Meet Neal 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.

 

About: 
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

 

Website: www.nelakoenig.com

Instagram: @nelakoenig