Field Advice: Luana Lopes - Local Wolves

Photo by Luana Lopes

Field Advice by London based photographer, Luana Lopes, she/her.

Photo by Luana Lopes

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a Portuguese fashion photographer currently based in London, United Kingdom. Photography was nothing more than just a hobby until I got my first camera in 2019 and started capturing fashion looks at Seoul Fashion Week 2019. From then on, I started off my freelancing career during my study abroad year in South Korea in 2019-2020. After leaving Seoul, the sudden change of places and the restrictions caused by the current pandemic made me put this passion of mine on hold. Until I realized this is something that really made me feel fulfilled as an individual and so I decided to move down to London after graduating from Coventry University to turn photography into my full-time career. Being able to express myself through my art and be immersed in a creative city like London made me enjoy this experience even more: meeting new people, creating great memories and experience all the good things the city has to offer is the main reason behind my decision. London was and still is a huge challenge for me till this day but it not only made me being constantly challenged to improve, but also made me realize that networking with the other creatives can help you even more than money ever could. I try to focus on what’s important to me, and live each day to the fullest rather than stress too much over what the future holds for me. I much rather focus on self-development than being too greedy and expect everything to come to me all at once (I wouldn’t mind if it did though…) but that is not how it works and I try to be more patient with myself, even though it’s not easy for me. In the near future, my ambition is to be able to travel the world and photograph for my favorite fashion brands and magazines across the globe. 

Describe your workspace.

My workspace is always usually a coffee shop. As much as I love to be in my bedroom I tend to be distracted and start binging on my favorite series. Going out makes me feel a bit more productive. Being in a not so crowded coffee shop while drinking a vanilla latte and listen to some music (or just the typical coffee shop background— this usually includes some small chatting in the background and soft relaxing tracks playing in the background), having other people talking or working around me is the type of working environment I enjoy and take some inspiration from. Sometimes, I also like to invite a friend or two to join me for work. It’s nice to have company while working, even if they’re working on something completely different. I find it comforting and sometimes helpful, when it comes to have some feedback on my work as well. I developed this habit back in Seoul as I honestly think I spent most of my time exploring new cafes to hangout with my friends and for studying until late with them to prepare for university exams. Now, although I don’t have as many options as I had back in Seoul, I still try to find a similar environment to the one I experienced back then. Unfortunately, the spaces are not as big but there is still a lot more variety than I expected. My favorite and essential items to have with me (which I cannot ever forget to carry with me) are for sure my laptop and iPad, most importantly my noise cancelling headphones (ideal to focus) and last but not least, a book— I have recently started reading books and I find it quite refreshing to have a 10/15 minute break of reading. Not only it stops me from being on my phone the whole time but it also inspires me as a creative. These days, I have been enjoying romance novels even though I love a good self-development book! 

Photo by Luana Lopes
Photo by Luana Lopes

What is your field advice for aspiring creatives?

I definitely wish I knew sooner a career within the fashion/entertainment world was what I wanted to pursue. I also wish I had photographed more and believed more in myself and my skills as a photographer. People tend to underestimate their potential by comparing themselves to other professionals (just like I did, and still do sometimes unconsciously) although I try to remind myself that everyone is different and so are their journeys. I much rather look up to other professionals rather than comparing myself to them. It’s not an easy change of thinking but it definitely helps me improve and feel less pressured to become better than others. Everyone has their own opinion and style so while you may think that your work may not be as good as the person you look up to, someone else might think just the opposite. The world is very subjective and no artist can be loved by everyone. You should accept and own your style, try to improve on the aspects you think you should improve yourself on, learn with others and mostly, enjoy the journey! If what you do makes you happy, you should not let other external factors sabotage that. Also, stop wasting your time and do not let opportunities go away. I am the kind of person who likes to grab an opportunity straight away because I am too afraid one might not comeback around to grab me again. Sometimes it’s better to risk than to stay in the comfortable zone. It might be harder at the beginning, but you’ll definitely learn from it.

What are your thoughts on the creative industry?

In my opinion, the photography industry has been more opened to creatives with a more unique style. I more often come across professionals who have developed their own unique style and I am now able to distinguish the artist just by their art. The fact that more artists are approaching the world in a rawer perspective of the world, by using less Photoshop to edit people’s features and distort their appearance, I now see more people shifting to film photography and portray a more natural and rawer version of reality, which I love. On the other hand, I think it’s quite upsetting Instagram (a solely photo sharing social media platform) has been slowly shifting to video and other certain guidelines which tend to sexualize nudity still doesn’t make much sense to me. Many photographers like me use Instagram to share their work and I’m uneasy to think users will not get as much audience if not for reels or that some posts might be getting taken down because it does not comply with the guidelines for a minor reason. 

Photo by Luana Lopes
Photo by Luana Lopes

What is your current favorite song at the moment while you work?

Can I upload my playlist instead? This is a very difficult question! Music is part of my everyday life and so there is absolutely no time where I don’t listen to music. I listen to all kinds of genres, from Indie rock, Pop to RnB or Latin music but lately I’ve been listening to Stay Alive by Jungkook (prod. by Suga of BTS) and Out of Time by The Weeknd. Respectively they’ve been my favorite band (BTS) and artist (The Weeknd) for years now and their new music never disappoints me.

What is your favorite local spot that our readers should check out in your local neighborhood?

Even though it’s not exactly in my local neighborhood I love heading out to Canary Wharf— it’s a more modern side of London that makes you think you’re in a completely different city! Recently, I have been also loving Notting Hill. It has got a bit of everything I love, from good food to small markets and unique shops to the beautiful Holland Park. Definitely worth to check out these places! They’re both really pretty and unique. 

What does the Local Wolves community mean to you?

Local Wolves is a space where creatives can have their worked shared and cherished. I love to read about other creatives’ stories and the opportunity to share a little bit of myself to your readers means a lot to me. I want everyone to feel inspired and encouraged by my journey and work as a photographer as well as I am to read others’. Local Wolves and the community mean to me a lot because not only it’s a safe space to us creative people to be able to share their experiences and advices but it also makes us feel heard and appreciated. I would like to encourage readers to also participate actively in the community! I think we can all learn something from each other and I love that this magazine has given voice to a lot of us creatives. 

Connect with Luana: Website / Instagram

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