Creator Sessions: Beauty and Fashion Photographer Lesley Hoste X DIOR

Creator Sessions: Beauty and Fashion Photographer Lesley Hoste X DIOR



As a daughter of a carpenter, the love for architecture was always in homes and guided me into art. I graduated in Visual Arts in 2004 and after that, I got my master's degree in photography. 2011 was the year I started my own business and opened a Studio since then it grows little by little. In the very beginning, the jobs were very different, as were my clients. Luckily my work is what I love the most so I got going and soon I ended up doing beauty and fashion. Together with my passion for travel and architecture, I can now call myself a full-time freelance fashion/editorial photographer based in Belgium.



Q. How did you get started becoming a Fashion/Beauty Photographer?

In photography there are many different paths you can choose and the variety of styles is massive with the current technology. I got pushed to the limit several times by my mentor to try different things, to start all over and discover new things. Even now, I'm still in touch with him to discuss photography.
That perfect image attracts me, perfect clothing, with the perfect hair and makeup. Everybody has a certain style and mine is still developing every time I shoot. I’m beginning to like some imperfection in images, this is totally different than before. The last shoot I was screaming “omg, I consciously took unsharpened images, don’t tell anyone, they wouldn’t believe.” It's a matter of working with the element of surprise, expect the unexpected.

As I was at the end of my study career and ready to start my own studio I was always attracted to teamwork. Others love to work alone like in landscape or documentary photography but I like to work with people. Working with models, stylists and makeup artists are putting all the pieces of the puzzle in the right place.

Q. Where do most of your inspiration come from for your shoots?

My inspiration comes in many different ways.  Traveling but especially collaborations with other creatives that push me that little further.
Also, every country I go, I bring fashion magazines so I learn more about what’s new, what’s the style…. just always being attentive for the things around me and especially abroad. 
You can always learn and make progress, it doesn't matter how long you are working and how many nice shots you made, there is always room to improve.

Q. What is the most important thing to know when it comes to
product (should it be fashion/beauty) photography? 

Bring out the best of your model. Observe them and watch the little details. Maybe it gives you that other view, another angle that makes it special. And use the light to catch

Q. We love ALL of your work, How do you come up with such incredibly unique photoshoots?

OW thank you! So nice to hear that from you. Like I already mentioned, Collaborations mean everything to me.

I have a crew of people with who I work on a regular basis in the studio for customers but also just to try some new stuff. They have their own style that inspires me when we work together. When we talk during makeup, when I take shots and they stand next to me as a second pair of eyes, when we analyze the pictures, It all comes together during the shoot and communication is everything. Even when the style of that other creative doesn’t match with mine it’s even more fun and exciting to let it flow.

We can all let our vision out and it's really nice to see that sometimes we end up with a completely different result than before we started,  that's just the beauty of it.

Q. What is the best advice you have ever received while pursuing your dream?

A few years ago I was able to follow a workshop of Lara Jade in Milan. It was so impressive to see how she gets it done.
What she told us made sense in every way for me. She not only talked about technique but also business, the whole package about being a freelance photographer. The thing that keeps on going in my head is that your photo work is only 20% of what you have to do as a creative freelancer.
In the current era, you should constantly be busy with contracts, new leads, social media…. it is a complete hustle nowadays.


Q. What has been one of your biggest accomplishments in your career (something you are most proud of)?

Well, to be honest, that is a recent project I finished, just before the holidays. As I said, it is a big hustle sometimes and to be honest, the respect for the job of creative people is not always present. I struggled for a long time with the question ‘what are you worth’ and I was too scared to ask money. People just try to take advantage of that. There are a lot of signs and stories going on social media that say "I’m a creative and I deserve to get paid for it, you pay for bread, you don’t ask if it’s for free". And that is exactly what I experienced myself. But this project was one without struggle, without questioning, without justifying photography. It was a private art project and the client knew how to respect the creative minds of the photographer and his/her team. I made a series in black and white together with an amazing team. It felt like making an editorial but it had nothing to do with a commercial or advertising job and somehow you get more appreciated for what you do this way. That’s why this project has an amazing vibe with it.

Q. What makes an exceptional editorial in your opinion?

I love technicalities! I spent hours looking for the perfect light setting. It's just so wonderful if, during the shoot, the light falls onto your model as you pictured it in your head. Combining the perfect light with the perfect team is the first step to exceptional work.

Q. Tell us a highlight from your year!

As said before, with my team I like to take it to another level. Sometimes commercial work has the tendency to make you lazy.
So we love to test shoot whenever possible. Afterward, when the result is as we pictured it I take the time to look at the opportunity to get published. Last year my London-shoot was published in GRAZIA Croatia, one of my top-listed magazines.

Q. Do you have any big goals for 2020? Travel, Clients, Vacations? 

Well, It looks to be a good year. The agenda is starting to fill up nicely and the Art Basel Fair in Hong Kong is set to visit.
As a "reward" for a busy year, I hope to take the south of America for another holiday after visited Colombia & Mexico 2 years in a row. Further, in business, I hope to be able to realize more art projects, with a touch of beauty and fashion, because these make you show all your skills and helps you to stay creative.


Q. Any tips for other freelance creatives who are looking to build a client roster?

Respect your own work. Go social. Keep hustling. Dream big!


Photographer: Lesley Hoste @lesleyhoste

MUA/Stylist/Cr Dir: Fraukje Van De Wiele @francesfolies

Hair: Liesbeth Cobbaert @liesbethcobbaert

Models: Lisa Michiels @michielslisa @dominiquemodels_official,

Jolien Bass @jolienbass @only_model_management

📍Aalter, Belgium