Meet Méxicana Fashion and Lifestyle Photographer: Susy Ayala
Susana “Susy” Ayala is a Mexican Fashion and Lifestyle Photographer based in León, Mexico.
From photography inspirations to social media tips, Susy talks with us about her roots and her creative process and experience behind the lens.
Where are you from originally and where do you consider your home now?
I’m originally from León, a shoe manufacturing city – the largest city in the state of Guanajuato in México. It is a state rich in history; we have two Unesco Heritage Cities, one is Guanajuato Capital, which is 30 minutes from León and the other is San Miguel de Allende. I could say today, I feel León is my home more than any time before since I have spent almost all the year without travelling due to the 2020 events. More specifically, I have a lovely garden that I consider my refugee.
How has your experience with photography impacted your fashion experience?
As you know, I’m mostly a fashion photographer because I love the experience of taking photos of people more than anything. I love directing the poses, finding the locations, the backgrounds, etc… and I think clothes are part of the language. Also, I have my Instagram account, I think both things go hand-in-hand. For me, it is important to create to feel happy and alive. Doesn’t matter if I’m in front of behind the camera. I must confess, I’m not the most fashionable person in my normal days. I usually wear comfy clothes and no make-up!
What’s a typical day like for you while working with fashion and photography?
First, everything starts with an idea and a kind of mood board. Most of the clients have an identity and based on that, we work on that. It is teamwork. Then, I find locations. I’m usually a night owl, but when it is shooting day, I like to start the first photos just after sunrise. The following days, I’m editing the photos. A typical day while working with fashion photography is the most extraordinary for me. I love my job.
How much has your style changed since you started working on LIKEtoKNOW?
When I started on Instagram, it was more like a travel account. I don’t think my clothing style has changed since I started working with LiketoKnow; I think it’s the same but more diversified, and of course, there are always new trends. The thing that changed was my photography style. Now, I focus more on the clothes than the places. I started working with them in early March 2020, then all the lockdowns started, so it wasn’t easy to have a travel-focused account. Thankfully I started working more with fashion brands.
How do you think your experience with photography separates you from other style gurus?
There are a lot of talented people with amazing aesthetic and style. As a photographer, I like shooting in RAW and editing my photos with my own presets in Lightroom because it is what I am used to. Maybe I am a bit obsessed with the colour process but that is something more personal.
How do you translate trends to your audience?
Most of my clients provide me with a brief or/and a mood-board and I usually get involved in the pre-production and the creative process since the beginning, it is teamwork. I check in different sources the global and local trends to target the image. There is a lot of inspiration outside but I try to be the most original I can and to have my own signature. The same happens with my personal Instagram page.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?
I find inspiration from everywhere, not only from photographers but also from paintings, architecture and films. I love travelling, visiting museums, and watching a lot of movies with aesthetically amazing directors like Wong Kar Wai, Wes Anderson, Alfonso Cuaron, Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan, and more. Emmanuel Lubezky is an amazing cinematographer, a master of the light and Roger Deakins‘ colours are amazing. Also, there are so many trendsetters and amazing artists on Instagram that I admire, and I consider them my friends.
What style item is a must-have from the e-commerce store, Revolve, that you can never go wrong with?
I’m obsessed with Revolve, not only because I collaborate with them and they kindly gift me amazing clothes, but also because the quality and the fit is amazing, I had never returned something from Revolve after trying it, I think it’s part of their success. They made fashion functional. I love picking tops that I can style with jeans, blazers, and also the mini dresses fit really nice.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to push the restart button and makeover their look?
Personally, I’m against drastic makeovers. Talking about hair length and colour… maybe I am a bore since I prefer something more natural. For example, those 80s mullet haircuts will always come back. But after five years, they look a bit funny in photos. With clothes, it is different; it is all about taking risks and trying new silhouettes and fashion trends.
Do you have any tips or tricks for achieving an aesthetically awesome Instagram page? Any social media tips?
Don’t wait for having the best location, camera equipment or style to start working, sometimes just good light is all, there are so many ‘instagrammable’ places but try to do things differently, like finding other angles or poses to make them look more authentic. Work on your Lightroom and editing skills. My social media tips are to don’t focus on gaining followers or being popular, instead focus on building a high-quality community with authentic relationships.
What’s your best advice for people looking to get into fashion?
With the power of social media now, it is super easy to contact creatives, write to them on Instagram or send them an email, search for summer jobs as an assistant or simply let them know you are interested in going to a photo shoot, for example. Be kind, learn, and build relationships, be patient and work on your skills.
Ask for honest feedback and don’t be disappointed, sometimes everything is about learning and unlearning.