Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Master the money

During the years that I have been busy with photography I have noticed it is not a working field that will make you rich, unless you are a high class commercial photographer but who of us is, especially at the beginning.
I can say I have done a lot of things from weddings, portraits, business portraits, party pictures or interior shoots but nothing has been as satisfying to me than my own personal work. I have been out of the game for a couple of months now due to my second born but I have never given up the thought about photography. But I have to admit all the things I have tried including my own work have financially not been extremely satisfying.
People hire you for what they think you are worth or for whatever budget they have and a lot of times it is more the money part than the part of being worth it. It is a shame because photography is a job like any other and we also want to get paid even if people think that we are just pressing a button.

Many times I have taken jobs for the sake of building up experience getting no or low compensation and honestly I am not using any of these photographs for my portfolio. After a while I decided to do only what I am passionate about instead of going for the jobs that pay (low) but don't satisfy me. And now I hit another dilemma. For my series I need models and I do compensate them with photographs for them to use but also here I have noticed that people expect you to deliver over and over again.

I love to shoot and I love to edit but I also need to survive! People don't realize how expensive photography is and you don't even have to have the cream de la cream equipment.

So next time you hire a photographer or you want them to take your picture remember that they are also doing a job and they have to pay bills!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I could not have been that wrong

It feels like a hundred years that I have been writing on this blog and obviously it has been a long time ... a very long time. Before I had my second child I thought that things would go smoothly, that I would still be able to write, photograph and prepare whatever I wanted to do but I could never have been that wrong.
I have barely time to eat or drink because I have a child who goes to school and a baby that needs constant attention. I love being a mom and for the first 2 months after my baby was born I didn't have the urge to only think about photographing. But now we are one month further and I keep my phone next to my side wherever I go so I am able to check my pinterest account for new inspiration. I have even made new boards and I am proud to say started planning a new shoot. When this shoot is going to take place is still a BIG question but at least I have it in my mind.
I have a broken printer and my drawing skills are close to zero so all I can do is collect images that include a part of my idea, here the hair, here the shapes and there the colours.

I was convinced that I could improve my editing skills in the evenings because the baby would be sleeping and I could watch tutorials and try out new things. I would also shoot and have the baby next to my side because again the baby would be sleeping. Had I forgotten everything about babies?
There is almost no me-time and and I am dead meat in the evening and only look for the companionship of my pillow. Not mentioning the broken nights which I also use to look for inspiration on the net while breastfeeding. Well I used to do that but nowadays I can barely keep my eyes open so that is no option anymore.

I was also planning to look for exhibition opportunities and competitions but again I couldn't have been so wrong. Luckily I entered a competition before the baby was born and was able to fulfill all requirements on time. But I still have to update my pictures for agencies and prepare new ones. I tell myself every day that today is the day but in the evening I realize that I have not done what I had planned.

But in the end I know it is a phase and it will go over. After almost 3 months with no camera in my hands I finally got it out of the closet and shot some nice portraits of my oldest. Damn it felt good to hold a camera again! And since I was asked how I can already think about work ... it is not only work, photography is my passion and I love doing it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Warrior series an making props

I was always surprised where people got the good stuff from to style their pictures and stupidly it never occurred to me to really use the most uncommon things and create myself. A while ago I discovered the pictures of Kirsty Mitchel and was so utterly impressed. eventually I realized that she is a maker herself! I checked out her behind the scenes pictures and was impressed by how much time and work she dedicates to creating. eventually I thought that making props yourself is a pretty good way even if it costs you more time and sometimes even more money! Especially Christmas was for me a great time to visit some decoration shops and start thinking of how I could include my self-made things into a photoshoot! Since then I have been using my own props in almost every shoot and I am pretty happy about it! Not only is it possible for me to create exactly the picture that I want but also to put some creative energy into it! If people ask me where I get my props from and I tell that I made them myself, the picture seems to be even more valuable to me since I really created and not only clicked on the button of the camera!

Also for the Color-up shoot that was published in RAWR magazine I have been hunting for DIY stuff and got pretty lucky in a handy store buying dried flowers, hand-made paper, dried fruits and wool and fabric which I colored to my own needs!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Art Work vs. Corporate portraits

While I concentrate a lot on a conceptual approach in my personal work I love to work on clients projects as well. Not only art work but also for companies if we can find a matching base. Last week I have been shooting for SLEM Waalwijk again, a school for shoe design based in the Netherlands and China. When they started about a year ago I took portraits in their unfinished building. When I now arrived for the second time the entire scenery had changed drastically. Everything is kept in a cold blue tone and leather is hanging from windows and walls. The entire environment is pretty well designed and it was my pleasure to shoot their portraits again!
After single portrait shots we moved on to group portraits which was a lot of fun when time proceeded. I had so much fun with the girls and realized again how important it is for the outcome of a picture how comfortable people feel in front of the camera or during a shooting session!

    SLEM Waalwijk 2014  http://www.slem.nl/home

Unfortunately I cannot share all pictures I take for companies even though some of them are great! As I mentioned shooting art stuff and shooting my style portraits for companies is a good way to go for me!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparing the shoot

When I started studying photography I wasn't really aware of the all the facts that needed to be considered when planning a photoshoot. I usually had a simple concept in my mind and went through it without really thinking. Of course you can see that back in the pictures taken. On the other hand it is also still a time to find yourself and your unique style without which you can probably not make it in today's over-visualised world.
Through the time and especially during my internship at a big photography studio I realized that organization is the key-point of photography.

1. If you have an idea make a CONCEPT out of it! Find inspiration on the INTERNET, in magazines ... basically everywhere you go! Try to print these ideas and figure out what items from these inspirational images can be useful for your own idea. It is very important to understand that these images are really meant to inspire you and not to be copied. Maybe the colors are intriguing, maybe the styling is outstanding. Go from there and make a plan, your plan!

2. Once you have figured out what you really want to do (if you are good at drawing - make sketches otherwise create a moodboard) try to find your creative team
  • Models that suit your topic (sites as modelmayhem, facebook or model agencies can give you a broad overview)
  • Stylists whose style fits your own - depending on the theme you are working on it is wise to choose a stylists that fits you. Next time maybe you choose a different one
  • MUAs - also here it is important to work with the ones that can best translate your idea into reality. Some are more into extreme make-up and hair than others
  • Assistants - I usually do everything myself but I had to realize that sometimes assistants can be very handy. They can help with everything around the shoot and there are many people out there who are willing to help
3. Plan a date! That can be tricky to get everyone under one hat, especially if you are shooting big scale!

4. Make a time Schedule - don't plan too tight because then it can happen that people all come at the same time and they have to wait for hours. Nobody wants that! But also don't plan in too much time in between models because then you and your team are the ones who have to wait and time is money!
both happened to me during some shoots but hey you learn from it!

5. Send out all information to all participants, call sheets, moodboards, contact information of your entire team, model release and make sure you don't forget anyone

6. Get back to all people shortly before the shoot to make sure everyone has received and read your documents and let them confirm so everything will be as you have planned it!

7. On the day of shooting make sure all equipment is packed properly, all props are taken. It can be a real disappointment if something you need is missing!

8. Create a relaxed atmosphere for everyone! Don't get stressed out if something is not working the way you had in mind, improvise! Get drinks and food for everyone! Usually shooting days are pretty long. Plan little breaks also for yourself!

9. Make sure you back-up your pictures, either immediately on the spot or soon after you have reached save haven back home. Nothing is more annoying than losing your pictures!

I probably have forgotten to mention some details but this structure helped me enormously to get the ideas out of my head and really done. Once you have everything set, there is no going back! So before you shoot make yourself clear that photography is not just taking a camera into your hand and start shooting (at least in most parts of the photography business). Creating structure is very important!