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Bold Photography, Bold Life

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Bold Photography, Bold Life with Lindsay Adler

Lindsay Adler, Kenna Klosterman

Bold Photography, Bold Life

Lindsay Adler, Kenna Klosterman

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1. Bold Photography, Bold Life with Lindsay Adler


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Bold Photography, Bold Life with Lindsay Adler

Mhm. Yeah, yeah. Hello, everyone. And welcome to Creativelive. Welcome back. I want to give a special shout out to some old longtime critical eye fans who might be tuning in if you know who today's guest is. I'm your host, Ken Klosterman, and I'm so excited for you guys to join us today. This is another episode of our podcast. Were photographers playing right here on creative live TV? If you are tuning in, be sure to join the chat. I know there's already some folks in there you can click on that chat icon above, joined the conversation, and you know that we love to give a shout out. So, um, tune in. We've got April in there and, um, Carlos, let us know where you're treating in from Vicky of Marghera is tuning in. Oh, my gosh, again. I can't go too far down find with shoutouts now, because it'll go forever. Anyhow, uh, this is a very special episodes for me, everybody, because we're going taking you behind the scenes on episode number 100 of this credible podcast were photographers and,...

um, just super grateful for all the guests that we've had but wanted to bring you a very special guest for this episode. 100. And her name is Miss Lindsay Adler. Um, Lindsey needs no introduction. She is a portrait in fashion Photographer. You know her well. And she's an educator that teaches all over the world. Whether it's right here on creativelive other platforms. She's a cannon explorer of light and a dear friend. She truly cares about educating other people out there and raising the level. And I know so many of you out there have learned so much from her. So please help me. Welcome Lindsay Adler. Thank you for joining us. Can I love you? I miss you. I No, I know. You look great. So Pandemic works looks good on you. Apparently, he looked nice as as do you? The fact that I got to be your 1/100 episode makes me feel very special. So thank you for thinking of me. Of course. Of course, we go way back. And just apologies and not apologies. I don't have to apologize in advance for everybody again. Um, we have a long history here. Creativelive. Lindsay Adler was one of our first, but educators, and it's It's very special for me because, um I first So you teach at photo Plus, and it was when I was helping recruit instructors, and you were probably, like, 23 years old or something. If that. And I mean, that's right. And I walk and I walked in and saw you teach. You were teaching about social media. I mean, this is like, early days, social media, and and I was like, Who is this amazing young speaker? And we must have our own creative life. And here we are, so many years later, um, you you know, you you have led such a bold life, and, um and your imagery is bold is kind of why I wanted to call the episode bold photography bold life. And I just want to just start start off talking about Like what? What is bold to you? What does that What? Tell me, I don't know. I associated that word with you. What does that mean to you? Oh, man, you're you're perfect. First of all, because that's exactly one of the words I used all the time to describe my work personality. Um, I think I could take this like 10 different directions. uh, But I think one of the most important things about being bold is embracing who you are, because I think so often. And we see this, especially now. Let's like not to throw shade on tick tock and scramble. But, you know, people are trying to be something that they think other people want them to be. And I think it's the most bold people. When they figure out who they are, they embrace that and just run without 1000%. So you know someone else who I think is bold, whose personality might not even think is bold. You know, one of my best friends and you just had her on Brooks Shade and, you know, she she's not, um, she's not necessarily loud, like me or New York like me. But the fact that she embraces her weirdness and like her unique self, I think is super bold. Um, so I think that probably the most important part. And then I also think in in the way that I shoot, Um, that's why bold is so important to me. I don't do you don't do quiet. I don't do subdued. I don't do subtle. I do Hey, look here, right at me. I've got something to say which I kind of think is super helpful when we're all fighting for everyone's attention. So I love your word choice. Well, I just I think I think it's such a great point that bold It doesn't have to mean sort of what it looks like for you as it does for Brooke or somebody else that being uniquely you is kind of like end of conversation. There we go. Done like that's the like. This is the biggest piece of advice, you know, out there. And And if you can refrain, like, what does that mean for you? What does that look like for you, then? That that is like what the goal is and we get so distracted, you know, going different ways. So how how did you sort of get to, um, I don't know, Thio being okay with who you are. First and foremost, that sounds like a high school graduation speech, but I'd like to thank my mom. You know, like that kind of thing. You know, I was bringing your mom up in this. I know. Exactly. I love your mom. She's the best. It's both my parents. I think so many people, at least. What? You what I would see and like, you know, TV shows or things that here where, Like, you know, the parents are telling the kids to get a real job and and grow up. And I never had that. Um my parents didn't even say like, Oh, be a photographer. Work hard, You'll make it work. It was like, Great. Whatever you choose, you're going to do it. Um, so, you know, I think just having that well, put it this way. I think the reason most people are messed up our their parents. And so the fact that I started off with good parents, like put me closer to the finish line already s Oh, I have to give them, like, a ton of credit just for that. Um, I think I think time has been really important because I think you can attest to this a bit. I think a good part of who I am is the same person from when you met me. I don't know what 10, 12, 12 years ago or whatever it waas. But then I also think there's a lot that's different. And I think photography has been my constant. And then I've discovered from things about myself along the way, and I've adapted. And so, um, I think I think it's the balance of knowing what to hold on to and what to let go off on dso za learning exercise. And when you first met me, I held on to way too many things that maybe I should let go and now have on Lee the good things of holding on to its awesome. So, yeah, that was much more of, ah, philosophical way about it. But it's true. Well, it's so so let him go. Definitely. I think something that we learn, you know, as we grow like you said that can't Yeah, and you got You got lots of ways to go. We'll talk. We'll talk again in 10 years. Um, but it's Yeah, there's just with that experience comes, um, yeah, realizing what's more important to you and I think I mean, obviously, right now we're recording this in, uh, November 2020 and I think we're all learning sort of what's what's what's most important to us. Um, but it going back to your mom and, like, sort of the young Lindsay. And I'm just forever and always been impressed that you can say you started your business when you were 15. 