Interview: Photographer Sissela Johansson (United States)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I’m born and raised in Denmark but moved to the States about 4 years ago. I live for everything creative but for the longest time I didn’t think it was something I could make a living from. When I discovered photography everything became pretty clear within a short amount of time. I knew I needed to make photography my career. Recently I have taken up mentoring photographers and helping them achieve great results with minimal equipment. I have always loved teaching so having the opportunity to combine my passion of photography and my love of teaching has been incredible.
How and when did you get into photography?
I’ve been a photographer for about 11 years. I started out as a professional model and became good friends with a photographer. One day we were at a concert. He handed me his camera and told me to go grab some images. Mind you, I strongly believed at the time, that I would be absolutely horrible at it, not to mention the fact that his camera was extremely expensive and fancy. But he insisted and I gave in. I came back with the camera and he looked through the images and couldn’t believe that I had captured them. He told me I was a natural and since then I was hooked!
What does photography mean to you?
It’s breathing. Photography to me is like breathing. I can’t live without it. It’s a way for me to express myself and to communicate with people beyond words. I live for that gasp from yourself and others when you realize you have done something incredible.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I’m a portrait photographer. My style of work is honest, emotional and direct. It’s about capturing the essence of my subject so eyes and faces will usually the main focus of the portrait.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from other amazing photographers, painters, nature and fairytales.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
I go into a session with an idea of what I would like to achieve. Usually that idea is based on conversations with my client but I always keep an open mind as I shoot. Sometimes the idea you have won’t work in a given situation and then you have to be able to pivot and still create something extraordinary.
Studio, on location or both?
Definitely both and sometimes as a mix. I love utilizing what I have around me and that means sometimes setting up an outdoor studio or working in a very small space.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m a paid professional.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Canon for sure. I’m a minimalist at heart so I actually don’t own a ton of lenses. My favorite is my 50mm lens. It is old at this point but consistently delivers what I need it to. I might sometimes use another lens as my primary for a while (like currently my 70-200mm is being used a lot due to social distancing), but I always end up back with my trusted 50mm.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Charge your worth….don’t undersell yourself. Educate yourself on the business side of things and don’t be afraid to dare.
What do you think of our new magazine?
It is super interesting and I am really looking forward to see where it will go!
www.instagram.com/portraitsbysissela, www.bysissela.com, www.facebook.com/photographybysissel
Model: Victoria Navarro
Model: Lile Kvantaliani