When we ask Sebastian Lang about if he is very calm on set or one of the screaming and jumping around photographers, he laughs: “No, I’m a German, not an Italian…“
Even though, you can feel a lot of passion coming out of him when he speaks about photography and you can surely see it when looking at his images…
Let’s start – some words about yourself?
My name is Sebastian Lang, I’m 31 and living in Stuttgart, Germany - but in July I’m moving to Munich. I am a psychologist, editor and also a fashion photographer…
Tell us a little bit about your way into the world of photography…
During my studies of Psychology in Mannheim I met my former girlfriend Scarlett in 2005. She’s a professional, international model and she asked me if I’d be interested in shooting her. That’s how I started my career as a photographer. After my studies I started to work as an editor for a motorcycle magazine in Stuttgart – which for me was much more interesting then doing boring questionnaires as a psychologist. I still work there, but will move to Munich in July to work there as a photographer and editor for a photographer’s journal. But back to my photographers career… one day in 2008 an agency Scarlett worked for asked me if I could do some pay jobs for them and shoot some of their models. So I registered a trade and started to earn money. In 2010 I became a member of the in Germany renowned BFF. Actually I concentrate on, beside my pay-jobs, getting my pics in some renowned magazines, as C-Heads. *smiles*
So you are a fashion-photographer, but are there more reasons – aside the background with your girlfriend?
There are mainly three reasons. First… I love to work with people. Maybe that’s also because I’m a psychologist, but for me it’s very interesting to interact with my team and models and to see how the results get better and better. Second… aesthetics is something wonderful and very important for my work. Fashion photography is the ideal way to combine arts – which is also very important to me – and aesthetics. Third… the first two reasons would also fit with beauty photography – that I also do. But I really hate beauty retouching. You are working 6-8 hours on a photo sometimes and when you re-open it the next morning you still see lots of little errors…
How do you find your inspirations for your work?
I visit art exhibitions from time to time and try to understand the ideas behind paintings and photos. That’s a good way to improve my creativity. Beside that I – of course – look at the work of other photographers. Not only popular ones, but also some regional guys. The more different their works, the bigger the spectrum of impressions. For example I love David La Chapelle, but I’m also impressed by the work of a photographer from Stuttgart called Stefan Milev, who does very creative and artistic photos. Sometimes I also see a movie or read a book and so get intentions for a shooting-theme…
In your portfolio we can see, that there is a mix between studio and on-location. Your favourite and why?
“I think that people love to be a kind of stalker or voyeur when they look at pictures.”
From that kind of view, on location-shootings are much more interesting, because you can show a more or less realistic allday-life-scene on your pics. I also love to work with available light, which for me is much more emotional than flash-light. At the studio you only have a white wall and a model, that’s it. So the model needs to be reaaaally, really good. I only know a few models, that have the ability to give the pictures emotions by their posing and their looks. But with that models I love to work in the studio.
Do you work alone?
I still work very often with my former girlfriend Scarlett and I have a very good and renowned Visagist, Suzana Santalab, in Stuttgart. She’s very motivated and very straight-lined. That helps me to achieve the best result at each shooting. I think that a positive atmosphere and confidence is very important to work in an efficient and creative way. Because of that I prefer to work with a fix team.
How do you select models for a shooting and what are the criteria for them? What makes the difference?
As I said before the main difference is the look and and the posing. There’s a lot of professional models that only know a few looks, so you can only use them for special themes. When I start to think about a shooting, I have a picture in my head, of how the results shall look like. So I search for that kind of model, that perfectly fits to that pic in my head. Sometimes that’s a beautiful girl with long black hair, sometimes it’s blond short-haired junky.
The secrets – a shooting and everything goes wrong? Or also a perfect shooting?
2 years ago I had a shooting for a client. The battery grip of my cam was not perfectly fixed in my cam, so it sometimes suddenly switched off. When I realized the problem and I fixed the battery grip, all the pics where gone. So I had to do the work of the last 3 hours again… For the second question – I’m still waiting for the perfect shooting *laughs*. But there’s a lot of great shoots, I’m very happy about. At the moment I’m looking forward to do a shooting with Marie Nasemann from Germany’s next Topmodel. That will be great.
What kind of photographer are you – the quiet, silent one – very calm, or the screaming and jumping around one, with fire and a lot of emotions on the set? Hahaha, no I’m a German, not an Italian. *laughs*
“I’m doing little jokes from time to time, but at the moment when I’m shooting I’m very calm.”
I also don’t become euphoric if I’m excited by the results. The only thing you will hear from me, is “Yeah, that’s cool.”
If you have to choose a word for your style – what would it be?
Some words about your equipment – your Canon… what makes a good camera?
I’m actually working with a Canon Eos 5d Mark II. I’m very happy with that cam, but i’d love to try a Hasselblad or phase one…. The good thing about the Canon is it’s flexibility. I can use it for Fashion as well as for Events or architecture-shots. But I think you can feel - and see – the difference if you’re using a specialized high-class camera as a Hasselblad. For flashs it’s the same… I’m working with Hensel, but would love to work more often with Briese.
Does the digital world and computers play a role in your photography-life?
I’m a computer kid *laughs*. I started photographing when the first digicams came out. The possibility to see the results immediately at the display was very fascinating for me and today still gives me the possibility to do experiments, for example with long-time exposures and to check in real-time how’s the results. Postproduction is also very important to me. Less because of the retouching, but because of the ability to give a pic a certain style. Especially colors and contrasts give emotion to a picture, so I often spend a lot of time checking different color settings.
The – maybe – impossible shooting… let’s dream a little bit…
Well, hmm….. Maybe I’d book Kate Moss, Adriana Lima, Toni Gaarn and Baptiste as models, Mario Testino as assistant and Karl Lagerfeld as stylist, go to Silvio Berlusconis palace and do a bunga bunga-style shooting with them. *laughs*
And what’s your target in the next five years?
I’ll try to get an even better contact to the fashion scene, get more publications in magazines and find a good agency to work with. So hopefully in a few years I’m working for renowned international fashion brands.
Your favorite city and the best place to go out?
I love NY, even if I’ve never been there. Maybe this year…. beside that, Barcelona is really great. But if I had to choose where I want to live, I’d choose southern France. I love the Cote d’Azur with it’s colors, smells and villages…
Thanks for the time, Sebastian!!!
Interview by Emanuel Sprosec / Sigrun Guggenberger