16, Esso for people, for people who don't know this story because I think it clearly identified like, that's bold a high schooler Go back to, like, talk us through how and why and what was your mindset back then? Yeah. So I roughly put the date of when I started. Like, considering myself a photographer when I was 12. Um, and it was obviously, you know, early on Ah, hobby. And it was for fun. But as I went to 12, 13, 14, I was like, Yeah, I think this is what I wanna do. And, you know, my family and our discussion was like, we just go all in whatever you want to do, just give it 1000% of your effort. Um, So when I was 15, my mom and I went down to the county courthouse. I don't think this is how you do it anymore, but maybe it went down to the county courthouse and we went and we filled out the paperwork, and I started my first business and I was actually partnership with my mom. Um, because she's also hobbyist photographer, and so we're kind of doing together, and at that point, you know, my my approach waas thio find like my fellow classmates. So you know, 15 some in high school and I would try to go for the great above to shoot their high school senior portrait. Or I would say, like my age, like, Hey, family portrait or if you know oh, my older sister is having a baby like something like that, and so I just kind of used it to pool friends and people I knew on. I think it's the story that most people have, um, is that if your passion about it and you do a good job, it kind of snowballs and it's word of mouth. And so when I went to college, um, I was going home on the weekends to shoot Portrait's Thio, pay my way through college and, you know, would shoot all summer. And so it was a full time student, but also very much had my own business. So I I took photography seriously as my life's path. Like almost from the very beginning and I think is, you know, I can't You can't not think my parents for not discouraging me or not just waiting because I was a nerd and I probably could have done a lot of other things. But photography Was it for me? Well, I think it's, um I think it's interesting that you you know, some people find it much later in life. Some people discover you know it as I was a dark room, high school, dark room photographer like that was when it became my passion. But I had no sense of like, thinking that I could, you know, run a business with it. Um, and so having that, you know, early on. And I'd imagine that sort of built the confidence early on. But, you know, you talked about learning so many things along the way. Like, were there moments where you were, you questioned your decision Or is it just like it's just always been? What? I mean, there's tons of times were questioned, but not I would say, there's never a time. There weren't many times where I actually was like I need to quit, but it's like what am I missing? I think that's Ah, very common question that e mean, I think it's still sometimes pops up even now. I mean, I think with, you know, the I call myself a recovering perfectionist. Uh, because I used to be to the extreme on I always felt like I was missing something that's, um, missing piece of the equation in order to be what I was supposed to be. So I mean, there's examples like, um, when I was first running my business, I had this portrait client that they came. They got their portrait's done? Yes, they had the prices beforehand. Uh, then, you know, on the day off they loved the images, and then they called me up after telling me that they weren't worth the price is that I was charging and that I needed to give them a severe discount on the woman was basically screaming at me. Um, the phone, you know, like so there's the trying to tow trying to decide Is that her problem or my problem? But you know, when you're young, you don't know that the people are just crazy out there, or I don't even say that they have other things going on that perhaps they project onto you, which was clearly the issue with this person. Um, then later on a story that I tell often was I graduated college and I went Thio meet with an art director at a magazine. It was, like, recently after college, and to summarize about going into full depth. The guy basically said that every single photo of my portfolio should be removed. I should start everything again and start from scratch. But I had already invested. I mean, I've been doing it for years, pre college and then in college. And so to have someone tell you Oh, yeah, all this effort you put in your not good enough, you need to redo it. So it's like, What am I missing? So I'm clearly missing something. There actually is something wrong with me? What is that? So I think it happens over and over again, or e feel like a lot of people can relate. You know, let's say you're aiming for a particular client in the commercial world, and you see someone else that you feel like you're better than them, but they keep getting it. And so like I'm obviously missing things. Am I not good enough or might not connecting? So yeah, like what's missing, I think, is the the endless struggle that you have an artist or a perfectionist? Well, it's interesting, because I wasn't sure if you meant what's missing. Like if you meant, like, what else could I be doing that I'm like the fear missing out type of thing versus, Like what? What's missing? What you know, what am I not doing right? And I think for sure, but I think it's It's funny, Lindsey. I also used the word recover or the phrase recovering perfectionist was just talking about that on my last podcast episode. Ah, and And I think it's so. I think it's interesting because I think either as creatives, you know, you you think when you think like, oh, artist like you think person who you know, the general like I don't know person who's e don't know. You know what I try to say? And yet, like S O, many of us are, I don't know. There's this like control aspect, I guess as well or thinking that, like what does it perfect even mean with regard to art and photography. Like, What was it about Perfect or what? How is your relationship with the word perfect change? Yeah, eso if you're ready to get real deep, I am. That's what we do here. Okay, So I think, uh, a continuous struggle that I've had my entire adolescence into adult life is, um, equating self worth with productivity and, uh, common definitions of success. And so I think it has both helped me and hurt me. Um, now, this is gonna sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but it actually this is actually relevant. Um, in high school, I actually found that I worked the hardest I ever did in my life in high school. Like there's no other time because I wanted to be valedictorian. I got it. But what I'm talking about sleeping a couple hours a night. I mean, I literally didn't sleep. I said, you know, it's that the whole thing because it was the only way that I could feel okay about any big myself for anything. Um, so then you progress on to that, and then it's okay. So, success and perfectionism, it's growing your business by a certain, uh matrix or criteria that you set for yourself. Um Or, you know, I think the issues come is when you see other people on your trying toe match with that other