Fashion Photography with a Smartphone?

Photography byYohann Laique

Picture by Yohann Laique

I’m firmly convinced that we’re living a strong moment of change in photography, not just because of the digital age that we have been living in the last years but mostly for the mix of that digital technology with the internet. I’m talking about the democratization of photography since today everybody that has a smartphone in his pocket is a potential photographer with a direct connection to internet that allow him to publish the pictures real life.

Today there are lots of photographers who think  that anything you do with a smartphone is not photography because you are not able to manage all the technical variables that you can in a professional camera, but from my point of view managing a professional camera perfectly does not makes you a professional photographer, it takes a lot more than the technical part to consider yourself as one.

Nadar, the french master of portrait photography said: “”Photographic theory can be taught in an hour, the basic technique in a day. But, what cannot be taught is the feeling for light. . . . It is how light lies on the face that you as artist must capture.” So Photography goes beyond the technical knowledge, which of course is really important to master, but the most importat is to have clear idea in your head and your heart of that vision that you want to show to the world. Being a photographer is not just making amazing separate pictures everyday, it takes much more than that, you have to be able to create a lifetime consistent work to consider yourself as a professional photographer.

Picture by Yohann Laique

Picture by Yohann Laique

Being that said, if you have a clear vision of what you want to express to the world through your photography, the media that you choose to do it is just a tool, you can pick the tool depending of the type of public, work or client you want to reach and here is where the decision of using a smartphone is an additional option that we as photographers have today, which is also great for us! I’m convinced that rather than mentally going against the waves of change, we have to surf on the top of them and see this tendency as an opportunity and not as a treat, smarthphone photography is an additional tool to put your work out there in real time.

So I had the idea of doing a fashion story with a cellphone and life found its way to connect me with that opportunity. One day I received an email from the owner of  Chronoshooting  who contacted me in June 2014.  They are a new company which developed an app for smartphones dedicated to photographers (professional, amateurs and instagramers). The app encourages photographers to shoot series of 9 pictures inside special street courses they have created around the world to compete in a original way against other photographers inside the app.

When they contacted me to collaborate, I told them my idea about shooting a fashion story with a cellphone to post the pictures immediately on Instagram and also use them for their app. They loved the idea immediately and proposed me to shoot with a Nokia 1020 (41 megapixels camera) attached to a Profoto B1 lighting pack, which I immediately accepted.

Picture by Yohann Laique

Picture by Yohann Laique

The experience was deeply interesting for me since the beginning because I had to explain everybody that the story was going to be shot with a smarthphone, which I thought was going to be a difficult issue to find the team willing to do it, but it was a great surprise to find out that everybody (fashion stylist, make up artist, hair dresser and model agency) was amazed with the idea and ready to collaborate without asking any further question.

We did the shoot in collaboration with Elite Model Paris  and a great and motivated team in a sunny saturday in one of the courses of Chronoshooting at Le Marais . The launch of the app was the past June 24th 2014 with the opening of an exhibition at Le Galerie Thierry Marlat in Paris where these pictures along with all the series of other photographers that collaborated with the app were exposed during 2 months and here is the result:

Model: Bhumika Aurora Styling  by Paula Saiz – Make up by Charlotte Guilmot – Hair by Nina Olivet – Photography by LACuellar – Photography Assistant: Yohann Laique 

Chronoshooting also did a backstage video of the shoot were you can see how we shot the series:

My personal conclusion of this experience is that photography, internet, social media and cellphones will get closer and closer everyday to work in the same field, we already see a lot of examples in documentary photography were photographers like David Guttenfelder from Associated Press wire service documents North Korea through his Instagram.

I´m very sure that fashion will not be the exception, we already see what happens in the fashion shows around the world when thousands of pictures from the backstage of the show go live to social media or as recently Mario Testino did by document the last Fashion Week haute couture 2014 in Paris by doing the Mario Testino´s Couture Week Diary  for Vogue Paris.

All these are signs to understand where fashion photography, internet, social media and apps are going now and in the near future,  for now, here is my small contribution to the start of this new age


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A Polygamous Photo Love: The Eiffel Tower and me.

The first time I came to Paris as a tourist in 2011 I felt in love with the Eiffel Tower and I know this is something that happens to almost everybody that comes to this city, but in my case I have made a magical relation between the both of us and I’m going to tell you why.

Eiffel Tower by LACuellar

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I remember our first encounter was like those flirting moments in a bar while you’re watching a girl you like in the middle of the crowd, following her with your eyes while she moves in the middle of the people, at the same time you start also moving towards her to approach and start a conversation, you notice that she’s also looking at you, that you have made a strong eye contact while both are moving like dancing a bolero.  The crowd is thick, there are seconds when you lose her from you sight and you feel confused but then she appears again in the middle of crowd, each time closer to you and finally comes that moment when you stand in front of her and say hi and a burst of adrenaline runs strongly from your brain to the point of your thumb.

