In the lead up to New York Fashion Week, we’re profiling the photographers who make your favorite street style snaps happen: From the up-and-coming rookies with real talent to the established big-guns whose work you see everywhere.
We’ve already profiled two street style photographers who have taken their hobby professional, and now we’re looking at a talented up-and-comer gunning to get into the street style game. Danielle Castano is an Australian street style photographer capturing some of the smiliest, feel-good fashion pictures on the sidewalks of fashion week and beyond. She works in social media by day, and blogs at Style Snooper Dan by night (and weekend). Here, we chatted about how Danielle is breaking into street style business.
StyleCaster: How long have you been a photographer?
Danielle: Almost three years now and I’m completely self taught. While i don’t work full time as a street photographer, I’m lucky enough to work full time as a blogger for a major department store (my “day job”) and a huge part of my role is photography; everything from street style, runway, event coverage to even product flat-lay, so I get to shoot loads of different things every day in addition to having my personal blog which I shoot for as often as I can.
StyleCaster: What made you start shooting street style and how did you do it?
Danielle: I’d been blogging for about a year and I always loved fashion, particularly street style when I basically woke up one day and decided to start shooting street style myself. I knew very little about cameras and just started taking my compact camera everywhere and practicing on the street and then eventually I was given an SLR for Christmas one year. I started shooting friends which were bloggers and then slowly built up the courage to attend fashion weeks for the purpose of shooting street style.
StyleCaster: Where do you go to find stylish people to shoot when fashion week is over?
Danielle: I try and get to major events like music festivals, but I also just sometimes shoot people on the street. Outside of that I catch-up with my friends who are fashion bloggers and shoot with them for their blogs which is always fun.
StyleCaster: What do you think sets your photos apart from other street style photographers?
Danielle: I think each street photographer has a style or a particular handwriting so we’re all a little different which is great. I try and shoot a moment and focus on framing an outfit or a detail as I find these are a great visual description of an individual in that moment.
StyleCaster: Do you have any other up-and-coming street style photographers you love and think we need to follow?
StyleCaster: How many photos would you take during fashion week?
Danielle: I’m always taking way too many shots as I’d rather have too many than not enough! I’d average about 800 per day.
StyleCaster: Do you find it competitive during fashion week to great the best shots?
Danielle: I don’t see it as competitive at all, everyone’s there’s for the same reason; to get a great shot and I think everyone just wants a different shot really. No one wants their shot to look like someone else’s. I look to other photographers for inspiration, not as competition.
StyleCaster: Who are your favorite fashion or blogger stars to capture any why?
Danielle: I do really love Nicole Warne, Zanita, and Margaret Zhang. They’ve all just got really great and different style and it feels really natural with them. Some people at fashion week just look and feel really forced and unnatural.
They’re also all incredibly generous with their time and happy to let you take their picture no matter who you are, plus they always introduce themselves, which I think is great as manners tend to get lost sometimes in the fashion world.
StyleCaster: Do you develop a relationship with the street style stars or bloggers you shoot at fashion week?
Danielle: Slowly, yes. I think they get to know you and they obviously want to be seen in a particular light and know that it’s best to work with the photographers as opposed to working against them. They want to look amazing in the shot just as much as we want the shot to look amazing. Also, they become more comfortable with you when they get to know the quality of your shots.
StyleCaster: Is it your aim to sell your street style photos?
Danielle: Fortunately I don’t rely on selling my images as my main income, so I don’t want or need to risk brand alignments that aren’t the right fit for Style Snooper Dan. This might sound silly, but if the right people or companies are interested in my shots, I almost give them my photos. I’m more concerned with growing a strong relationship and boosting my profile as a street photographer than making money from it–I have a day job for that.
StyleCaster: What does an average day look like for you?
Danielle: Monday-Friday changes every week! I can be doing anything from writing the copy for blog posts in the office, shooting behind the scenes photography on location, attending fashion events, shooting street style, or even styling in studio. Editing shots is also a huge part of my week and usually happens at night. My weekends are when I get out and about to shoot street style or my blogger friends.
StyleCaster: How do you market yourself?
Danielle: I utilise social media quite a bit as it really is the best way to get your name out there. Instagram has provided a great way for me to showcase my images as well as providing a space where I can share things that inspire me. Outside of that, I work back with PR companies too.