“Each photoshoot is unique…I see every model as an art piece that I want to reveal in a picture.”
Despite winning international awards for a short movie, Lebanon-based Eliane developed a passion for fashion photography. She revels in the moment, with every photoshoot an opportunity to reflect her art, and produce uplifting images.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Eliane Mallat, and I’ve been a professional fashion photographer for eight years.
Tell us about your education.
I graduated, first, from Al Kafaat University with a bachelor degree in Radio TV. I won three prizes for a short movie: a first at my university, another first at the Monaco Film Festival, and a second at Australia’s short movie awards.
When did you first become interested in photography? What sparked it, and when did you decide it was what you were going to do?
After graduation, I couldn’t progress my dream as a director, so I sought a less expensive tool for my art. I found my passion for photography, and since I was fashion-oriented, I began shooting models and fashion-related shoots.
Were you educated in photography, or are you self-taught?
I was both self-taught and studied Radio and TV.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of feel do you try and create in your photos?
I always try to reflect what my client wants to project, a sexy look or a more formal mood. It depends on who I’m photographing for, but I try to harmonize the elements, colours and lights in the picture to reflect the sought-after outcome. It’s like a custom art mood depending on the model.
Describe a typical shoot.
Firstly, I get to know my clients, understand their style, personality, and we discuss the location and theme, so I can build a picture in my head and get a mental start on how I want the photo session to be. We settle on a date and on photoshoot day I introduce the photoshoot as a fun activity so that the model will be in a good mood. That’s how my images tend to be uplifting, and the models always love the results, because I capture ‘happy her’ in the photo.
How much time do you spend taking photos versus retouching them?
It depends on how many outfits and clients, but a shoot can take about 2 to 3 hours, editing can take around 30 minutes per photo.
Who would you like to work with most?
I love to work with professional models so I can get a perfect shot due to their professional approach.
You can only have one lens for the rest of your life, what is it?
I am a big fan of two, either the 70-200mm Canon or the 80mm Canon!
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
Each client has their own character. Each photoshoot is unique, with a different style reflected from the external art of my client as I see every model as an art piece that I want to reveal in a picture.
You specialize in fashion and portraits. What do you find so fascinating about people?
The individualism, the different type of cultures and characters you meet in this upbeat business.
What are the key ingredients to successful portrait photography?
The key is getting familiar with the client, trying to put the model in her happy mood, and, of course, a fine artsy ratio of background, model, elements, lights, shades and perception.
What are the biggest challenges of working in Lebanon?
There’s a challenge in every type of business. Still, I like to see challenge as a progress checkpoint even though the problem with Lebanon is that its economic issues affect all business.
Talk us through your compositional process – where do you start?
Firstly, I adjust my equipment depending on the place, then I match the outfits with the backgrounds, hype up the model with music and then start the session.
What type of camera, lenses and lighting equipment do you use?
It depends on the shoot, but I usually use the mrk4 5d Canon, a wireless Godox flash for outdoors and a light reflector. Also, the 70-200mm lens or the 24-105mm lens.
How much equipment do you typically bring to a photoshoot?
For an outdoor photoshoot, I use a reflector, flash and my camera.
Of all the images you’ve made so far in your career, which is your favourite, and why?
My favourite was a photoshoot at Kfardebian mountain in Lebanon. The location is amazing for photoshoots, the models were so professional, and the view was perfect for a great result.
Could you please share Happiest Moment in your photography life?
The happiest was when my friends staged a big birthday surprise on a photoshoot with a cake and balloons. It was unexpected.
Apart from photography, what are your hobbies and interests?
I love hiking, camping, yoga, reading, and playing videogames.
Your message for CiiN.
I admire what you are accomplishing and the fashion sense that you have. I also like the name of the magazine and wish you the best of luck!