Heiko Kalweit is a photographer from Dortmund and specializes in vintage photography. I got to know him a few years ago and I am impressed by the determination with which he pursues his heart theme, “vintage photography”. So I was very pleased that he immediately accepted my request for an interview. Heiko, how did you get into vintage photography? To be honest, I owe that to a lucky coincidence. Before I started my own business as a freelance photographer three years ago, I was employed as a text and photo editor at a Berlin agency. Following editorial meetings – I was working from Dortmund at the time – I often added a day for private activities. So also on May 24th, 2008. For this Saturday I arranged a portrait shoot with a Berlin model at the Oberbaumbrücke. This is an old, well-known bridge on the East Side Gallery. I was amazed when the young woman appeared in a beautiful, sky-blue linen dress. At that time I had little or no idea about vintage fashion, but it struck me straight away that the dress couldn’t come from any contemporary collection. So I asked her what it was all about. She told me it belonged to her grandma who bought it in the 1940s. I was so enthusiastic about the dress, the way she had done her hair, the way she was made up – in short: from her entire elegant appearance – that it sparked my passion for vintage photography. It’s amazing that a summer dress, make-up and some hairstyling have had such a big and lasting impact on your photography. You’re right. Now that we talk about it, I wonder myself. The desire to take vintage photos has probably been dormant in me for a long time without my being aware of it. I have always enjoyed watching old “ham” with James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn and Heinz Rühmann as well as dance films with Fred Astair, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. I like and have always liked this mostly simple elegance that the actors exuded. I’ve also found the swing music of the 1940s and the songs by Dean Martin great for a long time. I think the experience at the Oberbaum Bridge was something like the stone that got everything rolling. For example, you show photos of many different women in vintage clothing on your homepage or on Instagram. How do you get to know her In order to build up my portfolio in vintage photography, I made contacts in the first few years through the model file. Now I mainly do it on Facebook. Do you only take photos of the models for your private pleasure? No, my passion for vintage photography came from my private pleasure. In the meantime, however, it has become my third professional pillar as a freelance photographer, alongside wedding and business photography. I only photograph models to implement my own private projects and to keep my portfolio alive. Who will book a vintage shoot with you? It is mainly women who have great fun in the 20s to 60s and dress accordingly. I go to Hamburg once a year. The swing music event “Golden Renaissance” takes place there regularly. I set up a mobile photo studio there and take photos of the guests. Last year I photographed a vintage collection for a southern German manufacturer of glasses. And every now and then I take photos of multi-page editorial series for the lifestyle magazine “Vintage Flaneur”. On your homepage I read the claim “photographic time travel”. Do you own a time machine? That would be great. 😉 No, seriously, that’s how I describe my vintage photography. With my shoots and pictures, I create illusions and fantasies of traveling to another decade. That’s why I don’t take photos in the studio, but outdoors and in special indoor locations. Over the years I have discovered many beautiful places that exude the authentic atmosphere of past decades. Among them even the former Berlin apartment of the silent film star Asta Nielsen. It is now a vintage hotel. I use the old location as a backdrop. Experienced visas, who understand vintage make-up and hairstyling, prepare my customers. A stylist, with whom I work closely, lends me original old clothes if necessary. In the meantime I also have a small network of classic car owners who make their cars available to me for photo shoots. Old issues of Life magazine, suitcases and many other props complete the illusion of time travel. In this way, not only images of people are created in the shoots, but stories in the form of photos. You’re on social media. Which one do you prefer to use? Clearly Instagram. Even if I only have just under 400 followers, this is where I make the most interesting contacts. At the beginning of the year, for example, the American magazine “Pinup Industry” (www.pinupindustry.com) presented me and my photography in a three-page interview. I had a special highlight in the middle of this year: The American vintage magazine Stalletto also found out about me via Instagram and commissioned me with a multi-page editorial shoot for the autumn issue. What are your plans for the coming year? Lots of vintage shoots, of course. In February the “Golden Renaissance” is going to Hamburg again. In August, like this year, I will be presenting myself with a booth at the “Classic Days” at Schloss Dyck. This is a large, multi-day classic car event in Jüchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. And in October I’ll be holding a vintage workshop in Dortmund. Interested photographers will have the opportunity to take pictures of experienced vintage models in a great, old industrial environment on the Zollern colliery site . Of course, the models wear appropriate clothing and are styled accordingly. The workshop will take place on Sunday, October 7th, 2018. That sounds very exciting. I wish you every success with the workshop and thank you very much for the interview.
In the run-up to the event “Mind Mapping 2018 – New Paths in Professional Photography” , for which I was one of the first participants to register, Marc Ludwig from FotoTV. one of the speakers, Nicole Zausinger, was introduced. I didn’t let the chance slip up and asked you for an interview. You can either read it in abbreviated form here on the blog or listen to it in full as an audio interview on my podcast . Thank you for having time for an interview, Nicole. You are a professional photographer, please describe the subject areas you are working on. With pleasure. My entry into professional photography came through a three-day castle wedding in Chiemgau, which I was able to photograph. That excited me straight away. I soon knew that I didn’t want to go back to my old job as an architect and construction manager. In the first few years I concentrated on weddings, over time I added kindergarten and family photography. It quickly turned out that wedding photography doesn’t go well with my job as a mother of two, because weddings take place on weekends when my own children actually need their mother. So now I only do a handful of weddings a year. Instead, I expanded my kindergarten and family photography and I really enjoy it. As a result of my network, other topics have recently been added, such as business photography and food photography. These jobs bring a welcome change in my job. But my main topic remains “everything to do with families”, i.e. weddings, kindergartens and families. You have experience in photography for private customers as well as for business customers, which of the two areas is more lucrative in your opinion? You are addressing exactly my favorite topic. I take a close look at each of my orders and make a note of the effort involved in the individual work steps. So I have a pretty precise picture of whether an order is worthwhile for me and which steps I can still optimize. At first I assumed that business photography was very lucrative because it paid higher fees . But if you put the effort against it, it no longer looks so clear. Wedding photography actually turned out to be the least lucrative for me. My wedding prices are really not cheap, but if you count the effort of preliminary talks, travel times and so on, wedding photography is not so financially rewarding for me. But the financial side is not everything. I still enjoy photographing weddings a lot, so I will continue to offer it. At the moment, kindergarten photography is most worthwhile for me, mainly because I’ve optimized my processes. What exactly did you optimize? I took a very close look at which jobs take up the most time. To do this, I use the Zei cube to have a minute-by-minute overview. As a result, I discovered, for example, that image selection and image processing take a lot of time. In the meantime I have the image processing carried out by ProImageEditors in India. That saves me a lot of time. Of course, at the beginning it was necessary to tell my contacts in India exactly what requirements I have. For example, it is very important to me that the pictures are ready after a few days. It all works very well and I am very satisfied. Tell us a little more about the mindmapping 2018 event I am very pleased that there are such experienced and inspiring colleagues as speakers. Steffen Böttcher, who leads through the event and, to a certain extent, takes on the philosophical part, Fabian Bischof, who runs one of the largest photo studios in Switzerland and Janine Wienick, who is a leader in questions of style in kindergarten photography. The event is suitable for all photographers, even if they work in subject areas outside of wedding and kindergarten photography. The aim is to let the participants think outside the box and to inspire them. If I can use my lecture to encourage people to think about their own profitability as a photographer, then I have achieved my goal. I keep seeing photographers who quit their job because they fail to turn it into a profitable company. And I think that’s a shame. Yes, Nicole, then let’s work together to support photographers with their business issues. Thanks for talking to us, Nicole.
My name is Sven Schomburg and I work as a photographer. I set up my warehouse about 9 years ago in Hamburg and specialized in people photography, more precisely wedding and liestyle photography. You don’t become a good photographer overnight! About 8 years ago my better half commented that we should buy a reflex camera so that we could take good photos in the case of a child (I mean child, of course). I have to say, however, that we actually always took pictures, or rather, we took pictures. Yes, now it was there, the entry-level camera (seen this way today) from Mediamarkt, waiting to be used. You can probably already imagine what I photographed. Exactly, everything that came in front of the lens and still nice in A mode. Although I was a bit surprised what the camera was doing in the other sub-modes, I didn’t think about it any further. 🙂 Photography as I do it today was out of the question. A picture only emerges in your head … … and then the camera will help you implement it. Cool phrase, right? I picked it up somewhere, but there’s something to it. After a few tours with my camera at the time, now don’t think that I already had people in front of the cam, it was clear to me that I would rather have to read to get out of this A mode. Now I’m not the biggest bookworm either, but the internet also has its right to exist. So I set off with knowledge from books and tutorials that I had freely obtained from YouTube or had bought in the meantime. My path went through architecture, macro and, for a short time, HDR photography. Until at some point I felt the interest to take photos of people. I slowly felt my way to this topic. It was clear that it was often the girl next door who was allowed to pose in front of my camera or, at the very beginning, my wife. In addition to my camera with kit lens at the time, more photo stuff was slowly but surely added. Everything was in many books and the tutorials also contributed something. In all honesty, I have to tell you that I’m a bit tech-savvy, but for a long time not as much as it was back then when it was said “the photo was taken with the photo equipment, so I have to have it”. From every shoot with the girl next door I got better and so the thought matured in me that I had to show my pictures to the people out there in order to get confirmation for my great photo work. So I signed up for many forums and proudly posted the great work I believed at the time. When I look back on it today, I keep getting a smile on my face. But I can tell you, that’s just part of development. My development also includes the basement, which is still full of tripods, flashes and light shapers. 😉I looked for role models or let’s just say I became a fan of the great photographers in the world. I’m still a fan today, but the direction of photography has changed over time. One of my activities was and still is today, if I can manage it, attending various network meetings. At that time, I took Emilia with me to such a photographer’s meeting, as already described, my better half and what can I say, I got her hooked on photography. Not nearly as much as I am today, but even then it was easier to buy new photo equipment because you had or have an ally on your side. The first job as a wedding photographer But don’t think that the sun was always shining for me, because there was often enough rain. Probably like any of you too. Okay, I now had people in front of the camera, but how did wedding photography come about? She actually came to us somehow. Why “us” now? Quite simply- Emilia also became very active photographically over time. So one day a colleague of my wife asked if we could take some photos at her wedding. I tell you, my pants were pretty full. Wrong, because the pictures were actually well received. So we were also approached by friends and acquaintances. Official registration as a photographer In 2015 it was time to seriously think about a business, which I then put into practice. The way to the Chamber of Crafts was clear and I’ll tell you first when I had the trade license in hand, I thought I was the hero. The world would just wait for a photographer like me. 