Aljoša Rebolj

Two people on horses stand in a green landscape, trees and snow-capped mountains visible in the background. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X by Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj.

Commercial and fashion photographer Aljoša Rebolj says that Scandinavian campaigns regularly incorporate humorous elements, as seen in this image featuring a man on a small pony. The shot captures a moment of stillness, as steam rises from both animals. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 67mm, 1/640 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 320. © Aljoša Rebolj / Studio Bomba

In a previous life, Aljoša Rebolj was much more comfortable in front of the camera than behind it. Born in Kranj, Slovenia, he started acting at just 12 years old, and was privileged to work with some of the most prominent and renowned theatre directors in the country. Though he didn't know it at the time, this theatrical life would prove to be the perfect education for the career that would follow – as a successful commercial, advertising and editorial photographer.

"I started early in theatre," he says. "I grew up with amazing people, and I still find it inspiring to be around people who are above the average, who are really talented. I think that can be important and useful for a photographer – whatever field of photography you're working in. Theatre is a place that unifies all the arts – choreography, set design, drama, singing."

Aljoša went on to study both drama and architecture at the University of Ljubljana and established a successful career as a TV presenter, both on Slovenian national TV and the commercial station Kanal A. However, ticking along behind all of this was a growing obsession with analogue photography and the darkroom. "That was the beautiful era of alchemy," he says. "During the day, I would be at the university, then at night, I was in this great darkroom I had built, and lots of local photographers would come and join."

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj in a studio.
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Specialist areas: Commercial, advertising, portraiture, theatre photography

Favourite kit: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon EOS R5 C
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
A performer wearing a theatrical mask uses their hand to slam blue powder against their shoulder, creating a sense of movement and flow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X by Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj.

This theatre shoot was for the purpose of producing a poster and other promotional content. Aljoša shot this image using continuous light, drawing the performer's body out of the darkness and accentuating it with blue pigment to add a touch of movement and flow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens at 1/250 sec, f/5 and ISO 1250. © Aljoša Rebolj / Studio Bomba

Actress Blanca Portillo lying on the ground and staring at her reflection in the water, during a performance of Hamlet. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III by Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj.

Actress Blanca Portillo as Hamlet, staged at Teatro Español, Madrid. Here, she is caught in the moment, staring at her reflection in the water, where she can also see the ghost of her father. "Having grown up in the theatre and film industry, I have always adored talented, inspiring individuals, whatever their profession," says Aljoša. "As a photographer, I consider myself privileged to work with such brilliant artists." Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens at 200mm, 1/30 sec and ISO 800. © Aljoša Rebolj / Studio Bomba

Aljoša's fascination with photography began around 1986, on a trip with friends to China. "I'll never forget getting off the Trans Siberian train – we just sat for an hour in Beijing watching millions of people," he recalls. "Everyone was on bicycles. We couldn't even cross the street because there were so many bicycles. When you find yourself somewhere and you want to share your experience, that's when photography comes in. A friend of mine had brought a camera and that's where it started."

Aljoša started honing his craft in the darkroom, but his break came when he photographed a popular band in what was then Yugoslavia. "I was slightly in love with the singer!" he remembers, and was so pleased with the results that he summoned up the courage to send them to French magazine Photo. "They were published immediately," he says. "That was my first photography publication and it gave me more self-confidence, so I began to meet with the editors, and started working as a fashion photographer for magazines."

Two photos side-by-side: on the left, a man wearing a hat, red jumper and smart trousers, and holding a bunch of pink and red flowers; on the right, a man wearing a blue blazer and holding a bunch of yellow flowers. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III by Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj.

This image was styled by fashion editor and styling consultant Emil Rebek. Aljoša complemented the key light source with a single rear light, shaped and narrowed by a grid. He also used a silver umbrella to balance light over the colourful studio setup. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens at 1/200 sec, f/8 and ISO 100. © Aljoša Rebolj / Studio Bomba

Aljoša has since worked in editorial and advertising photography for an enormous range of clients. He prides himself on his ability to turn around a shot quickly, especially when he's working on a busy set where video is also being produced, as is commonplace these days.

