Having been a model for ten years, she carries a talent and useful connection with her fashion and bridal subjects that many other photographers don’t necessarily possess. When watching her shoot in person, she is animated, energetic, emotive and passionate which evokes beautiful emotions out of her portraits. And through our ever changing industry, she’s been loyal to her analog process the entirety of her career. Meet all-film fashion, commercial and wedding photographer, Tanja Lippert.
Starting out in 2001 and residing in Bay Area, Tanja is a 100% film photographer. When watching Tanja shoot in person, there is no doubt she has a passion and deep commitment to her craft. She not only is a talent behind the camera but many of her brides and commercial shoots are styled by her as well. Her creativity and world travel is usually filled with spontaneity and as she says it, “dork energy” which means she’s not afraid to show her crazy side. Dancing, singing and costumes are just a few tools in her arsenal of on-set fun and human connection. And this is just another reason why I, and her clients, adore her.
As a model, Tanja experienced time in front of many different types of fashion photographers over her ten-year modeling career. “My time in front of the camera has certainly helped me immeasurably directing and working with people on the other side. I know how intimidating it can be to have your photo taken and feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I feel that one of my biggest strengths as a photographer is directing and working with people in a way that helps them feel at ease and relaxed in the whole process. I was exposed to fashion and photography at a young age. I grew up with it and it comes very naturally to me.”
“I believe that every great photographer is not only a photographer, but also an artist” Lippert explains. “A great photographer can not only capture great images, but CREATE images worthy of capturing! I feel that it is my job to both CAPTURE and CREATE and that is exactly what I aim to do when I pick up my camera.”
“Our society has become obsessed with technology & a wave of inventions that have made everything newer, faster, cheaper and easier. We are living in a fast paced generation where demands are high and slicker, quicker, cheaper & easier are not only the standard but somehow the expectation of consumers. The photography industry has certainly had it’s share of major changes that have thrust us into the age of digital technology! Technology that enables photographers to shoot endless amounts of pictures easier and cheaper and deliver them to their clients faster than ever before. For me, I am not so convinced this technology has helped the photography industry. This is why I am still ‘old school’ in my approach to my art, my business and my thought process.”
“I often get asked ‘why do you still shoot with film?’ The answer is pretty simple. I am a huge fan of the quality, richness and ‘magical’ look that film has to offer. Shooting film ‘connects’ me to my subject and surroundings and makes me more acute to what is happening in front of my camera. There is no reason for me to be distracted by viewing the images in the back of my camera all day, so instead, I am focused on looking through the viewfinder; waiting for just the right moments to capture. When I started shooting fashion work back in 2001, digital was not even an option. I learned photography on film and have NEVER switched. Despite the pressure of the photographic industries and all my fellow photographers, I have held steadfast and true to my love of film and have NO plans on ever switching. By using one of the best film labs in the world to scan my film into high resolution digital files- I get the best of both worlds, film & digital. I get the look and beauty of FILM CAPTURE along with the convenience of digital (like utilizing Photoshop when needed and being able to show my work on the internet and share digital files with my clients). Yes, it is true that film is more expensive to shoot and requires me to be an EXPERT at my craft. That is exactly why I will continue to shoot with it. For me, photography is still an art. It’s MY art. It’s my blood, my sweat and my tears. It’s also my joy and my love. I would NEVER dream of sacrificing the quality and look of the images I produce for anything. I know that every photographer has their opinion about which is superior, film or digital. For me, film is what makes my heart happy and emotionally ties me to my images. I love it, love it, love it…”
Tanja’s Favorite Gear:
Contax 645 Medium format Film Cameras & lenses (45mm 2.8 /80mm 2.0 /140mm 2.8)
Mamiya RZ67 Medium format Film Camera & lenses (110mm 2.8/ 50mm 4.5 / 65mm 4.0 / 180mm 4.5 )
plaubel makina 67 medium format Film Camera
Nikon F100 35mm Film Cameras & Lenses (28mm 2.0/ 35mm 2.0/ 85mm 1.8/ 105 macro 2.8)
Leica M6 Film Camera & lens (Nokton 35mm 1.4)
Take a look at Tanja’s latest mentoring workshop .