person is doing her the imaginary person that you compare yourself to. So I think, um, I think that I was when you first met me. I was very much still in that very serious perfectionist mode. Um, I mean, my early creative lives. I don't know if people could tell, but I would regularly sleep in our and a half a night, not because I wasn't prepared because I would come and I put my classes together. Wait, advance. And then I practice it. I'd go over and I adjust it, and I practiced and I practiced and I practiced it. And so, um, eventually, it's not that I don't aim for excellence, but I guess I come to understand my strength, and I make sure I put the effort there, and, uh, I kind of try to know what is a value and what's not a value to fixate on. Um, you know, so it's it's still there, but I am so much better. I put myself at like compared to where I was. I met like 90% improved. It's very good, but I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't driven myself to, uh, you know, tears regularly early on and now I don't cry anywhere. So it's great. Do you think Do you think that you I don't know? I mean, it's it's a question of like, Do you have to go through that Teoh like you said to get to where you are? Um, I don't know it. You didn't, But we all have our exactly. Because honestly, So, you know, I look at a couple other people, uh, in in my life that are successful photographers and their experience was completely different than me. And it was more, um, there was never Yes, your work is tied to self worth, but not in the same way as it was for me. Um, so everyone's different. I think the productivity part, though, is I mean in that that resonates with me. And I'm sure it does with tons of other people out there, because again, you're like, if I can show what I've achieved, then it means something versus just experiencing life itself for the sake of it. And you know, you and I both love to travel for example. So it's like, Is that an achievement or an experience? Um, you know what? What are not an achievement? You know, it's like you go to other countries and you come to realize that life means very different things for different people. And this culture, this culture is so focused on productivity and achievement has has how of your like, global travels. And, um whether you're teaching or climbing mountains, you know, top of Machu Pichu. Uh, what does that taught you? I think what I came to find was that sometimes producing for producing sake, which is still think I do all the time. So don't get me wrong, but, um, isn't what the goal should be. Um, what I've found is that creating with purpose has more value then producing for producing sake. Eso I try to like when I teach something, I try to figure out what it is that I can create that will have lasting value that can help someone when I shoot. Um, even if I'm doing days where I'm just shooting for the sake of it like there was no grand plan. It's because I'm saying okay, I'm not just trying to pump out a ton of instagram content or whatever. I'm going to try something new today because it's going to allow me toe learn something. Um, I think one of the things that's really valuable about creative live and something that I had to teach myself and I still struggle with is that I Onley produced and never absorbed. Like, I really struggled to take a step back and learn something Unless there was an immediate reason I needed to learn it like, Okay, I'm doing this shoot. So I need to learn this. I'm going thio, I'm preparing this class. I need to to make sure I have a deeper understanding of X y z Um, there had to be a reason for me to learn rather than just learning, Um, which doesn't really make sense, because I was like the nerd in high school. So I liked learning. Long story short, um, the person that is my significant other. We regularly have conversations all the time about just like learning for the sake of it, like he's voracious. Hey, is constantly reading and constantly learning. And it's nice because he often, like, kind of regurgitates it back at me and like a nice package in the way that I want to hear, which is really nice. Um, but yeah, I think that's a That's another thing that I've have come toe toe learn is it's OK to absorb things and not constantly producing, which even though it sounds like it's an issue of just for me, I mean everybody producing for social media content like I feel like everybody understands that as faras going back to the world travel thing. Um, right now in my life, I'm super happy. So, yeah, I'm cool with what other people are doing. But I found what I'm happy with. So I don't I'm not looking longingly at any other way of life for existence just because I found something that I'm very, very happy and content with. So, um, it just more is appreciating that there's no one right answer. You see everybody else living their own, their own answers. It's awesome. And I think the 2020 makes you you. You miss seeing all of that. I'm fine on patient. I don't need to see those things. But when I do, I'm gonna be thrilled. I'm gonna be so excited. And the food. Oh, my God. And the travel food. I'm terrible. But I'm like, man trouble. Yeah, it's Yeah. And and being like you said, being it makes me so happy. Thio here, you say, like I'm content and happy with, you know, with with where I am and because I've always seen you as like, the go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go! Nonstop. You know, I run into you at a trade show and, you know, and we're operation for no, to be fair. And you know, your mom is there, and she's got your schedule so that you can, you know, make sure you're here and there and there, um, and and, you know, so like, there's a point at which I don't know, you have to kind of pause, I guess. Maybe What is what? What do you enjoy about the Go, go, go. And like, I just again like, I have this visual of you running around at the, you know, at trade shows. Like, what is it that gets you so jazzed about about educating people on DSHEA ring so much? Oh, man, there's there's a couple of answers in there because first of all, for the what gets me jazzed about the Go, go, go any time that I'm producing more or doing more, I always come away knowing that I've grown a little bit and I don't mean that in like the like. Okay, I've gotten better at that presentation. I've gotten better at that photographic technique. I've explained that concept better, Like every single time I know I am getting better and e itself improvement. Everyone loves how that feels like, you know, you are better at the end of it like that's the ultimate rewarding. Um, I e think with teaching. I mean, this is 1000% creative life, like 1000% of it was when you realize that, like genuinely not in an inflated way whatsoever, how far reaching what you're teaching is like, I don't think I had no perspective of it because so to go back to the very beginning of it, when I first started teaching the reason that I did and you saw me teaching social media eso the subjects I taught in the very beginning, I taught social media. And then just before that, I taught roughly, like digital asset management. So basically like light Roman bridge. So what I taught early on were the things that I felt would help save people time and that I perhaps had a unique perspective on for the reason I did This is I went to some conferences early on, and this is not to throw shade it like other presenters. But I saw a lot of people where I'd watch an hour of something and go. You could have been done in five minutes. Like for sure it could have been condensed. And I don't understand why, or I watch somebody present on lighting and after I'd sit there and I really think about what I learned. And I go, I didn't need to be taught that complicated like you didn't. You didn't need to do that. And I felt like I felt like there was not just that people were doing a disservice. I don't mean that necessarily, but that I could do a service. Um, I felt like there was there was something that I could offer that would say people time and simplify it. Um And so I got really positive feedback early on that people like the way that I taught, and it's because I wanted to teach. Like my goal was genuinely let me teach it Thio with visuals with demo with me saying it let me play it like I was like, Let me give this to you. In many ways, it's possible. But I wanted people to grasp it on DSO Yeah, I think everyone also likes positive reinforcement. And early on, people said, You're good at this and I said, Great, I'd like to be even better. It's, um It is an evolution and I, you know, and often you know, clearly you learned you spent the time to learn what you wanted to learn, to be able to teach it as well. Like you said, I'm very methodically, you know, figure out the best way to communicate thes Um, whatever the concepts are, I'm curious. So what you learned from other people, or that whether it's your students or, um, you know, and maybe not just like, technique or whatever, but just what has that, um, X experience been for you about learning as the educator. Totally. I think any any teacher, if they're really honest about it and are open, realize how much they learn from teaching and from the students. Even the questions that people ask that put what you taught into a different light when you have to answer that question and you're going back because, ah, lot of times when people teacher teaching Flynn you're already good at it, you know? And so it just kind of comes second nature. And so when someone asks a question that you wouldn't have even have considered because you learned it so long ago, your brain doesn't process like that. Like you learned to such a different depth. Um, so my examples like my my posing one of one class I've been posing people for years. I didn't need to go research how to pose. I needed to research how to articulate what I was doing. Um, and my posing didn't get 10% better. It got, like, 50% better, because all of a sudden I had I had to know what I was doing, not just do it, which was awesome. But I've learned a ton from like. Okay, let's do another loved one. Like, you know, on TV, I e teach something. And, like, I don't know, every answer like, I if I don't, I look over to John Cornyn cello and say, Hey, John, please explain this, um and so I think it's good, too, because it I learned the things I don't know. Um and I mean, there's the adage, like, the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. Um, and there's there's so many, like so many people now that I look to that are like heroes in photography. But since I know enough about photography and kind of look into their photos for inspiration and, like, try toe, learn. So, um, who are some of those people? Oh, my gosh. Ready? Okay. So one of my favorites, which this is e want to save up to buy one of his photos, but, like expensive. But I really want one. Um, is you any real quick? Okay, that was really long. One it looks like when it's spelled out, Eugenia is what it looks like. And then Rick wank o r e c u N c o. Um, he's, uh, just next level so far beyond anything I've ever done or seen. Um, he did a 3 65 project, which is 3 65. He shot it over eight years. So it wasn't a 3 65 project. He created a 3 65 count under. So each image of the year, like the calendar, is somewhere hidden in the photograph. And it was all shot in the confines of a room like it's a built set. Um, but it's what can what can you create in the confines of these three Walls? 365 times? And it was just brilliant. And then recently he's been doing like modern interpretations of old paintings that like, Oh my God, she's just he's just next level. So that's that's one for me. Um, another one is a photographer. Christian Schuler, um, German photographer. I'm pretty sure, and, uh the way he plays with light and color and motion. It is just it's just beautiful, like I've never seen, but it's but it's a beautiful I like. It's like strong and bold, but also has, like, fairy tale tale elements. So it's kind of it's got like, a little bit of Tim Walker in it. But like more refined and less childish I have. I have lots of people that I'm I'm fans of, So those air those air to that just regularly blow my mind. Well, to me, what's interesting is even like Thio, not just to learn about those new people, but Thio. See what you're doing to, you know? So it's like, OK, that's super interesting again the Christian Schuler like being drawn thio the boldness. But then it's the the, um Eugene e o like let's talk a little bit more about creativity and being in a box And how you, you know, sometimes again going back to like the artists being like Oh, something you think artists. And you're like, Oh, free thinking that whatever it out or but it's often within constraints, that is where we can be more creative. Yeah, talk to me more about that. Constraints, artistic constraints. E think there's two directions. I want to go with this thing. Number one is one of the things that helps me best when working within the constraints that we're than a box. Uh, is collaborating with other people because there's only so much Sometimes I feel the ideas that I could bring to the table like I've I've got ideas, I'm good. But at some point I feel like maybe they're a bit tired or have done them a million times, and it doesn't mean that I don't want to keep, you know, within my style. But sometimes I'm like, You know what? This was too easy. I've done this red on red with white skin like 50 times. I like them all. But let's you know, what else can we dio? Um, So I think one of the things that's helped me just just take, just take away like I shoot so much in the studio. So fundamentally, there's a solid background for how I shoot in a model's face. I'll do a lot of beauty. Those were pretty stripped away, things that then have to create a completely different world in completely different interpretations when it's a face and a solid background, Um, and so, yeah, it's it's hairstyles and makeup artists, and it's, um, having a team. So, like you're feeding off each other and you're constantly sending each other photos. Oh, hey, did you see this? Okay, let's do an interpretation like this, and you just you're just feeding and building off each other. It's It's wonderful. Um, I think one of the things I like so much about creative restraints I don't always like them. Like I love my creative play days where I just do whatever I want. Like, those were great. I love those, um, but I think the restraints are where I hearken back to my nerds high school nerd self in that I'm a problem solver. So, like I always liked knowing the right answer or solving the problem or whatever it may be. And so when it comes Thio having like a client who wants a certain color palette with a certain modeling advertising a certain client. Sometimes those images are actually more boring, like in the end, let's