Peter Juhasz is talented photographer with an eye for beauty and seduction. His style expresses lifestyles in most relaxed and easygoing atmospheres, but as I have discovered there is a fair bit of planning and setup happening behind the scenes. It takes hard work to create such pleasing and beautiful imagery and Peter pulls it off every single time. Besides his passionate erotic work, he also shoots outstanding lifestyle stock imagery, contributing exclusively to iStockPhoto. I have been admiring his work for quite a while and have finally found the time to interview him about his work and the philosophy behind his photos.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an electric engineer situated in Hungary, still working as a service manager for a multinational company. Beside my full time job I do photography as a part time activity and passion.
How did you get started in photography?
I was around 22 when I bought my very first digital camera, this is the time when my “career” started. It was a compact 2 MP Canon, the first one on the market, but it has taught me different ways of thinking and seeing.
How long have you been a photographer?
As I said, I was 22 when I first tried, OK it is not true 100%, because I used an old Russian film camera earlier in high school 🙂 , but I would say that I was around 26 when I really started working as a photographer. I have tried myself in fashion, glamour and erotic photography.
Where are you based from and do you travel for work?
I am based in Budapest, Hungary. I mainly work here and in the countryside, but sometimes I organize photo trips to other countries.
How would you describe your style?
Very tough question, I don’t think that I have my final style, never will have. I always try to experiment, use new techniques, lights that never tried before, new equipment, etc. Some say that I have a unique way of seeing things, but I cannot describe it. Maybe, as an engineer I have a different way of thinking than other photographers which determine my style.
Which one is your most favorite field in photography and why?
Definitely women and lifestyle. I’m not a patient kind of guy, for me it is much more fun to work with people, than doing still images. Catching the moment, trying to show something nice, sexy or dramatic is more challenge to me than making technically perfect images.
You have shot for magazines and have done advertisements. If you could shoot a feature for any magazine which one would it be?
I did few local campaigns in Hungary, and some fashion editorial for a few smaller local magazines.
I have never thought about this, maybe a magazine for men would suits the most to me, GQ, FHM, etc…
You shoot a lot of seductive imagery; do you have specific shots in mind when you plan for these sessions?
Yes, I always have a plan, some times more than 1, I try to imagine the final look of an image, there are finished pictures, moods, feelings in my mind and we keep working until I see them physically.
How do you get people feel relaxed in front of the camera?
I try to work with professionals; they know how to do it. If I work with couples I do it only with ones who are already used to each other. It is also essential to have sexual vibration between the two of them.
Sometimes a small amount of alcohol helps. 🙂
What type of camera do you shoot with?
Canon 5D MkII, never used anything but Canon…
Besides your camera, what is a must-have at each session?
Monopod, diffusor, reflector, different lenses. Reflector is a must have!!!
Ever since I bought my ring-flash I bring it too, I pretty much like the way it works.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
My favorite is 50/1.4 this is a brilliant lens for its price. Lots of chromatic aberration that has to be corrected, but the shapes of its images are beautiful.
Do you have your own studio, rent or shoot at home?
I’ve had one for a long time, but now I shoot at home, outdoor, renal flats, hotels and rent a well-equipped studio if it is necessary.
In most of the studios there are only blank backgrounds, no setups for commercial work. I prefer to use places that are made for living, working, normal everyday environments.
What lighting equipment do you work with?
I prefer natural or continuous lights. Certainly the more expensive ones are better, easier to use, but I have no preference.
LED lights are great choice when you have to carry them!
Which LED lights do you prefer to use?
I have used a Welimex Pro LED 1000
What computer software do you use for post-processing?
Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, CameraRaw and some plug-ins
How important is Photoshop for your work?
Very important. When I started photography, I thought that PS is a devil’s child; that by manipulating the image I will cause a loss of the very meaning of photography.
Now I think the opposite, using PS I can add a lot, by using it in the right way, not too much, can increase the emotional effect of the images, add a different mood, different feeling. Nowadays photography is not about the perfect image making, not about the perfect shooting technique.
Certainly, it is Essential to shoot good images, but you can correct them, improve them by using post processing.
What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?
I use basic ones, more or less; brush, patch, liquify, masking and photo filters from Nik software.
Do you use Mac or PC?
I used to use PC, but changed this year to Mac.
I always have to underline, that I’m not an Apple fan, I chose Mac only for professional reasons.
The only reason is its screen, I checked several Laptops on the market, but none of them had such a nice image quality in combination with strong hardware.
