Creative Ina Moana is a Published Portrait and Fashion Photographer based in London with a focus on creative composition. Her goal is to help clients position themselves at the top of their industry whether that is through developing custom concepts that showcase products in the best way possible or portfolio sessions for creatives to land their dream job. Projects she worked on a range from editorial to corporate and recently, she had the honor of attending and photographing shows during fashion week in London, Milan and Berlin.
Sure! My name is Ina and I am a London based Portrait and Fashion Photographer with a focus on creative compositions. Projects I worked on range from personal to commercial shoots for a variety of clients, most of them in the fashion industry. Growing up with a mother as an artist it was only a question of time until I would turn to the arts myself. Things changed when my aunt gifted me a film camera about two years ago which allowed me to understand and master natural light, composition and basic camera functions.
Quiet for quickly it was clear to me that my love for fashion and aesthetics drove me towards taking photos of people, in particular models. Fast forward to now, I work on amazing projects, travel to the main fashion hub spots for fashion week, meet insanely creative people all the time and sincerely, I couldn’t ask for anything more fulfilling.
What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working?
My go to is a Canon EOS 250D with a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. It allows me to easily switch between closeup portraits and full-body shots. And we’ve all seen the memes – make sure you have enough empty SD cards, fully charged batteries for your camera and something to clean your lens! I mainly work with natural light so I usually wouldn’t carry any external flash or even a reflector. Though I made a really handy pocket reflector out of aluminum foil once which could be something you could easily add to be safe. As you can tell I travel as light as possible but obviously everyone is different and different types of photography require different equipment. So, make sure you pack according to the job’s requirements.
What type of editing software do you like to use for your completed photographs, and what do you like about it?
I primarily use Photoshop to retouch photos and if needed, Lightroom afterwards to adjust light or tones that are off. For collages or any sort of distortion of original images I go straight to Illustrator since I became a graphic designer before a photographer first. There are different standards for software depending on what type of industry you are in but I highly recommend you know you way around photoshop at the bare minimum. For me, the creative cloud is my go-to and my focus is on retouching in Photoshop because it’s quite fun and easy to do. Lightroom is great to enhance and even out any light or colors that you did not get spot on in the original shot. Though I try to shoot photos with my settings and the natural light in a way that I do not have to adjust anything in Lightroom; best case.
What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
Natural lighting, composition and a love for whatever it is you are taking photos of. Personally, I work with natural lighting as I am coming from a film photography background and it has helped me immensely to analyze the subject and light in the moment to make the light work for me. Besides, composition is really important to me and that’s no matter if it is a styled editorial or even a bts photo of a fashion show. You won’t have much time sometimes but try to take the environment into consideration – shapes, light, buildings, color etc. It will make your photos stand out from others if you know how to capture photos that way. Lastly, it’s super interesting to see how photographers that love to dance in their free time capture dancers in photos or someone that loves fashion to bits takes photos during fashion week. So, I truly believe that it will show in your photos if you have a passion for what you are taking photos of and know how to best set the scene and what might be important to viewers.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start in the industry?
Try to retain a good balance of ambition, passion, consistency and patience. One doesn’t necessarily eliminate the other. You’ll have to have a drive for what you want, and you will need to work hard, consistently and you will need to have the patience to do so for some time and over and over again.
For anyone wanting to get into this industry I’d say:
1) know what type of photography you want to do. It’s fine if you don’t know it down to a niche but try to find a category e.g. fashion;
2) Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve in the end. That could be I want to work with xyz or I want to capture important moments in someone’s life;
3) Connect with people! This ranges from collaborations to build your portfolio to building your network of creatives
4) Educate and challenge yourself. Even though you’ll likely know some things about photography, be open to learning more whether that is about the industry, income streams or networking;
5) Ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to ask more senior people in your industry for advice or even if they have any openings for assistants or mentees;
6) Sometimes the best answer is no. I understand that while you are just starting out you need opportunities and a portfolio, but you still make sure that these gigs add value and help you achieve your goals;
7) Believe in yourself. Things will work out if you are passionate about something, I genuinely believe that, but you will have to put in the work and keep your head up.
What’s one of the most interesting projects that you’ve done?
In the beginning you might end up doing a lot of projects that, looking back, you didn’t get much out of which is why for a while now I’ve been really consistent with thoroughly evaluating enquiries. So I would like to think that most of the projects I’ve done recently are ones that are interesting and I love. But my two favorite ones would be taking photos for a interview series with binary & non-binary transgender folks and being able to take photos behind the scenes and of the catwalks of various designers during the recent London Fashion Week. So, for me it’s not the big commercial shoots but rather the personal ones since these brought me a lot of personal joy and allowed me to build an amazing network.
What habit has most influenced you to become who you are today?
Reflecting on myself, my process, experiences and goals. I meet and interact with a lot of people! While I want to make sure I have a positive impact on others I also need to make sure I am fine on the receiving end – whether that’s because of others or my own actions. After a job I will also reflect on how things went from communication to the final results. Same goes for clients I want to work with or projects I want to do. Things might change on the way and then you will have to reflect on your strategy and plans. This has helped me to continue to grow as a person but more importantly, to progress as a photographer since I always make sure I am on the right track and get the best outcome from the work I put in.
How do you maintain inner peace?
Well, that is a difficult one especially if you are creative since you often have financial and creative pressures. But I try to focus on my very own journey, reflect on great projects I’ve done and the ones I know are coming. Furthermore, don’t forget that you are a person with hobbies and a personal life as well. Branch out and do the stuff you love, for me it’s working out and painting, and make sure you have people around you that you can do activities other than taking photos with as well. It’s great to have a creative environment and other creatives around you but I always make sure that this doesn’t mean I work 24/7 just because resources and ideas are always on hand. As a freelancer you’ll have to pay extra attention to how you are doing and it’s also okay if sometimes you aren’t okay, and you aren’t creating. Sometimes I take a short break and you know what, things are just fine after – no one noticed but I got to get back some energy.
Check out Ina’s Instagram: @ina_moana