Eiffel Tower by LACuellar

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Exactly like that was my first time with the Eiffel tower, I started a walk in the middle of Paris (with no gps, I was using a normal map), looking for her and since this city blocks are not regular rectangles, while I had her in my sight in one corner, I was losing her in the next one, like in the middle of the crowd of the club, I had moments of joy and confusion while approaching her,  until I finally arrived in front of her after taking a corner in an unexpected place and I felt that burst of adrenaline in my body and our photo love story began.

Many artist have had to do with the Eiffel tower, just to mention some: Marc Chagall with his painting “Paris vu par la fenêtre”, Jean Cocteau with his Musical theatre “Mariés de la Tour Eiffel” or Elliott Erwitt with his famous picture “Eiffel tower 100th anniversary” and I could keep mentioning hundreds, plus the thousands of pictures she gets from people everyday. I know I’m just another one of her lovers, another passion story out of the millions she has had during her 126 years of existence but in my mind she has been there just for me.

Eifferl Tower by LACuellar

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I have this polygamous relation with her and I say polygamous because as I said before, she is also in love relations with millions of other lovers from all around the world, but I don’t care, for me our relation has been a private one.  I have seen her through my lens, that means through my personal way to see and that also means through my heart, which is unique and she has been always there to pose only for me whenever I want, no matters the hour, date or temperature, she’s always available for me to give her best angle.

LACuellar and the Eiffel Tower

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I’m a fashion photographer but above all, I’m a visual addict who likes to capture images that produce on me a feeling that moves my soul from its normal state and that feeling is exactly what I have had with each picture I have from the Eiffel Tower. Each one of them has that special input (the light, the colors, the people, the moment, the angle, etc) that has touch my heart, stroke my soul and move my eye to take it, because as a photographer I understand what is the meaning of capturing for ever a moment of live that will never come back after the second you freeze it forever in you camera.

So here are some of the pictures of our polygamous photo love during these 2 years and half relation while living in Paris… enjoy!

Playing with the people…

By the Seine…    

Just the top of her…

Night flirting…

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PASHIONCASE (Passion – Fashion – Showcase)


Eiffel movement

Eiffel Movement – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

It´s 2015 and it has been already 2 years and a half that I started a completely new journey in my life, a 180 degrees change from the traditional office life of a commercial manager to the adventure of becoming a photographer. It was a change from the natural environment of my country Colombia to the cosmopolitan jungle of Paris, from the comfortable use of my language spanish to the struggle of mastering the french, from the warm company of my friends and family to the sweetness of loneliness and new friends, from having all my life resolved to starting a new one with everything unsolved.

Making a change this big at 35 years old when you have your life already “settle” from the traditional point of view of modern society, I mean: good job, good salary, nice flat, nice car, amazing vacations and a lovely girl friend, could seem a case of a mental disease, but in reality what it means is precisely the opposite, a case of mental good health and you wonder why? and the answer it’s easy: because you should be crazy to decide what to do with your life putting first your economical security rather than what you are really passionate about…. and yes! I think that looking at money as a goal and not as a consequence, which is one of our society standards are making us go crazy.

No matter the cost you’ll have for you and your family the most important thing is to earn enough money to be able to buy your “happiness”, no matter if that means loosing all you money at the end paying for the shattered health you’ll have living a life where every minute you give to your job it’s a minute you lose to do something that you really love and I think you seriously should be crazy to make a decision like that for the rest of your life.

What we exchange for the salary that we receive at the end is Time, time of our lives, time that you’ll never get back because it’s already gone and there is no way to get back, so why are you making such a bad deal with your time? exchanging something so precious that nobody will be able to give it back to you again for something like money that for sure you can earn by doing something that will bring joy to every minute of you life?

Sunset in Popayan

Sunset in Popayán – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Well, one day after 3 years of reading, thinking, watching videos, movies, talking to people and most important: learning how to listen to my inner voice, I had the chance to watch the video of the speech of Steve Jobs at the University of Stanford and among many of the interesting things he talks about there was one phrase that came to me and stroke me directly in my heart: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” ….and then I decided to quit my “normal” life and make a good deal by dedicating my life to my passion: photography and more specific fashion photography.

Today I’m opening this blog to showcase passion, fashion and photography stories , that’s why the name is a mix of those 3 words: Pass – shion – case (Passion + Fashion + Showcase. Here you’ll find stories of people from the fashion or photography industry that has decided to follow their passion or that want to talk about something they’ re passionate about and who has decided to live a life followed by what they really love to do every minute, without paying attention to what the standards of our society pray. Of course, you’ll also find the stories about my journey that are related to passion, photography and fashion photography.

Pictures by Colette L Photographie.

So, if you are or you know any young talent with an interesting passion story around photography, fashion photography or fashion and you’ll like to be showcased here, just send me an email to with a summary of the story and If it suits the purpose of the blog, I’ll be really glad showcase it here.

I Hope you enjoy the blog and that it can inspire you to keep following your passion or if you’re still doubting about it, I hope It’ll encourage you to make the big jump and make the decision to do what you really love. Cheers!!!

Self portrait

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