The inspirational photographer | Sunday Observer
Raffealla Fernando

The inspirational photographer

12 September, 2021

Sri Lanka, an island, is also known as the pearl of the Indian ocean. Its citizens, enriched with many talents and skills have brought pride and glory to the country by transcending all boundaries. Needless to say that Raffealla Fernando is one of those talented Sri Lankans.

Being an internationally recognized photographer, Raffealla has shed a ray of light on the Sri Lankan photography industry. Born in Colombo Raffealla had her education at St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo. Of course, she grew up, schooled and lived in Colombo.


Her creativity began to shine like a multifaceted diamond in her school days. She contributed to the school photography society and won many awards at inter-school competitions.

When she won a competition, her father had asked her what she wanted as a gift. Undoubtedly her reply was “Camera”.

“I still remember my father giving me a F25 lumix SLR camera.” True, her parents had paved the way for her to identify her talents. Perhaps, you might wonder as to why she has become a hot topic for all. The main reason is her uniqueness.

Speaking of her conceptualizing process, her first step is brainstorming. And she selects possible concepts and develops the selected ones. Speaking of her journey, her path was not a rose strewn one. She had to overcome many difficulties with great effort. When she entered the field, it was male-dominated. Only a handful of female photographers had emerged in the field. Therefore, she had to build confidence in people’s minds about the abilities of female photographers. In a way Raffealla can be viewed as a revolutionary photographer.

Celebrity calendar

Speaking of the celebrity calendar, we can’t lose sight of her name. She had used her name as her brand name due to many reasons. As revealed by Raffealla, her name had been given by her grandmother. She is no more now.

When Raffealla asked her grandmother why she had given an uncommon name, she had said, “It is a unique name, you will thank me later when you grow up.” Surprisingly, already her grandmother’s prophecy has come true.

Today Raffealla has become a brand name without which no international magazines are published. Raffealla has been featured in many international magazines and newspapers such as the ‘New York Times’, ‘Fab’ UK magazine, ‘Paris Fashion News’ magazine, ‘Chic’ magazine, Singapore, ‘Mihaaru’ Maldives and ‘Planet Goa’ magazines.

The Raffealla Fernando Celebrity Calendar (RFCC) can be considered to be one of the biggest annual projects which reflects Raffealla’s skills and talent. The celebrity calendar has enriched the beauty and added a glamour to the featured artistes. Raffealla has taken Sri Lanka to the international arena through this calendar. Significantly, she had proved that female photographers ‘ skills and talents by breaking the long-established norms of this male-dominated field.

The 2021 RFCC features the following celebrities:
Shanudrie Priyasad
Raween Kanishka
Madhavee Watsala Anthony
Shalani Tharaka
Nadeesha Hemamali
Samanalee Fonseka
Niranjani Shanmugaraja
Saranga Disasekara
Dinakshie Priyasad
Sachini Nipunsala
Randhir Witana
Sachini Ayendra
Sangeetha Weeraratne


Speaking of her achievements, we must never forget that Raffealla, though self-taught, has rocked the international arena by attracting the eyes of the international community with her creative eye.

She has won 13 fashion and photography awards at international competitions. She has become a hot topic for many journalists in the world. As you know, her creativity began to emerge even from her school days. She had won many awards at the inter-school competitions.

Speaking of international achievements, Raffealla was ranked the eighth best photographer, competing with 150 photographers at the BEFTA award UK. Raffealla, being an inspirational fashion photographer, became the best fashion photographer of the year at the fifth international achievers award 2017 London out of 310 competitors. She also distinguished herself at Prince Charles’ charity trust fashion show, London fashion week and the Asian-European fashion week in Paris. Another amazing fact is that she had been invited to design for the 69th and 71st Cannes Films Festival in which she could captivate everyone as the first Sri Lankan designer.

Obviously, she has gone beyond the scope of an ordinary photographer by making her contribution in many ways. For instance, She has worked in five countries such as India, Singapore, Maldives, Italy, London and Paris as a stylist, designer and photographer. Indeed she is multi-faceted.

Her message

Raffealla who has been involved in the photography industry for over 14 years has marked many milestones. Her message for upcoming photographers:

“Dedication is the secret to one’s success. You have to be passionate and dedicated to whatever you do, if you want to stay in the field. Otherwise, you will not be satisfied with what you do. Being honest to what you do is one of the most important factors,” she said.

Speaking of dedication, the primary ingredient of dedication is hard work. As the famous saying goes, “Hard work is the key to success”. A person dedicated towards achieving his goals needs perseverance. Hard work requires the right attitude, self-discipline and the ability to focus on one’s life goals and objectives. This is the lesson that we can learn from Raffealla.

All in all Raffealla, being a photographer, bridal and fashion consultant, photographer and fashion designer, stylist and fashion lecturer, has added a myriad of lights to the Sri Lankan photography industry. Anyone with a camera is not a photographer but only those with a creative eye. No doubt Raffealla Fernando is one of the best fashion photographers.