The Photography Lounge

Tina Eisen - Beauty and Fashion Photographer - Passion is Beauty

July 27, 2020 SmugMug + Flickr Season 1 Episode 4
Tina Eisen - Beauty and Fashion Photographer - Passion is Beauty
The Photography Lounge
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The Photography Lounge
Tina Eisen - Beauty and Fashion Photographer - Passion is Beauty
Jul 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
SmugMug + Flickr

In this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly sits down with Tina Eisen and looks at her career as a Beauty and Fashion Photographer. Diving into the story of why Tina is so passionate about beauty photography. 

They discuss how to go about building a team to collaborate with on a shoot and how to start from scratch to build relationships when just starting out in the industry.

They look at how her macro beauty photography requires trust from everyone on the team as they get extremely close to the model, including sometimes putting glass around the model's eyes!

We also hear how after starting her career and spending so long in the UK, Tina now finds it difficult to teach and talk photography in her native German language.

Find out also how focusing and spending time on Social platforms, photographing for 'likes' and engagement, left Tina unmotivated and unhappy with her work.

Learn more about Tina:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly sits down with Tina Eisen and looks at her career as a Beauty and Fashion Photographer. Diving into the story of why Tina is so passionate about beauty photography. 

They discuss how to go about building a team to collaborate with on a shoot and how to start from scratch to build relationships when just starting out in the industry.

They look at how her macro beauty photography requires trust from everyone on the team as they get extremely close to the model, including sometimes putting glass around the model's eyes!

We also hear how after starting her career and spending so long in the UK, Tina now finds it difficult to teach and talk photography in her native German language.

Find out also how focusing and spending time on Social platforms, photographing for 'likes' and engagement, left Tina unmotivated and unhappy with her work.

Learn more about Tina:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Alastair Jolly: Welcome to another episode of the photography lounge form of inspirational conversations with the world's best photographers and the leading minds from the photo industry

brought to you as always by SmugMug and Flickr. Join me, your host, Alastair Jolly, as I go beyond the lens and dive deep into the stories of what inspires and motivates the photographers and the creatives that we all love and admire.

Hi folks. It's time for another podcast episode with me, your host Alastair Jolly. On today's episode, we are joined by a dear friend of mine. I've been fortunate to spend time with her around the world, as she educates and demonstrates for style and expertise for fashion photography. And editorial and commercial beauty and fashion photographer, her years of experience have seen her work with some of the biggest brand names in the fashion industry.

Her portfolio is as beautiful and vibrant as our own personality. And she is someone who spends so much time giving back and sharing with the photo community.  If you have traveled through the world's airports or shopped on the High Street, I can guarantee you will have seen her work.

Today’s guest is Tina Eisen.

Tina Eisen: Hello. Alastair!, thank you so much. I need that and put it on my website. You made me sound really, really good. 

Alastair Jolly: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to join us for a little conversation today. And it is a conversation we will get into, you know, who Tina is and what she does. And, hopefully, the listeners will get to know a little bit more about you. Did I describe it correctly? 


Tina Eisen: I feel like you have said it all. I am a, I'm an editorial and commercial beauty photographer. So beauty is my passion. I love using faces as canvases and go crazy, but just like most of us there is another job that pays the bills. So, I do a lot of fashion as well.

Currently. I have a bit of full-time job as a photography manager as well. So yeah, that's, that's my other life, but my passion is beauty. Hands down 

Alastair Jolly: Passionate is beauty! And there's many facets to that beauty world and the fashion world. So maybe we'll get into some of that in a little bit about what the Day to Day looks like for your business, but where did it all start?

Have you always been a photographer who was at your career path from earlier? 

Tina Eisen: I don't know if I was just shaking my head, like people would see it. No, it hasn't. So, my journey as a photographer started 11 years ago and it wasn't planned. So originally, I studied business in Spanish, and in English. So, you know, when you don't know what you want to do as a child or as a teenager and then your parents go to study business and figure it out after.

So it was one of those for me. So I'm 16 years ago, I moved to the UK from Germany, worked in an office for one year. Then I managed some bars for four years. Most people don't know that they were just incredibly dull and it's soul destroying. So I thought, Hey, let me pick up a camera from eBay and just play around and see maybe it's for me.

So I took some pictures of my cat and flowers and stuff like that. And really quickly, people asked me to take pictures for them for money. And I was like, Ooh, 'Hello' maybe, maybe there's something in there for me. After about one year of playing around, I had my first commercial client and quit my day job and never looked back.

Alastair Jolly: So you were driven to buy a camera. Why? 

Tina Eisen: No idea. It's just, I mean, looking back at my childhood, I was always really creative. My mom was a kindergarten nurse. So we always grew up doing arts and crafts and creating things. So I should have kind of picked up on nod and had a creative job, but I don't know what drove me to do it.

So, for a little while I was hair modeling for a hair Salon. Yeah so I figured out that I kind of like creating pictures, but not being in them. Right. So that gave me the idea that maybe it should be on the other side of the camera and just have a little play. And yeah, I think that was it. It's, it's almost lucky.

