Talking Model Photography with Rochel Nilendra

Rochel, tell us a bit about yourself...

I am originally from Sri Lanka but I have been living in New Zealand for almost 5 years. I came here to study Network Engineering and whilst studying, worked at Auckland Airport as a ground handler. Now finished with my studies I continue to work at the airport as a supervisor. Aviation, photography and travel are my passion.

How did you start your photography journey?

I bought my 1st DSLR way back in 2009 - I didn’t know which model to go for but I ended up buying a Canon 450D. I started with landscapes and general day-to-day shooting, learning various things about photography. I am self-taught and am still learning new things about photography every day. I'm inspired by new concepts and love to tell a story through my photos.

By Rochel Nilendra

You've since taken up fashion photography haven't you?

Yes, I didn’t even think about doing fashion photography when I first picked up my DSLR but after going to my own modeling shoots I just thought 'why not'?! I love meeting new people and helping them build their modeling portfolios - I love to work with different backgrounds, exploring new places, working with available lighting, and the editing process too.

By Rochel Nilendra

How would you describe your thinking process during a photoshoot?

I love to place the model behind the sun if I am doing an outdoor shoot so that I can fill her face with off-camera flash on full power combined with a higher shutter speed to get a nice capture of the sky as well. I try to reduce all distractions behind the model and try to keep my model focused on the shoot too which means limiting the distractions behind me as well. I show the results to the model as we go along so that she knows how she is coming across on camera and what is needed to improve such as her poses. Putting models at ease is also vital, giving them confidence and making them feel comfortable – I think communication is vital for this.

By Rochel Nilendra

How do you apply the #PhotographyForGood concept in your work?

I have done some charity work such as “help a portrait” which is an event that takes place in Auckland every year for people who cannot afford to get a professional portrait of themselves or with their family. I enjoyed working on this project alongside other local photographers, the best part was to see the joy on people's faces when they saw the results – You can’t put a price on that happiness.

What are the main principles you follow when photographing people?

First of all I focus on the eyes since we always make eye contact with each other - Even in photos, our eyes reach out to connect with the viewer. Next, I focus on the poses and the angles - If the model is a bit shorter I try to take the shot from a low angle so that she will look taller in the photos and it will give him or her confidence. The same goes for plus size models – I'll always adjust the angle so that the model looks their best.

By Rochel Nilendra

What equipment do you use? What would you recommend?

I use a Canon 6D full frame and a 24-105mm f4 Lens. Since the 24-105 is a telephoto lens it helps me to get close-ups, wide, and zoom shots. I like to shoot with a 35mm, 50mm and a 85mm when it comes to portraits. I mainly use Godox lighting for my outdoor shoots and a AD200 and a V1 for fill-in light. Sometimes I add colour gels to do something magical with the photos. I use both lights for my indoor shoots and two Jinbei 300W strobes too.

Where can we find you online?





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