California is flush with artistic talent. It’s not just Los Angeles and San Francisco. Everywhere you go, whether big city or small coastal enclave, you will find artists, eccentrics, and iconoclasts doing unique, genre-bending work. So it should be no surprise that the artists we are spotlighting as the best Sacramento fashion photographers are producing some of the most striking, sexy, and challenging work of any photographers in the biz. Check them out!
1. Darya Ryan
If you haven’t heard of Darya Ryan, she’s a world-renowned Russian-American conceptual artist, editorial photographer, and commercial fashion photographer with an impressive curriculum vitae, including –– for those keeping score –– publication in some of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines, such as Vogue.
She’s got a style that’s inspired by the past, with natural and rebelliously artificial elements allowed to clash and make meaning in a style you might have seen in an indie zine circa 1985 (if you were alive back then). And yet all her photos are also pointing to the future, to an era that has yet to come –– and may never come, though it has long seemed to be just on the horizon. Just do yourself a favor and get to know her work.
2. Garrick Wong
Garrick Wong is a Sacramento fashion photographer who shoots lively editorials. There’s a strong sense of exploration in his photos, of discovering the shot through a process of play, rather than by adhering to a certain set of convictions. Everything about his photographs is enticing and intriguing –– from vulnerable dispossession in the faces of his models, to the mix of textures and patterns in his models, their clothing, and his background. Some of his photos are shot with an architectural sensibility, wherein the interplay of lines is just as important as what’s being photographed –– which often creates a sense of things being askew –– as if gravity has taken the day off.
3. Shelly Lange
Shelly Lange takes moody, sensual narrative fashion photographs that seek, first and foremost, to do justice to her subjects, rather than bending them to the service of her own ideas. Though that is not to say her photographs are devoid of ideas, as the truth is quite the opposite. It’s just that there is a subtle conversation going on between the photographer and the person baring their soul in front of the camera.
As such, this ongoing interplay adds a liveliness to her photos even when, in other photographers’ hands, they would be simply sexy or straightforward odes to innocence. In her hands, nothing is exactly what it seems. And yet her photos are not “difficult” –– you are encouraged to look and enjoy. There’s a friendliness to her photos and not an ounce of standoffishness. She is a well-balanced artist.
4. Jordyn Moore
First let us say, “Holy cow.” How could this 20-year-old photographer already be so accomplished, so adept at creating striking imagery, and so fully in possession of her talents? Perhaps her age makes it easier for her models to relate to and trust her (we’re just guessing!). There’s certainly something to be said about creating a space where your models feel safe and free to explore their feelings. We love her playful, controlled, and yet humorous style, and the fact a lot of our favorite local Sacramento models seek her out for shoots. We expect great things from Jordyn in the future, as she’s already produced so many great things in such a short time.
Emma is another photographer we discovered scrolling through the Instagram feeds of some of our favorite local models. She’s another young, futuristic talent with an uncanny sense for shooting compelling portraits. Our favorite pieces are her closeup portraits, though she has equal skill for narrative editorial work. One thing that sets her apart from the others on this list is her attention to detail in post-production, where she achieves some unique color reproduction and incredible texture. We imagine she’s poring over these images pixel by pixel to accomplish some of the incredible looks she pulls off. And you’ve got to appreciate when talent meets hard work.
6. Robin Hagy
Robin Hagy has a futuristic fashionista sensibility clearly inspired by the images she saw in fashion magazines growing up. We appreciate her willingness to experiment and give her makeup artists license to play. We are huge fans of when makeup is allowed to do much of the work of creating the central drama and narrative of fashion photography. We like how restrained the other elements a photo can be when a makeup artist is encouraged to wild out. Robin’s fashion photos contain many of the moody, vampiric, and androgynous elements of our favorite fashion photography, all while occasionally going the other way completely and exhibiting striking pop sensibilities. We appreciate that versatility.
7. Tim Engle
Tim Engle is an advertising and fashion photographer with a style both Gothic and Americana –– full of shadow, ambiguous emotions, and expectations of better days to come. His photos are quite narrative, even when they seem like photos of stillness. And though there is a distinctly retro vibe to many of his photographs, they still feel contemporary and speak to our modern times and issues. What sets him apart from others on this list is the distinct cohesion of his style, which makes his photos increasingly emotionally impactful the longer you spend with them.
Northern California fashion photographer Lacey M. Carroll has been published in numerous fashion publications, including Volant, Dreamingless, Poza, Pump, Elegant Magazine, and many more. In addition to her commercial fashion work, she is well-known in the area for her portraits of individuals and high school seniors. She comes to every shoot with something distinct in mind, and yet is clearly willing to let the shoot unfold naturally. This means the photos she captures are universally excellent and sometimes quite surprising.
In addition, her in-studio work truly shines. Her studio seems basically designed according to her own workflow and sensibilities, which really allows her to set a high baseline for her work, while also allowing her the freedom and comfort level to explore. Plus, her studio gives her work a lot of nice architectural elements –– plenty of clean lines to play her subjects off of.
9. Shannon Bourque of Time Trap Photography
Shannon Bourque of Time Trap Photography takes distinctly narrative editorial fashion shots. His work stands out from the others on this list for their mix of natural presentation and gestures at timelessness — of people stepping out of time, or being in the wrong time or trapped in a single moment. Thus, the name of his photographic outfit is extremely appropriate — though we admit, it took us actually writing this review to realize how appropriate the name was.
Beyond that central thread of timelessness, his work is actually quite varied: occasionally sexy, sometimes searching and humane, and all about capturing the truth, as though he were a documentarian. He has built a name in the area for being a pleasure to work with. Check out his portfolio and drop him a line.
10. Glenn Jones of Ikona Photography
Glenn Jones of Ikona Photography takes colorful, distinct, subversive fashion photos. Our favorite of his photos are his portraits, which are a little strange and yet infinitely relatable. Whether his subjects wear looks of confident self-possession, disappointment at the moment, or a longing for the past, his photos do a great job of creating an association between the viewer and the subject. His in-studio work especially stands out. When he’s given total control of his light source, his light is so soft and perfectly designed that it just seems like makeup.
We hope you enjoyed the ride (we’re pretty sure you did). Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and reflect on your blessings. And if you’re in California, one of those blessings is being surrounded by some of the most talented people on the globe. It’s not just the Sacramento fashion photographers who are special, but the NorCal creatives in general. The musician, the filmmaker, the teacher remaking their curriculum, all of you creators out there are changing the world. And we’re glad you decided to begin with Sacramento. Whenever we’re blue, we just remind ourselves how lucky we are to be swimming in talent out here, and then we start to feel a little better.