Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Tim Walker, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Nick Knight, Kirsty Mitchell, Mario Testino, Gregory Colbert, Steven Meisel, Sue Bryce, Zemotion, Lara Jade, Emily Soto, Lindsay Adler.
“The Prophet”, Kahlil Gibran.
My name is Nadja Berberovic-Dizdarevic and I am a freelance portrait and fashion photographer from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I graduated Art History and Comparative Literature. I obtained my Master Thesis in Visual Arts and Communication Design. For me, photography is my passion, my career and my lifestyle.
In planning and executing my photo-shoots, I am a perfectionist. I choose my models and locations with great care and spend considerable time retouching my work. I try to learn something new each day and work together with stylists and make-up artists on creating the visual identity of each editorial.
I pay a lot of attention to the whole creative process, from pre-production to post-production, and try to be involved in each and every phase. My work has been published in various online and print magazines, such as Vogue Italia, Grazia, Digital Photography, Scorpio Jin, Surreal Beauty and Stubborn Magazine. My work is licensed by Trevillion and Trigger Images.
-How did you first become interested in photography?
Since early childhood, I showed a lot of interest in visual arts, especially drawing and painting. I even went to painting school as a 5-year old. I always had a talent for painting and an eye for visual aesthetics and design. In high school, I discovered analogue photography. After that, I simply switched from painting and drawing to photography. For me, this shift felt very natural, like the logical next step in my artistic and creative development.
-What words best describe your style of photography?
I believe that my style of photography changes according to the concept of the photoshoot, but it also depends on my mood and the nature of the project I’m currently working on. If I’m creating images for a client, I take into account their requests and expectations. However, if I‘m working on a personal project, I can let my imagination run wild. If I had to describe my style of photography in a couple of words, they would be: stylish, sophisticated, artistic and sensual.
-How did you go about becoming a professional photographer?
Like most things in life, this happened spontaneously. In the beginning, it was difficult to find models who were willing to pose for me, so I took photos of my sister and friends. I also did their make-up, hair and styling. You can imagine this was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.
After a while, I was contacted by several professional models and fashion designers. As soon as I started earning money from photography, I invested in a new camera, equipment and studio lightning. My work was published in various local and international magazines, and the rest is history.
-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot?
I shoot with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and various Canon and Sigma lenses, depending on the photoshoot.
-What is your post-production workflow like?
I try to shoot my images as flawless as possible, so that I spend my time enhancing the image, not correcting mistakes that could have been avoided. I take a couple of hours to carefully select my favourite RAW images from the photoshoot. I import the RAW files directly into Adobe Lightroom, where I make the basic adjustments. After that, I move onto Photoshop, where I retouch the models’ skin, hair, body and the background. I also like to play with colour adjustments, because I believe that colour sets the overall mood of the image.
-What is your dream project?
My dream project would be to travel the world in search of exotic places and interesting faces, perhaps to engage in some kind of visual storytelling and to create something different from my studio fashion photography. Also, I would love to do an underwater photoshoot.
-Do you have a go-to lighting setup?
If I’m shooting outside with natural light, I always bring my reflector and try to shoot during the golden hour or early morning. If I’m shooting in my studio, I usually use two to three light sources. I use the Bowens Gemini kit combined with a large octabox for fashion shoots or a beautydish for beauty shoots.
-How do you approach posing and directing your models?
I like working with professional, responsible models who take their work seriously and who feel relaxed in front of the camera. A good model is like an actor/actress; he/she has the power of transformation and storytelling through their poses or facial expressions.
I like to have a coffee with the model and the rest of the team before the shoot to get to know them better and to discuss ideas, poses, styling and other details. For me, the ideal work atmosphere is a balance between professionalism and fun. Good music also plays an important role in setting the mood of the photoshoot.
-How would you advise someone just starting out in fashion or commercial photography?
Every beginning can be challenging and hard, so it’s really important to be patient and try to learn as much as possible before starting out as a professional in fashion or commercial photography. Work on your technical skills, develop your creativity and do some networking.
Work with other creative like-minded people, stylists, fashion designers, make-up artists and models, and create personal projects. When you have an attractive portfolio that successfully represent your unique style, you will attract new clients.
-What is your biggest resource in relation to technical knowledge and how long did it take you to master your technique?
I learned about photography in the old-fashioned way. Firstly, I used an analogue Minolta camera, used black and white film, and developed my own photographs in the darkroom. It took me years to accept digital photography and start editing my images in Photoshop.
Since analogue film was very expensive, I got very skilled in using the manual mode on my camera. I learned all about aperture, exposure, composition and light. Then I got my first digital camera and subscriptions for some photography magazines. I went to various photography workshops and watched a lot of online tutorials. I am still learning and mastering my technique.
-What is your top technical tip?
Master the light. Whether it’s natural or artificial, a good photographer has to control and harness the light. I believe that this is the technical base of all photography. It takes a lot of practice and patience, but in the end, it’s really worth it. The quality of light is what distinguishes a good photo from a bad one.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given?
It’s not exactly a career advice, but rather a quote by an anonymous author: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” For me, it means to risk everything and chase your dream. The pursuit consists of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. This can be challenging, because it may mean quitting your job and stepping out of your comfort zone. Also, do what you love, find your unique style of artistic expression and success will surely follow.