5 Questions for...Jacques Rattaz | Good Light Magazine

5 Questions for...Jacques Rattaz

This is going to be a regular section of our magazine. Here we are going to feature upcoming photographers who caught the attention of our Good Light team and who sparked our interest. It’s about people that we want to know more about.

The 5 questions of this issue take us to lovely Switzerland. Living in Geneva, Jacques Rattaz is working as a fashion photographer and photography tutor at ETAP Sàrl Photography Institute.

We stumbled upon his website GlamBoudoir.ch. There we learned that he is also shooting boudoir and artistic nudes at a commercial level.
We wanted to know more.

[GL] Good Light Magazine
[JR] Jacques Rattaz

[GL] How did you come to photography? How did you learn the techniques?

[JR] When I was 13 years old, already 37 years ago, my father gave me its Canon F1 (that I always own). At the same time, I had the opportunity to follow, at school, a laboratory course. All the necessary things were put together to create a passion!

For the technical point of view... I mainly learnt by myself, reading monthly magazines, buying some books and practicing a lot, trying to break the rules, coming back ( when my friends and my parents were not appreciating my "new art"). I also bought a lot of photographer's books and, for each photograph, I always tried to express what I liked or disliked, even for the pictures of my favorite photographs (Jean-Loup Sieff, Steve Mc Curry, Helmut Newton are the main one).

[GL] Why are you into boudoir photography? What brought you there?

[JR] I'm passionate about Human relationship and light... This means that naturally I prefer people photography and I am more and more attracted by studio lighting. I thing that boudoir and nude photography are the logical next step after portrait and fashion. They request to master light, human contacts and mind control. Light because shadow will be the model's clothes. Human contacts because you must develop your psychological abilities in order to keep the model (or customer) confident and natural in a difficult (for most of them) situation, they must forget their taboos. The photographer must reset his natural human mind and keep his mind at the right level... He must observe, bur he must not look, he must be dedicated to the image he is creating

Once these points mastered, I thing that the photographer is able to bring to his customers pictures that will help them to accept themselves when they are doubting, after a failure in their sentimental life, when their skin, hair or body are changing year after year or just to keep memories of their youth... And that for women or men.

Very often customers tell me once the shooting booked : "I hope you will not be disappointed... I' not a top model...". My answer is "I will be disappointed only if you will not like at least one picture.". We are not here to judge, we are here to make the best, to sublimate without betraying the reality.

[GL] What sort of light do you use? Are there any special or favorite tools you use in your shootings?

[JR] In the studio I use mainly Elinchrom and Visatec strobes with different modifiers. On location (outdoor, at customer's home or in hotel's rooms) I use speedlights or the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger. It depends mainly of the quantity and the direction of the natural light, if any available, and the effect I'm looking for.

My favorite modifier is an octabox 150cm.  It offers a lot of possibilities... just try it and play with the center, the edges, with or without grid, with or without diffuser, from various angles or distances... If you have one strobe and you have the money to buy only one softbox, this is the one.

[GL] What do you typically do in postproduction? How much time do you spend on it?

[JR] Once I'm back at home after one full Saturday of shooting... I first kiss my wife... Then I load my pictures in Lightroom. The next step is the editing. I generally choose one or two pictures by series, if the photographs were done without link together. If they tell a story, of course the story must be understandable and the selection is done accordingly.

The retouching process depends on the precision and quality of the technical setup, the quality of the skin and the wish of the customer. sometimes I use only Lightroom and its local adjustments tools. In this case I need two to three minutes by picture. But mainly I need to launch Photoshop with the following steps :
1) skin cleaning with the "Spot Healing Brush" or the "Patch" tools
2) eye, mouth, jewelry, tissues sharpening with the "unsharp mask" filter
3) eyes lightening with a layer in "Screen mode" and a mask
4) use of the plug-in "Portraiture" to smoothen the skin
5) Use of the plug-in "Color Efex Pro 4" with the "Pro Contrast" filter sometimes mixed with other 
6) Local contrast adjustments with a "Soft Light filled with 50% gray" layer painted with "Burn" and "Dodge" tools
7) if needed "Silver Efex Pro 2" plug-in to convert in Black & White. This process take around 5 to 20 minutes by picture depending, as already said, mainly on the skin retouching needs and the quality of the light at the shooting time. Never forget : "you will never get a top pictures from a bad shot!" and on top of that, to try to save your bad shot will cost you a lot of time... and money...

[GL] You are living and working in lovely Switzerland. How come we don't see nature and mountains in your photos?

[JR] As said before, I like the contact with people... I don't easily find inspiration in front of a landscape... As in front of an apple, two lemons and some nuts on a wooden table... I have difficulties to exchange opinions with them... Of course I have sometimes to do these kind of pictures in order to illustrate our courses or to demonstrate to our students... But I think that each one has its specialties depending on its way of living, education, experiments. For me inspiration is coming from people, so I feel my artistic soul coming out mainly in fashion, portrait, boudoir, nude, concert and crowded events photography... But I don't like to be a wedding photographer... Strange...

[GL] Thank you very much, Mr. Rattaz.

Jacques RattazFor more information about Jacques Rattaz and his work visit


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