Heidi Rondak

A close-up portrait of a model wearing intricate eye make-up and with her hand pushed against the back of her head, taken by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak.

"I'm constantly reinventing myself and my portfolio," says Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak, when asked what she thinks sets her apart from other fashion photographers. "I also bring a playfulness and look for authentic expressions. I put a lot of thought into the details of the shot, and I'm inspired by interesting poses." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens at 16mm, 1/200 sec, f/8 and ISO 800. © Heidi Rondak

Model: Wang Z at Mirrrs Models; Styling: Izabela Macoch; Hair & make-up: Claudia Fischer; DoP: Daniel Cati; Music: Pascal Weick

Bringing sophisticated storytelling to the field of conceptual fashion photography, Heidi Rondak is renowned for her ability to capture nuanced images that bubble with detail.

"My approach has always been conceptual," she begins. "When I create a concept, I like to explore different themes, situations and lifestyles. It's about visualising my interpretation of them. I like to research, find symbols and create an overall vision with mood boards. I like to find out how to express these things on different visual levels."

Today, as a freelance fashion photographer and director, Heidi is based in Berlin, as well as Paris and Stockholm. But it was in Germany's Black Forest, specifically the town of Schopfheim, where she was born and raised, that she first fell in love with photography. "My father was a semi-professional photographer in his youth. He always carried a camera to every family occasion, so for me, cameras and stories told through images have always been a part of my life."

A black and white portrait of Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak, taken by Kamila Heil.
Location: Berlin, Paris and Stockholm

Specialist areas: Fashion
Favourite kit: Canon EOS R6 Mark II
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM
Canon RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM
Two models in tight-fitting dresses, one holding the other's arms from behind, stand against a yellow wall, lit by a shaft of light. Taken by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak

Heidi created this image as part of a personal project, Long for Home. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM) at 25mm, 1/320 sec, f/8 and ISO 1250. © Heidi Rondak

Models: Liz Panova & Ana Rossolovich at Modelwerk; Hair & make-up: Kristina Heinisch

A model reclines in a wooden framed chair in a room lit from the window behind. Taken by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak

Storytelling through imagery has always been a part of Heidi's life – her father was a semi-professional photographer and shared her penchant for using visuals to convey a narrative. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 27mm, 1/320 sec, f/4 and ISO 3200. © Heidi Rondak

Model: Liz Panova at Modelwerk; Hair & make-up: Kristina Heinisch

As a child Heidi loved to create, first through drawing and crafting, and later through photography after she was given her first point-and-shoot camera by her parents. Aged 14, Heidi got her first hands-on experience with an SLR camera, before a three-month long visit to India helped her to get to grips with the basics of photography.

It was while studying for her Communication Design degree at Hochschule Mannheim (Mannheim University of Applied Science) that Heidi's talent really began to blossom, though; alongside developing her skillset, she spent time assisting professional photographers.

Her technique wasn't the only thing to evolve during those influential years – Heidi's eye for fashion also led her down a new path. "I used to dress quite extravagantly, sewing and making a lot of my own clothes, accessories and jewellery by hand," she recalls. "I was tempted to study costume design, but photography was always part of me. It wasn't until I assisted the great fashion photographer Andreas Ortner in Munich, though, that the door to the fashion world really opened for me – and I loved it."

A model, in a white, belted one-shoulder dress, strikes a pose inspired by traditional Indian dance in a portrait by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak.

Colour, detail and narrative are key themes Heidi is eager to explore in her photography, demonstrated here in this shot for an international fashion and lifestyle magazine. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens at 50mm, 1/320 sec, f/8 and ISO 400. © Heidi Rondak

Model: Suzanne Nayana at Mirrrs Models; Make-up: Rafa Delgado; Hairstyling: Lisa Neubacher

"For me, fashion photography is a supreme discipline; it unites many of my passions and talents, and it helps me grow every day. I love working with a team, creating the vision that has been in my mind and then seeing it come to life in our photos," Heidi continues. "I get so excited about the little details and how I can make them stand out, just by using lighting, props, settings, or the posing of the model. I love the vivaciousness of the fashion industry and how it celebrates diversity. It's a world that is certainly not perfect, but it is constantly trying to improve."

A model stands in front of a lake, wearing white boots, a cream knitted skirt and with a cream quilted jacket and an oversized scarf around her neck, in a portrait by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak.

