I have been a big fan of Dean Raphael’s work for a long while; I recall first noticing his amazing coastal landscapes and portraiture pop up on my Instagram feed and feeling a real sense of wanderlust – I look at some of Dean’s images and I want to be standing on that mountaintop, watching the sun rise and pulling in a lungful of crisp mountain air. I love imagery that evokes a response – particularly when it draws forth a feeling of positivity – and Dean’s work always ticks that box for me…
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started in photography; was there a particular image or photographer’s work that captured your attention?
Photography is without a doubt a huge part of my life. I love the art of story telling and image creation. Along with the importance of photography in my life, yoga, eating clean and healthy, caring for the environment and minimising the human footprint have grown equal in what I am passionate about. It’s been a huge motivator in how I create my work.
I’m not sure who’s images they were but, when I first got started, I was captivated by landscapes with people in them and with little else. The images spoke to me and I resonated with the emotional pull the model can have in contrast with the chosen landscape.
I’m deeply moved by the side-effects that our fast-paced, capitalist world has on people and, in particular, women.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
My main source of inspiration comes from what could be considered a negative aspect of society. I’m deeply moved by the side-effects that our fast-paced, capitalist world has on people and, in particular, women. Otherwise, for the general works, it’s about the escape from how fast, cheap and nasty art has become. I take this, and I’m inspired by it to create something romantic, mysterious and dreamy – something for people to look at and feel – “Yep there’s more than just sitting here”.
What is it that you look for in a model when you are planning a portrait session?
This changes all the time but, currently, I look for someone who is confident in themselves without being cloaked in make-up; someone who is active and fit and living what I consider a healthy lifestyle. I look for these things now to help encourage people to make decisions toward a general healthy state of being. The models in my portraiture contribute so much to the story I want to tell so I have to find the authentic people to tell the story honestly.
How do you direct your portrait and wedding shoots in terms of pose and feel; do you plan ahead or do you rely on a sense of spontaneity and chance?
I give clear instructions or offer examples of what I want by showing them myself – or depending on the model and connection I will use my hands to move arms and faces – kind of like a painter does with one of those wooden moveable models.
What does your post-production workflow look like – do you have any tips and tricks that you can share?
Its pretty straight forward; I use Lightroom for all adjustments and Photoshop for any photo-manipulation like removal of distractions and blemishes. My tip is to be as organised as you know how. The more you shoot, the more your files build up and, if you don’t stay on top of it, your computer becomes a savage mess with no space.
Every single image you create is one image closer to being the photographer you want to be.
What would be the best piece of advice that you could give a new photographer?
Find something you love and never stop shooting. Every single image you create is one image closer to being the photographer you want to be.
What has been the high point of your photography career so far?
Every day I am grateful for how I live my life and the things I believe in. Photography is such an integral part of my art and has become a fundamental aspect of how I live my life.
What is next for you – are you currently working on any photographic projects that you can tell us about?
Travel and film making – you will see soon…
See more of Dean’s work at:
All images copyright Dean Raphael.