Lena Perkins is a photographer based on a tiny tropical island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, aka Key West. Born in Lithuania, she traveled the world quite a bit and is now focusing on wedding photography where she lives. We have always been fans of her romantic and colourful imagery.
Tribe Collective: Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and how did you get into photography?
Lena Perkins: I'm a wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographer. I have a BA degree in graphic design from the University of Arts in London. Photography was a part of the course and I had a camera attached to me wherever I went, although taking pictures was more of a hobby.
After moving to Key West I've started getting more and more photography projects and it gradually became my full-time job (and I still do design work occasionally).
TC: Can you provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis?
LP: I use a Canon 5D mk4 and a mk3. For lenses, I use a Sigma 35mm Art, Canon 85mm, Canon 50mm. I also use a Canon AE-1 occasionally.
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
LP: I use Lightroom to edit globally, then Photoshop on the details, if needed.
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
LP: My first photography jobs were conceptual portraits - back then I was really into fashion and beauty, but over time I became obsessed with capturing light and emotions, so I moved towards couples' portraits and weddings.
Color and light-wise, my work has always been dark-ish and moody, but I've also learned to be diverse, depending on who I'm working with, for example, providing local businesses with social media content; the style of the images has to fit the brand guidelines, so I have to adapt.
TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?
LP: For better captures I watch old films, look at fine art (particularly old paintings) study nature, light, architecture and a bit of psychology.
For editing - I love learning new tricks and following the trends. After trying a countless amount of presets, I finally found the one that works well with the harsh light here in Key West and compliments the tropical colors I'm surrounded with. It's Flint & Steel by Tribe Red Leaf and I've been using it on pretty much everything I shoot.
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
LP: Keep learning and keep shooting.
TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?
LP: Any type of close-up portraits.
TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?
LP: Can't think of anything discouraging, to be honest.
I truly love what I do and it comes to me easily. I'm inspired by my clients and it keeps me moving forward.
TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?
LP: In the very beginning of my career as a photographer, I had a couple of hiccups because of the lack of communication with the clients. I assumed that my vision was enough to create a great product, which was not always the case. Then I've learned to put my clients' needs before my self-expression and it's been a smooth sailing from there!
TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?
LP: Success for me is happy clients and a financially thriving business. I won't be satisfied without either of the two.