zondag 16 augustus 2015

How to take photos at a fashion show, surviving the photographers pit

10 tips to get that stunning photo at a fashion show

1) Be On Time
It's all about planning. Make sure you are there way before the show starts and when you've found the perfect spot:

2) Mark Your Spot
Put your tripod there, or leave your bag, or mark it with tape and !!!!! write down your name with a lot of !!!!! to make sure others do not dare to take it.

3) Make Friends
Really, shouting at your fellow photographer doesn't really help you. Make sure you bond with a few of your colleagues, so you can e.g. take turns when you need to eat, pee or just stretch your legs.

4) Do Not Wear High Heels
I've seen the most fashionable lady photographers balancing on high heels in the pit, standing, sitting, even half lying down, and they all sighed: 'My feet are killing me!!' So better wear or bring an extra pair of sneakers.

5) Make Sure To Bring Extra Batteries, Body, Lens, Memory Cards
and keep these at your side. I know, a little obvious right? But when a photographer ran out of batteries during the show and walked off the platform ruining the film of the guy standing next to him, he didn't make friends.

6) Be Invisible
To me being polite and rather invisible got me more good photos than being a rude and emphatic photographer. Might depend a bit on which mood you're in.

7) Work Out
Yes, as in excercise. Taking photos of five shows at AFWL meant standing in the same spot for over 12 hours. Hardly any room to move your feet. I did a few on-the-spot lunges etc to keep the blood flowing, and after a few weary looks from my collegues they admitted they had sore backs, legs or worse, cramped hands from holding the camera all day and so much more. You're not alone in this!

8) Find Your Zen
Not joking. When you are in the same spot for a long time, with more waiting than action time, you need to be able to find your zen, to be mindful and happy as otherwise your photos will suck. If you are stressed, you'll use the wrong lighting, shutterspeed or other and you'll be even  more pissed. Om.

9) Know Your Gear
You don't have to be a professional photographer, but you must know the right camera settings to take your best photo. Which aperture suits your style? f 1,8 or f 5,6? Shutterspeed? Lens? My Canon colleagues were having more trouble finding the right white balance than me (Nikon D700). Always try to shoot in RAW. This way you can adjust the image perfectly afterwards.

10) The Right Moment
Last but not least, it's all about the right timing. Make sure to shoot the model's walking in her nicest way, with the best leg up front. Sometimes models walk fast, sometimes they don't even stop at the end of the runway. So make sure you get that photo, with the clothing visible in its most perfect way.
The right moment
f 1.8
When you take photos from the side, that one leg has to be in front

I am back in London, to visit the Africa Fashion Week 2015 at the Olympia in Hammersmith. Being a professional photographer for nearly 20 years, I am thrilled to work with these beautiful and inspiring people again. Never before I was here for the full two days so I am so happy to be here. This time I am intrigued by the photographers' pit, the podium where all the camera people are during the show. Shall I? Or shall I stick to my story and take slow journalism, backstage and other pictures?

When they call for the photographers to take their place, I decide to go for it and see how it works in the pit. I find a spot at the right and had to tell the photographers behind me, who were setting their tripods up on the podium, that I will not be sitting down but will be standing up while taking pictures. A lot of my colleagues in the front sat down and stayed there for the rest of the time. I felt tempted to do so too, but decided the best view would be standing up, as I don't want to take photos 'up the models' nostrils'.

To be in this buzzing, over-heated and over-crowded spot is so not me
There are five shows in two days, you think you can always decide to leave your spot and come back. So you think. Wrong. When I return after my first show and see there's no bag on the edge, nor tripod or any other marking I decide to take that spot on the platform. Boy was I wrong. At some moment there's a little guy with a monopod who eagerly approaches the podium and starts telling us 'That's my spot! That's my spot!' in a loud way. I am shocked about his furious way of doing, as there was no marking, no bag, no nothing in that spot.

Anyway, I stick to my spot but apparently we have to allow him to be there, so we all move a bit to let him be. "Man, be polite" I tell him and he again starts about this being his spot. Okay, okay, we get it. More photographers behind me agree with me he's just very rude, but I do not want to be too annoyed by it so I focus on the upcoming show.

We were waiting for more than one hour prior to each show. Also the photographers in the perfect centre spot almost weren't leaving at all, just to keep that position. Anything for a good photo right? I now know why they are so eager to do so, as from the photographer's pit it's the most perfect position to watch the show. A true dream spot.

