JRP: Beauty Photographer Mario Epanya joins us to share his thoughts and images with James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Mario for taking a few moments with us.
Mario Epanya: Thank you James, my pleasure.
JRP: Where do you call home Mario?
Mario Epanya: Paris is my home but I describe myself as a world citizen. I feel at home anywhere but sometimes with special feelings for different parts of the world. I have special feelings for Rio de Jainero.
JRP: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
Mario Epanya: I used to work as a hair & makeup artist for several years here in Paris. I met a lot of high fashion and beauty photographers and learned a lot just by watching them work. Sometimes when the budget was petite besides being a makeup artist on the set I was also the photographer’s assistant. When I decided to quit my job as a makeup artist in a big French house and become a Beauty Photographer.
JRP: What is it about Fashion Photography that inspires your work?
Mario Epanya:.I will not describe myself as a Fashion Photographer I’m a Beauty Photographer and what inspires me in Beauty is DIVERSITY of colors, skin tones, light reflections on facial structures, and hair textures.
JRP: Name two photographers that you feel have contributed to your growth and style.
Mario Epanya: Erwin Olaf and Olivier Toscani.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Mario Epanya: My D800, a 50mm lens, silver reflector, memory card reader, and my MacBook Pro.
JRP: As for lighting what type do you personally favor and why, artificial or available, hard or soft? What type of modifiers do you use and why?
Mario Epanya: I like hard light and deep shadows. I think they give strength to an image in a mysterious way and help to shape the image. I feel more confident in the studio because I can control my lighting.
Can’t live without my Elinchrom beauty dish with or without a grid on it … can do anything with it. A Stripbox is also good.
JRP: Describe your digital work-flow and the software you use? Does your post processing contribute heavily to your style?
Mario Epanya: I always start in Lightroom or Camera Raw then go to Photoshop. My final touches to enhance the photos are in Nik Software, Topaz, and Portraiture.
JRP: Do you print your own images when necessary or ship them to a lab?
Mario Epanya: I rarely print my images. I use to do when I started in photography doing beauty tests for models and agencies but now that I work for magazines I wait to see the tear sheets.
JRP: Do you work with a regular crew?
Mario Epanya: Yes for very important jobs I don’t want to take any risks but for personal work I like to try talent that I meet on social media. Sometimes you get great surprises and interesting people.
JRP: Please share one of your most memorable shoots and what made it special for you?
Mario Epanya: It’s definitely my Glamazonia collection and my Vogue Africa photos series. Glamazonia is a series of portraits of beautiful braided young Black Women. Vogue Africa is a series of fashion mock ups covers with models of color. These two shoots were done to celebrate diversity through high fashion magazines. The collection went international and so far I have done exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro, France, Belgium, and Pittsburgh, Pa.
Glamazonia also became a presentation for L’Oreal to girls from thirty-six New York City high schools and colleges.
JRP: If not photography what would you be doing with your time?
Mario Epanya: Biking, visiting friends and family. I enjoy nature.
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Mario Epanya: Just do your thing and enjoy it!
JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Mario Epanya: Be yourself and be passionate. Gear is important but does not make the photographer, Having a vision is everything. .
JRP: Thank you Mario for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure. To view more of Mario Epanya’s photography please follow these links: