Drew Lenale is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and although he’s only 20, his work shows the precision of someone who has been working much longer. And like many other great photographers, he started at a young age, shooting thousands of images, always dreaming of becoming a professional, and never giving up.
We are showcasing his work because his images excite us, make us glad we’re part of an inspiring and devoted community of photographers. His hard work combined with exacting and precise images like these promise a great future.
In this interview, Drew talks about how Drew got his start photographing his friends, explains how he finds his great locations, and gives a little advice about working with natural light.
Although only 20 and still in school, you dream of becoming a world-class fashion photographer. How did you get your start in photography? How would you describe your work?
I started with just a Kodak point and shoot and just started taking photos of everything. Around my sophomore year in high school I got my first DSLR, which was a Nikon D60, and from there I just started taking pictures of my friends. I would describe my photography is to take a very elaborate idea and simplify it to its most beautiful form.
Why did you decide on focusing on fashion? Have you explored other genres? You have a great eye for landscapes.
I have always had a love for fashion and spending hours and bookstores reading Vogue and W magazine. I think I really didn’t decide to fashion, I just naturally did it. I honestly have not on a serious level explored any other genres of photography. Thank you, I always find that in my fashion photography work it is just as much about the environment the model is in as the model themselves.
Besides other photographers, what other influences have inspired your work?
Movies, I am always watching movies, slower movies with good scores and beautiful cinematography. I also find mythology and paintings to be very inspiriting.
What do you shoot with? What’s in your gear bag?
I currently shoot with Canon 5d Mark ii and I just recently bought at 50mm 1.2 . Not a lot of gear but it gets the job done. Sometimes I shoot a little film.
You seem to like to shoot on location. Why do you prefer shooting outside? How do you make sure you get the most out of natural light?
Yes I have always been drawn to fashion photography that is on location. There is just something magical when the model and the wardrobe and the location all come together just right that just makes an extraordinary photograph. I think it honestly just depends. I shoot at all times of the day, and I believe it is all about the angles if you are shooting in direct light, but my favorite is to shoot in overcast skies it always brings a warmth and richness to the colors.
It seems you have a good eye for scouting locations. What is your pre-production process?
Thank you, I generally always start my creative process with the location, so once I scout the location that is when I truly get inspired. So I base what is the look of the model I want to book and the wardrobe and hair and make-up off what the location is
Your models have striking looks and great expressions. What is your approach to directing them?
I have been told I am a very laid back when it comes to working with. I generally give the model an idea of what I see and try to do the pose myself. Once I do that I just tell the model to flow off of that.
What has been the greatest lesson you’ve learned thus far in regards to photography?
Never give up, that sometimes after you shoot and your photos don’t turn out what you want them or don’t look the way you saw them that you shouldn’t give up that it takes time to actually bring what you see in your head to life in a photograph.