Rising Light: Adrian Rae at Seattle Central College | Profoto (US)

Rising Light: Adrian Rae at Seattle Central College

01 February, 2016

Written by: Harley Anderson

Rising Light is an article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. This time we talk to Adrian Rae at Seattle Central College, who has her aim set on editoral photography.


In order to succeed as a photographer, or any profession for that matter, you have to see the bigger picture. Having ideals is fine, but if you plan on earning a living doing what you love best you need to understand what it takes to achieve your intended goal. Adrian Rae gets it.


After about a year of taking pictures by the seat of her pants she enrolled at the Seattle Central Creative Academy, a program offered within Seattle Central College, Washington. She chose Seattle Central specifically because they offered a curriculum that emphasized the commercial aspects of photography. As a bonus, being part of a community college, it was also quite affordable.

“Before enrolling at Seattle Central College I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I didn’t know about photography. I felt limited creatively and I knew if I wanted to be a real contender in the industry I needed to get my technical skills down in order to succeed as a commercial photographer.”



Now in her final year, she readily admits she has also benefitted by being surrounded by other students and faculty who share her passion, many of whom she finds incredibly talented in their own rights.

Before enrolling at the Seattle Central Creative Academy, Adrian was an available light shooter with zero experience with studio lighting and was well aware this is a subject she must conquer if she wanted to move forward. Today she readily admits having lighting skills is absolutely essential for doing the kind of work she wants to pursue.

“I’ve come to realize the fact lighting is the glue that holds everything together in a photograph – it’s what brings all of the elements into the frame and holds them there. It’s an extremely powerful tool that I use as part of my storytelling. I use light to create the mood of the photograph and guide the viewer’s eye.”



As for inspiration, Adrian Rae admires the work of fashion and editorial photographers from the 50s and 60s – the heydays of breakthrough editorial work – including Bert Stern, Brian Duffy, David Bailey and of course Annie Leibovitz.

She also respects the work of more contemporary photographers such as Joey L, Lara Jade, Sebastian Kim, Emma Summerton, and Georges Antoni, each of whom has motivated her to move forward as a photographer.

Adrian started out using hot lights, which she found invaluable for learning about lighting ratios, lighting placement, the basics of positive/negative spaces, and how to use these attributes to create strong images. She’s since embraced electronic flash.




In the studio Adrian makes use of the schools Profoto Acute 2R 2400 lighting system. For on-location photography the Profoto B1 Location Kit is her go-to light. What she likes most about the Profoto systems is the intuitive controls that enable her to shoot without any hassles.

Though she really likes the results she gets when using the Profoto Softbox RFi 3′ Octa, she’s still experimenting with other Profoto light shaping tools including the Magnum Reflector and the Profoto Acute/D4 Ringflash. The lighting possibilities they bring to the table really get her juiced.



As for the future, Adrian Rae fully understands that, if she wants to reach her goal of shooting editorial fashion spreads for her favorite fashion magazines, she’s going to have to pay her dues. As she puts it, everybody whose work she admires had to work to get to the top and she’s absolutely committed to do the same.

Photographer: Adrian Rae

School: Seattle Central College

Profoto gear of choice: Acute 2R 2400

Visit her website: www.adrianrae.com






Written by: Harley Anderson