Interview with Leoni: 18 year old photographer!

This is Leoni. She is 18 years old and comes from Dresden, a beautiful town in Germany. She’s just finishing her a-levels and almost made it. Leoni is smiling in almost every situation, because she is a mainly optimistic person. Next to her main hobby, photography, she loves to meet her friends and being outside. With them, there is always something to laugh. That’s the reason that often she takes pictures of them, because she is mainly doing portrait photography.

Interview by Dawnie and Aleena Kumandan

Hello! How are you doing? Could you please start by introducing yourself :)

Hi! I'm fine :) My name is Leoni and I'm 18 years old. I live in Germany (sorry for my English, it is probably not the best) and finishing school at the moment (yesterday was my last exam).

What made you first get into photography?

I'm not quite sure, to be honest. I had a little cam when I was a child and started taking random pictures. In school I started doing this more intensely, because we are having a Photoklub there. This was a great possibility to get better and better.

What drew you to photography?

I think it is the fact that you capture moments for eternity. And you can express your creativity. As I love taking pictures of people, it is always fun to talk and you are meeting great new people

Where are your favorite places to take pictures of?

There are so many. I think you can take great pictures anywhere. But my favourite place so far was a field, which looked really great in the sunset. It's always great for portraits.

That sounds really beautiful! Has quarantine affected what/where you shoot a lot?

Yes, definitely! I couldn't shoot with my friends for a while and so I tried some new stuff with myself in front of the camera. But now it is all better and I can meet with some outside again.

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?

I really love the pictures of Felix Rachor, he is a beauty photographer. And his manner seems great too. But of course I only know him from Instagram and so I can not say this for sure.

What do you like about his work?

He is very creative in his own way and his pictures are always a great inspiration for my own pictures. And he seems so down-to-earth even if he is popular

Have you ever had times where you didn't feel like doing photography anymore? How did you keep yourself motivated?

Yes, of course! Especially in those moments when there was a lot going on at school and I couldn't find the time. Or I am simply not satisfied with the results.

But I am always very optimistic and at those moments I always tell myself that I want to continue. And there are such great photos on Instagram or Pinterest that just motivate you to create something like that

How much practice and time and effort did you have to put in before you really started to see improvement in your work?

Uh, that took a while. I think the first 3 years, in which I photographed more intensely and the results of those shoots, I don't like anymore. Sometimes I go photographing with friends and afterwards I am very unhappy with the results. Then I try to see what exactly can be improved and remember this for the next time. I think practice makes perfect and I also have a lot to learn. But how do you say? No master has fallen from heaven yet. (I don't know if this is only said in Germany and in English something different...). So it was already a long process, which is not finished even now, to see real improvements. And there is always something to learn!

That's a great mentality to have? Do you usually find yourself posing people or do you like to let people do their thing and take more candid shots?

It's totally different. Some of my friends are great models, almost every photo is beautiful and I don't have to give many instructions. But sometimes I want to realize my idea exactly and I like to give instructions there. But I am always open for suggestions and other poses. Sometimes it's also great to turn on music and then just capture how the model poses and dances.

What makes someone a good model? What makes taking pictures of them come out nicely?

I believe that anyone can be a good model. You need to feel comfortable with your body, because otherwise you will see it in your face in the photos. And if we get along well, on an interpersonal level, it's super fun to take pictures. The harmony has to be right, that the model and I can leave the shooting happy and with good results

That is really important advice. Do you have anything you want to say to other teens who are interested in photography?

Just do it. Start taking pictures and don't think about it too much. With more experience you will find out what motivates you the most and what you should improve. Don't think so much and don’t compare yourself to others, just try it out and try it out. The rest will happen over time! And have fun!

That's really great advice! Any final thoughts?

I think my last words are fitting for other hobbies too. So many talented people are thinking too much and not doing anything. Everybody did start and was not perfect. So why should you be perfect? This will come later. To all: Stay motivated and never forget your dreams!

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