I just fell into it and found something that I liked just by chance. 

Alastair Jolly: Well, that's typically the best careers. If you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. 

Tina Eisen: So Thats it 

Alastair Jolly: that's pretty cool. So you, you were working in bars and managing bars and you were, you had this new camera and you were already getting inquiries, but.

How did you really hone your craft and decide specifically to choose fashion and beauty? 

Tina Eisen: So when I started out, I like, I wasn't even aware of beauty as a genre. I don't think 10, 11 years ago it was actually a defined market. I think it was like the stepsister of fashion. So people would plan and set up fashion shoots, and then just half heartidly take some close ups and call it beauty.

So it's almost like, I didn't know it existed, but I realized really early that I was always. In people's faces and, wanted to capture every detail of an expression without even consciously knowing what I was doing. And then the other thing as well is that I never took, I was never into portrait photography.

I was never interested in reality for me, it was always transforming someone I always wanted to create. Like an illusion. I always wanted to create transform someone in a way. So I think that's where the beauty came in early on. I started working with makeup artists as well. So yeah. I never actually took a single portrait really ever.

Yeah. So I think, I think I fell into beauty without actually knowing that was a thing 

Alastair Jolly: appropriate. And you know, you, you then start setting the trend without being driven down a path that. Is a conservative path. You feel you can be a little bit unorthodox if you really know what the genre is, you're creating it as you go.

I mean, certainly looking at your work. I was struck early on when I saw your work about just how close you are. And, and I guess that's what really defines the beauty. You're, you're concentrating on what the products are doing to transform that character and that really close up. Yeah. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. Like in someone's eyeball close up.

Yeah. And, you know, there's challenges that come with that. But I wasn't aware of right away, for example, I used to be painfully shy and awkward with people, especially when I have just met them. So you have to teach yourself to overcome that barrier within the hour of model, getting her makeup line, because you will have to spend that close in her face and you almost have to create that little bit of friendship within that one hour you have, because having built that repor is kind of showing in the images. So for me, that's the biggest challenge in the beginning was just trying to, overcome my awkwardness and, you know, try and play extrovert. 

Alastair Jolly: I would imagine you're breaking all those boundaries of personal space and stuff.

When you're doing such a macro detailed work of, of lipstick and eye products. 

Tina Eisen: It's almost, I'm building a bit of trust as well. Like, so with the makeup artist has that hour to play with the model and she, yeah, she touches her face, her skin. So to build that trust. We have done images with, Broken glass an inch from someone's eye.

Please do not recreate that at home. but yeah, so you have to build that trust too, for someone to go, just breathe, you know, you're safe. This is, you know, I'm going to take a picture of you. You're good. Right. So to do that with a person you have only just met is the challenge, I think. Yeah, 

Alastair Jolly: I've seen, I mean, just where you have things in people's eyelids hanging in their lashes and literally in their tearducts sometimes, you know? So it must take a lot of trust on their part to let you do that. But I guess when you have a reputation and an amazing portfolio, then that. Helps alleviate some of those 


Tina Eisen: Yeah. People start relaxing and it also helps to try and find your right day team as well.

So pictures like that, that are, that, you know, challenging. I usually create with a team of makeup artist, hair stylists, models that I have previously worked with before. So that sort of, you know, we, we already have. Something good going from previous roots. And then they, they know they just trust you and close your eyes, which is going to flick some paint on you.

And they're not even going to ask, 

Alastair Jolly: is that close up macro work your kind of favorite part of your beauty fashion work?

Tina Eisen: Yeah. As I said earlier, so I love facial expressions and that closeness, but when it comes to being that close in someone's eye or mouth or stuff like the detail you captured as just something else where not only a face as a canvas, but an eyelid.

And it just fascinates me what a makeup artist, for example, can create on such a tiny space and you take a picture and you see every eyelash. It's just absolutely fascinating for me. 

Alastair Jolly: Whith that close up of detail how much retouching work goes into 

Tina Eisen: it?

Yeah a lot. So with something that close, where you see every pore, you have to get that as perfect as you can in camera. So I'm not one of those people that goes, Oh, we just smudged something I'm going to fix that later. I will absolutely have that touched up on set because save me so much time on Photoshop after, but with beauty, because you are trying to create a story on a very small space, you have to get rid anything that distracts the viewer of from that art work. Yeah. So it's one of the genres, where you just have to retouch just to, to be able to tell your story properly and just get rid of any distractions. So I feel like, I think the industry is moving away from a lot of overdone retouching, which is a good thing, but for something like artwork on a lip, like it's, it's so necessary.

Alastair Jolly: And do you do that work yourself? 

Tina Eisen: I do. Yeah. So I have always been a retoucher and a photographer at the same time, just because, I mean, it kills my life. Like literally you'd spend so much time on the computer and on Photoshop at. I have struggled to communicate my vision properly to someone else.

