Fashion photographer and co-founder of Moutife Rami Hanna tells us how he got his start in the industry, about the biggest challenges in his career, and gives us his best tips on shooting in different types of light.
“You get one year, then you need to start studying.” This was the ultimatum given to the recently graduated 18-year-old Rami Hanna by his parents, who wanted him to return to school to become a doctor or engineer. Fast-forward to 2018 and a cold Stockholm. It’s March and outside the studio where Rami is wrapping up todays shoot snow is falling down.
Rami is a Stockholm native who grew up in the suburb, going from a shy, street-style photographer to a fashion photographer who knows everything and everyone in the fashion and entertainment industry of Stockholm. In just the past five years, Rami has shot campaigns for major Nordic fashion brands, signed with one of Sweden’s largest agencies, given lectures on fashion photography at Fotografiska Museet, and made a big name for himself in social media.
The dream of becoming a full-time photographer was always there, but it was not until finishing school that the career really took off. After working in a bakery for the summer, Rami collected his savings to buy his first camera. With it, he decided to cover Stockholm Fashion Week and capture the visitors’ carefully coordinated outfit — and thus one of Sweden’s first street-style photographers was born. Since then, he has developed his own unique style, and with his creativity and eye for detail, Rami has become a sought-after photographer in the world of fashion.
There weren’t so many people who were doing street-style at the time, so I was a bit unique.
– Rami Hanna
Rami during a fashion shoot in Barcelona.
Self portrait with the iPhone in the sand.
Would you say that your career had a flying start after that?
More or less, absolutely. There weren’t so many people who were doing street-style at the time, so I was a bit unique. The right people quickly discovered my work, and so I got a very early foothold in the industry. I took the opportunity with the utmost seriousness and worked extremely hard to get where I wanted to be.
If we start from the beginning, what is your first photography-related memory?
My first memory as a photographer was when I got an analogue camera from my parents when I was 13 years old. I had it around my neck every day and I photographed nearly everything. In retrospect, I don’t think either my friends or family were particularly pleased at having a hyperactive 13-year-old photographing them constantly. My biggest memory as a photographer, however, was definitely when I had a summer job at that bakery. I worked like a dog with the flour, and put my entire salary into my first system camera. It was a highlight of my life.
What is your greatest moment as a photographer?
It has been and will always be when you see a campaign live. It’s a totally magical feeling to go around town and see your own pictures. It has happened quite a few times that I see one of my photos and I just stay there for a long time watching. People must think I’m extremely weird, which I am, now that I think about it.
The biggest challenge has been to prove myself in the industry despite my young age.
– Rami Hanna
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been to prove myself in the industry despite my young age. I feel that in order to be taken seriously as a photographer within the fashion industry, they want you to have some years of experience and to have spent some time assisting another photographer. I go against quite a few of those standards. But I think that is beginning to change now. I feel respected, and I see my different background as a strength, but it’s also the fashion industry itself that is developing and changing.
What is your dream job as a photographer?
A dream job for me isn’t about a specific client or task, I just love to create and be creative. A dream job is where I’m having fun with a team of inspiring people. If I get that, I know that the end result will be magical. At some point in my life I would like to aim the lens at the one and only Beyoncé, those who know me know about my fascination with her, so it is definitely a dream of mine.
Light is essential for good photography, can you give your top three tips?
1) Window light: Using window lighting gives you a soft light in the picture. Here I think it’s nice to use side lights, i.e. when the light source comes from the side. You generally get really nice scenes out of this.
2) In direct sunlight: Sunlight can be very difficult to shoot in, as the light can get too strong when the sun is high. But if you shoot later in the day, when the sun is setting, or alternatively at the very beginning of the day when the sun is rising, the hard contrasts disappear in the picture. The nice sunlight also creates a warmth in the picture.
3) Overcast light: A hazy day can create a dream-like light for a photo. If you are a new photographer, I highly recommend taking pictures during a cloudy day when the sun isn’t so strong.
So, how was the idea of Moutife born?
There are a few of us behind Moutife, and, funny enough, the idea came from two different directions at the same time. We were looking for quality photo art that wouldn’t burn a hole in your wallet and a lot of people contacted me for prints. It felt like we had to do this. We had such a strong vision for what we wanted to create, and could not find anyone offering anything like it.
What is the goal with Moutife?
There are so many great photographers who have tons of prints on their hard drives that are just sitting there. We want to offer a platform where quality meets accessibility for both customers and photographers. We focus on everything from the quality of the paper to our packaging and service. We truly believe that Moutife will be the go-to destination for anyone looking for photo art online.
What is your favourite print?
It’s really hard to choose a favourite picture, it’s like choosing a favourite child, I’d guess. But if I have to choose a print, it would be Birds Of A Feather, a photo I took in Mexico. The light, symmetry and colour composition are just magical.