Fashion Photography Art with Professional Fashion Photographer: Tony Ryan

Fashion Photographer Tony Ryan: An Eye For Beauty

By Fashion Photographer Tony Ryan, Nikon D200

To capture the natural, authentic beauty of the naked body is a difficult skill that Australian Fashion photographer and artist, Tony Ryan, has mastered. With a deep passion for photography and portraying the beauty of the curves of women, Ryan shares his success story in the following interview.

How and why did you become involved in photography?

Tony Ryan became involved in photography in 1989 when he felt there was a market for images of beautiful Australian women. “I started as a model and then became a photographic director where I would do everything other than push the button. From there I went to having a photographer continue to set the technical side up and I would take the shots. In 1995 I commenced doing everything myself.” Professional from the beginning, he started to realize his dream. “I  was also very passionate about posing and capturing the women on film. I had always dreamed about making a living doing something that I enjoyed”.

Best known as a body specialist by others, he considers himself a posing and directional specialist as well. “I have always sensed and noticed beauty. I believe I have a sense to know where and when something looks good. I work very passionately to direct a model into their best aesthetic and to then help create a mood where they are free and not camera conscious. I believe this ability is equally as effective for any form of people shot from nude to fashion”. He applies this same ability to photographing cars, houses, nature etc.

Where do you find inspiration?

Mainly self-taught, Ryan sought inspiration from many different sources while developing his photography skills. One particular Australian  magazine that helped him develop his passion is called “Not only Black and White” . Besides seeking inspiration from magazines, Ryan is also quite inspired by different photographers though none in particular. “I get drawn to the amount of soul that comes through a photograph. To this end, many amateur or lesser known photographers move me as much as any”. From inspiration, observation, reading, and asking questions, Ryan developed his skills quite well

Professional Fashion Photographer: Tony Ryan

Nikon D200 -- 250 @ f5.6 80mm at ISO 100 by Tony Ryan


What is the best camera to use for fashion photography?

Shooting digital 95% of the time,  Ryan uses a Nikon D200 but also play with an old Hassleblad. “I love the medium format of it as it [the Hassleblad] has such a surreal view to it. I would never trade the Hassleblad but I may upgrade the Nikon. At this stage I am doing more workshops than photography so I have no great need to upgrade”. See workshops Ryan offers in an upcoming article. Of his Nikon D200, he says “Its easy to use. I love seeing the result immediately and feel safer in trying different lighting techniques knowing I can delete if it doesn’t work. I think digital has made me far more adventurous. I am planning on doing more with the Hassleblad though, as I really love the artistic feel it produces”.

What sort of gear is best to use to achieve this artistic effect?

Ryan uses a variety of different equipment with his Nikon D200. A crucial piece to achieving his desired look is his Nikkor 80-200 zoom. “I usually shoot on full zoom as I love blurring backgrounds. Also, I have a 20mm that I use to get some abstract images of my cars”. He also uses a Manfrotto tripod though he does not use it often. “I must admit that I use the tripod as little as possible. I love having freedom of movement and the tripod really annoys me. This is something I am trying to get over”. As for lighting, he uses a technique of filtering it through early 1900’s glass. He mostly uses two-three Tungsten Heads to create desired lighting. “My favorite light for nudes is to have the lights from behind the model at anywhere between 15 and 90%. This gives really heavy contrast and great impact”. Ryan also uses incidence light metering in his shoots though he admits that he goes by eye most of the time with digital photography.

As for post processing, Ryan does very little of it.  “Mostly just levels to create exposures that add a dynamic feel to the shot. Also dependent upon the shot I frequently de-saturate my images to varying degrees. Aside from this, I will clone stamp out obvious pimples but never alter the shapes of bodies or faces”.

What fashion photography tips do you have for beginners?

To a beginner, Ryan has a few suggestions for basic gear that is great to start out with. He suggests Mole Richardson lamps for lighting and advises looking for sales since he got his for about $80 each at a movie tender sale. “ I also use a large beach umbrella for diffusing light in outdoor shoots. Once again purchased second hand at a garage sale”. As for cameras he suggests anything in the $2-3k range should be ample. In addition, Ryan advises always keeping an eye out for used props such as old suitcases, gym lockers, and anything that can be used in a shoot.

The most important tip Ryan can give to both new and professional photographers is to really enjoy what they do and to do all you can to be in the moment rather than stress and worry about not getting the result that you desire. Ryan concludes with words of wisdom, “I believe the best result comes when you free yourself to be as passionate and free in all you do. Also as part of this try to photograph from your heart and intuition rather than re create what is already out there”. With the passion and knowledge of photography he possesses, Tony Ryan is able to produce tastefully beautiful nude and fashion photographs.

His work can be viewed at the links below.

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  1. This is truly stunning captures!

  2. Ryan,

    Magnificent pictures. I am about to start fashion photography and also use a Nikon D200. I love this gear. But we both know how it performs in low light conditions. I’ve seen your silhouette photo of the girl and can’t imagine how you were able to pull that off with so much detail! I assume good lighting setup was the key?

    Please share some tips for a D200 user like me. I’m pretty sure you’ve upgrade to a better gear now with those new sensors. I look forward to your response and more power to your work, sir!



  1. […] more about Fashion Photography tips and techniques by Tony Ryan Read an interview of Tony Ryan on IDP Filed Under: Nude Photographers Tagged With: Nude Photographers, Photographers […]

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