Lifestyle/fashion photographer Noah Sahady–a self-professed shy kid–only recently discovered photography. In fact, his first portrait session barely happened a few years ago. But through this recently found passion, he has forced himself to draw courage and throw himself in whichever situation comes his way. But most importantly, he has realized his love of meeting new people and hearing their stories, capturing little moments of truth through his photography.
In this interview, Sahady talks about how he got into lifestyle photography, why his styling comes from being a fashion diva, and what it means to be a truthful photographer.
To start, introduce yourself and tell us why you got into fashion/lifestyle photography.
My name is Noah Sahady. I’m 22 years old and am currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. I shot my first portrait session a few years ago. Before it, I was a pretty shy individual and found it difficult to open up to new people. By forcing some courage and throwing myself into the situation, I accidentally discovered my love of meeting new people and hearing their stories. I think the main reason my style is what it is, other than getting to hear such unique, interesting stories, is due to my interest in the fashion world. I’m a diva, and I love styling when I can. It really goes hand-in-hand with my photography.
How do you approach every photograph you take?
My approach varies from shoot to shoot. Sometimes I’ll have a very in depth and detailed pre-production process, while other times it’s “run-and-gun.” I have an obsession with the truth – because of that, it’s sometimes hard to tell the level of preparation that went into each production as an outsider. Most of my images are very natural and occur because of the personalities within them.
Your portfolio is filled with on-location shoots, and many of the subjects are caught in movement, whether running, skateboarding, or laughing enthusiastically. How would you describe your approach to working with your models?
My approach is very simple. I try to keep each shoot carefree, fun, and outgoing. A lot of the models I photograph have personalities that lend themselves to this relaxed shooting. The compositions just occur naturally due to the interactions I have with the models.
Why do you think you prefer movement captured within frame?
I think it comes down to what I was saying about my obsession with truth. Don’t get me wrong, I love a well-executed, abstract photoset, but when it comes to my own personal work, I like to tell stories that hold as much truth and realism as possible. My own life is super busy, so when I dedicate time to friends or models on set, it is spent as efficiently as possible – we are typically on an adventure of some sort, running around and just being very fast-paced. The natural style in which I shoot captures these in-movement slices of life.
You’ve only been a photographer for a short time, yet you create photos that are stunning. How do you think you were able to get so good in such a short time?
It really does mean a lot to hear that! However, I look at myself, and likely always will, as a kid from Pittsburgh shooting stories that mean something to me. I never really think about the level of excellence I’ve reached, high or low. I feel it’s good to find where you stand in a collective of creative individuals, but I think it’s just as important to never dwell on it. It’s not so much a scale of “greatness” that I worry about; it is more so how much I enjoy what I’m doing. That is how I’ve gotten where I am, regardless of how awesome or horrible people find my work.
Your lifestyle photography works with the beauty of various landscapes. How do you find these gorgeous locations?
Luck and through the network I’m blessed to have. I bike often, so scouting turns into an adventure on it’s own…and I like that. Other times, friends from cities I’m not very familiar with will graciously recommend spots or areas to search.
You also work as a wedding photographer. How did you get your start in wedding photography and what do you enjoy about it?
I shot my first wedding in conjunction with a fellow photographer friend of mine. It was ironically for a photographer friend of ours who happened to be in need of someone he could trust to capture that special day. I was able to see such an important time in two people’s lives from such an intimate perspective. I’ve been hooked since.
What would you consider the most crucial lesson you’ve learned as a fashion/lifestyle photographer?
As much as you want every single company or agency to care about you, they won’t. Gaining success in this industry is almost never a handout, but if you stay ambitious, you’ll find connections that will lead to great things.