Lisa Linke is a commercial photographer, specializing in automotive and motorsports work. She grew up near Mannheim, Germany, and is currently living and working in Los Angeles, California.
How did you get into Automotive Photography?
I’ve always been fascinated by photography and picked up a camera at a very early age. It was probably my dad who inspired that, since he is very interested in all kinds of arts and creative thinking.
I discovered my passion for cars and motorsports after graduating High School. I loved the energy at the race track, the team spirit and the possibility of capturing the speed of the race cars with my camera. Especially endurance racing is the most exciting to me. You have to adapt to the conditions of the race track and it’s a real challenge, because there are so many factors that play a role. The light, the weather and also being at the right spot of the track at the right time - these all influence the result and that’s something that excites me about photographing motorsports. It’s unpredictable, a challenge that I love.
I began working as a freelance automotive photographer while studying architecture, but after graduating, I knew that photography was the thing that made me most happy.
What is it like to be in a male-dominant industry?
I know there aren’t a lot of female automotive photographers out there. However, I don’t see it as a male-dominant industry, many art producers and a lot of creatives are women. We are women who love cars and it creates a wonderful collaborative synergy on set.
I don’t see car photography as something male, maybe it has been in the past and lots of people still have that mindset, but a lot of work out there is the result of female creatives.
A run-down of the most exciting campaign you worked on & why ... ?
I’ve loved all the jobs I’ve worked on so far. It’s always exciting to me, always something new to learn or to discover. I think the most exciting campaign I shot was the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. My first assignments in California were editorial shoots involving the Porsche brand, and I’ve always wanted to photograph for Porsche itself. I’m not only a photographer, I’m also a car enthusiast and over the years I’ve learned a lot about the brand and its history. It was a goal that I set for myself, and, when this job happened, it felt like a confirmation that pursuing this crazy dream of becoming a freelance photographer was the right choice.
Another really memorable shoot was for GMC and Leo Burnett in Oregon, where I got to shoot a new truck off-road. I love action photography and we captured it in several different environments, from water to mud and sand. I had the chance to be truly creative with my photography and I was happy that someone trusted me and my vision.
What would be your ideal campaign to shoot?
I think it’s all about the people you get to work with. Working with people who truly care about what they do is the ideal scenario for me. I want to see creatives being excited about the opportunity of creating something amazing, which is what I am on every single job. It’s a team effort and that is the ideal campaign shoot for me - everyone working together in order to get the job done. I want to collaborate, voice my opinion, but also listen and learn from everyone around me.
Your dream collaboration is ...
I would love the chance to work with a client on some sort of highly conceptual shoot with architectural elements. A scenario that tells a story, including stylized talent, where I collaborate with the creatives and have control over the vibe of the project. I’m very interested in automotive history and I would love to shoot a new car model in the style of an old one from back in the day: colorful and stylized, maybe even showcasing the design of the brand in the background.
The person who most inspires you is …?
My grandma. She taught me to follow my dreams and that it’s okay if something doesn’t work out right away.
The next big advertising trend is going to be ...?
I think there will be a continuing movement towards realism in advertising and the use of realistic CGI to mimic photography.
What is your social media of choice …?
Instagram is the social media I use the most. It is a good way to show your work, but also to see new things that can inspire and connect you with people.
A piece of criticism you’ve received was … ?
When I first started, I was told to speak up more, to throw my voice into the ring and that is definitely a piece of criticism that has made me grow into the photographer I am today.
A solid piece of advice you received ... ?
Do what you love, not what you think other people want to see you do. In terms of photography, voice your opinion and shoot how you like, because that is how you show your true style and look. When I first started my career in the USA, I was very intimidated and unsure if the way I approached things was right (for example in terms of shooting and lighting a car). I felt like there were so many rules I didn’t know about and I was nervous that I didn’t know everything. Someone once told me that it’s okay to approach things my own way and I think it was the best advice I’ve ever received. I realized that my way might be just as good, or even better, in order to get the job done in the best possible way.