Ellie Smith is a London-based fashion and portrait photographer with a real talent for taking simple and beautiful portraits. Recently, she took the Petzval Art Lens to the streets of East London to capture some urban shots. Read on for the full interview and see her striking photographs.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography.
I’m based in London and shoot a mixture of portraits and fashion. It was really during my foundation art course that I started to take photography seriously, and everything grew from there.
How was it shooting with the Petzval Art Lens?
I looked at lots of other examples of shots where the Petzval Lens had been used before I started shooting, and I found that it seems to give a very soft and romantic mood to images. I decided that I wanted to shoot something a bit harder, so the combination of the model Lee and the East London housing estate seemed like the right direction to go.
I enjoyed the extreme depth of field. It made me shoot in a very different way and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was constantly searching for textures that I felt would work well with the bokeh effect that the lens gives. I found that depth in the image was also something that worked well. The lens is also a very beautiful object in itself. I love that it’s gold!
In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait?
It should reveal something about the subject, and the light should be beautiful.
Have you had any difficult or challenging situations throughout your photography career?
Generally photographers are freelancers, and I think that means that every day is challenging. Keeping motivated and chasing new work without any colleagues to push you along can be difficult, but it’s also so rewarding.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional portrait photographer?
Assist photographers whose work you love and learn as much as you can from them, shoot as often as you can, and stay passionate about your work.