be riel. But what I love so much about it is the challenge of working within those boxes on git. It feels good because they hired you not because you can click a camera, but because you can decode the visual language that they need to have communicated. So you're kind of like they're the translator over to their audience, which feels kind of awesome. I think that's that's exactly it. Photography is problem solving and and e. I mean, you're right. You're It is, especially if you have a like you said, like a simple, not simple plate, but the same elements. Then what are the different tools that you use? Um, love, you know, always, especially with the type of work that you do. Like the collaboration. Um, as you were talking about the red and white face, like, what is it about red free? Um, I think read eso. The very first photo I took in my style was red. I took a photo that was a model with red lips and red and white glasses with white skin. It was the first one where I go. This is me, like, this is who I am as an artist. And last year I shot an editorial that was fundamentally the same idea, but just so much more refined. And it's excellent to see because I think that first image I probably took in 2000 and seven like the first one in my style. And so to see, you know, I'm still holding strong with that, but it's just so much more refined and like I, it's much better to be honest. It is better, Um, so there's that, that part of it, Um, but I think red is a color that it's it is bold, and red is a color that says Pay attention here. But it's also a color that has so many different emotions wrapped up in it that it's it's a complicated color. Um, you know, obviously you know, love and anger and less than all of those sorts of things. And so, um, I think it gives me a lot of room to play within that color. So actually, on my website I have a portfolio category called Seeing Red, where it's just photos I've done playing with the color red, and most of them are not for a client. It was just me. It's like, you know, on a play day, I'll say, Okay, let's do our red shot. And so I just built it through the years I actually was looking at that page as I was looking at your site again today, which is kind of why I wanted Thio. It just I quit you with, you know, the periods of red lipstick and the, you know, the you were in Seattle once for teaching a creative class. And, um, you knew that there's this floor of the amazing light Seattle library. The floors, it's the whole floor is read the walls that everything. And I remember you saying you know, you're gonna you did you know another photo shoot on your own for yourself? You know that? And and the collaboration of all of that coming into it I think it's interesting to think about the how a single color can have all these different meanings. Um, and associations so outside of red, like when you're approaching, What is your thought process as you're approaching? Ah, particular. Say it's a piece for yourself versus, um, for a client. Um, is it are you thinking? Are you thinking about light first? Are you thinking about color first? Are you thinking about sort of structure first? How does what's kind of like talk me through your process? That's a great, like a great idea, like, that's a great way to think about it, because it's something that I'm constantly doing, but I don't really articulate, so I like it, um, usually so like, I'll just talk about, like a shoot I did last week, okay? It was just like a creative shoot. So in my head, I had a bunch of reference images, just a whole bunch of different, whether they're some of them are illustrations. Some of them were photos all over the place. Some photographers, some of them were like snapshots of makeup artist doing makeup. And so it would be like, Okay for this particular image. What I want to show here is I want structural makeup and I want lighting. That is also structural. So the images about structure. And so in that case, it's more about how I will direct the makeup artist in conjunction of what I know is possible lighting to put something together where the structure builds upon itself. Um, in other instances, I'll say, Okay, um, we're going to start with this particular color. So this is the color that I want on. This is the makeup that inspired me. You know, maybe it's maybe it's something where it's like, more smudged and messy, whatever it smudged, messy, and it's green. Uh, and so from there, uh, make bars will do that that make up and then I'll say Okay, so what colors would work with green, which is a hard one. But then I will literally bring up a color wheel. Okay, Well, okay. Green obviously could do red and green, which usually, by the way, you can do red and green field. Oh, it's it's Christmassy. Yeah, but you can do different different levels of saturation and different tents so that it doesn't scream that it Z it's totally doable. Uh, but then I will go. Okay, well, green, you know, let's make it like, kind of creepy and add like some kind of yellows. So it's It's more in that, uh, like a like, atomic like, toxic like like the yellow greens and and play with that. And so, like the messiness, you know, it sounds like it's that kind of thing is like, What is the photo about? How can I direct the makeup artist in a way that I know my lighting will be ableto work with, and what lighting is going to build that? How can I work other colors through the gels through the background, through the styling or whatever? Well, it's amazing. Just thank you because I love, Um, finding out people's thought processes as as like, what is the starting point? And I think it's different for, you know, different people styles and the way that they, um, that they're obviously brains work or just coming back around to talking about everybody's, you know, different perspectives or different. And what's important to them is, is different. Is it? Is it the same when you're approaching, you know, a client shoot? And is it different when it's a commercial shoot? An editorial shoot like, Is it Is that how you always kind of, ah, not attack but approach a attack? The project? I think, of course it depends on the project. But ah, lot of times, um, with commercial client shoots, they if it's actually like talking commercial advertising something like that. They've already done quite a bit of planning and thinking about what they're looking for, and they want to see what additional you could bring to the table from what they've already formulated. So what I'm usually looking at is like What if they come up with what do I have that I could add to that equation? Maybe it's with lighting or a certain way that I shoot on. DSO, for example, one of the things that you do sometimes create for clients the client approaches you. Maybe they already have an ad agency that presenting you with roughly their mood boards. And then they want you. Thio, give your brief How what do you see out of this project? And so you might be showing the type of lighting from my portfolio that I've done. I see this type of lighting and this type of angle because it's empowering to this subject and that kind of thing. And, oh, I've worked with this model before. I think someone like So it's like it's kind of that. It's like, All right, what did they put together? What do I have to offer? How do I defuse the two for what their goals are? Um, there is definitely There's definitely that for portrait clients. Um, I What I usually