😉Puff pie, because now the work really started. I knew I wanted to photograph weddings, but the people around didn’t know about me. Or just do the test and google for wedding photographers! Exactly, there are a dime a dozen. Over time I worked on my personality, on my photography style and of course on the processing of the pictures. Over time we also had offspring and Emilia is currently no longer accompanying me to weddings, but when it comes to decisions, be it in the selection of images or other business-related decisions, she is by my side, which I do very much you guess. Because it doesn’t work at all without the support of the family. Expect headwinds One and two words at the end, if you still want to hear them. Be aware that nobody gives you anything, but it’s better that way. It only makes you stronger and richer in experience. Also be aware that the way will be stony, but you have the right tools with you to clear the stones out of the way. I also had times when I wanted to throw all my photo stuff in the bin. Luckily I didn’t. My tip to you Go out and take pictures if you aren’t already. In order to redeem your ticket for your journey into photography as a business, you have to forego a lot, but at some point you will be rewarded if you allow it. So, your journey can begin or is already underway. I’ll see you on the train.
Club photography A big black room, tropical climate and the constant tension that the camera won’t survive that night. This is club photography🙂 So it’s a little exaggerated, but only with the fear, because mostly I stand a little apart from the crowd behind the DJ and only now and then I am drawn to the dance floor and the “dangerous zone” for a few pictures the “crowd”. I then only enter the dance floor after my job or at least without a camera to dance. I also have a tip for that If you want to get through a dancing crowd quickly, dance your way through them! I promise you, people will be far more likely to give you room and find it even cooler that you dance than if you try to push your way through. (I speak from experience and believe me, it works!) The ideal conditions As you can already imagine, for good conditions you need an open-aperture lens (e.g. a 35 or 24mm with f. 1.4 or 1.8) and ideally also a full frame camera that has no problem with a high ISO value. Because most (techno) clubs are really very dark and the DJ’s lighting is minimal. (Of course, it also depends entirely on the event and the location). And you should have fun with the music and the whole party, otherwise it can be a very uncomfortable work environment. The camera settings I mostly work with an ISO value of 1200-2000, but even with a full-frame camera like the Canon Eos 6D, a slight noise cannot be prevented. The aperture is also very open, usually around f 1.8 or 2.0. The next problem is the autofocus, which hardly works in this dark. So you only have the manual mode, unless you wait for a light effect from the visual jockey. But since the DJ is not firmly established and the beats at 130 BPM drive the whole thing forward, you should have dealt with his technique a little. In the worst case, you stand in the club all night and try in vain to run after the DJ and focus on him. Communication is the key to success In most cases you can do something against the nasty darkness, namely make agreements. If he is available, you can talk to the visual jockey (light and visual artist) of the club / organizer about your project and ask him to what extent he can control the light for your purposes. It is also a great advantage to speak to the people you are photographing. So they know what’s going on and can also help you with your plan to shoot sharp and chic pictures . With a DJ, however, you should do this before his performance and not during it😀 Now I wish you a lot of fun taking photos and if you have any questions you can always get in touch!
Essentially, it is apparently not the commercial and photographic basics that I have learned in seminars, webinars or training courses that define my professional success as a photographer, but rather things like courage, empathy, humor, openness and honesty towards my customers, but also to myself. A daring theory? Then read for yourself: You can’t make money with art “You can’t make money with art,” my father always said. It is therefore not surprising that I made many career decisions out of common sense, even though my creativity has always been my greatest talent since my early childhood. Instead, in a confused zigzag course, compromises were made in favor of supposed expectations. After graduating from high school and community service (in nursing) I worked as a nurse, qualified art therapist and pedagogue, legal assistant and shop manager at E-Plus / Base. I also learned classical and analogue photography and development. But what I lacked during this time was the courage to trust my talents and assert myself on a professional level. So while I was waiting for my place at university, I first became a nurse. The gratitude of the patients back then did my self-esteem very good. What is my artistic subject? During our studies, lecturers asked us what our very own artistic topic is. I replied “love”, but at the time I could never define it more precisely and didn’t really know why this was actually my topic. I was a member of an artist community that has successfully created video sculptures. At some point we were asked to film and photograph fashion shows. Then the first request for a wedding arose. So I became a part-time photographer, but it was all very … well, improvised! My main salary and a lot of responsibility was always in outpatient nursing, even when I was studying and immediately afterwards. But unfortunately I overdid it there in health terms. An occupational illness became chronic. Over the decades there were also two superiors who kindly took me aside and said something like: “You are doing a great job here, but why do you not earn your money with what you do best?” My answer was: “With what? With clever shit? ”. Because I was always an employee who could hardly endure internal “malaise” and was concerned about things that were more the