I'm quite a control freak in that way. So I've always taken care of it myself. Right. 

Alastair Jolly: So how did you learn that craft then? Cause that's not something you. You can do it instantly. That's a skillset. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. It was really, really bad in the beginning, but it's just a lot of like YouTube Googling, little tutorials and clips, and I'm learning from other people just making the mistake just hours and hours on Photoshop.

And yeah. Then I started being, being part of retouching communities and people would help each other. And it's just so easy nowadays, you can just ask me a question in your little Facebook group and people will jump on it and help you out. Or as I said, like so many tutorials out there, so many YouTube clips, so that was it in the beginning for me, I would come across problems.

I wasn't aware existed. So it'd be like, Hm how'd you get rid of a vein in an eyeball that I didn't even know that was ever going to be a problem for me, but then you just Google it and the answers are there. So it's, it's a lot of trial and error in the beginning. 

Alastair Jolly: And now you're obviously passing that on to the community from your end. We'll talk about that in a little bit. You mentioned that obviously home was, was Germany you're over here in the UK now. Was that something that came through career or were you here and then the photo career happened? 

Tina Eisen: Yeah, so I first came over and then photography happened, but it's always, since I was a teenager.

So my parents sent me to England for the summers when I was 12, 13 years old. 

Alastair Jolly: Try to get rid of you. 

Tina Eisen: Have some Liberty for a couple of weeks, but yeah. So when you're that age and you're away from home, that's the first taste of freedom. So as soon as I first came over, I decided I want to live here one day.

I actually found an old diary, like a couple of years ago where I was 12 years old. And it said, what's your biggest dream? And I said to live in England one day with a cat, that's a true story. And that's exactly what I am doing.

Alastair Jolly: You've fulfilled that dream. That's wonderful. You need to go find what other dreams are in your fulfilled notes.

Tina Eisen: Have another cat 

Alastair Jolly: See that would be interesting to, to go through it and see all those little things that maybe you've already ticked off or that you could still tick off from that diary. 

Tina Eisen: Photography was never really the plan, I think. But yeah, I just went to England and then I decided, yeah, let's just do this for as long as it's fun and that's 16 years ago. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. It's all your work you UK based. Or do you travel for work or do you have worked back in Germany?

Tina Eisen: I do travel a fair bit. So I do do workshops and talks in the States as well. I think so my main market is the U S and the UK, but I have also done work in Germany, which I find incredibly hard because I have never worked in German.

So for me, it's, it's almost like I was booked to do a tour recently for Capture One in Berlin, in German. And it took me a whole of four hours to translate it back into German. So it's for me, it's, that's it? Foreign language is, German 

Alastair Jolly: Technical discsussion in German is dificult 

Tina Eisen: yeah, it would be like, as simple as, I don't know what, like shutter speed, aperture, all those things.

What that is in Germany is probably like 30 letters long. Oh yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: That's because obviously the craft came after you were in the UK. So you've learned and being immersed in an industry in English. 

Yeah, that's it. So I find that quite hard now. So I try and stick to English speaking languages and countries. Sorry.


between your German accent, my Scottish accent, I hope someone understands what we're saying today!

Tina Eisen: They're probably translating it back as we speak. 

Alastair Jolly: I'm actually amazed that we've got this far into the conversation with you actually putting on Scottish accent. Cause you're quite famous for, 

Tina Eisen: I need a drink for that and I'm really sorry.

You always think I'm taking the Mickey out of you, but I'm just so fascinated. 

Alastair Jolly: Cause I don't hear you do the Scottish accent. Is that bad.

Tina Eisen: Yeah. You're like, Oh, are you doing it yet? 

Alastair Jolly: so let's talk about, some of the client base and some of the kind of business side of it, you know? So who are some of the names that people would recognize that you've worked with?

Tina Eisen: I've worked with, so I do work with a lot of photography brands Canon, Profoto that sort of stuff. I talk for those. In terms of makeup, I've worked with the Sephora, Max factor, Ciate, blink brow bar, that sort of stuff. I'm sure some of them will ring a bell. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: I use them on a daily basis. On the fashion side of things?

Tina Eisen: Harvey Nichols, Amazon, Asos, Barbour. Yeah. List goes on there. 

Alastair Jolly: Just a growing list. So might be a difficult question to answer, but what does the daily worklife of Tina Eisen look like? What does a day in the, in the office for Tina? 

Tina Eisen: Well, yeah, it depends on which job I'm doing that I use with it. If it's fashion or if it's beauty, I mean, every day is completely different.

As I said, I do fashion to pay the bills and I do beauty as my passion. And then because campaign work happens. Every so often, but it's not stable right now. So I have to do both. So I try and make sure that every day is balanced, that I work on both of those careers. So if I go nine to five, Say shoot for Harvey Nichols, read fashion.

