’t want to duplicate what they already have.
Editing and Retouching
I always try to get the shot right in the camera as much as possible. This keeps my photo editing a simple process. It’s only used to enhance my shots. I edit solely in Photoshop and finish them in Exposure 5. The first time I saw a photographer friend use Exposure, I was amazed. They could effortlessly take their images up a level with a few clicks through the presets.
One of my favorite Exposure features is the Overall Intensity control. This lets me change the intensity of the effect right inside of the software–no more techie adjustments in Photoshop! I also use the favorites list religiously. I’ll use it to highlight specific presets for a shoot. I usually name the presets after the model. My shoots are simple, so this system works well for my needs. I save some custom presets, designate favorites, and the next thing you know I’m all done. It’s fast, efficient, and easy.