On Capturing Beauty and Fashion: Interview with Charlie Octavia
Photo by Charlie Octavia

On Capturing Beauty and Fashion: Interview with Charlie Octavia

Published on March 16, 2022


Charlie Octavia is an Australian photographer specializing in fashion and beauty photography. Working from her studio by a lake in Perth, the artist pours her passion for all things makeup and fashion into photo work that stuns, impresses, and, at times, even sets Guinness World Records. And it’s not just her artistry that makes people drawn to Charlie. A people-person first, the photographer likes to create lasting relationships with her models before they get in front of the camera. In the high-energy world that is her creative atmosphere, Charlie finds it useful for models to let her in a little bit, putting her upcoming degree in counseling and psychology to good use and connecting with her subjects on a much deeper level.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with photography?

I started Photography 12 years ago, after working many years on the other side of the camera as a Model. As a Model, I worked with many different talented photographers who inspired me to pick up a camera myself. Through them, I learned many different tips and techniques that I have over time integrated into my own unique style! I'm very grateful for the help of these skilled photographers who took me under their wing and gave me not only the opportunity for hands-on experience but also encouragement. 

Among your rich body of work, do you have any photographs that stand out to you as a favorite?

There are so many photos that I love that I have taken over the years, but it almost has nothing to do with the end result, but rather, the story in how the images were created.

The most obvious favorite is the photo of "The World's Most Valuable Lip Art" which I conceptualized as a part of a marketing campaign for a local jeweler. This was a huge achievement for me and the others involved, but many don't realize the extensive amount of effort that went into the process of not only designing and executing the lip art itself but meeting the strict requirements of the Guinness World Records which took months of preparation. This photo is now available to be purchased as an NFT on OpenSea

My favorite series of photos is definitely the series I did from "The Piano Graveyard." I'd heard for years that there was some land a few hours drive from where I live where dozens of pianos had been dumped, almost like accidental installation art. This "Sanctuary of Ruin" of once loved pianos, falling to bits, overcome with vines, and being re-broken down back into nature was well hidden, almost impossible to find, and took me months of scouring news articles and making phone calls. My Grandad eventually gave me the tip that led me to actually finding the piano graveyard and I was so happy when I finally found it. The photos are super beautiful to me and I still love them so much to this day.


World’s Most Valuable Lip Art by Charlie Octavia

What makes a good photo?

Balance, great lighting, a powerful story. 

What kind of photography equipment do you use?

I mainly use one simple lighting set-up, using one, raw light head, and most of my shoots last no longer than an hour. I'm a die-hard Canon fan! I'm currently using a 5d mkiv but hoping to upgrade to an R5 soon! #sponsorme

I love using Profoto studio gear too.

Is there any photographer (or artist in general) that you'd say inspires you in your work?

So many! Desiree Mattsson, Tamara Williams and Natascha Lindemann for beauty. Mert and Marcus for fashion! I also love travel and drone Photographers like Salty Wings, Sandrine Hecq, Merr Watson, and Jarrad Seng.

The Piano Graveyard series by Charlie Octavia

Beauty and fashion take center stage in your work. Can you speak on what those notions mean to you and why you're interested in exploring them?

I love people! Faces that tell so many stories of their lives and those who have come before them. Photography to me is a dance between the photographer and the model, a beautiful performance of both creativity and expression, captured by still moments in time. 

If you were to give 3 pieces of advice to someone starting out as a portrait photographer, what would they be?

1. Choose an interesting face

2. Paint with light. It's one thing to be told how it works, it's another thing to understand how it works

3. Succeed or die trying 

Do you have any experience with stock photography? If so, what are your thoughts on the industry?

I'm relatively new to this industry, but I have optimism! I'll keep you posted!