Meet Nela König

Bio-Image-_Nela-KoeningHow did you get your start in photography?

I had been modeling for several years and at some point in time I wanted to switch to the other side of the camera. At that time it was a big challenge, as photography seemed to be dominated by men – back then, we used to work on film rolls and spent lots of hours in the darkroom. At the beginning, I spent several months learning how to expose film correctly … something not necessary anymore today.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?

I love taking pictures of people! That’s something I knew from the very beginning. At Lette Verein, where I got my degree, I also had to take architectural pictures using a large format camera – something I didn’t like at all … taking portraits is something I have always loved and I think you quickly notice what you’re able to do and where you succeed.


Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?

Yes, absolutely. When I started photography in my early twenties, all male photographers told me photography was something for men only as I would never understand all the technical details… luckily, that kept me motivated rather than upset me, as I really wanted to work it all out.


What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?

That’s hard for me to say – I believe it’s a big success to that I have been working in this job for several years and am happy with what I am doing. I took pictures of great musicians, actors and celebrities and it is something I am proud of. For a few years now, I have been working on a coffee-table book and it’s a big challenge to keep focused and not to lose track as there’s so much else to do!
A big challenge for every photographer is self-promotion and to be active in the social media channels, I believe.


Who and/or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by people – often my friends, sometimes people I meet by chance and very often my kids and my husband. I also like to observe –
Travels are always a great source of inspiration; I love immersing in other cultures.


What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?

For me, it’s always about capturing the perfect moment. To catch a certain expression, one that’s honest and lets you look right into somebody’s soul, so the outer appearance steps back. I really like working with light I build myself, something that’s working nicely for me when it comes to portraits. Oftentimes I use neon lights or a certain arrangement of light bulbs.
Why is accurate color important within your workflow?

I take lots of portraits and getting skin tones wrong is horrible. The image isn’t working anymore when the skin is pink or has a red colorcast. As I like working with neon lights or light bulbs, it’s always a challenge to get the colors right.


Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?

I believe it’s important to really learn your craft from scratch. Nowadays everybody is able to create a correctly exposed and sharp image, but that’s not all there is to it.
Assisting a good photographer is certainly a good idea. And you should find out where your talent lies in order to focus exactly on your strengths.


Born in Berlin, Germany. Raised in Venezuela, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney

Studied at Lette Verein, Berlin

Has worked as a self-employed photographer in Berlin and Los Angeles since 1999



Instagram: @nelakoenig