Q+A with Sisilia Piring, Free-Spirited Fashion Photographer + Digital Influencer

Sisilia Piring is a fashion photographer, digital influencer, and creative consultant based in Los Angeles, California. On top of that, she’s a proud mother of two, a self-proclaimed adventurer, and a lifestyle guru. Her work is incredibly lively, bright, and playful, which she credits to staying present in each and every moment of a shoot. 

Although her portfolio boasts some of the top names in the business, like Estée LauderBurberry, Reformation, and Urban Outfitters, Sisilia only just made the switch to pursuing photography as more than a hobby in 2010. This speaks not only to the quality of her work, but to her ability to take risks and put herself out there both professionally and personally. Sisilia believes in working hard, being nice, and staying humble, and we can’t help but admire her for that!

The Basics

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Field of Interest: Photography
  • What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? Being a mom!
  • What Inspired You Today? Setting goals and achieving them/crossing them out.
  • What Are You Currently Listening To On Repeat? “She Talks Too Much” by Elohim (Psst! Be sure to check out our Spotify for more music recs from our Muses!)
  • What Are You Currently Involved In That You’re Really Excited About? I’m currently shooting with Formula X for Sephora. I’ve had the most amazing time shooting it. I’ve been shooting influencers here in LA and traveling to Houston, Austin, and NYC. I’m super excited to finally see the first installment of the project printed and featured in Sephora stores nationwide.

Questions + Answers

You’ve worked with some of the most well-known names in the fashion industry, including Burberry, Givenchy, and Nylon Magazine. If you had to pick just one favorite, which would it be and why?

Gosh, that’s a difficult one since I’ve loved working with each brand. Each of them brings their own personality and creative direction, but if I had to pick just one it would probably be Burberry. I’ve shot with them three times now and each time it’s like working with old friends. A great, outgoing, and funny team to shoot with. Some of the best on-set memories. They also had the best kraft services. Haha!

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We absolutely love that you love being a mom. Has having and raising children influenced how you conduct your work and your professional life?

Absolutely! I’m very selective as to what kind of projects I take on as I don’t want to be away from my children for too long, especially if it’s a project I’m not really passionate about. I’m more efficient with my time or I try to be anyway.

What is it about fashion photography that awakens your creativity and passion?

For me, fashion photography is limitless. It’s a world where I can re-create what’s in my head and give it life.

I don’t feel hindered if something doesn’t makes sense because it’s fashion and it’s not meant to be too serious.

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On your website, you talk about when you first fell in love with photography and how important the film development process was to you. In 2016, it’s probably fair to say that digital and smartphone photography comprise the majority, as is evident in your iPhone-only shoot with Burberry for The Art of the Trench. Have you completely embraced digital photography and the almost immediate gratification that you can get from it, or has that transition felt like a bit of a compromise for you?

In the beginning, it was a compromise as the majority of my work was slowly shifting into digital. Now that I’m shooting digital almost exclusively, I see the benefits of it as most of my work has a very fast turn-around. Digital has made this both possible and cost-efficient.

I carry a 35mm film camera with me at all times, but I mostly shoot film for my own personal mementos.

Would you say that you have a general theme or spirit that underlies all of your photos? What is it and how did you develop and curate that?

I would say there’s a sense of approachability in my work. An effortlessness. As I grow more towards studio shoots, I would say there’s a fun, colorful theme that’s taking shape.

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I’ve always been fond of colors and femininity. I think I live vicariously through my photographs as I don’t really wear too much color and am very minimal and tom-boyish. That’s probably how it was developed.

Caption has nothing to do with photo but currently craving a hot bowl of pho 🍲 😂

A post shared by ◎°Sisilia Piring 〰 Los Angeles (@sisiliapiring) on

With the advent of social media and the limitless editing and filtering that anyone can do with apps like VSCO and Snapseed, some would say that now anyone can be a photographer. Do you agree with that statement? Would you consider this increased accessibility to editing tools and audiences to be helpful or harmful to professional photographers?

I feel because of the limitless editing and filtering tools it does hurt professional photographers because people, brands, clients think it’s as easy as just snapping a photo and calling it a day. Our day rates are then low-balled because they probably had other photographers offer them a low rate to shoot their project.  

I don’t think people realize how much work goes into photography. As a photographer, I am my own manager and agent. I have to go out there to find jobs. I’m not just sitting around waiting for brands to contact me. I’m pitching my ideas to companies, producing a shoot, finding the right people to make a great team for a shoot, taking care of billings and accounting. Going after clients whose payments are overdue. I’m my own PR, customer service, and web designer. I have to make sure my assistants are paid on time, and my studio is in working order as well as the equipment.

But most importantly, it’s the hours that I’ve invested into photography. Learning how light falls, composition, learning about each piece of gear and how to use them properly. That all takes time. Lots of minute details that people don’t really think about or go over.

On that note, for novice photographers on apps like Instagram, what editing tool do think is most crucial to make your snaps look professional? Are there any effects to avoid?

I personally would avoid HDR since I’m not really into that aesthetic. I love VSCO. I would suggest trying that and going light on the intensity of the filters.

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What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? Are there any practical business tips that you’ve found to be invaluable?

Be nice! Stay humble. Work harder. Always have a goal and take self assessment tests. Ask yourself questions – “Is this what I want to be doing? Am I happy? Where do I want to be in a year? What can I do now to get there?”

+ CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SISILIA? FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM, VSCO + SUBSCRIBE TO HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

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