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In the World of Fashion with the Photographer James Lee

October 10, 2009 by · 3 comments

Mariana Velichkova’s interview with the fashion photographer James Lee


Why did you decide to become a fashion photographer?

I got bored of taking pictures of my friends and family and wanted to work with models and make my pictures look like they were from a fashion magazine and generally be more creative. I guess it’s just a natural progression from enjoying shooting candid shots of people and doing portraits.



What fascinates you the most in women’s beauty?

The shapes, poses and looks a woman can create. I love the mystery and beauty they create with these elements.



What are the invisible dimensions of beauty?

Confidence and Creativity.


For you the world of fashion and models is…?

Vogue and Lily Cole.



What is the greatest difficulty in taking pictures of models?

Working with models that are afraid to express themselves.



Do you take ideas from the models about some shots?

All the ideas are put together by me and the rest of the creative team before a shoot. It’s only really the top models that input an extra idea or element to a theme and usually with great effect. The best models will always have a cool twist on a theme.



What is your way of bringing out the best in the models you work with?

Music, crazy dancing, always showing a model an amazing shot you have just taken and communication. For an all day shoot, keeping the energy up is essential.



How would you define contemporary fashion?

Ever changing.



Who are you outside the fashion world?

A finance broker in the city of London, the father of a beautiful daughter and a fun person to be around.



How long does it take to create your own style as a fashion photographer?

The more shots you do and the more you experiment, the quicker you will discover your style of shooting.



Does your style change along with fashion?

Shooting style changes more with technology, than fashion.



Your advice to those who want to become fashion photographers.

Always make sure you are progressing and keep shooting. Its hard work at first and you face a lot of rejection. But once you start getting better, you attract make up artists and hair stylists, then a better standard of model, then stylists, then agency signed models and the cycle goes on and on. Being a great technical photographer is worthless, unless what you are shooting is beautiful, interesting and eye catching.



You have mentioned above about your team. Would you say something more about the people you are working with?

I have been very lucky to meet some amazingly talented creatives and models in the last twelve months. I have made some great new friends and I owe them everything, without them, my life would be so much less exciting.


I would like to give my enormous thanks to the Stylists Adrian Pini Studios, Rivkie, Ana Popescu; the Models Kayt Webster Brown, Emma Jensen, Agata Mazur, Samantha Wilkinson, Carmia Spies, Pippa Holland, Natasha Pia, Lucy Harris, Sasha Larner, Sarah Aldersley & Katherine Fay; the Make up artists and Hair stylists Ana Popescu, Amy Barker, NAtalie Guest and Monica Rossi


Thank you very much for the interview and the wonderful photographs!


James Lee was born in Watford, just outside London on March 21st 1979.
He works in the city of London as a finance broker and has done so for the last seven years. He bought his first dlsr, a canon 400d, in late 2007. He bought one, purely because his first child was to be born in December 2007 and he decided he wanted nice pictures of her, rather than the less flattering compact camera pictures. He was taking pictures of his daughter using just natural light, then using off camera flash.

He then shot two weddings and friends at work and found that people wanted him to take their picture. He bought a home studio kit in October 2008 and shot his first ever fashion shoot in his living room.
He got frustrated by the space constraints of his living room and finding exciting locations, so he started shooting in a studio from June 2009 and his love of fashion and beauty photography grew from there.

He now always works with a full creative team, stylist, make up artist and hair stylist. He started off working with just himself and a model and as his pictures got better, he started to work with bigger creative teams and after a lot of hard work; he now has a full creative team that he always works with.

He had his first pictures published last month in a US online magazine, one front cover; he has one picture being used by a boutique for advertising and this was published in a UK fashion magazine. It was a great way to top his 1 year anniversary as a fashion photographer.
He uses the Canon 1ds mkiii, the Canon 5d mk1, the Canon 28-70mm 2.8L and the Canon 70-200mm 2.8L.

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