There comes a lot of skepticism with the job of photographing naked women. Mainly, people don't really see it as a "job." It seems more like the guys who landed this profession kind of just got lucky.
Stephen Wayda is a fine example of a chosen lucky one. He's been photographing Pamela Anderson since her first days in the business, along with countless other women. As we sit in the Playboy studio in Santa Monica, CA, he explains what proves him different than the slew of other talented photographers trying to snatch his full-time job shooting for Playboy magazine.
"There's guys standing in line who want this job every day," Wayda says. "It's not like they don't try new guys — they try new guys as much as they can. It's just hard to do. It looks easy, but it's hard."
There are apparently many parts to the challenge. It's not just traveling the world and getting to look at hundreds of stunning, naked women through a close-up lens. Wayda has to make the photos look as realistic as possible, he has to make the model comfortable, and he has to keep things interesting at all times.
"The challenge is how to keep making something new and fresh," Wayda says. "I'm always looking for ways to reinvent the picture, while keeping it within the context of what the magazine is."
Playboy magazine is known for consistently choosing a certain type of woman for their spreads. They feature models that aren't typical "fashion models." Playboy's Playmates" tend to be more mainstream in facial features, and more curvaceous in body type. Wayda believes he can work equally well with all ages and types of models.
"I sincerely believe that I can make anybody..." Wayda pauses. "Well, how do you say this graciously? The fashion photographers get young, beautiful girls. That girl back there?"
He points to the lobby, where the centerfold he just shot is sitting on the couch.
"Point a lens at her, and anybody would be a star. But, not everyone is a 20-year-old beauty. Everyone has their uniqueness, and I know how to maximize what they have. With my job, it's making people as beautiful as they can be — and they want to be."
It certainly seems that Wayda was placed on this earth to help stars look like superstars. He discovered his interest in photography while living in Utah, writing for the Salt Lake Tribune.