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Spotlight: Diane Villadsen

My work would be nothing without color! Well, maybe it would be kind of cool, but the color is my signature “attraction.”

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I find that as my work evolves, I always have to use something new to keep it fresh and unique.

What is a week of life look like for you? What do you do each weekday?

It varies a lot, but that’s part of the reason I got into a creative field. I enjoy the flexibility of the lifestyle that photography gives me. So some weeks I may be working on a home or personal projects, hiking, or experimenting with other creative media, while others I may have 2-3 shoots in a row. Some weeks are all about pre-production – making mood boards, client phone calls, painting props, building sets, ordering wardrobe, coordinating team members – and of course, after the shoot, I’m spending hours at my computer in Lightroom and Photoshop. I’m trying to be better at having consistent marketing tasks every week, such as engaging with relevant people on Instagram, reaching out to ad agencies, or making plans for personal shoots, which are my biggest marketing tactic.

How do you incorporate colors in your work?

My work would be nothing without color! Well, maybe it would be kind of cool, but the color is my signature “attraction.” I tend to work with a pretty consistent palette of candy colors, such as pink, tomato red, yellow, orange, mint green, sky blue...but lately, I’m venturing into bolder combinations, such as incorporating indigo or bright green (both of which used to be “banned” from my work). More recently, I’ve been approaching color from more of a design standpoint – really studying how shapes and tonalities intersect and translating that into how I see space my subjects and utilize props. I’m obsessed with color in every aspect of my life, from my 5-color desk to my wardrobe, to the walls of my house. I would be so bored without it.

How do you define/find evergreen pieces/props that work for your aesthetic?

That’s a great question because I find that it’s difficult to have evergreen pieces in my work. I find that as my work evolves, I always have to use something new to keep it fresh and unique. In the past, for example, yellow wide-brim hats and Kurt Cobain sunglasses were my signature styling element for shoots with models. I’ve outgrown the yellow hats, and I’m starting to tire of the sunglasses. But I think part of the appeal of Moodelier pieces, for instance, is that I have the ability to freshen them up with new paint, so they can evolve with my work. Simple shapes are a classic way to add interest no matter what you’re shooting, on any scale. Whether it’s tabletop work or an on-location shoot, I love incorporating stairs, circles, or amoeba-like shapes. 

I really love being hired as an “artist” rather than a “photographer.”

What is your favorite type of project to work on?

I really love being hired as an “artist” rather than a “photographer.” By that I mean, I love when the client trusts my vision to highlight their product or service in an artistic way, rather than just showing up with my camera and shooting someone else’s creative plan. Recently, the phone company Xiaomi hired me to take images with their new phone, and they gave me complete creative reign, as long as it was taken with the phone camera. I also really love a project that challenges me beyond photography, such as when I created large-scale painted canvases or built a set out of paper with a mini-pool.

How do you incorporate Moodelier pieces and other props into your workflow? Can you show us some photo examples?

Moodelier pieces are a great way to add balance and visual interest to a photo. I love to incorporate multiple pieces of varying height to add dimension and layering to the scene. I find that no matter what you’re shooting, shadows are always a good way to create depth and make the image more dynamic, so whether it’s Moodelier pieces or other random objects from my prop box, I always try to play with the light to see how I can create the most interesting shadowplay. Also, Moodelier pieces are a really simple way to turn a plain product photo into something eye-catching and unique, with just one piece.

What are your enneagram types?

For Enneagram, I’m a Type 4 (Individualist) with 6 (Loyalist) & 9 (Peacemaker) wings.

Who and what are your inspiration currently? Any apps and accounts that we should follow that have been helpful or inspiring for you? 

Right now I’m really loving the work of @ariellebobbwillis, @tropicophoto, @annemarieke.kloosterhof, @mendozaweiss, and @kylejeffers_

Find out how Diane creates her stunning visuals by watching her 2 classes on creative product photography and how to shoot creative photos for stock. Learn more here.

All photos by Diane Villadsen

Instagram: @dianewithonen



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