Zara King is an Australian-based photographer who focuses on capturing the essence of who people are. She studied film and digital photography and has been a portrait photographer for over 10 years, as well as teaching Beginner Photography classes and providing family portraits for The Dreams Project. In 2022, she plans to get back into working with other artists and creating purely for the sake of it.
Her journey in photography started when she came across a black and white portrait book of people walking through Central Park, New York. Her passion was ignited and she knew in that moment that she wanted to pursue a career as a photographer.
One of her accomplishments, 11 years later, was to visit the US and walk through those places she saw in the book and to take her own photos.
She’d like to go back again one day and retake some of them, to see how she’s evolved over the years and how far she’s come.
Now, sharing my knowledge with others who are wanting to learn has been my biggest achievement. Seeing their faces as things start to make sense, and their excitement as they start moving into manual mode is the best feeling ever.
If you take a look at her photos, you’ll see how she manages to capture spontaneous, natural emotions, without people looking like they are posing too much – they sometimes even seem to be completely off-guard!
The secret to helping them overcome camera consciousness is connecting with your subjects, she says. She’s taking time to talk to them and to help them feel at ease:
I ask them things about themselves and tell them things about myself in return. I tell them at the very beginning that if there’s anything that they’re not comfortable with to just tell me and we’ll do something else, and I show them their photos during the session to give them a little confidence boost. If it’s couples or families, I get them to interact with each other so I get natural moments that way.
While she doesn’t have a favorite photoshoot, a few have stuck in her memory and are deeply connected with The Dreams Project. Through this project, she feels she can give back to the community. The work is not always easy – sometimes she’s capturing families’ last moments together, but she knows she’s offering them invaluable, beautiful memories.
Her inspiration comes from many things, but when she feels a lack of it, she likes to check Instagram and Pinterest.
I check Instagram for others’ creativity, and Pinterest for DIY prop ideas. If I’m feeling unmotivated, I find dropping it for a bit and coming back to it when I feel the urge is the best for me. If I try to force something, I tend to just get frustrated.
Going into more technical details about what makes a good photo, one tip she’s teaching her students at Beginner Photography, is that auto-focus area mode is one of the BIGGEST life changers.
Changing this mode to “single point” will immediately remove 99% of beginner’s frustrations. A lot of them don’t realise they can change where the camera focuses, and think that it’s their fault for not getting a photo that’s in focus. Changing this mode and allowing them to take control immediately boosts their confidence.
Also, she adds, when it comes to editing, it’s very important not to be limited by filters and settings. Furthermore, for editing apps to stay relevant for photographers, they should enable creative freedom, while being easy to use and helping artists send their messages to the world.
We concluded our interview with Zara on a very different note. As we read about her passion not only for photography, but also for coffee, we wanted to know: what makes the perfect cup of coffee? You might not be surprised about the secret ingredient 🙂
At home, I use organic beans, grind them with a handheld Porlex grinder (just enough for the single cup), and brew them on the stovetop in a Moka pot. In saying that, the secret is actually when you make one for someone else, or someone makes it for you. That extra dose of love and care always makes it taste better.
Learn more about Zara and her work here: https://www.zarakingphotography.com/