January Member of the Month

Lisa Saad

by by WPPI Staff January 26, 2016

All Images © Lisa Saad

Lisa Saad, a Melbourne-based photographer, is the 2015 Victorian and Australian Professional Commercial Photographer of the Year, as well as the Australian Professional Ambassador for Manfrotto and an ILFORD Master. Over the years, she has won over 200 awards for her commissioned and conceptual personal work, both locally and overseas. We decided to find out more about the person behind the successful photo career.

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WPPI: What do you photograph primarily?
Lisa Saad: I am an advertising and commercial photographer specializing in architecture, people, corporate, food, location and composite imagery.

The digital revolution has allowed me to gain far better control over my photography and what I create. With film, I shot a lot of transparency and the workflow was “compose, light, expose, process, deliver.” That’s it. With digital we can do all of that but after we edit and processes we can then enhance, change, blend and build an image from many and then deliver. The final may not be exactly as it was in camera, but it’s closer to what I had in mind. I love this age we are in and I am blessed to know both ways of shooting and creating.

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WPPI: What is your favorite thing to photograph when not on assignment?
LS: At the moment, it’s architecture—multi-story buildings, streets, road, freeways and skies. My idea of a great image is one that you look at and can’t understand how it’s put together, how it possibly exists, one you have never seen before and one that you will never forget.

WPPI: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?
LS: There’s not one great genre or art style that has particular influenced me. There never has been. I admire all types of photographers’ work and styles, as well as other artists, painters, sculptures, writers and filmmakers. If anything influences me, it’s my life and experiences in general. I draw inspiration from everything—from listening to a conversation on a train to seeing a live show to listening to music. Images that I have full creative control come from the place that I am most comfortable and only come when I allow them to. I find that once I quiet my mind and listen, the easier it is for me to create.

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WPPI: What is your motivation to continue to take photographs?
LS: My main motivation is the expectation of being the best at what I do and the level of perfection that I expect from myself when I am either shooting a commissioned job or creating an image from my mind’s eye. My style is insightful, clean and multi-layered with lots of depth. I do believe that every image has to exist for a reason, so each image I take is always composed in the viewfinder and always exposed correctly. My images are technically correct for the subject that I am taking and even though they are structured with every element placed perfectly according to my mind’s eye, they have an ease and breadth that makes you want to look deeper because they are familiar but not familiar at the same time.

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WPPI: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?
LS: Each shoot differs and cannot always be planned. Most of the time, I can walk into a location and will immediately have ideas; on a commission I’m governed by the client. With my own work, the sky’s the limit so I reach for the utmost craziest and unrealistic idea, then allow it into reality.

Sometimes, though, it’s not possible to be creative. If you are shooting a range of furniture on white, that about all you can do, shoot it on white and get it technically correct. If, on the other hand, I have been asked to create an image of a building from an angle I know will not work, I do both what they want and what I know will work and present both. They inevitably always choose the image that I know will work better.

WPPI: When did you first pick up a camera?
LS: I knew I was going to be a photographer at about the age of six when I found a camera in the mud. Later I started taking photos with an old Kodak film camera of my parents and when I was ten, my father built me a darkroom behind his garage The original darkroom was very small and had no running water so I couldn’t do much but process film but I spent a lot of time there dreaming of being a photographer.

WPPI: What are the essential ingredients for a commercial photographer?
LS: Possessing good business and communication skills, being punctual and well presented, and being prepared for anything. Listen and engage the client in all steps of image production. And don’t charge extra on the final invoice if you didn’t quote the job correctly in the first place. Keep to your quote and educate the client as you go.

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WPPI: What’s up next for you?
LS: Next for me is to move the bar further along and push myself creatively. I want to embody my moving image into the same realm as my still images. I have so many ideas and I am looking forward to making them all come to life.

To view more of Lisa’s work online visit: lisasaad.com or gothamstudios.net.