Creator Sessions: COVER Photographer Ayaka Sano

Creator Sessions: COVER Photographer Ayaka Sano



Ayaka Sano is a portrait and fashion photographer based in Chicago, IL. Prior to her photography career, Ayaka was a classically-trained violinist for 15 years. Her photography style can be described as having a dreamy quality with creamy tones, with a focus on movement and textures. 



Q. What do you love about Fashion Photography? And why did you pursue this passion?


I think fashion is such a fun way of self-expression. I really love incorporating movement and shooting different textures, while figuring out the best way to make the subject shine



Q. We adore your dreamy aesthetic! How did you find your unique photography/editing style?


I think my editing style was definitely influenced by other photographers’ works that I’ve admired. I do think it is something that requires a lot of trial and error, and I always want to edit in a way that showcases the subjects in the best way. Skin tones are really important to me, and I really prefer creamy and neutral tones rather than something super bold, saturated, and contrasted.




Q. 3 tips for beginner photographers trying to find their style! 


Save photos you really like (using something like Pinterest, Instagram saves, etc) and try to analyze what you like about each photo. There will probably be some sort of pattern whether it’s tones, contrast, lighting. Experiment shooting under different lighting conditions and learn how to edit things with different lighting so that everything is cohesive post edit. Try editing in different ways (I definitely was all over the place at first, but it really helped me realize what I like or dislike).


Q.  What was it like transitioning from professional violinist to professional Fashion Photographer?


To be honest, I’ve always loved the arts. The music felt super personal and so much of it was internal. I love fashion photography because it’s a collaborative art. Having a great model, MUA, and Hair Stylist is what will take good shots to great ones. I will say that music has taught me discipline and how to really fine-tune things and be picky. While in the conservatory I used to take headshots of friends with a point and shoot and I really enjoyed doing that, even though I had no idea what I was doing! After having a few different desk jobs after quitting music, I realized that working in a cubicle was not for me and I needed to create to be happy.



Q. How did you learn to shoot fashion/beauty photography?

I learned a lot from Youtube honestly. I also have an online course by Lara Jade which I really enjoyed learning from. It was mostly trial and error in the end. 



Q. What inspires you to continue creating flawless editorials?


This is actually my first magazine submission! I am inspired by many things but I feel that collaborating with other creatives has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring things for me. I have a makeup artist that I really love working with, Paige Puccio. She’s really talented and often inspires me to go out of my comfort zone.



Q. Any tips for those looking to get outside of their comfort zone and try new photography tactics?


I started out shooting only outdoors, but since I live in Chicago and it’s too cold 8 months out of the year, I tried shooting in the studio. I then incorporated using a strobe (the Lara Jade Fashion Series really helped me figure out what I wanted to try in terms of lighting equipment). I ended up with a setup which I feel mimics natural light. I must say I still love shooting with natural light even within my studio, but there are times where a strobe is necessary. Experimentation is key to growth, and at the end of the day, trying something new will never hurt!



Q. What equipment do you always have on hand when you do a session?


I always have my trusty Canon 5D Mark III and my 50mm/1.4 lens with me on every shoot. I do incorporate my other 2 lenses often but the nifty fifty comes with me every time. 



Q. What are some plans of yours for 2020? Any big projects you are looking forward to?


I would love to do a few more submissions in 2020 and hope to work with some more designers.



Photographer: Ayaka Sano

Hair: Emily Chura @emilyraehair

Fashion: Naeem Khan @naeemkhannyc

Model: Leilani Etherton @meow.lani @therockagency

Stylist: Danielle Von Keller @daniellevonkeller

MUA: Paige Puccio@beauty_paigeco

Fashion: Sarah Varca @vara.bridal

Stylist: Giselle Ghofrani @bellebridalatelier

📍Chicago, Illinois