boss’s business. Maybe you can also say that I wasn’t challenged enough? My physical limits The chronic illness has repeatedly pushed me to my physical limits in the various professions mentioned above and ultimately to make and implement a clear decision. With the help of the job center and their credit of 5,000.00 €, I put everything on one card and thus became a full-time photographer. And because this amount was not enough front and rear, I have previously written Michael Omori Kirchner and asked: “Can you make with a Canon 1100 D really as a professional freelance photographer?” . In the comments of this article was very controversial with lively discussion. Founding as a photographer Before the foundation, I was allowed to attend the business academy and the tenor there was always: “He who is different from everyone else is successful” “Be competitive on prices” (which I mistakenly interpreted as “cheap”). Positioning and business plan So I developed the “unique selling points”: Mobile photo studio for baby and nude photography, no package prices but a transparent hourly flat rate, and photo retouching (my passion). So I wrote my business plan which I now think, “how the hell, could it ever be waved through?” The answer is simple: every successful “waved through” customer looks good to your client, the job center. Customer acquisition The acquisition of the private customers just mentioned turned out to be very difficult, but without ever having a wedding photo in the portfolio, such a request came after a few months. I accepted the job because I already had some experience from the part-time phase. I photographed this job with the 1100 D without a back-up camera and with a bad feeling! At that time I calculated the hour at € 129.00 and only for the time on site. I thought that I couldn’t argue the time it took to post-process photos and so I photographed the first weddings for about 39 € an hour! At the turn of the year, I kept increasing the hourly flat rate. Nevertheless, there was not enough money left and my self-esteem towards my customers did not improve, even though they were very satisfied. Feedback from customers I could never really accept compliments from customers. Until this came: “If it seems that someone was born just to be a photographer and if it seems that this someone became a photographer just to photograph your wedding, then it’s Helge Peters! Thank you for an unforgettable shoot with lots of fun, creativity, spontaneity, emotions and fantastic results. You hit the proverbial nail on the head. “ That changed my thinking, because everything I had done in my life so far boiled down to helping other people, making others laugh, making them happy and having to do with the topic of love and care. So that I am a wedding photographer is very consistent. As I often hear from customers, they quickly feel that they have known me forever. Entertainment qualities I think I have also trained the responsible qualities in my social professions. My sense of humor is innate. My picture style lives from the fact that my customers feel good, relax and have fun. So my entertainer qualities are very useful to me. Self-esteem So I had to face the following: A lack of self-esteem has been trained for many years and over the years it actually develops a benefit for those affected: You always have an excuse: not to face challenges, to take responsibility for decisions and to assert yourself! Prices I determine my worth (my self-esteem on a professional level) myself, through my prices! Where do I really see myself in the market when I look at and compare my products? Actually in the upper quarter of the price range on the market and not at the lower end! I then adapted myself to the market in some points instead of having to be convulsively different everywhere. For example, instead of the hourly flat rate, I developed wedding package prices and factored in the photo post-processing. Photo editing is paid extra, I put my portfolio together from the customer’s point of view (emotional, special moments instead of artistically valuable photos). And despite a price increase of approx. 300% compared to the prices for a new establishment, customers still tell me: “I would have liked to have paid more!” How can that be? But through the current marketing, I increasingly have my dream customers who appreciate my value and are happy to reward them! Discussions with the job center I also no longer shied away from dealing with the job center and obtained investment permits for operating resources, because I was able to credibly demonstrate to those with the right self-esteem a realistic period for an end to the support from the job center, but also the investments that were simply necessary. From supplicant to businessman, so to speak. If you enjoy the support of the job center, you cannot freely manage the money you have earned, because this is of course always primarily intended to reduce or repay your salary. Here it is important to persevere, because you work your 8-10 hours a day for about 180 € more per month, but with the big goal of living without support. From small business owner to businessman But not only the end of the salary, but also the last year as a small business owner felt good. The changes made led to an increase in orders of over 100% in the areas of prom and weddings last year. In addition to these two areas, business and kindergarten photography are my main sources of income. Nude and baby photography hardly play a role economically. Since last year I have been able to hire other photographers in order to be able to implement the requests (double bookings for graduation balls and weddings). Align the supply with the needs of the market But I also had to part with some things that gave me personal security: I no longer focused on my “beloved” photo editing, but geared marketing to the needs and “needs” of the customers. I gradually gave up the very good Google ranking of the homepage at fotograf.de and created pages for the individual photographic topics with their own domain. From now on I created the portfolio from the customer’s point of view (emotional pictures with special monuments instead of the artistically valuable photos). Personality as a photographer Of course, a decent SEO, acquired commercial skills as well as cooperation and exchange with other photographers are part of my success, but my personal experience is: if you are stuck in your self-employment, if you have already tried a lot, you may be with you Your person, with your personal characteristics somewhere in the way. No workshop, webinar, no management consultant can teach you that. Therefore and because feedback from my customers mainly praises my “soft skills”, I come to my statement at the beginning of the article. Well, just because it was like that for me doesn’t have to apply to everyone, does it? After all, not everyone has the same roof damage as I do😉 But maybe we can finally agree on the following: Just as important as the basics, which we can learn in workshops, training courses or YouTube videos from me, are the soft skills and a successful photographer requires a lot more, than being able to take pictures.
