Life, Light & Color {with Teresa Laqua}

We are thrilled to introduce you to Teresa Laqua and her stunning work. Teresa is a photographer currently residing in Hong Kong, but calls places across the globe home. Drawn to images that capture the soul of her subjects, she documents the moments of life in an authentic and beautiful way. She specializes in photographing families as well as portraits. We believe you will not only be inspired, but will also learn from her easy to implement tips in this interview.

1. What equipment do you use to shoot and process your photos (favorite cameras, lenses, apps, editing software, etc.)

I shoot mostly with a Canon Mark IV and the Canon 35mm L II. For client session I always bring my 85mm and the 24mm (both Sigma Art). But 75% of the time I use the 35mm.

The last few years I have started using film more often, also in sessions. I use a Canon EOS 3 (with a 35mm 2.0 lens most of the time) and a Canon A-1. My little Olypmus Mju is almost always in my bag nowadays too. It was my first own camera I got when I was about 12 and it still works fine.

I cull photos in PhotoMechanic and edit them in Lightroom. My private photos stay in the catalogue without exporting but get tagged with subjects names and other defining tags if I’m not being lazy.

For client sessions I then export them using the JPGmini plug in to make them smaller without compromising quality. Pic-time is my gallery of choice where clients then can download their photos and order albums or prints straight from there.

2. You have an incredible eye for capturing life with interesting and unexpected angles. What are your tips for finding angles beyond the typical?

Move, get low, get high, look up and down. Climb on chairs, benches or trees. Lie flat on the ground. Look for lines, shapes and patterns. Not using a zoom lens helps a lot with that. Fill the frame from corner to corner or the opposite – leave room to breathe. But most of all move 😉

3. How do you prepare for a Day In A Life session and what does the process of shooting it look like for you?

I don’t prepare much to be honest. I look at their family structure (siblings, age gaps, lifestyle) and their dynamics if I know them a little beforehand. I think about what stands out to me and what I think is special about each of the family members and their relationship. I don’t send out a questionnaire as I feel this would limit me before I even entered their home. I go in with an open heart and open mind and always genuinely enjoy connecting to the kids. And funny enough every time there is a kid that is flagged as “hard to take pictures of” this kid ends up being my muse, my favourite subject.

I haven’t done any full days so far (sleeping over in HK is really hard with small spaces) but I go in and usually don’t start shooting immediately. The great thing about these sessions is that we have time. There is no need to rush and taking a bit to settle in, get to know everyone – especially the kids – is absolutely worth it.

Once the kids are relaxed the parents are starting to loosen up. And from there on it’s just a day in their life with me being there to document their here and now for the years to come.

4. You have a gift for capturing beautiful contrast with light and dark backgrounds. Any tips for the rest of us on creating high contrast images with light and color?

Look for interesting light. Also look at the shadows. Identify which colours make you smile and look out for them. Meter for highlights (digital) or shadows (film). Light subjects will stand out in front of dark backgrounds and the other way round. Playing it safe in open shade has it’s advantages but if you’re after interesting contrast, experiment with all sorts of light. In post processing the tone curve is a great way to slightly adjust contrast if needed.

5. How do you feed your creativity, so that you are able to pour it out in an authentic and unique way to others (basically – how do you stay inspired)?

Good light, colours or textures that speak to me never fail to make me want to take a picture. For the last two decades I’ve been a graphic designer so I draw a lot of inspiration from that part of me. I also go to the movies quite often – a few amazing movies with the great Kiki Kirin have inspired me a lot recently.

Travels are a huge part of my life and seeing all sorts of lights, experiencing the variety the world has to offer and new cultures inspire me lots.

And of course my kids childhood makes me want to press the pause button and document everything – especially the most mundane moments that will be forgotten otherwise.

But to be completely transparent, I’m not always inspired and also have phases where I hardly take any photos. I have learned to just let go and trust the fun will come back as it always has.

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