Licensing Contributor Renat Renee-Ell on complex narratives in her photography

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Licensing Contributor Renat Renee-Ell is a conceptual and fine art photographer based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Working with complex narratives in her photography, she embraces color and texture while challenging our perception of reality. Browse her Licensing collection here.

Q: You first began licensing your content on 500px in 2018 with your monochrome series, and have since received a lot of recognition for your work. What was your favorite aspect of this shoot?

rose by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: My most favorite stage [of the shoot] was the search for the location, and preparation of the props. I tried to come up with a theme for each series so that the idea was not only in color.

Q: How did you conceptualize this shoot?

 by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: I had a location, a model, and some association with color in mind. I also used the pop art style to take some famous brands and their associated colors and redesign the names. (For example, Ritter Sport became Glitter Sport)

Q: How did you source the location and style your models for these photos?

green ends first by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: In the summer, I walked around the city looking for interesting locations with the monochrome idea in mind. In the winter, I shot in the studio using backgrounds or the interior (blue, red), if it fit (gray series).

I determined the style all by myself. I used the model’s look to decide on the style of the image. I looked for clothing and props in stores and worked with brands and showrooms.

Q: Your image was recently featured on the Getty Images landing page, which greatly increased visibility around your commercial content. How did it feel to be featured in this way?

 by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: It’s very cool—realizing that among the 70 million photos, yours is worth a lot of money

Q: With increased visibility around your monochrome yellow image, you have managed to make 18 sales in the last month. What excites you the most about this?

A: I am glad that at one point, so many people all over the world noticed my picture and wanted to buy it. It’s inspiring.

Q: What is the biggest lesson licensing your content commercially on 500px has taught you?

A: The fact that art photos can be interesting as well, not just real-life styles.

Q: Due to your recent success, do you have plans to continue and build out your monochrome series?

 by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: I like the concept of combining subtle shades, so this cycle will definitely continue, perhaps in other themes.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for these types of conceptual and creative shoots?

Untitled by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: I look for inspiration everywhere, not only in my field of photography, but also in films, illustrations, 3D design, and installations. On the internet, on Instagram, on supermarket shelves, or just walking along the street.

Q: Have you begun to notice a rise in popularity for the monochrome style, or if an emphasis on bold colors in photography has started to form a trend?

lil by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: Now, there is a lot of visual content for all styles. And, if you look only at a certain style, it seems like that is all you see. But yes, there is definitely such a trend.

However, I also see a lot of content with a very different style: more subdued analog colors under the film, so there are other trends emerging as well.

Q: What advice would you give photographers looking to license their content on 500px for the first time?

Untitled by Renat Renee-Ell on 500px.com

A: I advise you to do what you like in the first place. Yes, it’s worth following the trends, just to be aware of them, but it is important to find your own individual style, to do something unique. Then, perhaps in the future, you will be setting the trends.

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