Maternity leave motivates Katya to master food photography

Post by
Marisa Young
Maternity leave motivates Katya to master food photography

If it weren't for a serendipitous moment during maternity leave, Katya Özler may have missed her calling to become a professional food and product photographer altogether.

Fortunately, following her passions and making the most of each opportunity has enabled Katya to build the foundations of a successful freelance photography business in Istanbul, Turkey.

Katya is a motivated and driven creator and her prior experience as a teacher has given her a thirst for knowledge. She chases opportunities to learn and experiments with new techniques, readily sharing her learnings with others.

We recently welcomed Katya into our creator team and community and have found her creative spirit infectious and couldn't wait to get to know her better. Read on to find out how she discovered her passion for photography and what inspires her most.

Meet Katya!

I always thought I was destined to be a teacher and didn't discover my passion for photography until after I became a mother. While on maternity leave I realised I had the opportunity to do more than just change diapers and play with toys so I started educating myself in photography.

As I was learning to use my camera and trying to capture my daughter and her friends, a friend of mine invited me to shoot some of her delicious pastries in her pâtisserie. The experience was love at first sight and now I focus on photographing food and products full-time.

My goal this year is to combine my passion for both photography and teaching and start a series of workshops when the situation in the world calms down.

The height of inspiration

While my first love is food styling, my current obsession is creating levitation photos. This technique gives the effect of food and ingredients floating in mid-air and adds a level of mystery and whimsy.

Creating this effect takes a lot of patience but it is worth it for the feeling of satisfaction and the wow-factor when it's finished!

A floating work of art by Katya
Behind the scenes - the intricate setup required to execute a levitation photo

When I'm looking for inspiration online I always look forward to seeing images by @danylchenkocom and @julicosmo because these creators always have a great insights on upcoming trends.

My creative working style

I would describe my own personal aesthetic as bright, high-contrast and colorful. I imagine my inner world as looking like a Van Gogh painting!

My favourite location to create from is my home studio because I feel most relaxed and inspired here. I recently sacrificed the guest room in my house to set up my studio which is my own personal heaven!

The equipment I currently use is my Canon 6D Mark II, Slik tripod, Godox fv 150, a speedlight 430 EX II. I also collect rare and unique items to use as props.

When I'm working, staying organised and planning is key, although there is nothing more motivating than a fast approaching deadline! Overcoming creative block comes with experience and I work hard to stay in the creative zone.

I primarily work alone but last year I had the opportunity to work with a team who were extremely helpful and I learned a lot. The experience made me realise how much I loved having the support and being challenged helped my personal growth.

Entering a world of endless creativity

I've found unconditional community support through Creatively Squared. I received a personal invitation from the cofounder Ruth Stephensen, who welcomed me into this world of endless creativity. I was really excited to participate in something so new and different, and feel a part of an internationally wide society of creative people.

I have never been a part of a more supportive and creative community in my life

I recently joined the Creator team at Creatively Squared and completed my first project - a vibrant campaign for Sunsilk (Elidor for the Turkish market). It was really fun to create imagery for this brief and the concept suited my colorful aesthetic perfectly!

I also try to actively participate in the monthly creative challenges sharing my entries in the Creator Slack workspace as well as my tips and questions.

Top creative tips

Every time you see a photo, painting, movie scene, or even a piece of architecture that makes your heart jump, just stop, watch, analyse and leave it in your heart. Then the next time you have your camera out you can recall the treasured the memory and draw from it as inspiration.

What's next?

I already have like a long list of skills I'd like to improve and work on in 2021 - right now film making is on top of the list!

Thank you Katya for sharing your Creatively Squared journey with us so far and we are looking forward to following your creative path. You can follow Katya too by popping over to her Instagram @katyaozler or getting to know her more in our Creator Slack community.

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