We had the good fortune of connecting with Simona Berger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Simona, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Many think that, in order to start a photography business, the only necessary thing to do is to master the craft (lighting, posing, editing, etc.). Nothing could be more wrong. To start a successful photography business, you need a great marketing plan. Without it, no matter how great you are as a photographer, your business will go nowhere.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is my obsession. Literally! Born and raised in Italy, I grew up surrounded by history and beauty. I discovered a passion for photography when I moved to the USA, and I started experimenting trying to find my personal style. I graduated from the New York Institute of Photography where I studied in 2017 and decided to open a studio to share my passion with models and clients alike in Saint Peters, MO.
Was it easy? No, but photography is my calling, and the thing that will undoubtedly drive me insane someday. I don’t photograph subjects. I photograph the way they make me feel. Admittedly, this is a strange concept, but it’s honest – and it’s the best way to describe my approach to the craft. I wrestle with every image I shoot. I assume perfection is possible and I always strive to make each image better than the last one.
My work is not for everyone: it’s exclusive to the person I am shooting. Everyone gets their own concept, and my editing style changes every time. I get excited brainstorming with my models/clients, when I check their wardrobes to see what we can come up with. Sometimes it’s simply a piece of fabric, a thrift store finding, or a headdress. There is no set of rules, and that’s what makes my brand unique.
I have learned to let go of the small things that make me upset. Because in the moment I get upset, my creativity hits the brake, and when that happens I feel the loss.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have not lived in the area long, and the COVID 19 situation didn’t help me get acquainted with too many places. However, there are some spots one must visit when coming in St Louis. A visit to the Arch, the Old Courthouse, and Union Station are a must for sure. The Butterfly house in Chesterfield is another favorite spot of mine, but don’t forget to check out the Soulard Art Gallery and the Art Saint Louis Gallery: the resident artists are fantastic, and there are always interesting exhibitions. In particular, Adam Wayne, a photographer I greatly admire, creates some of the most interesting Architectural photographs I have ever seen.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
They say it takes a village to raise a child: this statement could not be truer when it comes to personal and artistic growth. There are a lot of people that deserve credit for all the help and support they gave to me.
First of all, I would like to give thanks to all my models: every photograph I take is born from the combined effort of me and my models. We brainstorm together, plan the photoshoots and they are always free to share any idea they may have. I consider them my babies, and I sincerely love them all. A special shoutout goes to Kim Jay, my first model and muse, Paris N’cholle for believing in me and getting me published in my first magazine, Lucy Tobey for recommending me for this interview, Mel De Wever for convincing me to submit images to several art galleries, and Natalia Cantwell, who became one of my best friends.
The second shoutout goes to three of my college professors: Lisa Di Giacomo, Gene Strickland, and Yuri Lev Hrynyszyn. All three are great photographers and amazing people, always ready to help when I struggled with a class, and answering my endless stream of questions.
Last, but not least, my biggest shoutout goes to my husband, Dan. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. He bought me my first DSLR camera, enrolled me in college to study photography, and is always the first one to buy the magazines that publish my photographs. He supported and pushed me, forcing me to keep going every time I am been tempted to give up.
Facebook: Simona Berger Photography
Kim Jay, Mel De Wever, Lucy Tobey, Nikki Serenity, Gabrielle Berger, Gioia Berger