Heidi reveals that working with mood boards is key to her creative process. "If the client needs more inspiration, I create my own, based on the feeling I get from the brand and brief," she explains. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 54mm, 1/400 sec, f/6.3 and ISO 250. © Heidi Rondak

Model: Ploy at Le Management; Styling: Natalie Olenheim; Hair & make-up: Pari Damani; DoP: Björn Köling; Assistant: Elisa Sanvito

A full-length portrait of a model, posing against a grey backdrop in a red satin shirt and dark trousers, and with a chain hanging from his nose to his ear, by Canon Ambassador Heidi Rondak.

"My mood boards might explore a specific palette of colours, a location, a type of jewellery or fashion, or a model, a feeling, a style of light – all of which helps me to develop the overall concept for the shoot," says Heidi. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 59mm, 1/400 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 400. © Heidi Rondak

Model: Marcos Akwasi at SPIN Model Management; Styling: Hercules Terres; Hair & make-up: Christine Be

Exhibitions, awards, and freelance commissions followed, helping Heidi to forge the brand of conceptual fashion photography that she is known for today. When asked what her secret is for staying in demand, her answer is simple: keep taking photos. "I am constantly shooting – editorials, tests, personal projects – because this means I always have new material to show. It keeps me in touch with the industry, my followers, current trends, the latest techniques, and the students I teach," she says. "Going back to my roots and teaching others has given me a renewed confidence and improved my ability to talk in front of people. It helped me relax and go with the flow, be myself, but most importantly, to trust my gut – something you must always do as a photographer."

You've taken on many roles throughout your career including editor, designer and lecturer. How has this diversity helped to shape who you are as a photographer?

"I know how magazines work, so I better understand their needs and, as such, make my ideas more attractive to and effective for them. I know how to lay out, which means I can express my vision, even if it's an elaborate concept. Teaching is a two-way experience and being in touch with young creatives is such a source of inspiration. Their views, ideas and questions are always so refreshing."

Winning so many awards is a remarkable accomplishment, is there one you're proudest of?

"Don't Stop Me Now won the second prize at the Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA). It was a few years ago now, but I still love the series."

You sometimes capture video on your shoots. How do you find balance and synergy between the two creative mediums?

"I see myself foremost as a photographer; there is not always a video shoot at every photoshoot, but I've been directing for a couple of years now and I am still very curious about it, learning and experimenting. Video consumes a lot of time on set and the dynamics are totally different. Plus, there's the edit, which is a super important stylistic device that I love to do myself. Video adds direction and time to the equation, so it needs to be planned out even more. In photography, we can use people's imagination a little more. That's the magic of stills."

One thing I know

Heidi Rondak

"To avoid misunderstandings, I learned early on that organising the concept, or creating a mood board, is very important. On set, it's important to be aware of the time and workload ahead. If time is running out, it's on me. In the beginning I didn't want to put pressure on people, but working late as a result wasn't fun for anybody and I realised it's my responsibility to direct the team and shoot quickly, but always at a high quality."

Instagram: @heidirondak

YouTube: Heidi Rondak Photography


Heidi Rondak's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Heidi Rondak's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV assures photographers of a professional performance thanks to its uncompromising image quality and high-level performance. Heidi says: "Although I'm slowly transitioning to the EOS R6 Mark II, I still think the EOS 5D Mark IV is legendary. It is always solid, reliable and a must-have for professionals."

Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Whether you're photographing fashion portraits or filming action scenes, the EOS R6 Mark II delivers exceptional image quality and performance. "I'm very excited about my Canon EOS R6 Mark II and the mirrorless technology it offers," says Heidi. "It runs so smoothly and is such a joy to work with."


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

With its sharp optics and constant f/2.8 aperture, this L-series standard zoom delivers professional-grade image quality and versatility, making it the ideal partner for full-frame EOS cameras. "This lens is what I call the perfect all-rounder," says Heidi. "It's my absolute favourite when shooting with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV."

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

A short telephoto focal length, combined with a large maximum aperture and fast autofocus speed, make the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM an ideal optic for any photographer shooting portraiture. Heidi says: "This is a beautiful lens for portraits; it's just so elegant."

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM

Boasting a lightning-fast f/2.8 aperture, and equipped with a 5-stop Image Stabilizer, fashion photographers such as Heidi can thrive in any shooting environment. "I really enjoy the autofocus with this lens. It makes life a lot easier," she says.

Canon RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM

With a 1.4x close-up magnification and a unique Spherical Aberration Control ring for customising bokeh and soft focus, this lens can be used to make the little details count. "When I shoot beauty, it's just fantastic," says Heidi. "I can create perfectly sharp detailed shots with it."

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