He has learned all photography skills by himself and always gives a 200% during his work. His passion for photographic and his perseverance has brought him to where he is right now. We got the chance to have a little chat with French fashion photographer Olivier Merzoug.
Current Location: Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium
Can you give us a little intro as to who you are and how you got started?
Hello, I am Olivier Merzoug, fashion photographer in Paris. I create catalogs, look books for brands ( New couture, lingerie, swimwear, etc. ), books for women, men and children that wish to enter in agencies but also for individuals. I also work with corporations ( portraits of the directors, event parties, product launches and so on), books for artists ( comedians, singers, makeup artists, etc.) and finally I am a coach for two big groups where I teach photography technics and editing. I started photography 10 years ago. Before that, I was working in the artistic domain, I was art director, creative pole, for many communication agencies, web design. I was also a musician, author and composer. Since a few years, I made my passion for photography a full time job.
Did you go to college for photography?
No, I studied it all on my own. That has always been the case for my jobs. I am a passionate who spends his time observing, trying to understand and do anything possible to improve to perfection.
Why did you decide to become a fashion photographer?
I really enjoy fashion and the way to make a face beautiful, a piece of clothing, a situation. That doesn’t mean that I do not enjoy landscape photography but the humans are the main subjects of my visuals. Fashion allows me to express myself and to create completely different series.
Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?
There have been many, I am lucky enough to work a lot. I would point out a few in particular. The studio shoot I did for the TV channel ” Fashion TV”, photoshoots for brands that had big teams working on it. Last but not least, a series I did with a fully painted horse ( the pictures have been shown on the channel Equidia and many other horse-related channels). I’ll show you a few samples from it.
FashionTV spot : https://vimeo.com/66267422
What are the biggest challenges of working in fashion photography?
The most important is to give a true image by perfecting its composition, put the models upfront. We need to bring dreams and magic in what we do.
How do you get yourself inspired for a photo shoot?
I take a lot of inspiration from famous photographers but I mostly trust my sensitivity and my way of creating visuals. A subtle mix of control and improvisation. I think that one of my strength is to quickly analyze a situation, a place, what will work or not. I also use websites such as 500px, Pinterest to create moodboards before the shoot.
If you could shoot anything/anyone/anywhere in the world – what/who/where would that be?
I would have loved to do a photoshoot with Michael Jackson, but it might be difficult now 🙂 Otherwise, I would love to shoot the models from Victoria’s Secret. They are just exceptionally beautiful. It is time for Russell James to give me his job. To finish, some actress are on my radar 🙂
Which photo are you currently most proud of? (please add this photo)
I am really proud of Alison’s picture that I did for a couture brand. They make me think about paintings and I enjoy the colors harmony, the expression and the model’s position.
Who are your favorite photographers?
I really love the universe of Russell James, Marc Lagrange, Peter Linghbergh, Vincent Peters, Patrick Demarchelier, David Bellemere and so on.
You’ve clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to people looking to expand their portfolio?
Personally, I like natural beauties, the ones that don’t really need much makeup to be beautiful. I enjoy models that are expressive. In the end, beauty is a completely subjective notion but the most important is to have in front of you a face or a body that inspire you.
Which posing tips you have for (aspiring) models?
I am lucky enough to work with “agency-models” and individuals. According to me, a picture works on three main criteria’s : The light ( natural or artificial ), the body shape ( a good understanding of the body in the space) and finally what the pictures tells us ( attitudes and expressions of the face). There are many interesting books with “positions” to study. But whatever, Fashion of artistic nude, I am looking for very aesthetic pictures.
You could have anyone take your portrait, who is it and why?
Hmmmm no one had ever asked me that question before. I only know a few French portraitists that do excellent jobs but I would choose the ones that work with comedians like Demarchelier for instance. But I wish him good luck because I don’t think that I am a lot better behind the camera than in front of it 🙂
What’s the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
I am a passionate photographer that strive for perfection in my work. I am a true perfectionist, that is not always easy to live with. When I work on a project, I give it 200% because the most important for me is the result and the satisfaction of my client.
What does 2017 look like for you?
A lot of new projects for 2017 because I just started a European tour. I am dreaming of an experience in New York to know where I am at as a photographer and if my work might be appreciated abroad. I am also working with a Belgian agency for which I will become head booker. On the side, I continue my coaching all over France for people who want to learn photography technics and editing.
Where can we follow you?
Facebook page : www.facebook.com/OLIVIER.MERZOUG.PHOTOGRAPHER
Instagram : www.instagram.com/oliviermerzoug
Twitter : http://twitter.com/oliviermerzoug
Tumblr : http://oliviermerzoug.tumblr.com/
500px : http://500px.com/OlivierMerzoug
YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/user/jkaymusic
Backstage Mag : http://issuu.com/oliviermerzoug
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/oliviermerzoug
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/oliviermerzoug