Per Florian Appelgren: The Man Behind the Lens

Per Florian Appelgren: The Man Behind the Lens

Creators Magazine Interviews the high-end fashion and beauty photographer 


Per Florian Appelgren has taken the fashion world by storm with his strikingly unique portraits and editorial work. His shots have graced some of the industry’s biggest pages like L’Officiel, Elle, and Vogue, and his eye for all thing beauty and Avant-garde has landed him a name in fashion photography like no other. Creators editors had the opportunity to sit down with Appelgren and discuss everything to do with his life’s work, his art, and his dive into the world of photography and starting his own business. 




After buying his very first camera, a beginner DSL Canon 1000D, eight years ago, Appelgren was immediately hooked on the intoxicating way he could bring images to life through a lens. “At this point I never planned on becoming a photographer,” he says, “and I just wanted to take some pictures. Just for the fun of it, because I had never experienced the joy of shooting before.” He describes the experience as a “small rush” each time he captured a good image, and began to take pictures at University parties, concerts, and other community events. He played drums in two bands and experimented by taking portraits of the band members. “After a year of owning a camera I was introduced to some people at Universal Music Germany and started taking promo photos for some of their artists, and did that for some time,” Per Florian says. 


This catapulted him into the world of professional photography, and he had to decide if this would be his full time job. “While I was in University I took a lot of time to learn photography and gain experience through assisting, YouTube tutorials, and shooting,” he states. After finishing his degree in Business Administrations and International Politics, however, he knew that that was not what he wanted to do with his life.




“I just couldn’t deal with the thought of being employed for a company and not being able to decide how things are done. I couldn’t do something that I didn’t love.” 


And so his journey to becoming his own employer progressed. He very naturally listened to his heart, his inner voice, and wrote out a business plan for himself as an artist. Appelgren rented a studio and suddenly he was self-employed. “The best feeling in the world,” he admits. 




Per Florians’ early influences include the likes of Kristian Schuller, Rankin, Mario Testino, Helmut Newton, and so many of the greats that the industry has come to love. “Although I gained influence and inspiration from just about everything,” he adds. The artist says that when you’re just starting out as a photographer you want to do anything and everything, and the sheer amount of directional choices is overwhelming.  He says that “you really have to find your spot by trying out tons of styles,” and that’s just how it went for him. His style, of course, began to develop into the grandiose and beautiful fashion and beauty images that we see today. Appelgren fell in love with the larger than life feeling of big magazines and campaigns, and wanted to help create the world that he loved to use to escape reality:


“It’s about the love and fascination for human beings. And the love of fashion itself. I could stare at fashion and beauty images all day and night. It is pure magic and just gets me every time.” 




His images are known for being raw, real, and for evoking emotion. The photographer says there isn’t one “choice” he makes when beginning a project, but that it starts with an idea, a theme, and then he goes from there and prepares a mood board with his team. “I always try to have the right model that fits the theme perfectly and makes the whole thing feel authentic,” he says, “and of course do as little post production as possible.” Appelgren says there are numerous aspects that make an editorial” good,” and that any of these can make or break a piece. The concept, model, styling, hair, makeup, lighting – they’re all a pivotal part of the world that the photographer has to help build and capture. Above all, Appelgren says that a good editorial is diversified and makes the viewer think. Over the years his style and the way he tackles his work has changed dramatically with experience, and with knowing what works and what doesn’t. “I’m still on that road and probably always will be; that’s what makes photography so exciting and fascinating,” he states. 




Of course, that excitement also comes in the form of some amazing publications and collaborations around the world. Per Florian has been featured in huge publications like L’Officiel and Vogue, and continues to wow audiences globally with his stunning portraits. “It’s always a big coming together of minds from different places,” he says of his collaborations, “and you get to know so many different walks of life, different viewpoints, perspectives, and ideas.” He says that these projects with different, likeminded artists really recharge your batteries, push you, and motivate you to be your best on set. 




With such a successful past and present, Appelgren has nowhere to go but up. In five years he sees himself still doing what he loves, waking up every morning grateful for the opportunity to capture such beautiful images. “I still want to challenge myself to become a better photographer and person, while maintaining my curiosity of the craft itself and life,” he states. He’s looking forward to a day when the COVID-19 travel restrictions are slightly eased, so that he can begin traveling in a “normal” way again for work. As far as tips for up and coming photographers and artists, he isn’t shy with his advice: 


“I think networking is key, so try to meet as many people as possible. Reach out to them every once in a while. Be persistent. Be kind. Be nice. Be humble. Treat people the same way you want to be treated, and remember that positive vibes and energy attract the same thing! Work your ass off. But don’t forget to recharge and take care of yourself. Love what you do and people will recognize that. Think outside the box and step outside your comfort zone.”



Written by: Ashley Dawson @lapin_studios // Freelance Writer


Photographer: Per Florian Appelgren


Model: Laura Schuller c/o A Management

Hair & Make-Up: Julia Ziegler c/o Ligawest

Styling: Natalia Witschke c/o Nina Klein Agency

Retouch: Elena Misjuk


Model: Sophia c/o HER Management

Styling: Atinan Nitisunthonkul

Hair & Make-Up: Tanja Kern

Retouch: The Visual Craftroom


Model: Lys c/o We Are Models

Styling: Heike Held

Hair & Make-Up: Tina Hoffmann

Retouch: Nina Mairer

📍Cologne, Germany