Be your own Master

beauty, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

In my evening classes photography, I often am confronted with students wrestling to make final selection decisions. Either for class-related photography, or for their own assignments or private photo experiments.

I had an interesting discussion about this last Thursday, with one of my groups. The question that came up was: “Do you have your clients, in my case my models or my corporate clients, take part in the final selection of delivered images?” (I do corporate photography jobs too, see ).

I do have to admit that the selection process is a difficult task for most photographers, including me. I have made selections for three upcoming exhibits the last couple of weeks, and that still is a time consuming task. I have a quick and efficient selection method for filtering my shoots to a workable number of images, using positive discrimination as a main tool. However, this still leaves a decent number of images that results in a representative number of finished images (Usually about 10 images per shoot-hour when I shoot digitally).

A more difficult task is to further cut down the number of ‘keeper’ images over several shoots, or even more so the very limited number of exposed images in an exhibit, spanning your entire body of work.

The task being already difficult if you do it on your own, becomes even more complex when you put two personalities together, each having their own ideas and preferences when it comes to image selection. A customer often can’t decide on which of two images to keep, not talking about giving him a dozen images from which he has to pick one.

That’s why I have concluded that for me, I am my own master, I decide, and no one else but me. You can never, as a photographer, meet the expectations of every viewer of your work, especially not if you do artistic or autonomous work, incited by yourself. Your decisions should be inspired by what you wanted to make in the first place, by what you want to show after creating your work, not by what ‘your’ or ‘any’ audience wants to see.

“Hey, but you cannot do so for customer related work, where a customer expects you to answer the job requirements, can you?”

For customer related work things are the same I think, except that there you have to meet at some point the client’s expectations. Therefore a very important step in doing client’s work is to listen to your clients needs or expectations before getting to work on a job. You can either withdraw from the job if you feel you will not be able to stay loyal to your own style, or you can do the job, and select the images that you feel happy with. If your customer is familiar to your work, then he knows your style, and if you listened well, things should work out well.

below a non-published image from the series ‘Aude at Bart & Anja’s house’.

happy viewing.




beauty, exhibition, photo gear, Uncategorized

very short notice, but not too late. Tomorrow evening I will be giving a live presentation about my beauty shoots.
How do I do things, which gear do I use, preparations, locations, models, the shoot, development etc.
Tomorrow night, in Ronse, Belgium. Just be there, or you’ll have missed it. 😉

Presentatie Ronse uitnodiging

That strange thing called NUDE



I have been shooting kids and landscapes and al kinds of other pretty things, and always got a lot of compliments on my work, from my immediate circle of friends, relatives and people who know me personally on any possible level. Comments mostly positive, things like ‘oh how beautiful’, or ‘is that a painting? It really seems like a painting, with all those colors and so’. Or after showing a series of images of a kid ‘Isn’t she cute, and you portrayed her so well, can you do this with my daughter as well (yes I can, but not for free, since shooting for free doesn’t pay my camera – but that’s a different topic I need to tackle some day soon)

Since I’ve started shooting beauty portraits with young women, wearing less than average clothing, I have remarked two things.

1. I’ve gotten a lot less comments trough my ‘personal connections’. They don’t spontaneously speak about my photography anymore, and certainly not about the beauty portraits. The rare people that do speak about them, have one common question: “is your wife ok with the kind of pictures you make these days” (they ask me, or they ask her, without me being present). As if I have become a danger for public behavior, and certainly a threatening factor for the well being of my marriage.

2. I’ve gotten a lot more visitors to my blog, yes, this blog. Going from an average of about 650 views per month, to an average of about 1800 views per month. This means that my images have gotten an additional attraction to a certain group of people. The evolution is very clear, since september 2012 I’ve published my first set of intimate beauty shots, and that is exactly the month my view count jumped up.

For a clear and straight answer to the question in number 1. , yes, she’s ok with the pictures I’m taking. We have had long conversations about them, and still have. She’s my first critic in making sure that the images I take, and the images I publish are tasteful and beautiful. I will probably evolve towards an even more ‘daring’ style of photography, with fine eroticism on my wish list, but that will not be without another number of close conversations between me and my wife.

I have recently had a short conversation with a photographer working in California.

He’s shooting a lot of natural beauty portraits, nudes, covered-up nudes, topless images of young women, in a style I like a lot. Uncluttered, natural images in a natural environment. There seems to be a big difference in attitude between The States and Europe. Apparently, he can make a living out of his shoots, with a lot of young women wanting to be a model, and going to an established photographer for their first portfolio images.

Here in Europe, people tend to try to get a photographer for free, since there’s a lot more offerings from amateur photographers wanting models, than models needing a photographer. This probably means ‘no luck for me either’. If they don’t contact a photographer, even better, they buy a DSLR, (or their boyfriend does) to make their own lookbook images. This being said, I’m looking for models for my personal projects. If you live somewhere near Belgium, and want your beauty portrait taken, I’ll make you a fine offer. Drop me a line, or send a message trough the contact form on this blog.

Now, further on, I recently did two more natural beauty shoots, but I’m still awaiting an agreement for publishing on some images. Here’s at least one:


Thank you for reading, come again soon!