It turned out to be an obsession to most photographers, how to get that perfect view, how to be in that perfect spot. I e.g. noticed the models were turning right mostly, so being at the left side of the platform would've been better to get perfect photos. I also noticed a lot of the sitting down photographers were all aching in the end, complaining about sore butts, and more, as being in one spot for over two hours is really hard, and remember: this times five! So yes, it truly is hard work.

But I am glad I did it, what an experience, being front row in the photographers' pit for the very first time...

and some photos of the pit:

Me in the middle

donderdag 13 augustus 2015

My Book Story

Sprookjesboek van uitgever Lekturama Rotterdam - nu onderlegger voor de wereldkaart van Kerbal game
Onlangs viel me op dat onze zoon (16) mijn oude sprookjesboek van de gebroeders Grimm en andere schrijvers gebruikte als onderlegger voor de wereldkaart van zijn Kerbal Space Program spel. Hij houdt op de kaart bij welke vluchten hij maakt met zijn zelfgebouwde vliegtuigen, het is maar dat je het weet ;)

Door in het boek te kijken was ik bam! ineens weer dat meisje van zeven jaar oud, en ja, dit was toch wel een van mijn favoriete boeken. Vooral het titelverhaal Sneeuwwitje en de Zeven Dwergen.

Ik kreeg het boek voor mijn 6e verjaardag in 1977, en het werd uitgegeven door Lekturama, weet u nog??? Dan bestelde je deel 1 spotgoedkoop en daarna kwam er elke maand een duur boek als je dat vergat af te zeggen. Pre-Amazon en Bol.com dé manier om goedkoop aan een boek te komen.
De tekeningen vond ik maar eng
De illustraties zijn heel erg jaren 70, en ik vond ze eigenlijk maar eng, die koppen, en de algehele sfeer op de schilderachtige plaatjes. Het is een groot boek, ongeveer A4 formaat, dus ook de tekeningen zijn groot. En écht geen suikerzoete Disney plaatjes, niet bij Sneeuwwitje maar ook niet bij de vele andere vooral exotische sprookjes.

Bijzonder: het handschrift van mijn overleden moeder op de eerste pagina ...

Als je zelf een bijzonder verhaal bij een boek hebt, wil je dit dan delen met de hashtag #mybookstory? Engels of Nederlands geschreven, dat maakt niet uit. Op je blog, Facebook en zeker de link plaatsen op Twitter... deel je favoriete boek! 

I am writing, I am reading and I sure love books!
Cover Sneeuwwitje en de Zeven Dwergen - Lekturama Rotterdam
Stukgelezen rug
Sneeuwwitje en haar prins in de jaren '70

My Book Story

Book of fables - Snow White and more fairy tales - now a flight map holder
I recently noticed that our son (16) was using my old book of fables by the Grimm brothers and other fairy tale writers: it's now a 'map holder', so he can follow flight paths when playing Kerbal Space Program.

Seeing the big red book again immediately brought back memories of my youth. This once was my favorite book, especially the title story of Snow White, the first story in the book.

The book was given to me by my parents for my 6th birthday in 1977.

Illustrations of Snow White being kinda scary

Its illustrations being typical 70's style, and they kind of scared me. Not sugar sweet Disney style at all! The images are more like paintings and the faces look very different compared to modern children's books.

Also seeing the handwriting of my deceased mother ... wow, what an impression that book still makes!

I wanted to share my book story with all of you, and if you have a good story about a book you have, please share it by using the hashtag #mybookstory when telling us about it, thank you so much.

I am writing, I am reading and I sure love books!


Cover Sneeuwwitje en de Zeven Dwergen - Lekturama Rotterdam

Worn from too much reading
Snow White and her Prince in the 70's

dinsdag 11 augustus 2015

Silver Woman

While attending the Africa Fashion Week in London I noticed that next to being colour fans, they love grey hair too, and boy do they look good with it!

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Mr. Mahogany Sola Oyebade and Melanie E. Rijkers

Then model and designer Pinamoiselle wrote:
"Hi, I saw you yesterday at #afwl and I thought u looked beautiful with your silver hair"

Thank you!! :) :)

and yes, Sola and I both turned pretty grey since 2009 when I first worked with Mahogany International in London ;) No, not grey, SILVER foxes we are :)

maandag 10 augustus 2015

Redheaddays Breda Publicity Photography

Take 2 and 3 follow automaticly when you watch via YouTube

It's the 10th Anniversary of the Redhead Days this year - check out this awsome video of the making of the well known publicity photo for the 1st Breda edition in 2007: Bart Rouwenhorst covered with beautiful red hair...
a top photo still!
Roodharigendag Breda, 2007 publicity photo of Bart Rouwenhorst covered with red hair - ginger love