Forough Yavari is the inaugural winner of the International Portrait Photographer of the Year Awards, held in 2021.

Forough is a full time fine art portrait and fashion photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. “I studied painting in art at university and in my second semester, I was asked to model for another student who was preparing her final year project. When I went to her studio, I fell in love with photography and since then, I’ve been taking photos next to my painting. Around 2008, I started to combine photography with my paintings and drawings in Photoshop, so that is how I learnt about composites as well as photography techniques.”

A keen Nikon photographer, Forough reveals that in the studio she has a couple of BronColor Siros L 800 units. “These are superb for power, accurate colour temperature and being wireless, they make it much easier for me to explore different lighting patterns while shooting.”

Forough says that backdrops are an important part of her portrait work and she has custom drops created by Conny Van Lint. “A good backdrop is a part of my portrait process and gives depth and texture to my images. Collaborating with Conny, I can discuss and share my ideas and ask her to produce a hand-painted, high-quality backdrop suitable for the project.”

In post-production, Forough mostly uses Capture One and Photoshop. “Post-production for me is like the final touch, enhancing the story or adding the atmosphere when it is not possible to capture it all in one shot. During my journey in photography and fine art, I have learned that good technique is just as necessary as having creativity in my work. Knowing your camera and mastering the gear you are working with, especially lighting, is a strong foundation for a creative image."

Before moving to Australia, Forough says she had a good resume as a working artist with many solo and group exhibitions. “In 2011 when I moved to Australia, I had a couple of exhibitions in Brisbane and Melbourne, but as I wasn’t an established artist and not recognized in Australia, I found myself starting out again. I realized I had to find a platform to show my work and photo competitions have been a good platform for me, not only in building a resume, but also to challenge myself and to improve my technical skills.

“Since 2014, I’ve joined the AIPP, NZIPP and WPPI and have entered their competitions - and most importantly, found my community.”

Website: www.foroughyavari.com