Photography is the art of seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary and Ivana Girard of Blooming Fine Art Photography is one photographer who takes that extraordinary to the next level! Ivana is a Doha based photographer (but soon she is relocating to Perth) who specializes in creating artful, creative, feminine timeless portraits. She creates luxury heirloom printed portraits. She provides all that one needs to create that timeless portrait, from styling to makeup and hair to photography. Ivana makes these portraits a breeze for her clients. When I first came across Ivana’s portfolio, I fell head over heels in love! I mean I could spend hours browsing through her portraits and in awe of each and every one of them. Needless to say, she gives me major photography goals with her styling and photography. (Have a look at few of her portraits below and you will understand why am I raving about her work)
Ivana also publishes her own Portraits Magazine which you can read here
I was lucky enough to attend two of her workshops in Doha and not only is she a great photographer but a lovely person and an extremely wonderful & generous mentor. I was very very intimidated and nervous to shoot her, but other than my own nervousness, she was a delight to interview and shoot. And it’s because of her workshops that I can now so many issues with the portraits that I have shot, but I guess that’s my journey of learning.
So here it is for you guys, a photographer that truly inspires me.
Q: Tell us something about yourself? Who is Ivana in real life?
Ivana: I have a very different background and I haven’t started my career as a photographer. I was born in Serbia where I have graduated from the university and obtained my degree in Hotel Management. After working in Dubai in Hotel Industry for a year I have realized that I needed a change and that the career path I have chosen was not the right fit for me. I have moved to Qatar where I found a job at Aspetar Hospital. The next 7 years of my life I have made a continuous progress in my new workplace and developed my skills- I have completed my Master’s Degree in Public Health and worked in Health Promotion. Living in Qatar from 2007-2014 was a nice period in my life – I met my husband Olivier in Qatar, we got our whippet dog Pixie from QAWS and in 2017 our husky Sasha from PAWS and we enjoy our expat life with our friends from all over the world.
Q: What is your photography story? How did you get to where you are now? What was your first break? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
Ivana: I always loved photography but it used to be only my hobby. I would mainly photograph landscape and nature when I would travel. The big shift happened when I moved with my family from Qatar to France in 2014. I found myself in a new country which language I did not speak well enough to search for jobs in my area of studies and previous work experience. At that point, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a professional photographer. I enrolled in photography workshops in Paris with leading French photographers; and spent all my time watching educational videos from Creativelive; I also enrolled in Sue Bryce’s educational platform. I have used all opportunities I had available to develop my skills. In 2014, I registered my photography business in France and the same summer I had already booked a couple of weddings. Each following year I had more clients than the year before. After a couple of wedding seasons, I found that the thing I enjoyed the photographing most at a wedding were bridal portraits. I then made the decision to shift and specialize in mainly shooting styled female portraits.Q: Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Ivana: The photographers I admire are Emily Soto, for the romantic feel and emotion that her images have; Sue Bryce, for her beautiful portraiture work and ability to capture stunning portraits of women of all sizes and ages; Lindsay Adler, for her very strong and powerful imagery with impeccable details.
There are many more photographers I admire and I find inspiration everywhere. I do not, however, try to replicate anyone else’s style but rather learn from others and then find my own voice and my own recognizable style.Q: How did you find your own photography style and what do you think about when you edit your photos?
Ivana: My goal is creating beautiful images that evoke a sense of emotion and beauty. I like styling women I photograph to bring out and emphasize their natural beauty and I believe my images have recognizable aesthetics. I often hear people saying that once they saw one of the images on their Instagram feed and they instantly knew it was my work. I am still in process of further defining my style as I like to continue to experiment with different techniques.Q: What kind of gear do you use?
Ivana: When photography was only my hobby, I bought my Nikon D90 and used it for many years for travel. I became used to Nikon’s gear so when I made a transition into professional photography I decided to keep using Nikon and upgraded my gear to Nikon D800 and D810 with a range of lenses – from Macro, 24-70, 70-200 as well as fixed focal lengths of 50 and 85mm. Recently I bought a new Canon 5D Mk IV with 85mm lens as well as Panasonic GH5 for my video work. I also own two film cameras- 35mm Nikon F100 and medium format Mamiya 645 PRO TL.Q: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Ivana: I spend a lot of time developing my skills – I either attend workshops with photographers I admire or follow some online courses. I have attended a couple of workshops in Paris when I lived in France; in New York, I attended workshops with Emily Soto and Agata Serge and in Normandy, I went to film photography workshop with Kayla Barker.
In Qatar, there is photographer Farhan Khan who is not only an amazing photographer but also a great educator. I would highly recommend his workshops to any photographer looking to develop his/her photography, videography or post-processing skills.
From online educational resources, I would recommend Creativelive, Lindsay Adler’s educational platform, Sue Bryce Education and Phlearn for post-processing.Q: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Ivana: I don’t think there is one specific thing I wish I knew when I first started. I find that becoming good in photography is a journey and even today I keep learning new things and improving my skills and I find this to be one of the exciting things in photography.Q: What kind of tools do you use for post-processing? Tell us something about your workflow.
Ivana: I always shoot RAW which means I have maximal latitude for developing photos in post-processing. I always import my images to Lightroom and once I do the basic adjustments I move on to more advanced and creative editing in Photoshop.Q: There is so much debate on using Photoshop and altering images to perfection. What’s your take on it?
Ivana: I think that using any type of editing software is a must in the workflow of a professional photographer. By using an editing software you can create images that will reflect the vision you had in the first place when you were planning the shoot.
Also, the type of editing will depend on the type of photography one is doing as it’s not the same workflow for a photographer shooting street photography and another one doing commercial campaigns for beauty products.Q: Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
Ivana: I think that all photographers love gadgets, and I am not any different. If after some time I find that the new gadget I bought is not serving the purpose, I sell it and find something else to experiment with.Q: What’s inside your camera bag when you travel?
Ivana: I like to travel light so I only take one camera with one lens when I travel as DSLRs tend to be very heavy and I know if I take too much gear, it will just stay in my bag. I recently bought Panasonic GH5 mainly for shooting video but since it’s very light I think it will become my go-to camera for travels.Q: How do you gain creative self-confidence and stop questioning your abilities as a photographer? Have you ever doubted yourself and how did you get over that self-doubt?
Ivana: I am by nature a perfectionist and I always know I can do better so even if I look at my own work produced only a couple of months ago I can see areas for improvement. I think learning to let go and understanding that photography is a process where you constantly grow will help you to allow yourself to make mistakes and not to be too hard on yourself. Also learning not to compare yourself to other photographers is a great tip I can give to aspiring photographers as I found it helped me gain confidence in my own work. I only try to compete with myself and each time create better work than I did last time.
Lens: Canon 85mm 1.2 and Nikon 85mm 1.4
Nikon or Canon?: Canon for the portraits
Natural Light or Studio?: Natural light
Light Modifier: Diffused light outdoors and a beauty dish with grid indoors
Photography Genre: Styled Female Portraits
Photographer: Emily Soto
Post Production Software: Lightroom and Photoshop
Thank you, Ivana for taking the time out for doing this for my blog.
You can follow Ivana and follow her photographic journey…