It’s the one word that fashion people can’t live without: Streetstyle. Nowadays we read it everywhere, it’s the fashion word of the street, one of the most important sources high fashion designers seek their inspiration from and the way style bloggers started capitalizing on! But who takes all those great pictures of all these fabulous looking fashion crowds?
Stela Alves is one of those people who just manages to capture the magic of the moment and freezes exceptional situations with her unique style of streetstyle photography. Since I met Stela years ago at a Fashion Week in Copenhagen, I’m lucky enough to call her a friend and I am beyond excited to share some profound information and invaluable insights of a true professional. Stela regularly covers the most important Fashion Weeks, you name it, she’s done it. And since you’ve most likely seen a picture shot by Stela in your fashion magazine, it is about time to set the focus straight about what it’s really like to work as a streetstyle photographer. So let’s give our best attention to the person behind the camera and let her tell her story!
Stela Alves photographed by Lena Juergensen
Tell us a little about yourself! How did you get involved in photography?
I have a degree in Journalism from the University of Londrina in Brazil and already then I had decided that I wanted to be a photographer. After graduating I decided to go to Europe for a while to learn languages and visit other countries. I lived in London, in Switzerland and in Montpellier, France. On a holiday trip to Morocco I met my husband. Apart from that, after my experience of living in Europe I was sure that I wanted to live here permanently.
Of all the Fashion Weeks you’ve been to, what’s the most exciting one for you to photograph and why?
Without any doubt it is Copenhagen. I think that there you can see something new and creative in the fashion world. I like the city a lot and also the Danish people, who are very beautiful and extremely friendly. I love how they dress.
Blogger royalty Chiara Ferragni from “The Blonde Salad” in Paris
How do you describe your passion for streetstyle photography? Is this kind the of photography you enjoy the most or do you see it just as part of your job?
I learned to like streetstyle photos. My professional background is in photo journalism, I worked several years in Brazil for different newspapers and magazines. Streetstyle photos are similar to photo journalism in the sense that you need to shoot fast. I also like working outdoors and having contact with people. I could never be happy as a studio photographer.
When did you start with streetstyle photography and when did you realize that you can actually make a career out of that?
I started five and a half years ago by mere chance. An old friend who worked as a photographer for the German magazine Life & Style recommended me and that’s how I got started.
For all aspiring photographers who want to live from their work as a professional photographer, what’s the advice you would give them or you would tell your younger self?
As in any profession the most important thing is to like what you do. This way you can unite work and pleasure. You also need to have the suitable equipment and to be quick and agile, what streetstyle photography demands. Furthermore, the most important thing is to have an eye for photography; an expensive and beautiful camera does not make a photographer.
Looking back, streetstyle photography became more and more important over the years. The media takes bloggers and streetstyle photographers more seriously than they used to. How would you describe this situation as a business insider? And can you indicate some trends on how streestyle photography will be in the future?
It is true that the media has been taking street style photographers and fashion bloggers more seriously. I do believe that this kind of activity will be long lasting.
Chloe Norgaard at New York Fashion Week
As you mentioned before streetstyle photography can be very stressful because you have to be very quick. But let’s say you’re at an event and people aren’t rushing from one place to another, like they do after a fashion show: What kind of direction do you give people in order to get the perfect streetstyle shot?
First of all you have to ask people’s permission to take a photo as it is different from the fashion weeks, where almost all people are there to be photographed. At the events it is not the same; if the person refuses, don’t insist.
The street photographer is a professional who needs to have a feeling for it. This is essential, but it is also something that you learn with experience – to be at the right place at the right time. We need to be attentive all the time to what could happen. Knowing how to choose the streets which are frequented by stylish people to choosing the right time for good light – these are tips that I would give to someone who wants to do a good job in streetstyle photography.
Susie Bubble at New York Fashion Week
Where can we find your work online and what social media outlets do you use?
Thank you Stela for this very insightful interview and I guess I’ll meet you at the next fashion week!
Thank you, it was my pleasure!
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