I use 17” MacbookPro for portability.
Can you describe your post-processing workflow?
I always shoot in RAW, making the basic corrections and image pre selection with bridge, and then the final work is done in PS.
I don’t store images in TIF, but always keep the Raw files for later…
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have in mind?
Maybe a new lens, a macro. Canon EF 100/2,8L Macro. I don’t have any macro lens right now.
What has been your most memorable photo shoot and why?
I have several memorable, quite difficult to choose the most… Maybe the last one In Croatia, the first time when I had the chance to shoot at the see with my favorite model who is also a good friend of mine.
Why? Because, it is a lot fun to work with her.
Do you get assistance during your photo shoots and editing or do you do everything by yourself?
For major works I have, it is impossible to do everything by yourself. I work with stylist, makeup artist, some cases photo assistance, but the editing I do by myself.
How do you find your models?
Mainly by personal contacts or on the internet, social networks, model/photographer sites like modelmayham, and similar ones in Hungary.
How often do you use Makeup Artists?
Always, for every shoots if the model is not as professional to be able to make her own make up.
How many images do you average per shoot and how many do you usually end up using?
200–600 images and I use around 20–30% of them.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a shoot and if so, how did you handle it?
If you shoot outdoor there is a big chance that something goes wrong, weather, equipment… anything. If it is the weather, you can do nothing about it, I usually cancel a shoot rather than making a poor one.
At the beginning I had no experience with models, and I wasn’t too careful… many things can go wrong with bad models!
Luckily there was only one case when I had to send a model home, because she was terrible :). Since then, I organize everything more carefully…
So, that is why the only risk is the weather now!
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about your work?
To be unique and not to copy others. There are so many great photographers, with great ideas and pictures, it is almost impossible to stay unique and make something special.
What do you think of the photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
In Hungary photography is a very hard way of living, and in five years it would stay the same, stock is a different thing.
As you also see in stock the competition is rising and there are more and more new sites, everybody can be a photographer with a proper camera.
It is hard to see the future; I can only hope that if I keep making the pictures and try to stay unique, it will be enough to stay on foot.
For sure I want to be more and more professional, and more recognized in my country and worldwide too.
I see myself as a full time stock and commercial photographer 5 years from now.
Who are some of the people in the industry that inspire you?
There are several great photographers both in stock and commercial photography, but I get my inspirations not from people, but from pictures, films, music, etc….
How do you market your business, and what works best?
As a stock photographer I don’t really have to market my work, IStock does. For my other works I use my website, photographer community sites and facebook mainly.
Online media is really important. Cheap, fast, easy to reach by many people, but there is one other really important aspect that I mentioned before… relations, contacts… and a good reputation among models and customers.
How important is your website for your business?
I find that the personal website is less important than Facebook now days.
Everybody is using Facebook, it is much easier to update, to share, to use day by day…. no one will follow your personal home page as a daily routine.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to shoot for magazines?
Be tough, open minded and good politician. You have to have good relations with publishers and art directors. I think it is more about relations than knowledge when dealing with photography for magazines.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
Not at all.
If you had an unlimited budget, what kind of a shoot would you do?
I would go to the Caribbean and shoot for a month.
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera, where would you go and what would you shoot?
Real people life in their real environment.
What superpower would you like to have?
If you can be Batman, you definitely have to be Batman, any other cases you should be a photographer! 🙂
What are you still learning?
Always learning… different things, techniques, graphic stuff, diplomacy, etc…
Do you attend any workshops, if so what was your last one?
No, I attended few at the beginning, but I realized these workshops are not organized for me.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
The things that outsiders think about a photographer’s life 🙂
Is there anything you don’t like as a photographer?
I can refer to the previous question, I don’t like that people think it is an easy job, and just having fun with models, and I don’t like that in Hungary we always have to fight for the proper, correct money for our work.
The second most thing is dislike would be the retouch work 🙂
What is your greatest fear related to your work?
That I cannot shoot what I have imagined.
What do you do on a typical Friday night?
Going out with friends, or just relaxing at home.
What is your favorite photo you have shot recently? Can you describe the process behind it (location, equipment and setting used), as well as your thoughts about creating the image and what it means to you?
As I have mentioned, I was in Croatia for a short holiday and shooting. There are several good images from there. I’ve used ring-flash and a 1,5×2 m reflector for the shoot and the natural environment, wind, sun, water… I tried to do something sexy, sensual and satisfying.