dio is I start by, uh, doing like a little bit of an interview. Um, and what's funny is I'm certainly doing the interview for me, but sometimes I'm doing it for them. So the reason I'm saying that this is in the interview, I'll ask Why are you getting this photo shoot? What is special about this time in your life? What are visuals? You're drawn to styling that you like favorite colors, Whatever. Sometimes it's just things I don't think people think about and making them consider these things and putting it down in writing. Uh, it starts to get them thinking about what they're wanting out of their photo shoot. Why did you hire me one of the first questions on there? Because if you say it's my lighting or it's my color use Well, then obviously, when you use a lot of color, I'm gonna do this dramatic lighting. Um, So, for example, I had a client today. They gave me Ah, mood board based on things they're inspired by, and then with their mood board and then reading about them. Then I put together fundamentally. What's a creative brief? Okay, so here's what I'm thinking. These three looks. This one, um, talks about your strength and resilience. This one, you know what I mean? Eso It's all slight variations, but it's you know, what am I trying to showcase in the image and how can I serve this this clients or subject X needs. I think that's so smart. Just the your You're doing it for yourself to learn, but also your you're kind of also proved, like proving yourself. You know, we're not proving yourself, but having them immediately see the value you know of that you're going to be offering by asking the right questions or, you know, informing the whole thing. Um, I want to go, go jump off of photography for a second and kind of go back. Thio. We've talked about certain types of photography, but fashion what? What An early Lindsay life drew her thio fashion. Like where? What was Tell us about your You know, the early influences of that. My early influences was that fashion was nowhere on my radar whatsoever at all. Um, I would have never I was never anyone that cared about fashion or designers or anything like that. It just it didn't even wasn't even on my radar. Uh, early on, you know, I like the idea of travel. I like the idea of photojournalism because I think it's such a noble pursuit. Um, I liked portraiture. Um, I liked the feeling I got when people loved their images I thought that was very rewarding. You know that That was all those things. And when I got to college, um, I studied photography and business in college, so I picked those those two things which played very nicely together. Uh, I also studied political science, which had nothing to do with anything, but I wasn't sure yet if I wanted to do photojournalism. So you know that kind of thing. So anyway, um, in my end of my second here of college, I think, um, I took a class on fashion photography and it wasn't like how to shoot fashion. It had nothing to do that it was all about Look at thes masters of photography and how they have crafted the images that are most memorable to us. Uh, in our culture. And it was everything. I mean, it was from the very earliest fashion photography up through modern day. It was actually finding our end assignment for the class was I think, I think what they gave us images with no nothing written on them, just numbers and then 40 photographers. And we had to match the names to the images and they were not their most famous images. They pick ones. We would have to understand their style and what they had contributed to the visual language that we speak in fashion photography. So totally unrelated, but just was giving idea what the class was about. Anyway. Um, the reason I took this class was it was an elective. We didn't really have too many electives in that realm. And I took the class. I looked at the images and go. I would have never have thought fashion photography. But these are the images I want to make. There was women that were elegant and strong. There was creative voice to it. And I think I think a lot of the portraiture I had been exposed to was really quite commonplace. Prior, like just all kind of looked the same. And granted, they're they're absolutely portrait photographers that have their own voice. But I hadn't really seen that yet, But in fashion photography, you know, you'd have helmet new and Steven Klein, Lily, ambassador, like you could just go. And I was just blown away by what they were creating. So it had nothing to do with the fashion and everything to do with the vision. That's a great statement, right? There had nothing to do with the fashion. It had everything to do with the vision. E. Love it. I love it because you wonder, like if somebody with somebody super into fashion and that's what they were drawn thio, you know, in the form of photography. But it totally makes sense. Um, given the your style that that it is fashion because of all those different elements that go into the art that is, you know, fashion itself, whether it's design of clothing, of jewelry, of you know, all the different elements. And then I eventually realized that just because the portrait tried seen before I found to be boring didn't mean that I couldn't take everything I loved about fashion and make it portraiture. But that was a journey I had to discover. It's not something that someone presented for me and I go, Oh, that makes sense. I had to go. Oh, I was just looking at people who are boring, like I can make this more interesting and more compelling and and you know, when you see obviously on the cover of magazines, you know where the supermodel era was dead, and it was the age of the celebrity. But fundamentally, it's stylized portraiture. Um, So I realized I could do many things with the things I liked about fashion, photography, those elements of style and elegance and strength. Exactly. And and And so this concept of stylized portraiture, um, and and creating that mood and zone and all of it the beautiful, you know, images that I can think of off the top of my head of yours. But is it that I feel like there's a certain person who's able to conceptualize, um, what an image is going to be? And then there's someone like you and there's someone like me who's Mawr like street photography, like it's more about knowing what I'm kind of looking for and then waiting for to find it versus, like, thinking ahead of what I want to create. Um, is terrible photography like terrorist What I was gonna ask you your mobile. It's just mind blowing like they get. I'll be with my significant other. I've got another friend who's big into the street photography and, like I'm walking around and he's constantly shooting like, Why are you even looking at like I just totally miss it. But that s so that's the interesting thing. Is like how when you're it's one thing to see the like, you're, you know, see the world in a certain way. But then it's another thing to be like creating that world in your mind, I guess. I don't know. I just think it's interesting to think about E. I think it's fascinating that, like when I look at these people are really good street photography, how quickly they're processing what's around them. Um, and I think it's definitely a feat of mental agility. Um, that maybe I shouldn't work on exercising a little. I don't know, because when they're when they're processing those leading lines, that person is coming this way and this beam of light like I see their brains working and it's