Julia Trotti Interview: How to Experiment for More Beautiful Fashion Photography

Julia Trotti

There are two sides to the work of Sydney based fashion photographer Julia Trotti. Sure on the surface, it may seem hyper-beautiful and extremely aware of stylistic detail, which is the point of great fashion and editorial work. But underneath it all — and in some cases at the forefront — is a moody intensity. So while some of her photos may be full of sunshine and backlighting, others are dark and proud of their pale blue tones.

Perhaps this experimental energy fueling much of her images can be attributed to her beginnings in the fashion photography industry. Julia Trotti had not started with connections or much experience. Instead, Julia Trotti started with a blog photographing herself and friends, experimenting with different concepts, editing styles, and compositions. After time, fashion designers took interest. And since then, Julia Trotti has worked many clients and been featured in several magazines, including Digital Photography and Design Magazine and Vogue.

In this interview, Julia Trotti talks about how she got her start in fashion photography, explains how one of her own favorite photographs was made, and reveals how you can impress clients with your portfolio.

Read along to explore the world of Julia Trotti through her lens.

Experiment for More Beautiful Fashion Photography

Your fashion and commercial work is really great. How did you get your start in these genres of photography?

Thank you so much! Photography has been a journey for me. When I first started taking pictures, I took them for myself & blogged about my stories, failures and successes I had. I experimented with self-portraiture and portraits of my friends and sister; I experimented with concepts, editing styles, composition, photo manipulation and anything else under the sun! After blogging for some time, my portraiture had begun to spark an interest online and models and designers started getting in contact with me to shoot for them. Once I started dabbling in the fashion world, I fell in love with it!

fashion and commercial

In your bio, you talk about coming from humble beginnings. Could you speak about that? Was your upbringing difficult?

My upbringing was wonderful and I could never complain about that! I mention my humble beginnings in the sense that I started taking pictures for myself, as mentioned in the last question, with no knowledge about the fashion industry and no contacts whatsoever. I feel like I literally started at the bottom and worked my way up. I wouldn’t ask to have it any other way either – I have learnt and grown so much by doing it all myself from the beginning, I don’t think I’d ever be where I am now otherwise!

humble beginnings

You’ve worked with several commercial clients. How much creative control do you have in these shoots? Is there a lot dialogue between you and the client?

I have been very lucky so far and have worked with many clients that appreciate my vision and my ideas, so I do have a lot of control over these commercial shoots. We spend quite a bit of time through emails or over coffee brainstorming ideas, coming up with locations and casting models to make their shoots come to life. I love being there for every step of the way, from the rough idea to the final product.

several commercial clients

What would you say are most important things clients look for in a portfolio?

Put simply, I believe clients are looking for something to “wow” them. When they look through portfolios I think they’d like to see something that stands out, that talks to them and that stays in their head for days to come. Something that they could vision their brand being portrayed as and having the same affect on their audience as it did to them while looking through your portfolio.

coffee brainstorming ideas

A lot of your fashion photography incorporates beautiful landscapes. How do you work around the challenges of being outside? How much pre-production goes into these shoots?

I love to travel a lot. If I don’t have anything to do, I love to go for a drive to somewhere new. So in that sense, finding locations for me doesn’t really take too much work as it’s already part of my daily life. Sometimes it’s hard shooting outdoors as you have to battle the forces of nature! Most of the time I am happy to shoot through rain, storms and wind, but it always depends on the team you are working with! If you are shooting with high end designer clothes, sometimes shoots need to be rescheduled for a better day, but most of the time I’ve never had an issue with working outside thankfully!

fashion photography

How do you figure which landscape will work well with your model’s styling and look?

Locations are my biggest inspiration when it comes to my photography. When I come across a beautiful place, a shoot usually starts forming in my head of what I’d like to do there. Then I share my ideas with my creative team and a shoot is born!

biggest inspiration

Speaking about looks, your models are highly stylized. One of my favorite photographs is of a model with a red painted face and adorned with a crown of feathers. Could you talk about that shot and what went into getting it right?

That is one of my favourite shoots ever! Also one of my first fashion shoots with a creative team, how time flies! This shoot was a team effort. I had a makeup artist and model on board and I had the vision to shoot something in a forest, a girl running freely barefoot with dapples of light shining on her face as she explored her surroundings. We wanted it to be fashion, but in an effortless, natural way. The makeup artist came up with the idea to paint her forehead red to contrast the greens of the forest and the model had brought a long a feather headband she had found in a $2 store the week before. We set up in a little cafe and got ready, then spent the rest of the day running around the forest taking pictures. It wasn’t until we sat down to have a little break, the model was having a cigarette and we were all just chatting, that I noticed the light where she was sitting looked perfect. I asked if we could take some photos with the smoke streaming out from her mouth and a few snaps later is how one of my favourite photos ever born. I think magic happens sometimes when you least expect it.

surroundings

How much input do you have with styling?

I have a few stylists that I absolutely love working with, they are very talented at what they do and have a similar vision to me as to what they want to create. I usually send them a moodboard of outfit ideas and a little explanation of what I’d like the overall shoot to look like and the rest is in their hands! I definitely trust them and always love what they end up bringing along to a shoot that I don’t feel the need to have too much control over the styling than that.

moodboard

You have also worked with touring musicians. What’s that like? What are the most difficult challenges that come with gigs like these?

Working with musicians is great and my only difficulty is that I’d like to do it more often! My fashion work likes to keep me busy though! All the musicians I have worked with so far are amazing people, when we do promotional on-location shoots, everyone is usually very laid back and talkative which makes for a fun day!

touring musicians

What would you consider the most important trait every aspiring fashion photographer should have? A sense of fashion? (said half-jokingly)

Sure, a sense of fashion would help, but I guess that’s why we hire stylists to shoot with! I think it’s important for fashion photographers to have a vision and a distinct style. It’s important to be able to listen to the input of everyone on a shoot may have but then to also not forget that you were hired for your style, so you need to incorporate your opinions into everything as well.

aspiring fashion photographer

Be sure to check out all the work of Julia Trotti on her website and blog!

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