I want to make sure that that same day I have also done something to push my passion career. So I would go home in the evening and retouch, or I would set up, beauty tests for the weekend and try and just really use every day there. Test day, for example, I would get up really early. Get lots. snacks. I usually shoot from home, so I've got my studio set up there and we shoot and I download straight away after every single set we do. And sometimes I start retouching wildest shooters. They're going on as well, do emails at the same time. So yeah, I try and just use every free minute to, to just push that career forward a little bit 

Alastair Jolly: A real hustle. I am personally interested in the kind of business side that fashion side. You just said, you do a nine to five work with Harvey Nichols. What does that look like to people who are not involved in that industry? 

Tina Eisen: So for the last four years, I was a freelancer.

So that, that was different. So that is still a nine to five, but you go in and you shoot about 40 outfits on a model. You have no real input in what you're doing there. So that's not, it's barely creative is just pushing a button. I would say no shame in that. Yeah, exactly. So, someone else makes the decisions on styling on hair and makeup and posing and yeah, you just have to make sure that it's lit well and your main focus for a job like that is that a product gets sold and looks its very best.

so yeah, I did that freelance for four years. As a photographer and I'm at the minute I'm a photography manager. It means all the freelancers and all the full-time photographers off that studio. I just make sure that a) they turn up, b) there and meet their targets. c) the pictures, look exactly the same, like in hopes of like standards.

Yeah. So that's, 

Alastair Jolly: and what's the use case for those images that you're taking? What does the brand then use those images for?

Tina Eisen: Online. So it's, e-commerce where they're selling fashion products online. Sometimes we do a lot of, we started doing creative work as well. So it's used for social media. So you get a handful of products and you just have to play with them and just create a little lifestyle set and present them that way. That's actually where we can get a little bit creative as well. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: And then someone, something on the beauty side, like you mentioned, Max Factor there when you're doing campaigns for them. Yeah. Is that where you then move more into the, perhaps more of the art 

Tina Eisen: direction?

yeah, possibly. So that's actually a really good example because Max Factor as a client. When they first contacted me, they wanted so much more than just me taking images. I was really involved in sourcing the whole team makeup, artist models, hair stylist, nail, everything. I booked the studio, I arranged catering.

It was, that was literally Jack of all trades. That was probably one of the most challenging jobs ever because I had to, it was almost too much. I had to make sure that pictures look good while people getting fed. It was incredible, but in a way it's, it's hard work, but I do like that. Brand goes, Hey, we trust you what artists do you know that we can get involved on this?

which then helps me because I can then work with people that I already know and trust. So that's the ideal scenario. I, 

Alastair Jolly: and did they give you a brief of what they want the image to look like and you, then it was your vision 

Tina Eisen: that 

Alastair Jolly: brief?

Tina Eisen: Yeah. So ideal case is that they will show you a mood board and go with it.

This is what we've done in the past. We want more of that, but, a lot of clients, most, most of us know that they kind of struggled to communicate what they actually want from you, in which case. So in the past, that's a learning curve for me, like 10 years ago, I would just turn up and let's just wing this, but now I know that you sometimes need to guide people into communicating what they want from you, just to make sure you actually hits it.

People know what they don't want, but. They barely ever communicate what they do want, so in that case, I will take over and do a mood board and make them sit and go like this. I like this and this and this. And then I know what to do on the day. So yeah, sometimes it's a bit trying to, to help them. Yeah.

Alastair Jolly: Direct, direct their thoughts into a vision. What does it feel like when you see your work in the wild?

Tina Eisen: I'll never get used to that. Yeah, it's amazing. Yeah. So it could be a magazine or it could be like point of sale in a, in a store. It just feels amazing. Especially if it's abroad. I honestly, it sounds cheesy, but I never thought I would get there.

I, when I picked up a camera first and never thought that would ever be the case that like a global audience could see something that you've created, and it will never wear out. It just feels absolutely amazing. 

Alastair Jolly: Complete buzz that. And it's great to experience that. And I know that from seeing the, you know, the social stories, you, you sometimes post, when you discover some of your work somewhere in the world, you can see the joy and excitement in your face when you, when you discover 

Tina Eisen: that will never, that will never die out.

Honestly, it's just such, just, I'm just remembering that a brand put trust into you. It's just the best feeling ever. I think 

Alastair Jolly: you mentioned there, you know, it's a team effort. Yeah. And your world that you work in is a very collaborative industry. Yeah. You know, it's not something you can literally do on your own.

You need other people there, but it tends to be more than just other people there you've, you've spent time creating these relationships. And how does it, how does that evolve as it just gelling with people or?

Tina Eisen: Yeah, I think so. So, yeah. As you said, beauty is one of the genres that you cannot do by yourself.

So let's say like, landscape, that sort of stuff. You that's just you and a camera, ideally. So there's at least need one model and makeup artist. So it's always a team effort. And so I learned very early on that communication and working with teams is really, really important. And that grew into almost seeking a community, a little bit of people that are likeminded creatives, even, you know, like other photographers, like some people think, why do I need to network with other photographers that I'm never going to have a benefit of working with them, but I'm not one of those people. I actually actively travel the world to, to meet up with these people.