awesome. Eso I don't think one's better or worse. And when I do ah shoe. It's not that I have all of the pieces come out like, uh, predetermined. But I know what my goal and purpose is, and then I can start bringing together elements with some flexibility that will help me emphasize that purpose. So, for example, the reason I find this sometimes easier than like, I think a lot easier than when I would shoot. Street photography is because I can control everything. So it's, you know, the control freaking me. Um, but if I know what my purpose is, let's say the image is meant to be what's do soft. It's meant to be soft and ethereal. We'll already I know my makeup is going to be soft, unless bold is not gonna be, you know, strong and graphic. I don't know. The posing will probably be, uh, more like long lines and soft hands. I already know that the cult with the color palette will likely be so I feel like when they know what, it's what I'm trying to achieve. It kind of fills in things, and when you have a style, you go Oh, yeah, How would I shoot those things? Oh, yeah. Okay. Like it's filtering everything through how I shoot. And then I don't even like I have to start from square one every time it's it makes it, you know, feel pretty natural. Whereas in a street photography like I just what do you even seeing e? I have no idea it z so interesting because I walk into a studio and I'm like, I don't even know where to start, you know, like it. It's just that yeah, it's And I think it's also just what You're drawn Thio as well. Um, Lindsay, let's talk about again. More coming back to you. Non photographer Lindsey. I mean, not that you're not. It's What's with you. It's one of the same. It will say, Um, you're also a writer. Uh, you have published How many books? Now? Five. But the sixth one is 75% of the way done, but co. But I couldn't shoot the rest of it. So, like some day, what is? What do you enjoy about that process of? Is it similar to putting a class together or like, what is your goal with with having created five books? Six of the six on the way? Um, I think there's a couple of things I'm attracted to. It's definitely similar to putting together a class, especially my three day creative lives. Honestly, it's like writing a book. It's like really not that much different in the end, Um, but I feel like when you put together a book. You feel like you are creating something for posterity like it feels like you've created something with more permanent in the days when I post an image on Instagram and it's forgotten about the next day or, you know, maybe a week later, Um, and it feels great to have something that has longevity. And the other thing is, I also think when somebody owns a book that you created, they put it on their bookshelf. It has much more of a feeling of pride, and they've taken ownership of you and what you have to say than buying just even just buying a digital class. And it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate that, but it's it's different. Like I own your book. I'm displaying in my home. I'm pulling it out for reference. It's that tange ability. I feel like you develop a different type of connection. That's why I think having digital classes where you're talking and they hear your personality. But then having the Tanja bility of book like, I feel like those two things kind of bring you into that person's life in a special way. It is. There's something about a tangible um, a tangible thing that you can hold, and it is a different. It is a different type of connection. Um, and in another, a different another additional, Um, you know, accomplishment and thing that you're kind of like birthing, you know, to to the world. It's great. E ever read a book with Eric Valen? And he would say, We're We were We had a book baby on. I was like, Let's not get people who confused here but I'll take a book, Baby, that's fine. It's true, though. I mean, it's it is such an endeavor. Oh, what is something about you that most people don't know? Or that would be surprising, surprising for people about Lindsay Adler. Oh, my goodness. Okay, because nothing profound came to mind. Everything superficial came to find. Um, that's fun, too. I put mustard on my French fries like I think that's a funny That's cute. Um, it took until the pandemic for me to learn how to cook anything whatsoever at all. And that's not a joke. Like, I literally had zero meals I could cook on DSO. I learned. So what? What what's your What's your dish of choice? You might show stopper. Yeah, How to make shock. Chuka Have you had shock Chuka? No, it Z basically like a skillet tomato dish, but it's got it's like a little bit spicy. It's kind of Ah, Middle Eastern Slash Israeli dish. It's and it's one that impresses. And I'm like, Yeah, but I don't just mean I'm a good cook. I just have, like, one meal that I could do well, but that's all you need because, you know, someone comes to visit. You do that one dish, like blown away, and then you eat the restaurant, take out the rest of time eyes that read. Yeah. Yeah, there is a green one. Um, but I I do the red one. No, I think, um, I think the thing I don't know if it be surprising, but I have two parts of my personality that called to me pretty equally. Um, I have I live in the city. I live in New York City on guy. Have the, you know, the kind of metropolitan lifestyle there. But I also grew up on a farm in upstate New York, and so I also really love nature, and I feel like a lot of people go. Oh, I could never live in New York, you know, It's too much going on the go. I would never want to live in the country. New York's the best, and I think they're both beautiful and I'm drawn to both. And so when I live in New York, I like Thio travel because it gives me another thing. So I think I'm neither a city where a country person I love, both of them. Yeah, I definitely envision UME or the city person of and you know, But it's it's interesting to go back Thio sort of the roots of growing up your and only child. No, I have a little You're not her. Oh my gosh, I know that I don't know. You have a sister who chose living and traveling and does amazing things as well. What was I thinking? She's very She's very impressive. I said. I tell people that she does the good karma for the family like I mean, don't get me wrong like I like to share. I think photography is that there's a good field, but like, you know, she did Peace Corps and works with nonprofits, so like family caramelized. She's earning all of it. And I'm just riding through with that. Yeah, Peace Corps and card. I do. I remember when you went to go visit her. Um, and it's, um what what have you learned from her? And the type of, you know, very kind of different. Different paths. Hmm. Um, I think that no matter what career you choose, when you're passionate about it, you're obviously going to make sacrifices. And in at the end of the day, it's fundamentally what do you when you wake up, feel that you have accomplished Andi, I don't mean that in the, you know, the what I said in the beginning about achieving things, to achieve things, but actually like for yourself. And if you enjoy it, um, I would never in a million years be interested in any of the things she does because they feel so selfless to me. But then, in her perspective, she doesn't feel that way at all. She doesn't have any of that, you know, like a savior complex whatsoever. So I think we both wake up feeling fulfilled, and so