A little over 20 years ago I took a photo (on film). It was out of focus, blurred and too dark. It was the photo of my life. A photo that I could never repeat. A moment that was gone forever. It was the photo of my two boys the morning they were born. My name is Andreas Bender and I swore at the time that this would never happen to me again. In April 2012 I quit my job at the bank. Since then I have been working as a freelance photographer. Today I’m 50. I learn something new every day and keep developing. I read books that many years ago I labeled hocus-pocus and money-making. I listen to podcasts from successful people and spend a lot of money on seminars. personality I’ve managed to change my personality in the past 5 years. I approach people. I inspire my customers. When I was at the style pirate’s masterclass in October 2013, he said to me, “You have to infect your customers!” I had no idea how that should work. Today I get the majority of my jobs through recommendations and keep reading the word “enthusiastic” in my customer feedback. I used to hide behind my camera, but now I work on my visibility. My photographic focus is about 2/3 business photography and about 1/3 wedding reports. Wedding photography At weddings it is very important to me that the chemistry with the bride and groom is right. I’m usually there for 10 to 12 hours (even longer), in the slipstream of both of them. That just has to fit! I must also feel like taking pictures of the wedding. The bridal couple must also like my photographic style. Yes, I afford myself the luxury and choose my bridal couples. Why am i doing this Because I enjoy photographing weddings. Weddings are the emotional opposite of business assignments. A wedding in itself is usually very emotional. There is also a party and always delicious food? But a wedding reportage is also very exhausting. 12 hours without a break, always looking for the next best moment. Always energized. Play as the animator for the group photos and have your head full of ideas at the bridal couple shoot. I know too many colleagues who no longer photograph weddings because they just had too many before. I never want to wake up on a Saturday with the thought, “Oh dear, another wedding today.” I’m having too much fun with it for that. I would miss all the beautiful moments: The bride and groom standing in front of my notebook with tears in their eyes during my little slide show of the best photos of the day. The mother of the bride who falls around my neck after the slide show and gives me a big kiss on the cheek. The bride who told me she was crying on the bed because there wasn’t enough budget to book me until her fiancé shifted and topped it up. The emotional picture transfer and the great feedback from my great bridal couples. I choose my customers But there is another point that I want to exaggerate here. Suppose I let the location or whoever mediate me in an all-inclusive package. I see the bride and groom for the first time 10 minutes before the wedding and after 2 minutes I know the bride is a bitch. Or I notice that the bridegroom doesn’t like me. Then it can be played over for a certain time, but not 12 hours. Then at the end of the day I have a different result. Photos of a groom who doesn’t feel like it. Photos of a bride who just looks annoyed. In the end it falls back on me because I get paid for the photos and have to deliver. Whether the build is a bitch or not. In the end it is said that the photographer was a mistake. I will never experience that because I choose my couples. Because I want to be able to provide my bridal couple with the most beautiful wedding photos, the most wonderful memories that I can make for them. That is my goal! Business photography In business photography I portray managing directors and employees. I take photos of people in conversation situations and while working on machines. I depict the business premises in a visually appealing way. Basically, I create almost all of the photos that a company needs in flyers or the image brochure. I also document events. When photographing people, it is important to me that I can take time for them. There is not Heidi Klum in front of me, who is there at the push of a button because she hasn’t done anything else for years. There are employees in front of me who are not necessarily there voluntarily, but because the boss has ordered it. How often do I hear from them that they would rather go to the dentist than have me photographed them. Or “You can’t take nice photos of me.” “Ameisenscheisseeeeeeeee” doesn’t help me any further. I need some time paired with warmth, empathy and appreciation. And when exactly these people see their pictures on the notebook and an “Oh, these are beautiful photos” escapes them. Then I did it again! These are the moments that I love so much in business photography. Make people feel good and you will get a good picture back The same applies to situational motifs in conversational situations or at work. I also let a worker at a machine first explain to me what exactly she is doing and am interested in what she is doing. Then I build up the picture and set the light. During this time, the worker is pampered by my make-up artist and can relax a little. That is also part of it. There is someone who makes sure that the “model” looks good. The agency, the model and the customer can intervene at any time on the notebook if they have suggestions for improvement. And best of all, nobody can come after he wouldn’t like the picture. My values But the same applies here: the customer has to suit me. I have my values and that’s what I stand for. I can no longer be bent. My demands on my work are high. If the customer only needs cheap snapshots, he is not my customer. On the one hand because this type of photography does not meet my requirements. Not fulfilling me and leaving me dissatisfied in the end. On the other hand, these photos will be seen by my next potential customer, who may also ask who took the photos. “Oh, the Bender … no, I’d rather ask someone else.” If the client thinks that it is enough to drag the employee out of the office after an unpleasant conversation with a dissatisfied customer, to “shoot him” in front of the white wall and to stick them back into the office, then that is not my understanding of appreciation To employees. They won’t be the pictures I want to take either. That I stand for. Which the customer saw on my homepage, which is why he contacted me and ultimately booked me. These will be different photos. And who was it in the end? Yes, the photographer was no good, they say. Even though I might need the job right now, I don’t want it because it will come back to me negatively at some point. I have great customers. Customers who are enthusiastic about me, my way and my photos. Customers who give me great feedback. Sometimes directly from the management, where I find out afterwards from the secretary that she has never seen the boss write such a thank you email himself. Is that cool!
Street photography is a controversial topic in Germany. There are certainly more popular genres in Germany and most of them prefer to focus on portrait or landscape photography. For me street photography is the most complicated photographic field. Therefore, photographers who are actually not interested in street photography can also benefit from trying it out. It trains the eye, takes you mentally and forces you to work well even under pressure. How exactly you can benefit from it and what the challenges are in street photography, you will find out in this article. What is street photography First I would like to briefly describe street photography, as there are often different ideas. For some, every image that is created in public is already a street image and others describe very stringent criteria that must be met. To make it easy for me there are only two criteria that a street scene must meet. It must have been made in public. This does not necessarily mean on the street, but public buildings are also included or other events. It must be candid. In order to have a “real” documentary character, the image must not be posed or influenced. These two criteria are also used to describe the tasks of street photography. Street photography documents public life at a certain point in time and reflects the zeitgeist. With the help of street photography, for example, the lifestyle of the 50s in New York can be modeled and good street photography enables the viewer to immerse himself directly in this time. Photographers like Vivian Maier, Garry Winogrand or Joel Meyerowitz have captured the stories of their cities and with the help of street photography we can still experience them. Fears in Street Photography Now I would like to address the real challenges and why not only street photographers benefit from this type of photography. Street photography requires that the photographer leave his comfort zone and be open in dealing with people. Photographing strangers and public situations sounds unusual at first. When we think about it, we ask ourselves how other people would react to us, whether we would have to reckon with confrontations and whether we could even overcome ourselves to photograph freely. A wedding photographer who has to photograph a wedding party of perhaps 100 people and who is the focus of attention there has to overcome a similar situation. As a street photographer, it can also quickly happen that not everyone is positive. You have to be able to react confidently to these situations. You have to be able to overcome your own fears and apprehensions if you want to hold on to the unconstrained life. It should also be mentioned that these fears are largely unfounded and that we convince ourselves of the greatest fears. In my years as a street photographer, there was only one exact time that I was asked to delete a picture, there were no other incidents. People even react more positively than expected. It can therefore be said that anyone who is still a little unsure about using the camera in public should try street photography. composition Street photography is a very fast discipline. Unlike in a studio, where we can prepare the pictures very specifically and precisely, in street photography everything has to happen very quickly. We see a situation that is interesting for us and then we have to capture it directly. There is no second chance to get this exact picture again. The composition must therefore be created almost automatically in a few seconds. Is the background restless? Are there any disturbing details in the picture? Does the picture follow the simplest rules of composition? All these things have to be considered and implemented within a very short time. After a while, this no longer happens consciously, but instinctively changes into the camera and the photographic gaze. In addition, apart from this time pressure, the road is a real challenge when it comes to composition. The street is not a sterile studio, but there are always new stumbling blocks that can “destroy” a good picture. Be it overhead lines of trams that sometimes run unfavorably across the picture, or that people are depicted who should actually no longer be in the picture. Creative solutions are needed for these difficulties. New angles and settings have to be found within a short period of time that still get the best out of the existing situation. Street photography therefore forces us to adapt to new situations and unfamiliar environments within a very short time. Tell stories Ideally, a picture should tell a story and trigger emotions. Stories can either be told in a fairly abstract way or more directly. Be it because as a photographer you connect certain associations with the image and its content or because you want to awaken these in the viewer. Similar to the composition, the story also has to be designed within a very short time so that it is understandable for the viewer. The public is mostly a chaotic place where it is difficult to tell an isolated story. That is why many people find it difficult to take interesting pictures, especially at the beginning. They are usually too far removed from what is actually happening and absorb far too many irrelevant details that distract from the core and only confuse the viewer. Patience and frustration Even if the previous challenges are mastered regularly and are actually no longer a problem, street photography is still unpredictable. As street photographers, we have no control over whether something interesting happens to us today, or whether we are just unlucky and the weather doesn’t really play along and we can’t take a picture. Every street photographer experiences this frustration and there are times better and sometimes worse months, but it is also important to learn to deal with these lows. To motivate yourself again and to take photos, even if you may not have the best feeling of going outside, is also one of the challenges you have to master as a street photographer. All of these experiences as a street photographer can also be useful for other photography disciplines. Whether as a wedding photographer who needs the necessary courage to assert himself at the wedding, or the architecture photographer who gets nervous when other people watch him photograph the buildings.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to success, and the coveted insider tips often have to be laboriously worked out yourself. But if you believe in yourself, have the necessary will to persevere and can also cope with setbacks, you have a good starting position. The information in this article is only a beginning. You can get more tips from other models, from experienced photographers and of course from the contacts in your model agency. How do I become a model? First and foremost, it is important to have a good charisma and act confidently in front of the camera or on the catwalk. Some models are born with this and others have to learn it through training and routine. Take every opportunity for a photo shoot with a good photographer! You will see that you get better and safer with every shoot. Looking good is of course important, although body measurements are particularly important for catwalk models. With photo models, a personable charisma and an interesting, unmistakable appearance are particularly important. If you think you are a model in terms of appearance and demeanor, it is time to apply as a model. How do I apply as a model? You can apply to model agencies and photographers .It is of course important to only contact reputable agencies. As a first contact option, an email is best. Add three to four photos of yourself and state your measurements, your age and your place of residence. In addition, your telephone number for easier contact. If you don’t hear anything after two weeks, you can follow up by phone. If your application was of interest, you will receive an invitation to an interview / go-see or a test shoot. If someone sends you a rejection, don’t be discouraged and try elsewhere. Body size, measurements and clothing size of a model Many photo shoots take place in underwear or swimwear. A well-trained body and general fitness are therefore very important for models. In addition to the correct model dimensions, body proportions and optics are particularly important. Especially in men, the muscles should be clearly developed, but without appearing excessive. A well-defined washboard abs always goes down well. The days of anorexic female models are still not over. Too much orientation in this direction is viewed more and more as critical. Ideally, a model looks fit and healthy, then bookings are most likely. There are strict guidelines for catwalk models, but these are handled differently depending on the agency. Under 172 cm it is difficult for women (for men 182 cm), the best is 175 cm to 180 cm. Dress size should be 36. The reason for these requirements is that the sample collections to be presented are only produced in this size. If you don’t want to work on the catwalk but just stand in front of the camera, then size is not that important. However, many agencies expect you to be able to accept both photo and catwalk jobs. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner At what age can I become a model? Of course, there are age requirements for certain activities as a photo model, which are relatively narrow. In principle, however, there are no restrictions, neither downwards nor upwards. There are even specialized modeling agencies that place babies or toddlers and others that deal with seniors. So you can start modeling very early, although of course your parents’ consent is required if you are not yet of legal age. In addition, the youth protection regulations must be observed at work. If you are very young, it is best to turn to a correspondingly specialized model agency, they will be able to advise you best. But even beyond the age of 30, your career does not have to end by a long way. More and more photo models in their prime, the so-called Best Agers, are sought. Often these are of course people who have worked as models for many years and have the experience. But entering the model business at the age of 40, 50 or 60 is definitely possible. As always in the model business, however, the following applies here: Your own assessment is important: Are you able to radiate dynamism and zest for life in front of the camera despite your age? Do you look sporty and healthy? Such types are exactly what advertising is looking for. If you fit into this requirement profile, you have a good chance. I was approached by a model scout on the street, can that be serious at all? There are many serious model scouts and photographers who work this way, many great models have been discovered this way. So don’t let yourself be put off and don’t suspect a cheap pick-up behind it. Of course, there are also free riders who pretend to be model scouts and can offer you little or nothing. So first of all only take the offered business card with you. You don’t have to reveal your own mobile phone number, name or address yet. You only get in touch after you have informed yourself about the agency or the photographer and are interested in a cooperation. You shouldn’t get in touch if you don’t get a business card at all if you are immediately asked for private details (such as your mobile phone number) on the street if you cannot find any information about the contact person on the Internet if you find the agency’s business model or business practices obscure or suspicious It goes without saying that you don’t sign anything right away on the street. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner How do I recognize a serious model agency? Unfortunately, there are also dubious model agencies on the market. They live from making false promises to newcomers and pulling the money out of their pockets. You should become suspicious if you are promised a dream career and high daily salaries are guaranteed. It is also a bad sign to be asked for money. You should only pay money if you get real value, for example a good education or a professional sedcard shoot, provided you can use the results of the shoot outside the agency. Don’t be blinded by promises of secure bookings, which you supposedly only get if you book overpriced model courses. Under no circumstances should you pay any money for inclusion in the agency’s file. A reputable agency earns its money by arranging orders, not with fees for inclusion in their file. How do I recognize a serious photographer? Contrary to popular belief, there are far fewer dubious photographers than expected. Still, there are a few things to watch out for: Have reference photos shown and reference customers named. If the answer is evasive or