For the most of you, there is no need to introduce Chriselle Lim, one of the world’s biggest fashion and beauty influencers – and her blog The Chriselle Factor. Beside the great outfit tips and sharing her personal experience in diverse areas of life, Chriselle’s feed keeps inspiring us by the exceptional quality of photography.
Have you ever been thinking about, who is behind those photos, typical with the strong expression and precise work with light? Who does actually capture those, sometimes intimate personal moments?
Well, I’m happy to introduce you talented Karen Rosalie, the photographer, accompanying Chriselle to all the fashion weeks around the world, as well as to family holidays. Such work and lifestyle, which seems to be a dream job to the many, takes lots of devotion. Flying through half of the globe to spend no more than 48 hours at the final destination, or shootings at 5’clock in the morning, are just a part of it. All for the sake of creating the new exciting content.
The character of the work makes obvious, that the photographer capturing the influencer in diverse life situations, is much more than a great professional. “This is my job,” Karen Rosalie stated, under one of the behind the scene photos on her Instagram. “Your job loves you,” Chriselle commented. Karen, in another place, called Chriselle “the best role model/sister one can ask for”. The two keep evolving ways to engage the broad audience of The Chriselle Factor. One does so, exposed in front of the lenses, the another behind.
Fortunately, Karen agreed to interrupt her photo editing work in one of the LA cafés, to connect with me, sitting thousands kilometers away, for a while, and share some exciting details of her work.
You have been working as a photographer for eight years now, but you studied fine arts. How was your path to photography?
I was going to be a painter. I picked up my camera only in the last year of college. And it was one of those matches, when you just instantly know. I just shot anything and everything I could. I started to do weddings and then I moved to the e-commerce and fashion books and that’s how I realized I’m really passionate about fashion and the fashion photography and product, as well.
How did your fine arts studies influence your approach to photography?
I think it has a huge impact in the way, how I see the world. I think it’s little bit more abstract, because I wanted to be an abstract painter. It was my background. If you look at my images, most of them are influenced by conveying more than just a picture, but also what is the emotion behind. It’s not only a straight commercial photography. Also the composition is very important. On the canvas, everything has to flow together and in the camera, too.
You have been working with Chriselle Lim at The Chriselle Factor since 2014. How did this cooperation start?
I just happened to connect with her, because we have a mutual friend. Our work simply worked together, we have good energy together. So we have been cooperating for almost three years now and we learn from each other.
Does fashion photography give you an opportunity to apply your artistic vision?
I’ve been following fashion blogs for at least five years now. At the beginning, fashion bloggers were just taking the iphone photos. I entered the industry, when bloggers were starting to use more professional photographers. Since then it’s just evolving platform. Now blogs are so much more than only “this is what I’m wearing”. It’s more about the lifestyle too, like this is how I’m traveling, and many more topics. Everything is visual and, of course, it will always push the boundaries. You think how to make the picture more interesting, how to make your concept more interesting, and that requires to be more and more creative.
What new did you have to learn, after you started working for Chriselle? I mean, what are the differences, compared to the classical fashion and product photography?
With the rise of social media, there’s suddenly a new demand for a more “organic” type of photography. Whether it’s fashion or product, it’s suddenly become a question of how can these types of photos relate and resonate with the audience?
“There’s a way to reveal something personal while still keeping the most intimate details behind closed doors.”
Social media channels are very specific, as they combine personal life with work and business. Blog posts are published almost daily, even on family holidays, so you are like a part of the family. Is it possible to keep the line between the work and personal life?
I think, no matter how blurred the lines get, it’s important to be intentional about your content. There’s a way to reveal something personal while still keeping the most intimate details behind closed doors.
What is the most challenging part about such type of cooperation?
I think the most challenging is definitely the need to be consistent! It’s an age when content gets cycled through by the minute. It’s so important to keep consistently posting, but it’s also the most challenging task, to always push out fresh and exciting content.
“It’s so important to keep consistently posting, but it’s also the most challenging task, to always push out fresh and exciting content.”
Where do you find new ideas and inspiration for your work?
In terms of my work, I like to see the beautiful work of other photographers. To push yourself and improve your concept, you need to see the other people’s work. I like, for example, the Cereal Magazine, which is about travel, fashion, vacation. Their concept is so beautiful. I’m constantly trying to learn new things and open the boundaries I have in my mind. Everything you do changes your perspective and makes you better in your work. In terms of the inspiration, I’m trying to use many different sources. It doesn’t have to be photography, but the reading as well. I think it can be anything. It comes together in the end.
How do the social media influence the photography in general?
Social media has enabled photographers to do so much more now. Before, if you weren’t in print or advertising, there would be slim chances for photographers, to make a name for themselves. But now, you can just search up the hashtag for wedding photography and you can find a ton of photographers who specialize in that!
Which social media channel is your favorite?
Instagram is still my favorite. I love how it has evolved to the point where people expect to see the professional photography now. Lately I’ve been playing around with different formatting and experiment with the grid.
Since you started to work for The Chriselle Factor, you travel a lot. Which places you found most interesting, as a photographer?
In New York and Paris, it’s hard not to think about photography. But my favorite for now is, I think, Tulum in Mexico. We were there recently and oh, my gosh, it was really just like a paradise.
Your work with the light and shadow is so impressive. Do you also like to use the flash?
Actually, I like both. For me, my signature is using the harsh shadows. Then it’s the best to combine natural light with flash. If you know, what you want to create, then you can manipulate the light to get the right effecr. So at the end of the day, it’s not about the type of the light you are using, but more about knowing, what exactly you want to convey. Flash is such a recognizable light. The way you use it, lets you to make the light of your own.
What did teach you most about the photography?
There’s no better teacher than just throwing yourself into a situation and learning from the experience and trial and error!
Which era of the fashion photography is your favorite?
1900’s, when Helmut Newton and Ansel Adams were still alive!
Which photographers inspire you most?
When I started to study photography, I was inspired by the work of Ansel Adams. His photos are so quiet and so beautiful. From the contemporary photographers, who I like right now, is Mario Testino. I really respect the conceptual photographers. One of them is Tim Walker, whose work is so dreamy. I also like Chinese photographer Chen Man.
What’s your favorite part about being a photographer?
For me it’s the ability to turn an ordinary scene into the beautiful picture.
And the least favorite thing?
I’m not a huge fan of carrying all the heavy photography gear… but, luckily, it makes my arms super toned!
Can you remember the most adventurous shooting you have made?
When I flew all the way to Greece, to photograph the blooming of the saffron flowers with Chriselle for the Chriselle Factor! It was a short, two-day trip but it was so much fun!
You are currently launching a photography blog. What type of content we can expect?
I’d love to teach photography and share everything I know, to enable more people to be able to make this world a more beautiful place. Cheesy, I know, but I actually believe in this.
©Photos by Karen Rosalie