All photographs taken by Bliss Katherine Braoudakis. Used with permission.
Bliss Katherine’s success story is as inspiring as her beautiful creations, and it’s enough to share to the world and encourage aspiring young photographers struggling to make it through this highly competitive world. Already a fashion, music, and wedding photographer who travels the world for photoshoots at the age of 23, not many – young or old – are as accomplished as Bliss; but while many people would consider this young shutterbug-slash-wanderer lucky, luck has less to do with her success as incredible talent and persistence to chase the dream.
The Phoblographer got a chance to chat with Bliss about her early start, her art, and living the dream. Read her enlightening interview and see some of her breathtaking work after the jump.
Phoblographer: Tell us how you got your start as a fashion photographer.
Bliss: At fourteen I picked up my very own film camera my father gave me and didn’t stop creating. I lived in a small beach town and didn’t know many local photographers, none that inspired me, so I created and edited images through my own vision. I read tutorials about camera settings, editing programs, and lenses. I would look through fashion magazines daily as a teen and gain heavy inspiration from them, marveling at the enigma fashion shared and editorial color pallets. My fashion photography opportunities started at age 16. First, by photographing beautiful friends and eventually I was being booked by signed models out of state. Shortly after I was filled with an obsession like no other. By age seventeen my photographs were featured in magazines, on book covers, and in album art.
Phoblographer: You’re only 23 and already traveling all over for fashion, music, and wedding photography. That’s impressive. What does it take to make something like that happen?
Bliss: Create and don’t stop. Be passionate and obsessed with your work, not money or people. Write down your goals and look at them daily. Find the root style and subject you want to create. Don’t obsess over other photographers. Release high expectations you are holding against your work. Stop the ticking time clock in your mind (patience is key). Most of all, let go of comparison so you can be yourself.
Phoblographer: Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating your photographs?
Bliss: Youthful freedom, music, essence from the 70’s, and raw human emotion.
Phoblographer: You shoot with both film and digital. Which medium do you prefer and why?
Bliss: I have and will always adore film more. I’m creating a physical memory at hand. If a Polaroid image turns out crystal clear, perfect, but if it returns to my hands with imperfections, I am happiest. A digital preview will never compare to the feeling I get while staring at a developing still. Don’t get me wrong, I love digital, too. It’s incredible how we can take so many photos and choose instantly, but film has my heart.
Phoblographer: Care to share your secrets and techniques when shooting portraits with our readers?
Bliss: With portraits it is challenging to capture the natural core of a person. I believe portraits were meant to be deeper than a close up. I direct my subject to be themselves in portraits. Whether in that moment they have tears in their eyes or they can’t stop smiling, I want to capture the raw heart of the moment, not just the face. I know I haven’t perfected this technique, it takes a lifetime I imagine, but it’s definitely a doctrine I want to keep following my entire career.
Phoblographer: Your series, Painted Photographs, is incredible. What is the concept behind it?
Bliss: My theory of paint + photos occurred to me when I found an old Polaroid I painted on in high school days. It didn’t look great but I thought I’d experiment. I like to say it’s rather an accident that stuck. It reminds me of childhood as well as unearthly settings. I grew up panting and dreamed of being an artist but dreams changed, but now I can bring that dream to live in my photographs.
Phoblographer: Do you hand-paint the photos from the series yourself or are they created with the magic of Photoshop?
Bliss: I hand paint on a white sheet of paper while staring at my work on my computer screen. I then scan it and rearrange the art to fit the mood of the photograph. Photoshop helps me to change tones and spot coloring.
Phoblographer: Now you create and sell your own Photoshop presets. Tell our readers about them and why they should purchase your curves and actions.
Bliss: I do! I create Photoshop curves and actions based off of my own personal color moods. In each description of the presets I share my vision of what the color compares to (ex: afternoon window light, forest tones before it rains, a golden field at dusk – strong blues and blacks, film contrast) and I share the best compatible light sources. I as well have before + after images to help guide the viewer of what the outcome will resemble before purchases. Files are emailed with instructions within 24 hours of payment. I admire having the ability to share my edits with others who are passionate about taking photographs. It took me many years to perfect my editing style and am still learning, but I have the ability to help others create the vision they want by simply downloading and watching the color bloom.
Phoblographer: You’re currently having a sale on your shop, is that right?
Bliss: Yes, a big one. I am going to release a brand new collection at the beginning of August, so many of the past colors are on sale. Bliss’ Photoshop presets are on sale now at colorsbybliss.storenvy.com.
Phoblographer: What’s next for Bliss Katherine? Any upcoming projects our readers should keep an eye out for?
Bliss: Flying to Texas twice this month to shoot a fashion lookbook for Bella & Chloe, then a backyard wedding, as well as album images for the band Sucre. Then off to my second home aside from my tiny Florida beach town, Chicago. In August I will be road tripping back down south to Atlanta. Hopefully will find my feet back in Los Angeles or NYC after that. In January I will be married to my love of 6 years. So many beautiful things to come.
See more of Bliss Katherine’s work on her website at www.blisskatherine.com. Follow her on blisskatherine.blogspot.com or on Facebook.