It just it's inspiring. I think, I think. For me to go to, for example, to an exhibition convention and just sit with other creatives is really, really important just to, you know, it's it's reassurance. See what other people do. If you sometimes struggle to stay motivated and inspired, you can even just know that someone else goes through that is.  Like the best. It's just amazing. 

Alastair Jolly: So how big a team would you sometimes work, with you make up model or is it way more than 

Tina Eisen: it depends on how ambitious the shoot is. It can just be three of us, especially something like micro beauty. We do not need hair most of the time. We don't need nails unless there's a hand in there, but yeah, it can go up to several stylists.

Several models,hair stylists nails. It can go up to like 20 people depending on the production. Like something like max factor was, I think we were like 25 each day. Yeah. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: A lot of people involved for whats sometimes looks like a  very simple shot.

Tina Eisen: That's it? Like people sometimes don't appreciate how much goes in it. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: Another string to your bow.

You recently just come back from fashion week, right? 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. That was the new one for me. 

Alastair Jolly: Was that something you haven't done before? 

Tina Eisen: I haven't. So, yes, a catwalk photography is something that I'd never really done because I'm like, I need to, I want to be able to tweak my lights and create that. So with fashion week, you have about three minutes and, about two seconds to figure out your settings.

But it was part of my job for Harvey Nichols. So they sent us around the world to cover a major fashion weeks. And it was super exciting. It was just because, you know, the pressure was off a little bit. I'm not a catwalk photographer that has to upload images for media within three minutes of that show kind of thing.

We just could just relax. We shoot backstage first looks front of house and just use those images for social media. So it was almost like experiencing that world, but without a pressure and it was absolutely amazing. It was goosebumps. 

Alastair Jolly: Cool. So it's more than just a catwalk. I mean, I'm sure we can all envisage the kind of scrum or photographers at the end of the catwalk as the model comes down.

And they're desperate to get those images out into the media for a new release, but that's just one little bit, that's 

Tina Eisen: it? Yeah, that's it. So it's almost that the catwalk images is the least exciting, because as you said, there's a whole pit of photographers that will upload that same image. Right? So. the more exclusive picture is the one you get backstage where someone is still raw, gets their makeup done the first like, try off an outfit.

That's that's the images you want to get more like candidate, like how a show is being built in a way. Yeah, that's it. 

Alastair Jolly: And these are, these are specifically for the brand. So I guess you have goos access to all the different areas. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. Yeah. Ideally, but yeah. Working for a brand like Harvey, Nichols right now, who is a, you know, like retailer of luxury fashion brands.

Like it, it was a lot easier for me to be able to experience that for me, myself, personally, as a beauty photographer, that would not have been possible. I don't think like, because I don't have that portfolio. Yeah, that's it. That's it. So 

Alastair Jolly: hope you get to experience more of that. It is certainly pretty fascinating from the side of the conversation, you spoke about your working with your team and traveling the world, being with other photographers and using them as not just education, but motivation.

You do so much. As we've already discussed from passion projects to, to sort of management jobs, to the, the kind of business side of, you know, the day jobs to get. How do you, how do you keep it all going? How do you stay motivated? How do you stay fresh? And is it difficult? 

Tina Eisen: That's a good question. it's kind of changed for me the last couple of years, cause, I have to completely admit my motivation a few years ago was just recognition likes on social media would, I would use that as a feedback of how good I am. And I think that's, that was the wrong way to go. 

Alastair Jolly: Looking for validation through likes. 

Tina Eisen: Yes. Especially because I came to realize more and more, you know, algorithms change online. It's not your fault. You have to really take the step and create art.

For yourself. yeah, you have to create images that attract clients, but most of all, you have to be happy with what you do. You have to, okay. This image didn't get as many likes, but I love it. I loved creating it and I'm proud of it. And that's way more important to then posting something that was mainstream that people wanted to see.

And you got a ton of likes for it. Yeah. So it changed for me a little bit, whereas a few years ago that was important for me. I think my motivation now comes from inspiring people. I just love. Talking, I love doing workshops and tutorials and someone coming to me going the coin just dropped. I actually, I get it now. I want to go home and pick that camera up and create images. I want to try beauty. That is so much more rewarding for me to, to just see it, you know, like that spark in someone's eyes going. Yes. I want to do the same thing. Like that's, if I can achieve that. That makes me go home happy. 

Alastair Jolly: What was the kind of personal impact of this realization that you weren't happy with your work?

The industry seemed to be all your audience online seemed to be. What kind of, mindset, did that put you in?

Tina Eisen: I kind of struggled for a little bit. It was when I realized that social media was that demanding, it made me almost shut down. It made me not be inspired anymore. It made me not really want to create, like, I mean, It made me one too, but I couldn't, I was almost like a paralyzed.

I just couldn't deliver. It was, it felt like people are, they want to see a post every day, and I just couldn't do it. So it just came to a point. The moment I realized that I just had to take a break. It was just, despite it, you know, people are really scared. I have to post every day or else I'll become irrelevant.

