EFM Exclusive Story - Kristian Schuller




had the pleasure to interview many from abroad.  It is always exciting for me to interview people of different ethnicities, countries, and backgrounds from around the world.  Yes, they all speak different languages, but all have one thing in common, their love and passion for their work.

I spoke to fashion photographer Kristian Schuller, from Paris and enjoyed our conversation.  He was very open about his beginnings and shared with me how he became a fashion photographer.  When I was 11 or 12 I was interested in two things, pitching around in my clothes and taking pictures of myself in the clothing.  Pretty much I was into designing clothing and photography.  That was the only thing that interested me.  When I finished my school and I decided what to study, I went on to study fashion design.  My teacher was Vivienne Westwood, she was very strong in her influence and it was a very important time for me.  She brought me to Paris and showed me the big world of fashion shows and the fashion atmosphere of Paris.  This made me want to study fashion design.  Kristian continues.  After 5 years of studying I still had a passion for photography, even when I made some designs, I would shoot it.  When I had the opportunity I took pictures at the fashion shows in Paris.  It was a beautiful way of earning money, much better than working at McDonalds.  I also had a very strong professor in photography.  After my diploma, which was a fashion diploma, I still didn't know what I wanted to do, so I went into fashion designing. I did that for one year.  And then I decided, no, no, that's not really what you want to do because I was thinking about life; how would life be for the next 12 to 15 years, something like that.

Kristian was in a time where he was torn between fashion and photography and needed to decide what was best for him.  Could he have two careers?  Kristian continues:  I was thinking as a fashion designer, if you're very lucky and very successful, you could make two shows a year, if you're good, but the rest of the year you would work in your room and I thought as a photographer you have a good chance to see the world.  You have to know I was born in Romania.  I was born in the communist world.  So if you come from that side of the world behind the iron wall, traveling was much of a barren, so yea that was the main reason I wanted to become a photographer and yes it was true and what I was hoping for when people sent me to America, to South Africa, North America, all over Europe, wherever, that's when I realized after a couple of years that I was much better with a camera in my hand instead of a needle in my hand.  So that's how I became a photographer.  Whether it was not a good thing or bad, I couldn't say.  I was never an assistant my whole life.  I never edited a film for nobody else.  So you never assistant anyone?  It does not profit because when I started I was like 26 no 27 and I did not want to start as an assistant, I wanted to go for it.  That's my special way, never assisting and now I'm here in Paris and work so far is good.

After travelling around the world, as a photographer, he made Paris his home.  Five years ago I lived in Paris in a little apartment, then I moved because the majority of time my work was in London.  Then my wife and I decided after living in Berlin for 15 years, thinking about moving to New York or Paris, we went to New York for 3 months last year, then we went to Paris.  We came here a month ago. We purchased a studio, 3000 sq. ft., in central Paris.”  Kristian spoke about his wife Peggy and their working relationship.  My wife is a fashion designer and she also work as a stylist.  So we came together.  We work together and she is also responsible for the retouching work of the pictures.  She is very much involved in the work.  In their 3000 sq. ft. apartment Peggy has a design section where she designs outfits for the fashion shoots.  I enjoyed listening about the two collaborating together.  She's the fashion designer and he is the photographer, that goes hand in hand, so perfect!  “We have no free time, never free time.

It was very interesting to hear his answer to what inspires him as a photographer.  Fashion photographers are very close to people, very close to the woman, um okay I'm a typical woman photographer, I'm not shooting so much men.  You are kind of creating the woman of your fantasy.  So the question is, what is the fantasy coming from.  It is coming from art, exhibition art, movies, films, things that you see in the streets, people, and attitudes.  Older photography, like the 70's, 60's, the 30's inspires me.  Kristian explains how he prepares for a photo-shoot. The most important thing for me is to sketch, and research, try to find direction of the shoot, what's the look of the shoot, so you know what the girl looks like, how's the attitude, how's the lighting, and the location.

Kristian spoke in more details step by step.  Talking with the stylist, how the general look of the girl is; hair and makeup, trying to create several pictures, like when you come to the end, at least 9 or 10 strong pictures in your mind, and then you leave enough space for planning pictures.  It's always good to have pictures so you can know exactly how to shoot them.  Before you can make the very first step you need real lighting in the studio and your location, and  have a picture in your mind, that's so important.  Kristian is a perfectionist  photographer who pays close attention to details.  I wanted to know what his typical day was like.  He laughs; “It's hard to get up!  Get on with the morning and go straight to the copy machine, waiting for the thing to heat up for 20 minutes and sitting on the computer, working on e-mails, working on all these things, going through the last routine and getting rid of the selection, then hanging on the phone and preparation for the next thing, it's mostly working on the last shoot and making the selection and allow the client to view.  Then preparation for the next shoot and in between and the team working on the retouching and finalizing the one we were just working on.  So this is like a typical day for me. When we are not shooting, there are problems coming on every side and we try to do as much as possible.

Kristian's camera is his tool.   He likes working with an old lens vs. a new lens. His favorite camera to use is the Cannon Mark 3.  Cannon Mark 3 is for fast, powerful, running with the girl.”  He laughs and continues.  She's running in the park and more time to concentrate on her and from composing everything.

Kristian gave great advice for aspiring fashion photographers. 

1. Believe in yourself, never lose your aim or direction that you start with, and move your ass.  You have to get up every morning and go for it. 

2. Work hard on your pictures and don't make the mistake of thinking it can't be retouched.  That's absolutely not true.  You have to work hard on the picture.

3. You have to work in front of the camera and then you just do your retouching.  For me it's important to do it that way.

4.  Concentrate on your girl, and the lighting. 

5. You need a strong team.

Practice makes perfect when taking a picture the more you practice the more better you become.  Kristian explains not to be too quickly happy with the picture, thinking about what you're really shooting.  Thinking about what you're doing, not bum, bum, bum.  Thinking of lighting, thinking of why you are shooting, take less than more pictures.  Concentrate on what you want.  Before you take the camera in your hand think about what you want and why do I want it.  Kristian describes his style as a fashion photographer, 'not edgy'.  I have a glamorous fantasy side.  I like to make the woman sexy, and powerful.  It would be great if all the women in the world could wear the dresses flying in the street, it would be great!







EFM is given the right by the artists.  Material contained within this online magazine may NOT be reproduced, distributed, modified, transmitted, reused or adapted without the prior written permission of the EFM.