Wellity Wellity. Here we are again and if there is anyone who’s toolbox you wanna rummage through its one hundo percent this talented chicka! So this week photographer Alana Dimou gives us the low down on her must haves in her toolbox.
What is you profession?
How did you get into doing what you do?
One cringe-worthy evening of 2011 I purchased a domain name and installed WordPress. I blogged as a hobby and eventually taking photos of food trickled into my university studies. Instead of studying 2D animation as was the grand plan, my major work was a self-published cookbook, and since then I’ve been very lucky to learn and work with some very talented people and businesses. THANK YOU, WORDPRESS.
What motivates or inspires you?
I believe if you don’t learn you don’t grow so I’m forever pushing myself to watch, read and learn from others. I don’t have a “my ____ was a photographer and it’s my life’s calling to follow in their footsteps” or “I was born with a camera in my hand!” story – photography has, and always will be, a challenge so my biggest motivation is knowing there’s always room for improvement.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully doing the same thing or #lovinglife in some related creative endeavour.
When you’re not doing your work job what are some hobbies you enjoy?
Eating heaps of white sugar and carbs on my couch while watching 90s cartoons (I’m the opposite of Bondi). Also cheese and and the sweet tunes of J.S. Bach.
Now…what’s in your toolbox?
The nifty fifty
The workhorse of my camera bag, the Good Guy Steve of my kit. I shoot with a 50mm lens 70% of the time as it adapts to most situations. If you don’t have a full-frame camera the cropped equivalent is a 35mm.
Probably one of the most humble (yet most useful) items in my bag is a piece of foam board from my local art store. Instant reflector! Bounce that light with the greatest of ease in the smallest of spaces. This one time a pastry chef and I spilt chocolate ganache all over it, but it was ok, because it’s only a piece of cardboard. Definitely an A++++ addition to any photography kit and perfect for clumsy folk such as I.
All my external drives
I’ll never forget my first data loss experience. I was 14ish and the family computer had been sent in for repairs. When it arrived home my “Alana’s STUFF” folder had vanished along with all of my anime fan art (lol), vector portraits (LOL) and general deviantART musings worthy of an emotional teenage child. I cried for weeks. That’s why I have a stack of backup drives on my desk. All my images and files exist at least twice somewhere, and this pink guy lives in my bag for when I need to move small things around fast (it’s been with me since my first year of uni). That being said, I’ve still lost important files despite my best diligent efforts, but at least I’ve tried my best – plus it could always be a lot worse.
Sometimes, when people contact me for the first time, they call rather than send an email to ensure I am a real human being – and I answer them with this very “loved” and “rustic” phone. Both cameras are a bit broken and it looks like it’s fallen from a significant height several times, but, it’s ok because it makes phone calls and can receive emails. I don’t mind that I can’t instagram on the spot or drive with accurate GPS or answer the phone without cutting my ear or internet properly with its weak wifi signal… uhh, I can answer the phone when people call me and this is an important and good thing. My phone is good for use as a phone.
Things can go wrong all the time on shoots and the best way to be prepared is to have spares of everything. Full batteries, empty SD cards and not the other way around.
The film equivalent of whatever system you shoot with
Ahh film, so nostalgic, so whimsical! As with most things, photography is definitely not immune to the “let’s get back to vinyl” mentality of romanticised analogue times. Despite the OTT nostalgia that rolls along with a roll of Kodak Porta (and yes this is an obvious truth), the occasional film snap is an important reminder to me that wielding your digital beast and shooting wildly isn’t an ideal way to approach things. Frame it nice now, relish in the grain later. This Nikon F100 arrived from eBay second hand from Dallas and works a treat.
Taking time to take a break
When I need to recalibrate my eyes after a marathon stint of editing I park myself before yet another screen and play Mario Kart 8 until my eyes are bleeding in an entirely new way. Always make time to have some fun, even if fun involves shouting at a children’s game because the blue spiky shell annihilated you at the finish line.
Standard issue stripes
Because photographers are supposed to wear either dark colours or striped tees… right?
A clear mind
Money can’t buy a clean headspace. If your mind is as borderline George Costanza neurotic as mine then the best advice I can give is to slow down and be calm. A misplaced fork or overcast weather used to send me into a tailspin of panic once upon a time ago. It’s really easy to get caught up in an flurry when something on a shoot is going all sorts of wrong, but for the most part anything can be fixed so long as you keep your cool because a calm mind is an open mind and an open mind solves problems.
And if you’re as enamoured as we are by Alana you can stalk her website and then spiral down an interweb rabbit hole to all the social medias she’s on (she’s a killah tweetah FYI)