Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Featured Professional - Saira of S1 Studio (Photographer)

An Exclusive Interview with
the female's female Photographer
Saira of S1 Studio of Oakland, CA.

Written by:  GF Smith

Saira is embedded in the heart of the Bay Area California where she lives and works from her in-home studio. The comforts of home are not the only benefits that come from getting headshots done with S1 Studio. Saira provides a zone where models don’t feel pressured and can be themselves in order to best translate that look through the photographs. Since she finished up her schooling, Saira has been well on track to make this happen.

Who is Saira when it comes to S1 Studio?
-A graduate from the College of Photography with a Graphic Design degree, and I have my own business now. I mostly shoot aspiring models.

Would you say that’s because most established models already have a photographer they’re comfortable with?
-Well sometimes they come to me anyway depending on what they’re looking for, but sometimes when they don’t come to me it’s because they want on-location shoots and I shoot from my studio only.

Depends on what they’re looking for? Is that to say you have a specialty?

-I do... I specialize in fashion and I use more creative lighting. Sometimes the models come looking for different shadow lighting and makeup.

Is that something you do yourself?
-Yeah, I have a staff that helps execute it but all the creative ideas and themes come from me.

So where do you get these concepts from?
-It depends. Sometimes I use modeling websites or other photographers, but most times it’s just talking to the model and getting a creative idea of what they might want.

And when you decided to do the photography thing, was the motivation within the creativity you wanted to apply?
-The way I got into Photography was because I just love taking pictures and once I got into studios, I just realized there’s so much creatively that could be done with lighting.

Have you given thought to doing anything not fashion related, like with movies or something?
-Not so much, because I’m comfortable with my studio. Outdoor shoots or film shoots is not something I’ve considered.

Is this your fulltime job?

You have enough clientele to pay the bills?
-Well... yeah, but my income is supplemented ‘cause my husband works.

Oh, so you’re married?

-Yeah and I have a one year old daughter and I find time in between to do photo shoots.

Is it hard juggling a daughter and a model’s schedule?
-It depends on if they’re working on a deadline, ‘cause if they are I’ll just get my in-laws to look after her, because they live with me and my husband. So it’s not really an issue. Plus my studio is in my home, so it makes it easier between doing make up and hair to get to see her a lil bit.

Is it difficult dealing with an industry dominated by single people?
-Well there lifestyle doesn’t affect me.

Do you find most models difficult to work with?
-No, there’s that stereotype that models are snobby, but all of the models are easy to work with. Even if I ask them to do a pose that’s difficult to execute, their patient until we can get the shot we need.

You think they find it easier to work with you cause you’re a woman?
-A lot of the models say that. I advertise that I’m a female photographer because I get a lot of response that way. There are a lot of male photographers and a lot of the girls are prone to be easier with a woman

So you would encourage other women to get behind the camera?
-Oh yeah, there’s a lot of room for opportunity here.

Have you ever given any thought to expanding beyond your present style?
-I have put in motion the plan to (start) marketing by the end of the year to do school portfolios.

Do you feel like you’ll always be more hands on or are you looking for other photographers?
-Well, right now I have a couple of interns, and I might have them take a few pictures (for) each shoot, just so they can understand the concept.

Do you recruit women for that too?
-Yeah, and my assistants are females as well. I work from home, so my whole staff is female. It’s an all female environment, ‘cause that’s often more comfortable for the models and the employees.

So your husband’s a pretty lucky guy?
-(LOL) he’s never around when I do my shoots.

You don’t ever see him hanging around the house like “Need any help at work honey?”
-(LOL) no, no, he’s not like that.

Ok, so how do we contact you?

-I have my main studio website and I’ve got plenty of my work there. You can email me there too at