This week Petit Four sits down to talk with Nandi, a popular female photographer based in Canterbury, UK.
Her influences include a number of things, mainly colour, alternative fashion and culture, and Japanese fashion. Nandi enjoys photographing alternative styles of Gothic & Lolita and especially likes mixing punk with Sweet Lolita.
How did you become interested in Lolita fashion, and what was your very first Lolita outfit?
I became interested in Lolita fashion through manga: original, I know. I loved CLAMP's artwork and just researched more into stuff like Chobits, which then lead me on to Lolita. This was about 4-5 years ago now.
My first Lolita outfit? An awful off-brand combo from Camden in London.
You photographed singer and Lolita model Kana back in 2008. What was it like working with her?
Great! She's really cute as well as a princess. She was easy to direct and fun to work with, at times it was hard to get things done as she was so busy - but I did get to spend a full day with her, even go to her hotel room! Not as glamerous as you may think, ha ha.
You mention alternative fashion as one of your big influences: What styles or designers do you like and why?
I love Vivienne Westwood. She's been an inspiration of mine for years. I love any fashion that catches my eye, Japanese street fashion, candy rave, punk... If I see a person who has dressed in a style really well, I will stop and take it in. I think fashion is a beautiful thing, it's great to see those who really put the effort in! This is why I never stick to photographing one style.
What is the most important thing for you to capture in your photographs?
Colour, depth and angles. Recently I have gotten into showing more emotion and facial expressions. When it comes to photographing Lolita I like to make sure it has shape - the bell of the dress and the fluffyness of the socks...anything to give the image something aesthetically nice to look at.
A shot from the "Wonderland" series
Which is your favorite Lolita shoot of your own, and which is your favorite out of others’ work?
My favourite is possibly Wonderland with Floz. It had been my most successful so far and has boosted my confidence massively as it was published in Bizarre magazine. As for my favourite from others? Probably every shoot that cake_injection does, I am in awe!
Do you have any tips for amateurs with point-and-click cameras who want to take better fashion photos?
Just try to keep it simple. Rules of thirds is something that can be done with any camera and can look great. I recomend looking it up. Also flash isn't always the answer - if the light is good enough try and avoid using direct flash as it is unflattering for the model and makes them look flat. Also, play with angles! You'd be surprised by how changing the angle can instantly change an image.
How about advice for those that want to become a pro like you?
I recomend saving up for a DSLR and look into working with semi-pro models on a TFP basis. From this you can slowly build your portfolio up and then start accepting paid shoots. I also recommend a good photographic class if you're serious about knowing your gear. It's a good feeling when you produce images you know you have worked hard to achieve.
A big thank you to Nandi for her time, and if you'd like to see more of her work, you can check it out in a few places: