Morgane Gielen

A portrait of an older woman with silver hair down to her waist and wearing a rippled and sparkly purple dress. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III by Morgane Gielen.

"The reactions to my work are amazing," says Belgian fashion photographer and Canon Ambassador Morgane Gielen. "It motivates me to continue, but it's also a balance between protecting my own energy and the work I put in," she says. "I sometimes lose myself and tip over into burnout." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens at 61mm, 1/125 sec, f/9 and ISO 125. © Morgane Gielen

Model: Dominique Models; Styling: Marie Van Puyenbroeck; Make-up: Ana Japson; Hair: Gino

Breaking down conventional barriers and bringing inclusivity and diversity into the fashion world is what drives Morgane Gielen. The Belgian photographer has combined her love of photography with a passion for calling out unrealistic beauty ideals in the fashion industry.

"To me as a young woman, it made me think I wasn't good enough. I met so many other minority groups that had it much worse," she says. "I love fashion, but I just wanted to show my own world in fashion, and how it can be different. It can still be very close-minded, so this is my form of activism and rebellion in between the lines of society."

After picking up a camera aged 14, Morgane began experimenting, photographing herself and her friends, and uploading her images to social media. "My uncle is a photographer and he gave me a little Canon PowerShot – I can't remember the exact model – and it all grew from there," Morgane explains. "I moved on to photographing amateur models, and when I was 16, I set up a business page on Facebook. I was motivated to continue because of the response I was getting."

Today, Morgane is renowned for her work championing diversity across lifestyle and fashion photography. But she had to battle back from a serious illness to get to where she is. "I got sick in my first year of college with glandular fever. I was almost dead at that point; I was so unwell in hospital. It was years of recovery, but I still took pictures on my own and did a workshop here and there," she says.

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Morgane Gielen.
Location: Belgium

Specialist areas: Lifestyle, fashion

Favourite kit:Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
 A full-body portrait of a woman with albinism. She has her eyes closed and is wearing a large, flamboyant black gown and a huge ruffled scarf. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Morgane Gielen.

Shot in a bar in Antwerp, this image is part of a fashion editorial by Morgane called Sisterhood, which centres on three sisters with albinism. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/160 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 1000. © Morgane Gielen

Models: Elisée, Sophie and Cynthia from No Babes Agency; Styling: Cynthia De Blander; Make-up: Marlies Van Rompay + Sam Hawkes

A young girl with a bald head stares unsmiling at the camera. She is bathed in purple light and has glitter on her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Morgane Gielen.

Morgane shot this image for an editorial called Quarantaine Kids, working with children who have been quarantined due to a serious illness. Stella, pictured, who has leukaemia, explained that she likes the fact that post the Covid-19 pandemic, people finally realise how it feels. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 67mm, 1/160 sec, f/3.2 and ISO 1000. © Morgane Gielen

Model: Stella Melis; Styling: Eva Eyskens

After enrolling on a course organised by the Belgian Government, which supported people wishing to set up their own businesses, Morgane added to her ever-growing skillset. "They supported me with coaching workshops and bookkeeping – I couldn't start a business without those skills. It's stuff you aren't taught in school."

Morgane officially started her photography business in January 2018, specialising in lifestyle and fashion photography, and has since gone on to launch the No Babes Agency, which represents models, make-up artists and stylists who share her vision. And what began as a photography project on Instagram is now the first inclusive model agency in Belgium.

"No Babes came at a time when I'd been depressed after being sick for years. I thought, I don't want to be alone with this," she explains. "Everyone has a story. I started asking people for their stories, translated them into images and decided to make a photobook out of it. I then started the first inclusive model agency in Belgium, so it's all very interlinked. But it began with me searching for self-acceptance and dealing with my own trauma, and I then met like-minded people."

A portrait of model wearing a green bra and matching underwear and with their face cast in shadow staring down at the camera. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Morgane Gielen.

"I never say no to challenging situations," says Morgane. "The quality of Canon is so good, I can always rely on it." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 70mm, 1/80 sec, f/3.2 and ISO 1600. © Morgane Gielen

Model: Cathy Assale; Styling: Lore Segers, Katerin Theys, Savage x Fenty; Make-up: Anske Van Acker

A young woman with albinism smiles at the camera. She has short, curly orange hair and is wearing bright pink lipstick and a white top. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III by Morgane Gielen.

A portrait from Morgane's editorial Perfect Imperfections. Fareda, who was born in America, has albinism. She moved to The Netherlands when she was 11 to live with her aunt, who she has a special connection with. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/4.5 and ISO 400. © Morgane Gielen

Model: Fareda Johnson; Styling: Rena Jansen

The success of the No Babes photobook and exhibition continued to grow, and Morgane has seen her photography featured on television. "I invited some journalists to the No Babes photobook launch and they then followed me photographing 10 stories for the #NoFilter segment in the TV programme Iedereen Beroemd [Everybody's Famous]. I now get invited by organisations to talk about inclusivity in panel discussions or at workshops."

Morgane's career highlight? Achieving an ambition she has held since first picking up a camera. "Ever since I was 14 years old I've wanted to be a Canon Ambassador. I manifested like crazy and now I can call myself one! That's the biggest shock of my bucket list."

What's been the most memorable project you've worked on so far?

"My first book, No Babes. There are so many concepts in there. I did a project around gender fluidity in children, as well as quarantine kids, which focused on children who have been quarantined due to serious illness. The kids in general made such an impact. The gender fluid project was shot in a hotel in Ghent and the children just had a cuddly toy to show if they were a boy or a girl. It really stood out to me and I remember every story from that book."

How would you describe your photographic style?

"I like portraits, especially when people look directly into the lens and make it confrontational – 'Here I am and you're going to accept me just as I am'. In general, I had a dark period but I'm more colourful now – I like the entire picture to make a statement."

How do you process the stories you capture emotionally?

"In some ways I can take it in and turn it into something positive, even though someone in front of my lens might be dying in a month. I think, 'I'm so happy we can share your story and create awareness,' so I don't really need processing time. For me, I just want to get the work out there."

What advice do you have for photographers wishing to follow your path?

"People should realise that it's not all about taking pictures – you need a sense of entrepreneurship, and you need to enjoy it. About 10% of the time I'm taking pictures and 90% I'm doing other stuff to keep my business running – emails, admin, marketing. Also, don't be afraid to immediately show what you're about, even if you're not sure yourself yet."

One thing I know

Morgane Gielen

"Stay true to yourself, and don't let anything hold you back. There will be people waiting for you to do what you're going to do. Follow your intuition – I did that and that brought me the most success, even though I never expected it. Don't just try to do what people think you should do."

Facebook:Morgane Gielen Photography


Morgane Gielen's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Morgane Gielen's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS R5

With the ability to shoot 8K video as well as stills, the Canon EOS R5 is as versatile as it is dependable. "I really love the quality for both photo and video, and how lightweight the camera is," says Morgane. "I also love the eye tracking tool and autofocus."

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

With its superior build quality and performance, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a mainstay in Morgane's kitbag. "It works so well for me. The quality is amazing, and I love the LCD touchscreen," she says.


Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

A lens that allows photographers working in all fields to capture crisp, clean images, even wide open at f/1.4. "The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM is great for when I want to connect to my model and focus on the eyes," says Morgane.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

With its extended zoom range, this L-series lens provides a wealth of shooting options. "You can make amazing portraits, and capture more full-on designer clothing outfits," says Morgane. "You can play with perspective a lot."

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

This fast telephoto zoom lens gives photographers including Morgane much creative freedom. "I love observing people from far away at events and weddings, and you can capture spontaneous smiles and moments," she says.


Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

Designed for use with the Canon EOS R system, this adapter allows EF and EF-S lenses to be used with EOS R cameras.

Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Morgane uses her Speedlite in myriad creative ways: "I love 'in the face' fashion flashes."

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