Whether you want to do fashion portraits as a hobby or you want to do it professionally in the long run, it always help to get some tips and be inspired by those who are already successful in the field. In this quick video by Henry Thong, we get our fashion photography inspiration from Australian fashion and beauty photographer Max Papendieck, who has photographed a good number of high-profile personalities for an impressive list of brands and publications.
Australia-based filmmaker Henry Thong featured Papendieck for one of the episodes of his documentary series called Makers Who Inspire, which explores the process behind a diverse range of creative disciplines. Here, we get glimpses of Papendieck at work, and hear him talk about his own beginning and perspectives on fashion photography.
It’s great how much insight now Papendieck gives us in such a short video. First, he tells us that he likes getting to know who he’s shooting with so he can make them feel comfortable working with him. This is something we hear a lot from portrait photographers, because it does work wonders for a shoot when a model is comfortable working with who they’re working with and they’re happy with what they’re doing. We learn that he himself has done some modeling in the past, so he knows firsthand how important this is.
Papendieck also shares that his own approach to fashion photography involves a lot of movement and expressions, and not a lot of posed scenes. “I love free movement and just having time in getting those real moments. I don’t like it being too static and posed,” he said, but also adding that the latter does work for the right shoots.
As for the things that inspire him, Papendieck was quick to say that it’s mainly other photographers. “They plant a seed in my head and maybe it goes in a different direction.” Now New York-based, he also mentions finding bits of inspiration in the city, from the way the light hits certain parts of the street, to the people walking past.
Lastly, he reminds us that everything is subjective in the world of photography; there’s no real right and wrong and it’s just subjective to what someone else thinks. He himself has struggled with this, observing that what he does, whether good or bad, has always depended on what another person thinks. His advice: have confidence in yourself and faith in what you do. “You just have to stick to it and stick to your vision.”
Screenshot image from the video by Henry Thong