SOAR Interview – Spotlight on Celebrity Portrait Photographer, Tina Krohn
Highlighting Community Change Makers, their Passions and Purpose
What do you believe are your greatest gifts or talents?
Looking back to at two of my previous careers, one being a dancer and the other being a costume designer, I find that these two points of focus contribute immensely to my career as a photographer. For years I have stood in front of a mirror in ballet class and studied that the slightest adjustments made to posture can make a big difference in expression. Now when I direct my subjects, this is a major tool that I am using to tell the story. I naturally look for just the right expressions to capture on film and convey a particular message or feeling.
The greatest gift and attribute to my success in this field is that I like people! I truly find the beauty in all my subjects and have an easy time adjusting to them, from hip-hop artist to high-ranking politicians.
As a costume designer I make sure that the clothing tells the story I want to tell. Sometimes I am given quite a bit of creativity in that regard, in others, I am not. The setting of the “scene” comes from my years in film and can tell a subtext by itself. Therefore location and composition is hugely important for me to focus on.
How did you decide to focus on portrait photography as your full time profession/entrepreneurial effort?
As a photojournalist, I have been asked to shoot many portraits for magazines. At some point, it was a natural progression and I began noticing that most publications consistently ask me to shoot the portraits for them. I believe every photographer has one area that they are better at than other areas. For me it was a natural development to mainly shoot portraits.
What has been the most interesting project you’ve been assigned to do and why?
Every day is different for me. As a European, working in the US as a photojournalist, I get access to many places and scenarios people usually don’t get to see or experience. One of the most interesting days was my shoot at the Pentagon for the European Press Agency. The Agency had worked for months to get me access. We were escorted to the most “Secret” areas of the Pentagon. There is a whole city behind the walls of the building, that I had no idea was there. We met with high profile security personnel as well as the shoemaker, who has had his shop at the pentagon for over 15 years.
What successful business advice would you give to other photographers?
There is a tendency for young photographers to just go out and shoot and ask people to pay for it. I am aware that with the digital age, things have changed. I recommend other photographers to REALLY learn their craft first. Study, study, study and go out and shoot for yourself. Don’t get a camera and start charging people. There is so much to learn! Do your homework. That, combined with talent and common sense professionalism will get noticed.
How do you describe your impact on your clients’ lives through your work?
This is the best part of my job. When I get the feedback from magazine editors or my subjects and they are overly excited about the pictures, it makes my day. Making people look their best in the right moment in time and (as cliché as it may sound) bring out what makes them unique is what I am aiming for. When this is successful, all the hard work was worth it.