Nathalia Allen is a photographer of many skills within the creative field. Not only is she a gifted portrait photographer, she is also a graphic designer. Her unique style is as captivating as her personality; she has the ability to make you feel like you’re a natural in front of the camera, even if it’s your first photo-shoot. Her love for capturing and showcasing the beauty of the female body is breathtaking. Nathalia strives to ensure that all women feel as beautiful as she sees them through her lens; especially in this day and age where the media tries to push its own idea of what beauty is. I love everything about this powerhouse of a woman and can’t wait for you all to get to know her as well.
What do you do?
I’m a freelance photographer and graphic designer.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
In high school, I took a film photography class and I just really loved the process of developing the films we got to take. We shot using Minoltas and I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do at first. Not being able to see the photo right away was also a little frustrating. I would always cross my fingers and hope that I was on the right exposure and lighting. Getting to develop the films and seeing the photos I took was always such an amazing process. Overtime I started to truly enjoy and like photography. I then started taking more and more home photos and began to do a lot of online research about different photographers and their techniques. It was through my research that I realized how much I loved it. It’s just so sick how people can stage something and have it turn out so beautifully. I thought to myself “yeah, I really love this, so I’ll continue doing it”.
How would you characterize your style?
I don’t have my one specific style to be honest. I’m a portrait photographer and I love shooting with people. I have explored outside with landscapes and I’ve also done still life photos, but I’m definitely a portrait photographer. I love something with a little oomph; I love sexual photos, I love women who aren’t afraid to use their bodies, and I love provocative style images. I’m looking to develop my style more into that once I start getting more models to photograph. In all, I would say that I’m definitely a portrait photographer.
Is there anyone in your field that you look up to?
Yes! Annie Leibovitz. She’s amazing! Her concepts of imagery are just so phenomenal; I just love her. There’s also David LaChapelle. He’s photographed many celebrities. His staging is very original and outside the box. For example, he shot Paris Hilton in a doll house and she looked like a plastic doll in the finished product. He has the most amazing set designs and concepts; I don’t know how he does it. He also shot Tupac, which is pretty dope.
Did you have a mentor?
A mentor in photography, not really. My high school teacher was like a mentor to me. She was a photographer most of her life and really pushed me to think outside the box. She helped mold my thoughts. She also taught me how to projects my thoughts into some type of image without really having to stage anything. It was really great. I want to thank her, Ms. O’Leary.
Do you recommend a mentor?
Yes! Sometimes you have a thought and just can’t get it out, or you look for that constructive piece of criticism or for someone to help you get thoughts out of your mind. It’s really great to have a mentor as you can’t always see and learn everything on your own. You need that person to push you outside your comfort zone, it helps you step into a different dimension with your creativity.
Where do you see yourself/ your business in the next 5 to 10 years?
I hope to have a team because I would love to do what Annie Leibovitz is doing. I want a magazine to contact me and say “Your concepts are phenomenal; we want you to shoot Beyoncé”. I want to get to that point. I’m not yet sure how I’ll get there, but that’s my dream. I recently got in touch with an amazing hair and makeup artist and hope that we’ll put together some great and consistent work through the next couple months. That sort of collaboration will help catapult my work and get me published in magazines.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to pursue his or her dream?
Don’t stop! I stopped for a minute and I wasn’t happy. Obviously everyone has their everyday goals and their everyday lives that come into play. We all have bills to pay but don’t lose sight of what you want because once you do, it slips away. You don’t want to miss opportunities because you’re “taking a break from your grind”. I definitely say don’t stop. Keep grinding, keep hustling, even on days when you don’t like it or feel like you want to stop… don’t.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because of the people. I love meeting new people. People are fun when they simply allow themselves to be. I’ve met so many people who ended up being long-term friends, all from a short photo-shoot. Getting to meet like minded individuals is really special to me because not a lot of people understand your vision. Most people are stuck in a non motivated type of mentality. The way I see it, I only want to meet new people who share my passions. I also love shooting with women, especially the ones with little to no modelling experience. That way it’s really great to be able to connect with them and pull something out of them that they didn’t think they had. As women, we have so many stereotypes and stigmas against us and we don’t feel like we meet society’s standard of beauty. Being in front of the camera is a little scary for first timers. I love being able to show women how amazing they look. It’s made my job worthwhile so far and has allowed me to connect with so many great women.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
I came from a background that was very knowledgeable and I learned what photography was before picking up a camera. Now there are a lot of self-taught photographers, and there are those who just pick up a camera and think they know what they’re doing. My advice for aspiring photographers is to do your research. Look into the different styles you’re interested in and mimic them, but put your personal touch on them. Do your research and understand your craft. As I said before, don’t give up. It’s not easy to make money out of it. It’s easy to photograph, but it’s not easy being different and setting yourself apart from the crowd. Try to find your own style and stick to it. I can’t say it enough, but do your research! There is so much to a camera. There are also many different cameras you can work with that will give you a multitude of styles
How do you feel about this generation of photographers?
There are so many dope photographers. There ones I’ve actually spoken to have found their niche/style. It does really suck that some people don’t get the respect they deserve because the current photography world is overly saturated with the same thing. For example; everybody likes to see buildings because all of the sudden they look amazing, although they’ve been around forever. Like I said, there are so many dope photographers, even young ones. It’s amazing how many dope young photographers there are. For instance, (Visionelie), he found his niche, he just has this amazing dark quality/contrast look that incorporates that faded look and it just works for him. Yes he takes pictures of buildings, but he’s been able to unlock a style within himself and its worked for him.
It does suck that many little rich kids can ask their parents for $3000 to buy a camera and take better photos than me right away, but it’s the way it works. There’s nothing I can do. I just know that at the end of the day, I want to get better. I want to keep perfecting my craft. I’m trying not to conform to what today’s photography trends are. Being able to jump between styles is what’s important to me. I love to do portraiture, but I also enjoy really minimal styles as well.
What advice would you give to photographers to help protect their work from clients who put filters on it?
It’s happened to me a couple of times. Someone actually posted my photo in the wrong format. I told that individual that if they were going to post my photos, to please publish it in square format. She neglected to do what I asked. If people don’t want to abide by that, I will send them two folders, one for web, Facebook, and Instagram. All of the Instagram photos will be cropped. That’s how you solve it. Now in regards to filters, like I said, people are going to do whatever they want. The best thing to do is to add a disclaimer to your contracts advising them not to filter our photos. Also, remind them kindly before you send them the final edits.