Diana Ragland was born in Rhode Island and raised in Connecticut and Virginia. She studied photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York and has worked in the photography industry for more than 20 years. Diana spent many years working as a retouch artist for some of the world’s most notable photographers, with her work appearing in the pages and on the covers of Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, Allure, Harpers Bazaar & C Magazine, as well as showcased in numerous international cosmetics campaigns. In the last few years, she has focused on her own photography, with her work published on the covers, pages and online sites of publications such as Austin Way, LA Confidential, The Huffington Post, Deadline Hollywood, and The Hollywood Reporter.
1.For the people who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Diana Ragland, and I’m an LA-based portrait photographer. I photograph all walks of talent, from actors, comedians, to models.
2. How did you develop an interest in photography?
It started early, probably in middle school. My father was always into photography. He had a darkroom in the basement and was always taking pictures. He was inspirational to me, I loved his work. I later went on to study and grow my own knowledge of the medium.
3. How did you start your career as a photographer?
Well, I lacked the confidence to say “I” was a photographer for many years, even though I was actively shooting, I just wasn’t making a living at it. I worked for others for many years. I did everything from studio managing, retouching, I just loved being around the business in any capacity. I finally started shooting for myself, about 10 years ago, and have never looked back.
4. Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Well, that’s always a tough question, I admire many! If I have to name names, I’ll refer to the books I own and the photographers I’ve studied. Annie Leibowitz for her creative portraits, Peter Lindbergh for his vision of fashion, and no fuss more raw approach. I love Craig Mcdean for fashion photography. And of course Avedon! For fine art, love Sally Mann.
5. What is your ideal shooting location?
A beautiful location with lots of natural light and striking architecture.
6. What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
To learn your camera inside and out, to understand F-stops, and apertures, and how they affect the image. Don’t get caught up in excessive amounts of equipment, find what works best for you and your style. I love to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to equipment and lighting.
7. What equipment do you prefer to use?
I shoot with a Canon 5D MarkVI. Lately, I’ve been trying to stick with fixed lens, a 50mm, an 85mm, and for my zoom, the tried and true 24mm-70mm.
8. Who would you love to do a shoot with?
Wow, very tough, I truly LOVE working with all kinds of people, from all walks of life, not just celebrity and models. That said, I’d love to photograph Zendaya!
9. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I’m constantly taking classes, I never stop learning. I take seminars here and there, as well as online education. Always stay curious!!
10. What makes the good picture stand out from the average?
If photographing a person, for me it would be capturing an authentic expression, a real moment. Something surprising. Because I’m a portrait photographer, I think the styling is important, color, environment all play an important role.
11. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Less is more.
12. Who was your favorite person to photograph?
I recently worked with Kevin Nealon, and LOVED him!
13. Do you have a message for the people who support your art?
A big thank you! I wouldn’t be here without the love and support from my friends and family.
14. What do you have planned for the future?
To continue to grow as an artist, meet and have the opportunity to photograph interesting people. I’m currently looking for a passion/fine art project, haven’t discovered what that is yet, but I’m exploring!
Thank you so much to Diana for the lovely interview. You can find more about her and her work on: