This week, we talk to a fantastic editorial & commercial photographer working primarily out of Los Angeles and New York: Emily Teague.
With a style of photography greatly influenced by her photojournalism, travels, color, and love for creating visual narratives, Emily's pictures will catch your eyes!
Discover her photos with 15 images powered by Prodibi!
*MUA: Daylin Laine
A few words about you, how did you start photography and retouching?
I got into photography thanks to my uncle. He had gifted me with a 3 day workshop at the Fashion Institute of New York when I was 16 years old. Feeling unsure of what workshop class to choose from, I chose photography thinking it would make me a better model for my photography friend. That first day I picked up a camera I fell in love though. I knew that was all I wanted to do. I put all my energy into learning all I could about photography after that.
As for retouching, I had been hired as in house retoucher for an e-commerce company and knew very little when it came to retouching. I knew the basics of Photoshop, but that was about it. I had to learn on the job and after working a 50 hour week retouching at work, I would come home and retouch my own photos. I was forced to learn quickly and I’m grateful for it now.
How do you split your time between both activities? And how do create synergies between them?
The split between photography and retouching can be a bit challenging for me. I love them both and I get to express myself creatively through both, but in different ways. Recently I’ve been wanting to focus just on the photography side, but I’m having trouble letting go of some of the retouching work when outsourcing because I love the creativity I have there too. So far I’ve been balancing that by still doing all my own color grading work. That’s my favorite part of the post processing and where I feel I get to be the most creative with mood and enhancing the story I’m trying to tell.
For you, what describes a successful picture and why?
If my image can make someone stop scrolling, if it can inspire someone, if it provokes emotion- that’s a successful image. I used to be a lot more focused on just the technical aspects for if it was a successful image, but I’ve moved away from that and am now really focusing on the emotion an image can bring. I think that’s much more important to creating what I see as a successful image.
Can you briefly explain your creative process for a great picture?
Starting with a moodboard to get everyone on the same page is really important. Building out a moodboard is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. I love to pull colors, textures, expressions, clothing, makeup looks, and anything else that matches the feel of what I want to go for. After I’ve established the mood for the shoot, I need to plan my lighting to complement that. It’s become really fun to play around with and is definitely one of the most important components. Of course having a great team is key too. I want a team that feels as passionate as I do and I’m always looking to improve both myself and my teams. The stronger a team you have, the stronger the image will be.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or artists?
Absolutely. I’m constantly inspired by the work of photographers I look up to, my friends, painters, designers, and artists of all kinds. There are moments where I see and image and just sigh in admiration and think to myself, “I wish I had come up with that concept.” It can also motivate you to think outside the box though and wonder how they did come up with a concept and what ways you can push yourself to become more creative with your concepts as well.
About your photography gears and software, what are your favorite tools?
For my camera, I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III. My favorite lenses are the 85mm 1.2, the 35mm 1.4, and the 24-70mm 2.8. As for software, I start all my images in Capture One Pro and then export to Photoshop. For lighting, I prefer Elinchrom lights and modifiers.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?
There’re always small projects going on that I get excited about, but the main long term one is going to Haiti to work with Free The Slaves, an NGO focused on fighting human trafficking. I did work with them in Ghana and we’ve been talking for a while now about doing another series in Haiti. Balancing my fashion work with humanitarian work is really important to me and something I would encourage any photographer to explore.
To see more from Emily:
All photographs copyright Emily Teague and used with her permission.
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