Interview with Savannah Daras: When Dreamy Meets Portraiture

Rating: 5.00 based on 2 Ratings
  By Taya Ivanova
Interview with Savannah Daras: When Dreamy Meets Portraiture

Savannah Daras is a talented portrait and fine art photographer. Her photographs are dreamy, thoughtful, and beautiful color corrected.

In this interview, she talks about inspiration, her editing process, and more. Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to start taking photographs?

I’ve always loved art in all shapes and forms when I was a kid I would draw all the time, I also loved recording home movies and playing with Polaroid/disposable cameras. So the urge to create has always been there. Growing up my dad loved taking candid photos of everyone, he’d constantly have his Polaroid camera in hand. So naturally, I wanted to do the same. As I got older I got more into photography specifically. In 2005, around the time DeviantArt was popular as well as MySpace, was when I got my first digital camera and started taking self-portraits, teaching myself Photoshop, etc. Seeing everyone creating and expressing themselves on those platforms really inspired me to do the same.

savannah daras self portrait

2. If you could give your younger self some photography-related advice, what would it be?

That’s a tough question. Honestly, I’m really happy with the path that I’ve taken, and the process that I went through to learn what I did. It all felt very natural and fun, I don’t regret anything or wish I did anything differently. I suppose I would just tell my younger self not to worry about what others are doing, and to stay true to my desires and vision. I think a common plight among artists is comparing our work to others or worrying that we’re not doing the “right” thing to get to where we want to be. But I’m a firm believer that there are 1,000 ways to get to the same place, and everyone has their own path to follow.

savannah daras self portrait

3. Self-portrait photography is a very intimate and challenging genre. You’ve proven that it can also be an incredible source of creativity. What does a typical self-portrait shoot look like for you?

Absolutely, self-portraiture has a really special place in my heart. I get to express myself when I photograph others, but with self-portraiture, it’s the ultimate form of self-expression, as I get to dictate every tiny detail (which a perfectionist like me loves haha). A typical self-portrait shoot for me is actually pretty quick, I’ll decide what I want to wear and do for the shots usually at the moment. For me, when inspiration strikes I need to seize it soon or I will likely move onto something else. Then I like to find a simple yet beautiful spot that’s close by; I love shooting in flowery bushes or little nature spots that don’t look that fantastic at first glance but work as great backdrops. After that, I just set up my tripod and use a wireless remote to take my shots. I keep this part of my process pretty simple!

savannah daras portrait

4. You’re an expert at color correcting and editing. What do your editing sessions look like?

This is where the magic of my work really comes alive in my opinion. I spend a lot of time editing simply because I love perfecting every tiny detail, and making sure each photo tells its own story. I like that each photo of mine can stand on its own and it doesn’t necessarily need to be part of a larger set of images. I usually spend at least an hour on a single photo, often times 2-3 hours if it’s more elaborate. I put all of my attention into each final image I create, working on them until I feel they are exactly how I envisioned is a really special part of my personal creative process. I’ve spent 12+ years learning and growing in regards to retouching/color correcting in order to develop my own style, and I’m still learning new things all the time. It’s a never-ending journey.

savannah daras self portrait

5. What 3 things should every portrait photographer have in their camera bag?

I may not be the best person to ask this question since I’m totally not the type of photographer that carries tons of gear with them haha, I carry one body and lens with me and that’s it usually. Besides that it’s good to have some backup supplies such as hand warmers if you’re shooting when it’s cold out, bug spray if you’re venturing into the woods (I personally like apple cider vinegar mixed with water), a snack in case you get hungry, and model releases! I like to use an app on my phone instead of carrying around paper releases.

savannah daras portrait

6. Your portfolio is filled with soulful images. How do you make your models feel comfortable enough to express themselves so beautifully?

