All images and text by Stevie Iseral. Used with permission. In a precious version of this article we called Stevie a man. She is a woman, and we apologize for this error.
My name is Stevie Iseral and I began taking photos at the age of fifteen. The moment I picked up my first camera, I immediately fell in love. Throughout my years of taking photos, I have tried to develop my own personal style. Being from Louisiana, there aren’t many modeling agencies available. This pushed me to challenge my skills and photograph my friends and family. I like to describe my work as dreamy, delicate, and colorful. My main goal in photography is to capture an individual’s natural beauty and help them see why they are so special. Everyone is so different, and I think it is amazing that we can capture that in a photo.
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 50 mm f1.2, and a Canon 24-105 mm f4.0. I love natural light, so I try to use that as much as I can rather than using artificial lighting. When I want a photoshoot to have a certain vibe, I will sometimes incorporate a colored light bulb to create vibrant colors.
When getting ready to take photos, I have developed a process. I gather inspiration from all over, whether it’s from Pinterest, my favorite photographers, nature, or anything really! I love to play with different makeup and hair looks to add a bit of fun to the photos. When shooting, I like to experiment with different angles and have my model move around in a natural manner. My goal is to make the photos look candid, even if they were completely posed and planned.
I think the readers would be interested in my work because it is something they can relate to. Seeing young females in a field or around the house is something we all do, so seeing it in a portfolio makes you feel like someone relates to you. Being an adolescent is tough, but sharing our creativity and our visions is so unique and amazing. My photography is cool because I incorporate different lighting techniques, experiment with my editing, and aim to tell a story through my images.
Why did you get into photography?
I got into photography because both my sisters had dabbled in it, and I wanted to be just like them.
What photographers are your biggest influences?
I have so many favorite photographers, it’s hard to choose just a few! My main influences would have to be Sam Klegerman, Savannah Martiniere, Franney Miller, Tim Walker, and Petra Collins.
How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for almost five years.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
Photography is so important to me because it is my creative outlet. If I am ever feeling stressed or stuck, I can take photos and escape for a little bit. Photography also allows me to show the world my thoughts and visions, and I absolutely love that aspect of it.
Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
I would say I am more of a creator because I am constantly thinking up new shoots and concepts all the time. I try to make my photos have a certain look and style so they are my own. I want my photos to look like they are documenting someone in their everyday life, but in reality I created the whole scene.
What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically.
When I am creating images, my mind is constantly running. I am thinking about what edits I can use to make the photo stand out, or what different angles I can shoot from to make the photo more interesting. I am also trying to make sure my subject is comfortable and having a good time so it can show in the images. As far as mechanically, I focus on having the shutter speed fast enough to capture movement, and the aperture wide enough to capture a shallow depth of field.
Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
My processing techniques are all over the place, because I constantly like to try new things when editing. I love to play around with split toning, I think that can give your images a very personal and distinct look. A lot of my editing is planned ahead of time. If I know I want the photo to appear glowy then I will add gloss or highlight to the subject I am shooting. If I want it to look dreamy, I will use a lens filter with some vaseline on it to blur out the edges. These little things help tremendously in post processing.
Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio.
My portfolio is curated with so many different looks and vibes. I aim to showcase the delicacy and dreaminess of being an adolescent female. I want to capture my friends in their natural state: talking, dancing, laughing, etc. My portfolio is filled with soft colors, dreamy edits, and beautiful young women.
What made you want to get into your genre?
I love dreamy and soft looks, and I wanted to showcase that in my pictures. Portrait photography is such a wide genre, and I love being able to push boundaries and create new and exciting content.
Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision.
I love my Canon 5D Mark III, it is so easy to operate and makes shooting a breeze. My 50mm f1.2 is my baby. I think for my particular style, the 50mm is the perfect pair. It allows me to blur my backgrounds and give the illusion I have an entire set created, when I am actually just in my bedroom.
What motivates you to shoot?
Seeing other photographers post their work really motivates me to shoot. It helps me remember how much I love to create!
Visit Stevie Iseral’s website to see more of his portrait photography.