there's just there's no one right or better life and I'm glad that we both kind of figured out what it is, even though the total opposite ends of the spectrum. Yeah, my parents have toe do a double take because my sister, we would have probably thought my sister would be more like me when growing up like she was always really picky about her clothing and with more of the social type. Whereas I was more of like, the nerd type and you should have seen my clothing, But we kind of switch spots. And so it's cute. Now she's kind of ah, you know, if she has a choice, she's a little a little hippie. It's, um it's just fascinating how how we we could grow up in the same places, you know, and then as our siblings or whatever and then end up in these very different paths. But, um, have these beautiful connections and learning from each other and all of that. So waking up in the day, waking up in the morning, um, what is Maybe this is sort of final question, like, right now when you wake up in the morning like, what are you most excited about? That is, you know, future facing or or now facing, actually not future facing. But like, what? What is the most exciting thing for you right now? I think one of the things that I learned during pandemic time not toe date the podcast. But it's true, because that's what's on my mind. Um, there were times where I would have days or even weeks go by, and I felt like nothing was accomplished. Um, and then it kind of got to my head a little bit, but I think I was able to take a slightly different perspective on what accomplishing means and if that meant spending more time with my significant other. And I'm sorry, but my best friend, my dog, I think I think it was a good forced appreciation. For example, I have not been home to appreciate autumn in New York, and it is wonderful and it is magical. But every single year I am traveling or its photo plus or I'm teaching or whatever. And this year, I mean, I went out Teoh a outdoor cider mill like five times like, you know, I would go and you go up and you get the cider and donuts ago. Yeah, Why did I not make time for this? Like this is so wonderful. So I mean, I know it sounds kind of cliche, but it was just the appreciating, the little things. But I'm also still myself, and I'm working on five different projects right now. None of them are huge, but none of them are small. And it still feels good because any time I create something, it's it's a feeling of self worth, whether or not it should be. And it also feels like I'm gifting. People think so. It's like it's it feels like a good gift. Take it Z. It is. Ah, it's a great way to live. And then everybody wins. That's how that's how I feel so far. You talk to me in 10 years, we'll talk in 10 years. But I still feel good about all this. I love that I found I found where how I feel like things are supposed to be. That's beautiful. I love it. And it makes me so happy to see you so happy. Uh, it z where, Lindsay, where can people find you? Follow. You see what these new projects are Beyond the look out for new books. All the things we, um I update my instagram literally almost every day s Oh, it's Lindsay out there. Underscore photo if you want to keep track of me there and then I have an educational site which is learned with Lindsay dot com, and I've got a ton of stuff coming out for black Friday. So, uh, you will definitely hear me doing a little dance for my exciting new things. And you see all the images from those projects up on my instagram. Awesome. And I subscribe to your newsletter. So I love getting my Lindsay in my in box. People could do that as well. Thank you. Thank you. Personal messages. Okay. Okay. Awesome. Um, I wanted to give you some shout outs before we sign off. Lindsay, we have Carlos who is joining us from Singapore. Um, she we have Janice and San Antonio. We have Roy who loves cachaca, and it is really dish. Usually usually for breakfast. Um, again, Thanks. Thanks to Vicki Pappas Burger for tuning in. Michelle. I love your red shots, Lorraine from Canada. Um, and on and on and on Connecticut. Um, you know, we love doing the shout out South Dakota. Um, all of it. Italy, Houston, Miami, Melbourne, Australia, Of course. Uh, thank you so much, Lindsay. Um, it's super exciting. Thio just always reconnect with you. And it just gave me a lot of joy. Um, and clearly a lot of joy for a lot of people out there who are long time Lindsay fans as well of your work, but also of who you are as as a human. So thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you. Can I love you? Love you to everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to our live 100th episode of your photographers. Thank you. If you're not already, you can subscribe anywhere that you get your podcasts. Whether that's apple podcast, ITunes stitcher, Spotify, etcetera, etcetera Um, I highly ask and encourage you Thio. Leave a review if you'd like for the podcast. Love hearing what you guys think. Love your suggestions for who you want to see on. Um, you can always message me about that directly. Um, you can find me on socials. Of course. You can see everything that's upcoming here on creativelive by looking at our calendar and you can also go and get all the past episodes of Were photographers on creativelive dot com slash podcast eso Thank you, everybody for tuning in and once again thank you to Lindsay at their signing off For now. See you guys next time.

Class Description


Our weekly audio podcast We Are Photographers brings you true stories from behind the lens and behind the lives of your favorite photographers, filmmakers, and creative industry game-changers. From their struggles to their wins, host Kenna Klosterman discovers the real human stories about why they do what they do.

Listen to this and other audio episodes on our audio Podcast page.


In this very special 100th episode of the podcast, Lindsay and I talk about evolution as photographers, educators, artists, and humans. Lindsay shares how as a recovering perfectionist she creates with purpose versus producing just for producing’s sake. Lindsay shares why she loves to teach and what she learns from her students. Find out what photographers inspire Lindsay, the importance of collaboration, and how she turns creative restraints into an advantage.


Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler has risen to the top of her industry as both a photographer and an educator. Based in New York City, her fashion editorials have appeared in numerous fashion and photography publications including Marie Claire, Elle Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, L'Officiel, and dozens more. As a photographic educator, she is one of the most sought after speakers internationally, teaching on the industry's largest platforms and most prestigious events, having been named one of the top 10 best fashion photographers in the world. Lindsay has worked with some of the top brands in the photographic and related industries such as Canon, Adobe, Grey, Edelman, A&E, NBC, and Microsoft. A clean, bold, and graphic style has become the hallmark of her work, whether shooting advertising campaigns, designer look books, jewelry, hair campaigns, fashion editorials, or professional athletes. Lindsay is renowned for her creativity and collaborating with designers and stylists in order to create fresh looks. An author of five books, she is always working on new ways to share her passions and knowledge with others.