I just had to take that step and risk it anyway and just be like, right. Okay. I'm going to take a few months out here and you just have to trust that the industry doesn't forget about you, but, you have to just. Take care of yourself and have your own brain.  You can't push it. You can't just sit down and try and make it happen.

It just doesn't work like that. Like I always say, if I struggled to be motivated, I'd rather go and play PlayStation. That's more beneficial for me. Like then trying to force it in a way. So that's what happened last year. And I just, I realized by summer that I had nothing left to give. So I just had to take a few months out 

Alastair Jolly: I think there is a lesson there for the whole world when it comes to social media, is that, you know, this drive to stay relevant to a following that you don't really know, you know, you can have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of followers. But, they're not, they're not relevant in many ways. Yeah. Trying to please an audience that you don't control, you don't really have a relationship with is really quite damaging and.

You mentioned that you were concerned about staying relevant to that audience, but surely what you need to be is relevant to your clients. 

Tina Eisen: And I'm not bashing social media. I have booked jobs through social media, but you just need to just need to relax. Use it as what it is for what it is for.

It's a free marketing tool, but don't let it control you. Don't wake up in the morning thinking you have to post today. Like just let it come. Natural. 

Alastair Jolly: It's easy to service. It's very difficult to ignore it, or I think we're all guilty of that, but ultimately the social media, isn't there to please you. You are there to please it. As I say the algorithms that are all, all designed to, you know, for, for one reason, which is pretty much data, you know? So, you know, keeping relevant, keeping your client base happy, but more importantly staying healthy in yourself surely that's important, 

Tina Eisen: right? That's it?

Yeah. So that's no, that's no point. As I said in having thousands of likes and then you go to bed that day and you just feel like dead inside. That's actually what it is like realizing you can ignore that for a couple of weeks, but, if that builds up in your head and you can't be happy waking up in the morning, it's not worth it.


Alastair Jolly: That validation is completely irrelevant. If you. Yeah, you're feeling that way. So I'm glad the break worked, but you're in the mindset that is healthy. So thank you for sharing that. I really do hope people take heed of that. And I know you're, you're open about that amongst your community. Right. You know, you're very open with that.

And if anybody's out there struggling, please talk. That's all we can, we can ask, just talk there's someone out there to listen to and be kind.

Tina Eisen: That's yeah, that's a good point because people think sometimes people think there alone and what they go through as well. So, you absolutely not like that insecurity you feel most creatives go through that. Yeah. Yeah, because it's so much judgment in this industry and you know, like people forever will feel like I'm not good enough, this and that. And then we all feel it, you know, you're not the only person, it's just how you deal with it and how you. Give yourself a break almost, but this got deep, real quick Alastair! 

Alastair Jolly: It's so important to not shy away from these types of conversations, and be, leading and having those conversations, but also clearly stating that you're open to have those conversations with, with other people. And so thank you for sharing that. So let's lighten the mood a little bit.

Let's talk about some highlights. So if someone said to you, if I said to you, what are the highlights in your career? Well, what moment stand out? 

Tina Eisen: I think that was a few milestones for me. There was a few years ago. I think it might've been seven, eight years ago. Now I got booked to shoot David Beckham. 

Alastair Jolly: Who is that? 

Tina Eisen: David who?

I think he plays a bit of football. Yeah. Soccer, 

Alastair Jolly: There is that accent. 

Tina Eisen: Please don't. Oh my God. That's gotta be a meme now. so yeah, so yeah, that was a turning moment for me because that's one of the most known people in the world, hands down. And that was the first time that I realized, Ooh, I can do something with this. People have trust in me.

So that was despite that not being beauty, it was just it, I will always and forever be proud of that. 

Alastair Jolly: Was that a fashion shoot. 

Tina Eisen: Launching something with Facebook, he was launching like a little ad on app. And so I just covered the whole day, with him backstage, his body guards and stuff like that. And just, it's almost like a bit of lifestyle, but yeah, like despite that being irrelevant for my portfolio in a way, it was just, I will forever be proud of that.

It always showed me that I can do something with this. Like this camera off mine 

Alastair Jolly: its that kind of validation moment. Right. Someone as famous as David Beckman. Did you interact with them much on this? 

Tina Eisen: Yeah, it was we'd literally just had like a chat. Yeah. Kind of. He was just super chill. We were just having a chat.

It was amazing to get almost like a bit of an insight into his day to day life. I was talking to his body guards a lot and this is like a 365 days a year job, including Christmas. Yeah. It was just, yeah, it was, it was amazing to get an insight into that. I think that was a cool turning point. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: What other ones stand out as milestones.

Tina Eisen: The second one was the first time I ever did a talk in front of a crowd. I was absolutely crapping myself. It was, it came out of nowhere. Canon UK asked me to speak in front of a group of photographers as part of fashion week. Funny enough. Right. And I was. I had like dry mouth and I was shaking. It was crazy.

