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Cibelle Levi has come a long way in her career as an international photographer. She has years of experience in working in many creative spaces for photography, including beauty and fashion. The 28 year old is also an art director in music and consistently works for magazine publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Glamour. She is usually seen at award ceremonies such as the Emmys and Grammys, taking photos of her clients in the front row. If she’s not seen at the awards, she is travelling around the globe taking photos of beauty ambassadors, runway models or musicians live in action.
Just like Cibelle, many aspiring photographers out there yearn for the success she has received so far in her career. The fabulous fashion photographer wishes to share 5 tips on how to become a photographer and how to break through the industry.
Cibelle explains that, “When I stepped into the industry it was easier than today, but what can still make you stand out today is building an emotional connection with your clients. Having all the technical tools is of course important, but many people overlook the advantage of connectivity – which is underrated. Connecting deeply with people is a powerful tool itself and is what builds personability with your client. Don’t be scared to introduce yourself to people and always be kind; it can help you build connections with industry professionals.”
Cibelle stated, “You may be good at directing on a shoot, but you need awareness of the emotional state that your client is in. They may not feel comfortable with your direction, so you need to take your time to understand them deeply so that they can ooze out natural confidence. I have been mentoring young photographers on this subject and for me it’s important for a photographer to schedule test shoots first to practice directing and vocalizing, in order to make the client feel comfortable and generate good energy.”
The right software
Cibelle advises that, “For me organization is key when it comes to my software and equipment, so that my mind is also organized. As for software, I use Adobe Creative Cloud, which allows me to install all the apps such as Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom and Illustrator. When it comes to Adobe Bridge, it’s like the finder tab on your Mac.You can quickly access and edit your photos because it pulls up your entire photo library. Photoshop is great for skin retouching, whereas Lightroom is great for various colour and light presets. I really don’t do fancy stuff for editing, because I like to keep my photos authentic.”
Keep taking pictures
Cibelle explains that, “When I first had my digital camera I was taking photos of the most random things, a tree, a crowd at a bus stop. I strongly believe that aspiring photographers should take photos as much as they can, so that they can challenge themselves and also learn techniques when taking shots. Each photo doesn’t have to be perfect… snap after snap after snap is how you learn what is best for you… growth happens during the process of it all. Self growth and self awareness is also a key to getting on the right track, so do not be discouraged to listen to criticism, it can help you wonders.”
The right tools
Cibelle advises that, “While it may be obvious that you need a camera and some studio lighting, you need to actually find the right one for you and the shots you want to take. Personally, I am now shooting large scale productions that require prints of large scale. This required me to step up from my Nikon D610 to what I am currently using – a SonyA7Riii and I switch between 35mm and 85mm. As for my zoom lens, I use my 24-105 mm. For me it’s all about simplicity and if I want a tight shot with some bokeh (blur), I can get that on a 85mm to 105mm. When I want to play with perspective, I love to use my zoom lens at its widest which is 24mm. When I travel, I usually carry my laptop, a bounce reflector, sometimes a flash. When it comes to studio lighting, I always rent out ProPhoto. It’s my favourite brand and my go to is the B1 500 Air TTL Moonlight, an air remote and an umbrella.”
Cibelle likes to share her work and news on https://www.cibellelevi.com