Anne Cappendijk is a photography student at the Fotovakschool and via Instagram she discovered my photos, what has inspires her (Such a compliment!). For a school assignment she had to interview a photographer by phone in English, so we talked to each other and I wrote my answers down so I could publish them here for you!
1. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspired by traveling and working on new locations. That is also why I went to California for almost 3 months, but I will tell you more about this in question 5. I also get inspired by the people in front of my camera, I love to work with models who have something special thing like freckles or a gap between her teeth. Working with daylight also inspires me because I love to play with shadows to make an interesting photo.
2. What kind of company’s or clients do you work for?
I’m signed with a photography agency and I’m working for different fashion designers or fashion companies who need new photos for their webshops, in their stores or printed lookbooks for their clients. Sometimes I’m able to work for magazines or for their websites, like Elle, Glamour and Jan Magazine.
3. Are there any special customers you want to work with in the future?
I would love to work for the fashion magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour etc. And to shoot campaigns for cool brands. It would be awesome to see my own photos on billboards or in the stores.
4. If you can choose one favorite photographer, who would that be?
It’s very inspiring to watch the masters in fashion photography. But to name one photographer I would say Peter Lindbergh, because I just love his black and white portraits. I hope to buy his book called Images of Women soon. He was far more interested in charisma and personality than perfection and glamour. He played a pivotal role in creating the beauty ideal of the 90’s.
5. What was the main reason you went to Los Angeles?
I went to Los Angeles because for me it’s very inspiring to travel on my own. It was my dream since many years to discover the West Coast of the United States and to organize some photos shoots. Meeting new people and hearing their stories is one of my favorite thing about my job as a photographer. There is a great mix of city and nature in California and that is exactly what I prefer for my photos. The light during sunset is amazing, I never experienced such beautiful light here in The Netherlands..
6. Do you want to go back?
Absolutely! Probably not very soon because L.A. is very expensive and there are much more countries that I would love to visit in the near future.
7. What kind of projects do you want to make in the next 5 years?
I can tell you some of my ideas but I will not describe them very detailed. Besides the regular photography jobs I’m dreaming of my own (little) studio because I would like to make interesting portraits of models. Another project I would like to do in the future is to create my own book, not only with photos, but also with a story. The next goal is to create a long term project that will take some months or maybe years to make photos in different countries around the world.
8. Do you use special Photoshop techniques?
No, I use Photoshop to finish the pictures. I give them the right colors and contrast to achieve the ambiance that I had in mind. And I retouch the skin and maybe the background if needed. Not too fake and nothing special.
9. In your work I see so much variety in poses, how do you communicate with your model to get them in these great poses?
Communication is very important in fashion photography. I have to discuss with the stylist, the makeup artist and sometimes the art director to make sure we all have the same vision for this photo shoot. In the end we will tell the model about our ideas and concept and when she is an experienced model she will probably understand soon and give you the right poses when she is in front of the camera. It will also help to show a moodboard to your team as inspiration for the poses and the mood. When the model give me some poses, I will tell her what I like and what works the best, but I will also say to her what poses don’t work or when she has to turn her face or her hand a bit. She is in front of the camera so she can’t see what she is doing, so it’s important to always help your model and give her the right directions. When a model is very good, I will just say ‘beautiful!’ sometimes so she stays focused and can do her thing in front of the camera. Sometimes it’s annoying for models if she can’t move because the photographer is yelling at her all the time what to do. You have to work together, ask your model what she prefers before you start shooting.
10. I really like the light choice in your pictures, do you only use daylight or do you also work with studio lights?
Tanks! The most of the time I work with daylight but I own two Profoto studio lights and I’m very happy with this professional studio kit! I prefer to work with a huge Octabox or an umbrella to get the most natural results.
11. Do you prefer working in a team or on your own?
I like both. With photo shoots I like to work in a team, you can’t create a good fashion editorial on your own. But it’s great to work very close with your team and the most of the time you have to work hard to capture all the looks you had in mind but it’s also a fun day. I already know a lot of people in this industry and it’s good to see them again and because we all have the same interests, we always have something fun to talk and laugh about. But I can work very good on my own, when I’m behind my laptop to send emails, to work on my website or blog or editing my photos I prefer to work on my own.
12. If there is one place in the world to take photograph, where would that be?
Iceland! The landscapes are amazing! The only thing is that it can be quite cold for the model.. But if I have to shoot a winter collection it will be no problem. I love the nature and I love fashion, so what is better than the combination of these two? :)
13. What makes you different relative to other photographers?
I don’t like to compare myself to much to other photographers. But the things that other people say is that they like I’m calm or relaxed on set. The most of the times the fashion designers can be stressed because they have deadlines and slept for just a few hours or they are negative about there designs because they worked to much on it etc. So they are happy that I can help them and tell their my ideas for the photo shoot. My style is quite clean and natural and that is why these clients book me. I know what I want and what I like during a photo shoot. I’ve learned to be honest to the team and the clients to get the best results.
14. Do you always work with a concept or do you work in the moment?
Actually I do both at the same time. A photo shoot always starts with a concept, but I love to get surprised when I’m behind the camera! Sometimes the daylight will change or there are some interesting shadows to work with. Or the location is different then I expected or the model comes up with a cool idea for her pose. Or the wind blows up her hair in a nice way. You never know what will happen and that keeps me, and the team, creative. You have to find a solution or a new idea right in the moment that still fits the concept but in a different way.
15. Do you have some advice for me, as a photography student who loves portraits and fashion photography?
The best way is to know why you are making pictures, find your inspiration and then practice a lot. Don’t give up and try over and over again. Then ask people to give their honest opinion and bring that information to your next shoot. Find some people (or starting models) around you and ask if you can take their portrait, try different things with lights and composition and see what it does. Don’t expect too much too soon. Focus on building your portfolio, finding your style and finding yourself. A photographer needs to have a good balance of technical skills and a creative eye. Knowing everything about your camera and studio lights doesn’t make you a good fashion and portrait photographer. You have to be creative and it is also good surround yourself with the right people and shoot as much personal work and test work as you can. Then your technical knowledge will help you to the next level. I love my job and I’m sure you will love it too! Good luck and enjoy!
Do what you love, love what you do.