I first had the pleasure of working with Della on a Cosmopolitan International shoot. Having long been an admirer of her work, but having never been able to arrange for us to work together prior, I was excited for the opportunity. Upon actually meeting Della it became clear that this would be the perfect mashup of styling and photography.
Not only is she an extremely talented photographer who has worked with clients such as Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and Free People, but she tells stories through her imagery. So, for our April Monthly Muse I could think of no one better person than her to chat about all things photography and what goes into working as a freelancer in a creative field.
Was working as a photographer something you always wanted to do?
No, in fact, a lot of my friends studied photography in high school and I had no interest at the time. I was more interested in fashion marketing. It was only later, after I got my degree majoring in economics, that I picked up a camera for the first time.
How did you get your start?
After university I was moving to Tokyo but had six months to wait for my friend to finish her degree. She was interested in styling and needed a photographer, so I decided to do a short course in photography. I had a friend who was a model and I photographed her as one of my first subjects. Her agency saw the photos and liked them. They asked if I wanted to shoot some of their other girls. I started doing test shoots almost every day and really never looked back.
What are some of the challenges you faced early in your career?
It was tough getting people to take a risk on a new photographer. I started professionally when I was twenty-one so I was also very young for a photographer at the time. I needed to do editorial to build up my portfolio, but had a tough time getting booked in Australia. In 1996, I took a trip to Milan and booked two editorials in the first two weeks. I ended up staying there for five years and by the time I left my portfolio was full of editorial. Milan was a great place for me to start. The Italian fashion is so amazing and we had access to incredible locations and models.
When did the idea of starting up your own business come to you?
It never really came to me. I just fell into it right from the beginning. I’ve been freelance since I left university.
What are some of the challenges you face daily with running your own business?
When things are busy and I’m working back to back, the editing is tough. Each job I complete involves a lot of editing. The other challenge is clients who take a long time to pay. Chasing up money can be a real pain.
What do you look for when creating a perfect image?
The way I shoot is very spontaneous. I like to start with making sure we have the perfect casting, styling, hair/makeup, and location. I prepare for every shoot by planning the locations, collecting inspirational images, ideas for crops, and where the various outfits would work the best. Once I am actually taking the picture, I find the best light for the model and work around that.
What are some tips you can give to someone looking to work in the industry whether through photography or modeling?
As a photographer you really have to develop a style and stick to it. Clients want to know what they’re getting. If you can differentiate yourself in any way that’s very important. These days the market is oversaturated with photographers and models. Being extremely confident definitely helps. It is also very important to be professional, have no attitude, be easy to work with, and always on time.
Who has been an inspiration for you creatively?
I’ve always loved Ellen Von Unwerth, David Sims, and Jan Welters as photographers. I also get inspired by a lot of the old Italian and French movies from the 60’s. They help me a lot visually when preparing for shoots.
What can you suggest to someone who is looking to buy art for his or her home?
I love Terry O’Neill’s photographs, and have photos of Bridget Bardot and Audrey Hepburn on the walls of my loft.
What type of equipment would you suggest to some that wants to get into photography on an amateur level?
I would suggest getting a Canon 7d with a 24-70 lens.
Hope you have enjoyed this post and loved getting a glimpse of some of Della’s work. If you want to see more you can check out her website here. As always please let us know if there is anything you would like to see on the site and we will try to make it happen.
The Everyday Editor
All images courtesy of Della Bass