Fashion Photographer Rachna Paul: Hipster Style in the Mission

Rachna Paul is the founder of Rachna Photography, based in San Francisco.  I first met Rachna at an art event at the Museum of Modern Art.  She stood out from everyone else as one of the most interesting dressed and approachable people at the event.  Where ever she goes, she always looks stylish and put together.


When did you first get introduced to style and fashion and what were your greatest influences?

It is funny even to say this, but my mom! Is that lame? I remember always being fascinated about her clothes and makeup when I was a kid. Doesn’t every kid? Recently, I was going through all our family albums and noticed that my parents were VERY stylish back in the day. I asked my parents where they shopped, my dad mentioned that they got everything tailored in India and Africa. Anyway, my mom would always say if you dress well, you feel well! I find that to be true. I love clothes ever since I can remember and always desire to have pieces others dont have. Being unique is key. 

Do you have any fashion regrets, looking back in your life?
Of course, who doesn’t! I would say my dance recital clothing is a HUGE fashion regret. I was thrown into ballet, tap and jazz from the age of 4 to 17. And there are some hideous pictures of me wearing outfits no parents should let their daughter out in public, let alone on a stage dancing! I guess the glittery, tight and gaudy clothing makes everyone laugh so I will let those pictures circulate in the family!
Who are your favorite designers and brands?
Oh jeez, there are so many….
Max Mara, Moth, BCBG, Joes Jeans, Zara, Max and Cleo, Max Studio, Free People, Veronica M,Rachel Roy, Nicole Miller, Diane Von Furstenberg.
What are your fashion secrets?
Stick to a brand that you have found to love! I am loyal to brands that I can’t get enough of! I am not sure if that is a secret. 
For me, it is all about comfort. I only buy what is comfortable. I am super picky. I hate certain fabrics and tags.  So comfort is key for me with clothes and shoes. I am over wearing things that are uncomfortable!
Lastly, colors are important…Experiment and try to be bold with colors you might normally not wear! I went through a phase of wearing black, not goth style but just liked the simple look..Now, I am all about all the different hues of colors and patterns!
What is your definition of style and fashion?
 Personality is your style. It is the time someone takes to decide what looks good and defines them.  
How did you get started with your business?  Was it difficult to make the decision to get into business for yourself?  Who inspires you in your photography and why?  Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I have always had the passion for photography. My dad bought me my first SLR when I was 14 and it has been an additional appendage! However, I decided to make Rachna Photography a business recently when I was getting many requests from friends to take pictures for them. All in all, it was the push I needed to get into the business. I absolutely love it! Check it out www.rachnaphotography.com
I am truly inspired by Richard Avedon. I love the way he captured individual’s souls. I love the intensity of his images and the beauty that is captured. 
Where do I see myself in the next 5 years? I hope to continue to grow my business however I would love to start a non profit to disadvantaged children. I would love to bring them chance to grow within their art skills. I also hope to document the transformation of India and other fast growing countries as time progresses.
What are your favorite events or places to go to in the city?
There is way too many to mention…..
SFMOMA, Ferry Building, Farmers Markets, Bernal Heights walks…Along with that EATING, I LOVE TO EAT!!! 
What is your take on the SF fashion scene?
It is very unique. It is fair to say, everyone has their own sense of identity and style. I love that. I have lived in Southern California for numerous years and I never got the feel for that. Most people dress for comfort but some sort of funk here!

Who is a part of your beauty team (i .e. designers, hairdressers, etc.)?
My beauty team is small.
Hair: Shelly at Ginger Rubio. She is incredible! I love her!!!
Eyebrows: Priya Beauty  in Berkeley. Hands down the BEST threading place in the bay area.
Facials: I am not loyal – I go all over. My favorite is Solage in Calistoga
Nails: All over but my favorites are Tip Toes (Potrero Hill) and ZaZa Nails (SOMA).

What are you wearing today?
Let me warn you….I am a bargain shopper!

White Beaded Necklace – A wonderful find in Cleveland. It is 7 years old and I can not remember where I got it…
Mustard Sweater by Moth from Anthropologie
Top by Marimekko from Anthropologie
Jeans by New York & Co (it was a steal.)
Shoes by Miz Mooz from Nordstroms ( My favorite shoe brand at the moment).  
Who are your fashion inspirations?
This is a hard one. I love surfing the web looking at fashion photography but I really do not have “that one” person, I can name who inspires me. Only because there are too many incredible designers and stylists out there!







The stylish Rachna Patel posing at a beautiful mural in the SF Mission district.

Her style represents the Mission district hipster look, casual yet trendy items that need to be put together to create a detailed, flawless outfit.  The black skinny jeans with the leather crafted sandals complement her Athropologie blouse and sweater

Rachna’s white beaded necklace pops out the colors in her finely woven blouse.



The shoes are stunning!  The beautiful caramel leather heeled shoes with ankle straps work perfectly with the skinny jeans.

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