A rare glimpse at fashion’s favorite his and her, and their unique process of creating beautiful content beloved by millions. Fashion — Dec 20
Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl rival the stylish élan of some of the great fashion couples of the 20th century, with fierce-yet-funny personalities to match.
On set in New York City for an OliviaPalermo.com shoot, an atmosphere of ease rises across the crew because of the comfort between photographer and muse.
Whether sharing a set, traveling, or entertaining at their home in Dumbo, it is clear to see Olivia and Johannes enjoy their lives together. Like any couple, they have many things in common: a love for their adorable dog Mr. Butler, a beyond reproach closet, a love of travel, and in very special instances—their work. In celebration of their recent wedding anniversary, the pair created this special story with a behind-the-scenes discussion of how the day unfolded.
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1. You both have worked on countless sets with hundreds of different artists. But when it comes to working together how does the atmosphere on set differ when you are both talent and husband/wife?
JH: Everything feels immediately very relaxed and comfortable. We are so lucky to have an incredible team around us, from producer to photo assistants, from our gifted hair and makeup team to the OPG team and to every other person that is involved in a day of production. Between Olivia and myself we have such a non-verbal understanding during a photoshoot that makes it so much easier for us to achieve what we set out for. I know her aesthetic and her workflow very well and we are so aligned when it comes to the visual language we speak.
OP: Johannes knows what I’m looking for better than anyone from color to composition to edits and final selects. He has a great eye being the photographer but considers my best interests as the subject as well—ensuring flattering light, the proper angles and so on.
2. Do you think the resulting content reflects a more personal take because you know each other so well?
JH: Some more intimate portrait shots that we photograph for editorials or campaigns surely reflect the special atmosphere that we create and show a more personal side.
OP: It’s all business when we’re on set. We treat each shoot together like we would any other—as professional as possible.
3. Does Olivia model in a way that's different from other subjects?
JH: She wears the outfits and puts them together like nobody else. Her understanding of fashion and her sense of style is unique.
OP: Johannes captures a certain rawness that only he could for his lifetime subject.
4. After a day of working together, how do you shift out of work mode and into partner mode?
JH: I am usually a little occupied in my mind with the images we took during the day and while Olivia is taking off her makeup, I then spent some time on my laptop and go through my favorites and compose a little gallery or mood board. Once that is done and we have a look at it together, we switch off, look after Mr. Butler and try to relax for the rest of the evening or head to a dinner or an event if in the calendar.
OP: We go home and play Mario Kart!
5. What is your favorite picture that you have taken of each other?
JH: I don’t have any favorite pictures of myself, to be honest, but I like her candid photos of me on vacation or with our dog Mr. Butler. Some of them we have in frames at home.
OP: He’s taken quite a few so it’s hard to pick just one specifically but I always love anything he takes of Mr. Butler and me. About ten years ago, there was an intimate moment that Johannes captured of me walking the streets of Brooklyn which resulted in a beautiful, candid shot.
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6. What is the best part about working together?
JH: Spending that time also together. And creating some exciting stories and images is a very rewarding activity for couples, lol.
OP: The best part of Johannes being the photographer is knowing that he would never release a bad photo of me.
7. When it comes to aesthetic, where do each of yours overlap and where do they differ?
JH: They mostly overlap. Our base is very similar and we have the same understanding of beauty when it comes to photography and fashion.
OP: When it comes to photography, my aesthetic is probably a bit more inclined to glamour and high fashion while Johannes often has a more diversified aesthetic. At the end of the day, though, we both have a great eye and share a love of amazing imagery.
8. Were there any surprising moments that happened while you were shooting?
JH: In one shot on Fifth Avenue, there were buses, bicycles and tourists getting in and out of the frame, but Olivia was fierce and worked through. Shooting in the streets of NYC you always have to be prepared for surprises. Speaking of surprises, when we were setting up the shot of Olivia in a beautiful floral dress, a man carrying white balloons walked past us. Olivia jumped in front of them and it was just the perfect moment to capture it all.
OP: The shot with the balloons was pure magic! It felt like a cameo in Up, but high fashion. Another memorable moment was shooting on a quiet and quaint street in the West Village, which can be quite hard to find in New York.
9. Twelve years together, that’s a lot of Sundays. How did the routine begin? Do you have a favorite photo you've shared?
JH: Sundays is a little younger than our relationship, about 5 years back maybe. Oh goodness, that’s a long time already. I took a selfie of Olivia and I and it happened to be on a Sunday, people seemed to love it, so another few Sundays down the month, I uploaded another couple post and it performed really well; the idea of spending your weekend or Sunday with your partner is something very relatable to a lot of people and seeing us still together gives them hope, energy, change of habits or whatever they take away from it. I am happy that people find something positive and endearing in this series. My most special Sunday post was when we announced our wedding that day. It was a Sunday-wedding image. We even received a beautiful printed Sundays book as a gift, my brother and his wife had put together and some comments on my Sundays' posts have been suggesting the same for some time now. We'll see.
OP: Johannes’ idea that started as something fun and cute has since evolved into a social media franchise of its own. Considering how much travel we each do, all of our Sundays spent together are special.