The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Meghan Kay Sadler
Photographer: Meghan Kay Sadler
Location: I am based in Los Angeles. I feel like any major city is going to offer a good amount of work to photographers. Los Angeles is versatile because of the many different types of terrain; you’ve got the beach, mountains, desert, and city, all within a few hours of each other. It keeps me engaged and inspired with different environments and different people to photograph.
Equipment: I’m a Canon kid. 5D Mark IV, with a variety of lenses. Lately, I’ve been favoring the Canon 35mm 1.4, 70-200mm 2.8, and the trusty (and light) 50mm 1.4. I do all post work in Lightroom.
Style: I grew up drawing and painting and did design in school, so my work has a painterly quality while maintaining strong design principles. I loved art history in school and I feel like my portrait work is a mix of old style portrait painting with a cinematic feel. Developing a style is interesting because it's mostly just collecting work you love and studying it to figure out why you love it more than what you are currently making. It's also just constant evolution. I love shooting portraits the most. Portraits that are about the people I’m shooting are the most interesting and fulfilling work for me.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience (and your first camera!).
I got into photography via design. I went to school for graphic design and was working in a design firm, predominantly on some publication projects where I was sourcing photography for magazine design, and I just realized I was enamored with photography. I would catch myself on several photographer’s blogs and looked at them far more than studying design work. I tried to ignore this for a while since I had a comfortable design job with a salary, but eventually, photography won out and I got a low-level dslr, started playing around, and quit my full-time job a year or so later.
What are your thoughts on iPhone-ography?
To each their own. Whatever people want to make work with, go for it. It gets dangerous when we start to say art can only be made by a certain level of equipment. Art is in the eye, not the gear.
Do you shoot things differently/look for different types of shots when you're shooting for Instagram as opposed to say a larger editorial? If so, can you give us an example?
I definitely consider the way images will be viewed when shooting. I don’t always feel like it makes a huge difference, but being cognizant of the platforms is important. If I’m shooting for a larger commercial campaign, I know the types of images an art director will want to see and how they will want the product viewed. If I’m shooting a portrait session that’s just for me, then I am going to play a lot more with angles and styles.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
I’ve always been partial to this ballerina shot. It was in between planned shots for a dress line I was shooting. It was one of my first big jobs, I had been prepping for the shoot for a while and was stressed about all of the moving parts but I looked over and it was just beautiful; the girls were resting there in such pretty light. It felt like a reminder for me to always stop and enjoy the act of creating.
“...it's the shots that you don’t plan or don’t think will be moving that are the most evocative. Let go of control and let it surprise you."
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Books and movies. I read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies; I spend most of my life lost in other narratives and I’m completely ok with that.
Three of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow and why...
1) @interviewmag - I always love the portraits Interview magazine is creating/curating.
2) @girlsinreallife - Just beautiful studies of women and womanhood.
3) @andreagentl - The lighting on this feed is always beautiful.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
I think letting go of getting the “right” moment. Most of the time, it's the shots that you don’t plan or don’t think will be moving that are the most evocative. Let go of control and let it surprise you.
Tell us three photography tips.
1) Don’t hate on your own art too much. It's so easy to get into a rut or down about what you are making as an artist. We sit with our own work until we are bored with it. But if you start the pattern of talking down about it, instead of seeing it as part of the process of creating, it'll get easy to talk yourself out of creating.
2) Take responsibility for your own growth. Challenge yourself to make new work. Collect work you love and dissect what moves you about it. Mainly, just stay fascinated with the world and how to document it.
3) You need rest. Your body needs rest, your mind needs rest; it's hard to create anything interesting if you are constantly wading through a million projects on two hours of sleep.
If you could shoot anyone, who would it be, where, and why?
I would love to shoot Sofia Coppola. I love her aesthetic vision and her look is so unique. I’d probably want to shoot her in her own home/space, I just find her very interesting.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would... write a novel.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I didn’t ask for help and let people speak positively in my life.
I've been listening to... Courtney Barnett.
Kids these days... don’t remember the struggles of your crush calling the landline and your mom picking up the phone.
I look and feel my best when... I’m hanging with my best friends in the mountains/desert/beach/foreign countries.
When no one is looking I... am in heaven, I don’t like being the center of attention.
Traveling... is the best medicine for almost everything.
I respect... people who remain kind, soft, and open.