I was one of those people in school that like if asked, recite a poem in front of the class, I would basically pass out. So, and that's people I know, but yeah, being asked to do that. And, it was almost, that was a turning point because I went from these people don't car what I have to say to them.

To Oh, my God, they actually were interested in that. So it, that was a big point where I thought I have come to a point now within the last couple of years where I have gained knowledge and it's worth sharing. So at that moment changed that in my head a little bit. It was, that was almost like imposter syndrome was lessened a little bit where you realize that you have something to give to people.

Alastair Jolly: We won’t go down another dark path of imposter syndrome. 

Tina Eisen: Oh yeah. And that's another one, I'm the one who can I just add? We all have it!

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. Let's just put it on table. We all have it. It's normal. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. So I think, yeah, those two points just changed something I think 

Alastair Jolly: any other big names you want to drop? 

Tina Eisen: Oh my God. I sound so bad, right? No, I think, I think that was the main two.

Like there was one point where I realized something by myself without any other, you know, name dropping here, but, I realized that you have to, I sat down for a couple of months, and really dug deep into my, my upbringing, my childhood, what drives me as a person. and that helped me a lot to create images when for once.

Yeah. I knew what I actually liked. Helped me, you know, like spark creativity and I can't stress that enough. We, there is people see an image they like it and they redo it and not sadly happens so, so much. And the only way to get past that and not actually all copy each other is to actually understand who you are and what drives you and put that into your work.

Cause only then is it art because it came from you and not from something someone else has done. So for that to just sit down and really understand what drives you that I think that the moment I've done that changed my work dramatically, which was probably three or four years ago. So it went from trying to create pictures that I like, that have already been done. To putting myself into my work. 

Alastair Jolly: Creating, not recreating.

That's it? Yeah. That's great. Lots of fun highlights. I'm sure there's lots more names you could drop me or you're not going to, we've spoken several times there about, you know, how much this community and this photo industry is so open to sharing how we build communities, how we share support, educate, learn from each other, education's become quite an important part in your life and that giving back and sharing.

Yeah? Thats something you enjoy?

Tina Eisen: yeah, I love doing that. So last year. So 2019, early 2019, was when I decided to launch a tutorial after having done a few workshops. I just wanted to try and give something to people come physically to places, and attend a class so, that was the first time that I launched something online and.

it was super, super scary. It was just, I was just, again, imposter syndrome, you said, you think that everyone's going to hate it and, that wasn't the case. So I really enjoyed it. And now just this week I launched my second one of those and yeah, I think that's the path I want to push for 2020. Cause as I said, that is way more rewarding for me than anything else.

So, I think education and inspiring people is just the way I want to go now. 

Alastair Jolly: So what are you, what are you educating people on? You're not camera tech?

Tina Eisen: So it's all sorts, the online tutorials are mainly photography. So beauty photography. And as you said, like it's not so much camera tech because there's only so much the camera does.

It has to happen in your, in your head. I love to talk about team building, how a shoot just happens from beginning to end. And the latest tutorial was touching on, beauty retouching heavily as well. Just sharing, you know, the whole process from like culling images, to raw processing to clean up to calibrating.

So all of that, I have done talks in the past about anything from social media to staying motivated, to tethering, to, you know, everything. So as you said, I'm not shy to share, I will do it. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. I mean, your day to day, like a lot of photography it’s all about problem  solving and sharing the skills and how to, to solve that.

But you touched again on one thing about this team, this theme of team that, that keeps coming up. I'm sure there's people out there that think, Oh my gosh, look at Tina, she's got great stylist she's got great hair stylist. She's got great makeup artist, which you do. And you have access to product and clothing.

And they're sitting there thinking, you know, I want to do this, but where on earth do I start? How do I find these people who do get to work with them? These people have you, do I do it without spending a fortune? What would that advice be? 

Tina Eisen: Thats a great question again because people shy away. They see that you work with professionals and they think, well, I'm not one yet.

So I can't do that. But I always say whatever level you are at right now, there is an equivalent in the model. For example, that has only just started out a makeup artist that needs to build her portfolio a hair stylist that wants to try new things. Those people out there we're not all just like professionals that will only take paid work.

The easiest thing, I always say, start with a model, start with a modeling agency. Once you've started playing around with, you know, people, you know, and have photographed all of them. there's no harm in sending an email to, modeling agency going, Hey, I'm starting out. This is my concept. Do you have girls that need, or boys that need 'em pictures taken?

You know, they have a section called new faces. They need pictures taken as well. And so it's a lot less scary than most people think. I think the A word agency is super scary for people out there, there is people that need to practice just as well. So you might as well get going with that. And once you start working with these people, with agencies, with makeup artists, it's a lot easier to then get a) other team members on board, b) brands like clothing brands, makeup brands, that sort of stuff. Get over the thought of like, I'm not good enough. And what is someone going to do with my image that it has used for everyone's. And as you grow, the people that you work with will grow too. So you kind of lift each other up and you standard becomes better and better.

And the people you work with will become more experienced along the way. 

