By David König
Fashion and Celebrity photographer Chris Fortuna has been in the industry since he was a teenager. Experience and hard work is what made Chris the successful photographer he is now, with a list of top clients including Sony, Converse and Warner Bros just to mention a few.
Read on and find out how to be a successful photographer, how to create the perfect shooting atmosphere and much more!
Production Paradise: From looking at your incredible portfolio, it’s clear that you love your work.What steps did you take to get to where you are?
Chris: To say getting here was easy would not be a true statement, but like they say hard work pays off. I have had a camera in my hand since I was 14 and its been nonstop shooting since then. After studying Fine Art photography at University in NYC, I moved into assisting commercial photographers full time. All great insight into a craft is learned directly from working with masters, so that’s what I did. I was lucky to end up working under the some of the best image makers and was influenced greatly by how they worked.
For me I am sort of never satisfied where I am just always thinking about the next image… the next job… always moving forward. I am lucky to do what I love but I think the artistic struggle does not really end. Once you have some visual ideas in your mind you get really driven to create them in the real world, and that is for sure is the best part!
Production Paradise: ls being a photographer your dream job?
Chris: I think being any type of creative is more or less a dream job. For me making images is sort of the ultimate dream job since it’s the process of bringing life to the inner visuals. I cannot really see myself in a place one day where I no longer make photos, I think it’s a lifelong path for me. But I do feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what I hope to do visually, it’s exciting just to think about what images are next to me made!
Production Paradise: What’s the atmosphere like on one of your shoots and how do you motivate models to get the best from them?
Chris: My shoots are amazingly relaxed in atmosphere and I try hard to maintain that vibe throughout the day. Anything other than that can interfere with shooting on so many levels. I am not a fan of stress and do not think it has any place in a shoot. In order to get the type of image I want I need the subject to feel super chill and comfortable. I always seek out the “real” person I am shooting, who they are and how I can bring that into my images and creative vision. When everyone is relaxed you get the best images in my opinion – the real person.
I actually give very little direction to models and that is part of my strategy to achieve a great image. Once someone is relaxed they can really get into the moment creatively and let that special energy happen. In fact the first shot of the day I always consider a throw away since I use that time to break down barriers that may exist between the model and the camera. In the end, even when stressful things happen, on set it’s really the photographers job to stay cool and get the shot. Once everyone leaves the shoot no matter what negative things may have happened, in the end all will remember that images have been produced. So for me all I focus on is getting the shot. When that happens I feel like the shoot was a success.
Production Paradise: You’ve worked with many celebrities, who was the most fun top celebrity to work with?
Chris: I really enjoy working with celebrities and have been lucky to have a lot of great talents to work with. As of late my favorite shoot was with Chrissy Teigen. She is one of the funniest person I have had on set. She is really a comedian – super great energy and and a total beauty.
Production Paradise: What challenges do new photographers face when they shoot celebrity and fashion photography?
Chris: For sure there are many challenges new photographers face in the fashion and celebrity field. I think the real issue is learning how to define yourself and your work. The question is, what aspects of your image separate you from the rest? It’s important to be an individual – visually, but at the same time you need to make sure you are producing images that work within your specific market. It can take a long time to really find your niche within the commercial photography world, so it’s important to make a conscious effort in defining your visual style.
Chris: I am currently working on a large ongoing beauty advertising campaign as well as on some editorial celebrity shoots. I have also started a new project aimed at blending the visual worlds of my fashion and celebrity images into a portrait based series. The concept is based in lush and diverse environment of California, all the wild locations I have come across since moving West. I always feel the need to push myself and grow visually so it’s important to pursue new projects. And as Helmet Newton once told me while working for him: “you must always shoot, every opportunity you get” – solid advice in my book!
If you want to show off your latest work on Fashion and Beauty photography to the the world’s top ad agencies, production companies and clients, in Production Paradise’s next Spotlight Magazine, contact us now at email@example.com