I wish I had a magic answer, but I’m a pretty reserved person so I’m definitely not an expert at pulling people out of their shells or being extroverted. But I think what has worked best for me is recognizing that I have my own unique personality and charm about me, and I don’t have to be like other people to be successful. When I was younger I used to feel bad about being “quiet” and introverted, living in a world where being extroverted is glorified has a tendency to do that. So I would read tips from other photographers that were very bubbly and extroverted, thinking that was the only way. There is of course nothing wrong with that at all, but it just wasn’t me.

I think the moment I realized that I had something special to offer in my own way was during a shoot years ago, the woman I was photographing told me that she really enjoyed how calming I was, that I gave off this very peaceful and comforting energy, and that made her feel comfortable in return. That was really special to me.

So, to answer your question, I just try my best to be myself when interacting with models. I’m of course very friendly and I talk with them, but I don’t go out of my way to be someone I’m not. I find it really helps to sit and hang out with them for a little bit before we jump into shooting, so we can get a feel for each other and connect in some way. Some are more comfortable than others in front of the camera, but they always warm up to it after a few minutes of shooting. It helps to show them shots on the back of the camera during the shoot as well, so they can see what they look like and if they need to adjust anything.

Typically if someone wants to work with me, they’ve already seen my work and have a feel for what my style is all about, so they know what to expect. The energy that I put out into the world is what I get in return, so I often attract people with similar views, which leads to us being on the same wavelength while creating.

savannah daras self portrait

7. Who are your favorite artists?

I have so many! We’re so lucky to have an abundance of talented souls on this planet. I could honestly list tons, but I’ll pick one for now. My dear friend Bella Kotak really inspires me, our styles and personalities are pretty similar, but her work is more fantasy/elaborate and it’s just so beautiful and enchanting. She’s doing amazing things and growing so much, she’s definitely my biggest inspiration when it comes to photography at the moment.

savannah daras portrait

8. If you could change one thing about the photography industry, what would it be?

I would change the common need for competition among photographers (and all creatives really). So often I see people withholding information because they don’t want to share their “secrets”, for example how they edit, or how they landed a certain job etc. To me it’s so silly, I’m an open book if someone asks me how I did something I’ll happily tell them. It’s not like I’m the only one on the planet that knows how to retouch the way I do. Sharing with others and lifting them up benefits us as well as them. It causes no harm to help someone else on their journey. Sure, there are tons of photographers striving for the same jobs, but in my opinion, we all have our own individual style and way of creating that there will always be someone out there that resonates with you. There are endless opportunities for all of us and I think it’s pointless to fight each other; I love connecting with people who want to create a community instead.

savannah daras self portrait

9. What do you wish every artist knew?

The journey that you’re on is your own, and it’s perfectly okay if it differs from someone else’s. In fact, it very likely will. Our current culture has a way of constantly shoving comparison in our faces, especially on platforms like Instagram. We see someone else’s highlight or staged moment and think “I wish my life was like that”, but chances are they’re living a pretty “normal” life outside of social media. The same goes for the art world, we see the finished product, not so much the trials and tribulations it took to get there. I think it’s perfectly fine to admire and look up to people, but it’s important to remember that every single person started from the same place, at square one. So if your journey seems longer or different from someone else’s in the same field, don’t worry about it so much. You will find the path that feels right for who you are and that’s all that matters.

savannah daras portrait

10. Last but not least, what is your biggest creative goal?

I’ve got quite a few big dreams rattling around in my head. I’d love to work with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, I’ve loved his music for so many years and I just really admire him as a person and artist. I think we could create some really amazing stuff together. I’d also love to photograph BTS, they always have such stunning visuals to go with their music, it would be an absolute dream to create with them. Another one is to shoot for Vogue and to have a huge team working to help bring my visions to life. I also just want to travel all around the world creating with companies and people that share the same creative passion that I do.

Savannah’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Rating: 5.00 based on 2 Ratings
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I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

Comments (1)

  1. Kim Guest

    I’ve been following Savannah’s photography for years and I absolutely LOVE her vibe, color and edits. She’s truly a master at her craft.