Alastair Jolly: And become loyal because you helped them. That's it. You help each other. Yeah. Just build that network and sounds easy to say, but just get started. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. I always say that. Like, if you, especially like, people are scared of rejection and like, I always say to people you're going to get like a hundred rejections anyway.

So you might as well get those out of the way right now. Like send those hundred emails and just get a hundred no's. You might as well, you know, get on with it because that's just part of life, really not just of this industry where people say no to you, because you're not the right person for them, but that doesn't mean that you're not the exact right person for someone else.

You might as well just get on with it. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah, there is this kind of stereotype of the fashion industry specifically been quite brutal, but, you know, I've been fortunate enough to socialize with many fashion, beauty photographers and their teams and I know some of your teams personally, and you know, certainly amongst the people that you work, I don't get that vibe.

So is it just a stereotype?

You know 

Tina Eisen: what, it's not as people, you know, and I can, every other industry, it, as characters, as you know, 

Alastair Jolly: That was a very PC way of saying it 'Characters'. 

Tina Eisen: Characters, you know, there is. Yeah, it attitudes is a now, but I have learned to just stay away from it. Like I am an, a very easy-going person. I don't, I don't have attitude like on set and neither do I want my team to have that.

So I find people that are on a similar wavelengths to me, I think, I don't need attitude and bitchiness. I don't want that. You kind of like learn to spot it and avoid it after a while. And yeah, but it's not the fashion industry, you know, we could talk to someone like working in a call center and it's the same thing.

There's that one person that, you know, You know, but it just exists everywhere and you just choose not surround yourself with it, I guess. You know, and I love to have, like, I work hard, but I want to have a laugh on set, I want the attitudes to be like, yeah, let's have some cake and let's create some, some art here.

You know, I don't want any, you know, well, no, not, 

Alastair Jolly: yeah, not, not only do you just not surround yourself with a but you know, you, you actually lead in you're, you're an inspiration to many, the, the work you do with your teams, that what you do, you're setting the standard, you're the quality of your work, but also the quality of your relationships is outstanding.

And you know, I've never heard anybody say anything other than, you know, it's just a lot of fun, professional, and, you know, so you are raising that bar, setting that standard and, you know, You know, making sure that it's a beautiful industry to work. 

Tina Eisen: Yeah. Treat other people like you want to be treated and that's mostly giving them cakes and let them have fun.

Alastair Jolly: You just found the way to Tina's heart cake. So that's good. So if people wanted to see this beautiful imagery that you create for yourself, rather than hunting for our own, the high street or seeing it on billboards, where can people go and find out or see the imagery that you do find out a little bit more about you 

Tina Eisen: yeah. So I'm, I'm mainly on Instagram, which is or on Facebook, we've got a big community there as well as called beauty with Tina Eisen, and, and I always point people towards that because we've just made a community of people that help each other out on anything. Whereas I try and answer as many questions.

I can't always be there, but people that are in the group, if they can help they will. So we feel really, really good place there of no drama, no attitude and just, yeah, I love the feel there that people just want to help each other out. So if you want to get involved in the learning process, I think that Facebook page Beauty with Tina Eisen is a good one.

If you want to see some of my work, you know,   on Instagram, my website, you can find workshops and tutorials there as well that’s I feel like I've pimped myself out like big time right now, 

Alastair Jolly: should we mention that it’s not even your real name? 

Tina Eisen:  No. It's not, it's actually,that's the funny thing.

My surname is actually 14 letters long, but 

Alastair Jolly: Shall I have a go at it? Eisencratsin?

Tina Eisen:  That's almost because 

I feel like people already struggle with the Eisen bit, right? Like no one would ever find me anywhere if I had. 

Alastair Jolly: It's not a, not a website domian, you want to try it out. 

Tina Eisen: Most people don't actually know that.

I love that. You just brought that up. 

Alastair Jolly: I'm not sure how I knew that secret, but I think it was one day were making fun of each other's accent. 

Tina Eisen: Oh yeah. 

They're just shouting Scottish. And imagine us two getting drunk. That's going to be rowdy, isn't it? 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. But I don’t drink. 

I think we should wrap this up before we get ourselves into trouble.

Tina, it’s a pleasure, every time, you know, we get to hang out together.

You know, it's always a highlight when our community comes together and for, you know, trade shows and conferences around the world. It has been such a delight to see your career over the last few years, get to where it is now, so that, you know, you get to hang out with the Beckhams of this world and, you know, put glass in people's eyes and stuff.

That's incredible. So, but more importantly, thank you for taking the team to sit down here and have this conversation and let the listeners find out a little bit more. 

Tina Eisen: Such pleasure. Thank you so so much for having me. 

Alastair Jolly: It's our pleasure. Thank you, Tina. 

Tina Eisen: Bye.

Alastair Jolly: As always, a huge thank you to Tina for joining us on this episode of The Photography Lounge.

Please check out everything we have to offer at smugmug,com and And we will see you back here next time for another episode of The Photography Lounge