Today some questions I got in the discussion from the blogpost about turning pro.
I’ll try to be short in the answers
The most important is you eye…. OK, without it, nothing goes. But I haven’t seen any kelby Trainer who said : Only buy a Nikon d40x (which I am still in love with) or something of that kind. You all use d800, d4, phase one, etc… So there is a good reason for that, or not ? When the price difference can be about 5000€, it can’t be only a question of feeling comfortable in my opinion. What do you think about it ?
I strongly feel that the best camera is the one that does the job, and in fact a lot of cameras can do the job… now it does sound weird when “we” say it’s not about the gear but “we” still get the high-end products right? and I understand that. However you should look a bit deeper that that. As soon as you start learning your photography you will start to see that you work with a lot less quality gear that some sales persons want to make you believe… however you will also find out that by stepping up to for example to MF a new world of options opens up, but… and I really mean this… a MF camera in the hands of a good photographer will give better results than a 5DMKIII or Nikon D4 or Sony A99, HOWEVER… only because he/she knows the limitations and strengths of the system. I’ve heard a lot of stories from people shooting with MF and not being able to deliver more than 10% of the images that were in focus…. So my advise (and I think from many educators (at least the ones I know)) is to FIRST learn photography, and that can be done with a normal DSLR, and when you hit the limits of your gear upgrade, not earlier. And trust me, hitting the limits of your gear does not mean not being able to shoot the stuff that I do for example, 90% of what you see in my portfolio could have been shot with a normal consumer DSLR.
Some guys love Canon for its skin’s colors. Others prefere the Nikon contrasts.Then some say Tamron has a yellow hue, Sigma another one… But does it make a sense when you use a grey card and a colorchecker pass ?
Yes and no.
The colorcheckers create a profile for your camera/lights/lens combinations so a lot of the “problems” will be gone after that. However there will always be something left that differentiates the gear. HOWEVER…. a fact is that most people worrying about this are not working as photographers but are more obsessed by numbers (sorry if I insult someone). For me gear has to work and get me the images I need. So if a lens has a slightly less sharp image in the corners but focusses much quicker than the next in line with the same specs but that is sharp in the corners guess which one I’m gonna use I will not say “just buy a bad lens and be happy with it” but what I am saying is that you should not focus too much on the small details in gear differences, focus on the bigger picture, does the lens/camera deliver what you need ? are you printing huge gallery prints that will be viewed from 10cm distance ? etc. In a lot of cases people are focussing way too much on the numbers instead of working with the gear. I’ve done shoots with consumer cameras which got higher appreciating from my client than the ones I did with the MF camera…
Question 2 leads me to that one : do I have to use a colorchecker if I already use a 18% grey card?
Without a doubt.
The 18% gray card was necessary to get a proper exposure (or to calibrate your meter), the colorcheckers are there to get a complete profile. You can use a gray card (often called white balancing cards which are actually not 18% gray but slightly lighter) to remove a colorcast but it’s nowhere near as good as a profile.
Is making business more difficult nowdays? I mean Internet is nothing without pictures, so more pictures have do be done. Am I wrong?
Yes it’s very hard, there are A LOT of “photographers” out there, and prices are coming down like crazy. So if you want to earn money you will have to be very good, have a great network and willing to work LONG and irregular days, plus spend a lot of your time networking. And even then… the chances are slim. Remember that in the “old” days to stand out you had to compete with maybe 2-3 photographers in your area, thanks to internet and “hobby photographers” you have to compete with maybe 10-20 on your block. Plus the agencies/magazines etc. are overflooded with photographers willing to work for them so they are in most cases not even paying attention any more and just waiting for good “mouth to mouth” so there’s that networking again. Be creative, be willing to spend your days promoting yourself and your work and be VERY social and yeah there is a chance, but ALWAYS have a plan B.
Are you coming back to Austria or Bavaria next year ?
Probably even this year.
Do you do workshops in NL in english or german?
Depending on the groups in Dutch or English.
I have been watching with big attention fashion magazines in the ast weeks and I was actually bored very quick : very nice, BUT too perfect and allmost all the same… Is there in fashion world a look-code you have to reproduce to get a chance to be edited ?
Nope, and if there is one make sure to not follow it because magazines etc. are always looking for something new. Do remember (and don’t take it the wrong way) a lot of people see adds and think/know they can do better but in reality they often can do something similar but miss the whole part of the business that’s about getting to that point. In todays market as mentioned in point 4 there is a huge pile of photographers and images out there for the magazines to choose from, photographers willing to pay for publications (yeah it’s that mad sometimes) so even if you’re the best photographer in the work, landing that Vogue job…. well it’s hard work and will probably stay a dream…. I know I share that dream
How free is actually a fashion/beauty photographer ? Do you get a clear line from your clients ?
Depends per client, sometimes you’re free as a bird, sometimes the client is breathing down your neck and wants to see his/her vision and nothing else.
You are a world known photographer, 1000s guys would love to be you and shoot glamour shots of famous models. Why did you stop ? Or do you still here and there shoot for magazines?
I still shoot for magazines and designers but because budgets are now sometimes so low that in fact you sometimes have little left I only do what I really love to do. Also I love to teach so that’s for me my main focus. At the moment my main focus (next to teaching) is artists and “characters” they are used for publications and are always a great addition to the portfolio and network , next to that we also are starting a “family” part this year in the new studio. About the glamour part I can be more direct… for me a model in a designer dress is more attractive than a naked body… and don’t get me wrong I am in fact 100% normal , I do some glamour shoots of course and sometimes I love to shoot a naked model for a certain look I have in mind but most of the time I just love to play with structures and clothing, also I’m always very aware of my audience and I know for a fact that a lot of people take offense to nude images, also seeing it’s not my main point of interest I don’t shoot that work a lot. I do teach several glamour workshops so it’s not that I don’t shoot/teach it at all it’s just something that I think is not 100% fitting for what I represent (if you know what I mean). About the famous models…. well I wish I could shoot all the famous models but to do something like that you really have to be well connected and from the Netherlands… well that’s a bit hard , plus I choose the teaching part, that doesn’t mean we don’t shoot famous people of course but I don’t think I will shoot any supermodels (although again I would love to). The artists we shoot in the Netherlands are among the top artists and are for myself very rewarding to shoot and I think that should always be the main focus… I won’t shoot someone just for the fact that they are a “supermodel” or “artist” I will shoot someone if I think they are interesting, I always love to scout my own models for example and somehow always love the ones that are a bit “different” some would say a bit “alternative”, for example if you look back (a long time) GIA would without a doubt be a model that I would LOVE to have shot.
Where do you get your ideas? For example in your portfolio there is this woman in a cage. Did you have before the shoot the picture in you head ? Or did you want to use a cage and suddenly, as your model arrived you had this idea? Or was your cage in the studio for ages? and did your model told you “Frank, throw me in and lock the door!” ?
Is it a kind of… having ideas on the way ?
In that image the idea was from the model herself.
Often however it’s a cooperation between the team, we all use our creativity and create something “fitting”.