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In Vogue



Eugene Manning uses his Tamron 90mm VC macro lens to create fashion photography that makes you stop scrolling.


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By Jenn Gidman
Images by Eugene Manning



Some people know early on they’re meant to be photographers. For Eugene Manning, his love for taking pictures came quite accidentally. “About eight years ago, I had some friends who were models, and they wanted me to manage them,” he says. “One of the first things that models need is new photos for their portfolio, so, as their manager, I was tasked with hiring local photographers to shoot these photos. What I found was that the prices being quoted were really steep. I thought, ‘I could get a camera and just do this myself.’”

That’s exactly what he did. Eugene acknowledges that his first images needed work, but he enjoyed working with his subjects, and he started studying masters in the fashion and beauty field to see how they created their images. Today, Eugene is a fashion photographer based in New York City, his work featured in such high-end glossies as Elle India and L'Officiel Baltic plus Vogue Italia's "PhotoVogue" curated fine art website.

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/4.5, 1/125th sec., ISO 250
Model: Lailanni Lucien (Instagram: @lailucien), hair / makeup: Margie Graddicks (Instagram: @margie.graddicks), Dress and belt: Doien Collection (Instagram: @doien_demi_couture)
Click image to view larger
On his camera during his shoots is the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 VC macro lens. “I have another macro lens close to that same focal length, but the Tamron lens is lighter, the autofocus is faster, and it’s quieter,” he says. “I also enjoy the macro functionality. I haven’t used it in that capacity that much yet for beauty work, but for the images I have done, I’ve loved how they came out.”

Eugene describes his style as a classic one, inspired by photographers such as fashion photographers Steven Meisel and Mario Testino, who were drawn to black-and-white in the same way Eugene is. “I want to create an image that will stop people from scrolling,” he says. “If you go to Facebook or Instagram, those platforms are inundated with photos. I want mine to be the ones that get people to stop what they’re doing to really look at them and absorb them.”

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/7.1, 1/125th sec., ISO 100
Model: Cyrene Moore (Instagram: @cyrenemoore), hair: Parisa Karimi (@pari3a_karimi), makeup: Margie Graddicks (Instagram: @margie.graddicks), Jacket and skirt: Videmus Omnia (Instagram: @videmusomnia)
Click image to view larger

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/9, 1/250th sec., ISO 100
Model: Lailanni Lucien (Instagram: @lailucien), Hair by JP Polikoff (Instagram: @jp_fxmakeup), makeup by Alex Horenburg (Instagram: @alexsgore), Coat by Doien Collection (Instagram: @doien_demi_couture)
Click image to view larger




One of the most important factors in Eugene’s work is establishing rapport with his subjects. “Many photographers, when they’re first starting out, focus on learning their camera settings, how to compose shots, and how to find the right light, which of course are all important, but they don’t pay attention on how to relate to people,” he says. “For fashion portraiture, that’s crucial. You need to make sure the models are comfortable in your presence so that they let their guard down and let their personalities shine through. If you can’t help them do that, you’re not going to get the images you want.”

For Eugene, that includes keeping the atmosphere light and the direction casual. “There’s usually a lot of joking on the set,” he says. “I’m just shooting away while that’s all going on. I don’t typically tell my models to do specific things or strike particular poses—they’re just in the moment, and I’m capturing that moment.”

Photographing men and women can pose different challenges. “I find men to be easier to shoot from a technical standpoint,” Eugene says. “Men can look rugged or have dirt or lines on their faces, and you can turn what isn’t usually an attractive feature into an attractive one with lighting or posing—in other words, you can make it into a ‘masculine’ portrait. With women, I want to make them look softer, and so I end up editing their skin a lot more than I would for a man’s portrait, just to make them look their absolute best. I want the viewer to see that beauty that I see in front of my camera.”

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/4.5, 1/250th sec., ISO 100
Model: Jake Libretto (Instagram: @jakelibretto_), represented by The Heights Agency (Instagram: @heightsagency)
Click image to view larger

Eugene usually relies on a single light source on a beauty dish or umbrella. “I’ve been submitting more recently to curated photo feature sites that like that painterly light,” he says. “I’ll place my light source about 5 or 6 feet away from my subject so it’s a feathered, soft, even light on the model, with lots of shadows.”

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/5, 1/200th sec., ISO 100
Model: Caleila Schletty (Instagram: @iamcaleila), hair / makeup: Tania Schletty
Click image to view larger

Because he shoots a good amount of model development portfolios and fashion editorials, Eugene’s focus remains solely on his subject. “I want the model and what they’re wearing to be front and center,” he says. “I don’t want anything in the background to be competing with them for attention.”

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/10, 1/200th sec., ISO 100
Model: Cyrene Moore (Instagram: @cyrenemoore), makeup: Parisa Karimi (@pari3a_karimi), hair: Margie Graddicks (Instagram: @margie.graddicks), Coat: Videmus Omnia (Instagram: @videmusomnia)
Click image to view larger

As for the perspective he approaches his models from, it depends on the assignment. “Many times, especially for headshots and beauty portraits, I’ll usually shoot straight on,” he says. “But when I’m photographing full body and three-quarter portraits, I’ll usually get closer to the ground and shoot up at them. There’s nothing like showing a model looking larger than life.”

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/4, 1/125th sec., ISO 400
Model: Lailanni Lucien (Instagram: @lailucien), hair / makeup: Margie Graddicks (Instagram: @margie.graddicks), Crop top: Doien Collection (Instagram: @doien_demi_couture)
Click image to view larger

© Eugene Manning
90mm, F/4, 1/125th sec., ISO 400
Model: Cyrene Moore (Instagram: @cyrenemoore), makeup: Parisa Karimi (@pari3a_karimi), hair: Margie Graddicks (Instagram: @margie.graddicks)
Click image to view larger

To see more of Eugene Manning’s work, check out his Instagram.






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