"The digital era changed the business so much," he says. "You need to understand the brief, understand the client's needs, understand the hero product. And if you've got two minutes, you need to earn your day's fee in those two minutes."

You came to photography through acting, which is not a usual route. How did that experience help you on the road to where you are today?

"On the film sets, everything was really beautiful. I learned about lighting, about staging, about directing. As a photographer, you need to have your aesthetic standards, but communication skills are also very important. Being an actor, I grew up with personalities who were not so easy to handle. That can make you frustrated at the time, but you learn to develop your communication skills."

What other skills do you think are important for a photographer, beyond being able to operate a camera?

"Your interests should be in the manner of the Renaissance man – you should learn many different things, from all different fields, to inspire your photography. There is music to inspire you, there is art, there is whatever you read. All this is how you build your photography story."

As well as photography, you also produce video content. How did that evolution come about?

"The Canon EOS 5D was so approachable, it could do pretty much anything. I think that was one of the triggers that led to more hybrid shooters producing video, and it was also how I started to direct more. I was engaged by Canon Europe to work with one of the early Ambassadors on a story about Paralympic athletes. They had really beautiful stories, and it became a beautiful documentary."

It's been some time since you first shot those images in Beijing in 1986. What is it that still inspires you about photography – why do you keep taking pictures?

"Once you've seen the most beautiful things in the world, you want to share them, and photography offers a way to do that. For instance, theatre, the world that I know, is an art that's disappearing. When a show is gone, if there's no good photography, it's really gone. A photograph can keep it forever, for history."

One thing I know

Aljoša Rebolj

"A photographer should always prepare themselves, and imagine how they're going to get the shot. But things can always change – the atmosphere, the opportunities. So while you need to visualise what you're going to do and how you're going to get it done quickly – what gear you're going to use, how you're going to set up your lighting – it never goes how you expect it to. Maybe something goes down, maybe you run out of time to set up your lighting. You need to have backup scenarios, and you need to be prepared to make immediate decisions."

Instagram: @aljosarebolj_photographer


Aljoša Rebolj's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Aljoša Rebolj's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

"I'm still quite attached to my Canon EOS-1D X Mark II," says Aljoša. A super-fast professional DSLR with 20MP of resolution, the EOS-1D X Mark II offers a burst-rate of 14fps, a 61-point autofocus system and a top ISO of 409,600.

Canon EOS R5 C

The EOS R5 C captures incredibly rich and detailed 8K video with no limitations, thanks to its active cooling system. When it comes time to switch to stills, the EOS R5 C can shoot 45.7MP images at up to 20fps with the electronic shutter. "This is an amazing camera for low light," says Aljoša. "It has a small and compact body, so it is easy to pack for remote destinations, plus it has amazing features for both video and photos."


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

Aljoša is in the process of swapping more of his EF lenses to RF lenses, and the RF 24-70mm was one of his first purchases. Part of the essential professional "trinity" of f/2.8 zoom lenses, it boasts 5-stops of image stabilisation to help keep shots sharp at slower shutter speeds.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

While he appreciates his pro zooms for the flexibility they bring, Aljoša simply adores large-aperture primes such as his Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM. "I work a lot with the lens wide open," he says. "You need to have prime lenses, because you can bring out a subject so much more subtly. It's beautiful."

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

"For jobs in the commercial business, you can't leave without the 24-70mm and 70-200mm in your backpack," says Aljoša. He favours his EF mount 70-200mm lens, which provides telephoto reach alongside image stabilisation and fast focusing thanks to the ultrasonic motor.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Aljoša's other favourite prime lens is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM for his DSLR. The short telephoto focal length is ideal for capturing flattering portraits, while the ultra-wide f/1.2 aperture means he can throw out the background as much as he needs to. "That's beautiful glass for a portrait photographer," he says.

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

One of Aljoša's most beloved lenses is an old EF mount telephoto, the EF 200mm f/1.8L USM, a format that was first introduced back in 1988. "Using it in the theatre is amazing," he says. "You get so close, and it just paints beautifully."


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