non-verifiable information is given: Caution! Ask if you can bring an accompanying person to the preliminary talk and / or photo shoot. Ask about a release before a shoot. No serious photographer works without it! Don’t cheat on your age. If you are not yet of legal age, say so openly. This does not reduce your chances, but you need the signature of a legal guardian on the model release. Don’t be rushed into nudes if you don’t want to. No serious photographer disregards the previously agreed limits. Otherwise: just trust your good common sense. What is a Go See? If you are invited to a go-see, they want to get a personal picture of you. Photographers, agencies or clients usually invite people to a go-see. You are expected to bring your book, the so-called model book . This is a folder with reference photos from previous shootings in the format 20 x 30 cm. Anyone who brings a normal photo album with them, perhaps with photos in the 9 x 13 format, has immediately shown that they have no experience. The model book is usually taken back with you immediately after review. You may be asked to take a few steps, put on certain clothes, or do some test shots. Usually the go-see only takes a few minutes. What is a model release? A model release is an agreement on the rights of use to the photos that arise during a shoot. Without the conclusion of such an agreement, neither the photographer nor the model may use the images in any way. Therefore, such a release is ALWAYS signed. Stock photo agencies in particular have the model release presented so that they can check whether the necessary usage rights are in place. What is a TfP shoot? A TfP shoot is a mutual photo shoot. TfP means “Time for prints”. The model invests the time and gets free photos for it. That means: Neither the photographer pays the model nor vice versa For beginner models, this is a good way to get shooting experience and good pictures, and for photographers it is a way to implement certain ideas without paying a model fee. TfP shootings are often used by amateur photographers and entry-level models, but this is also a popular option in the professional camp. It is important to make sure that both sides benefit from the shoot. An experienced professional model will not do a TfP shoot with an amateur photographer and a professional photographer will only do a free shoot with an inexperienced model in exceptional cases. What is a tear sheet? A tear sheet is an extract from a publication, for example a magazine or a brochure. This tear sheet shows the jobs for which the model has already been used and that the recordings made so far have actually been used commercially. If it is also a cover picture or a high-quality brochure, such a tear sheet is a jewel in the model book, and every model is very interested in collecting as many such “trophies” as possible. As a newcomer model, can I bring someone to the shoot? With prospective models, it often happens that an accompanying person is brought to the job interview or to the photo shoot. This is usually not a problem at all. In the case of underage models, it is very welcome or even required that the parents are there. This is rather unusual for experienced models. When your own friend also acts as a “manager”, although he has no idea about the modeling business, it seems rather strange. If you would like to bring someone to a photo shoot, it is best to announce this in advance. You should rather avoid photographers who then strictly refuse and cannot give any reasonable reasons. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner Do nudes harm my career as a model? There is no clear answer to this question. First of all, it is important that you ask yourself what you can and cannot represent for yourself. If you feel uncomfortable taking photos or regret a shoot afterwards, nobody benefits. On the other hand, nowadays it is taken for granted with models that pictures in underwear or bikini are no problem. The so-called “covert nude” is also considered normal (in a covert nude the model is naked, but the sensitive areas cannot be seen directly in the picture because they are hidden. Most advertising photos for cosmetics and personal care products would be without a covert nude impossible. Tip: Set your own limits and then stick to them. On the other hand, however, expect that if you book for a personal care series you will not be able to take the pictures in your sweater. If you are unsure what exactly is expected of you during a shoot: ask beforehand. How much money can I earn as a photo model? Beginners in the modeling business are of course interested in how much money you can earn as a photo or catwalk model. There is no general answer, only the absolute top models get the dream fees. Before a model can even think about charging a fee, it must first show that it can work professionally. Nobody buys a pig in a poke. Paid sedcard shootings and so-called TfP shootings are ideal for this purpose. If the experience is then good and you can see the talent of the model from the reference images, a daily fee of 200 to 400 euros is paid for newcomer models. At first this is a nice extra income, especially for part-time models, students, etc. Since clothing and make-up have to be purchased from the fee and taxes and various insurances have to be paid, a model will relatively soon aim for a daily fee of 600 – 1,200 euros or more. In addition, there may be a buy-out. It should be noted that as a model you are usually self-employed and register a business. As a model, where can I get good photos? Especially at the beginning of working as a model, the question arises of where you can get good reference photos for applications to model agencies and photographers. In some cases, meaningful amateur photos that you can produce yourself for little money are sufficient for the application. But the chances are greater if you can already present professional photos that show that you can act convincingly in front of the camera. For this purpose, beginners who have not yet completed professional shootings and well-employed models who are often not allowed to use the results of their commissioned shoots for self-promotion book a paid shoot with a good photographer. Choose this photographer carefully, take a look at his previous work, and you should only go to him for a shoot if it meets the professional requirements. Don’t forget that your chances as a model depend on the quality of the resulting pictures. You and your make-up artist pay between 300 and 800 euros for such a shoot. That’s a lot of money, so you should be able to expect a lot. With such shootings it is also common that you get the image files in high resolution so that you can make your own prints or even print a poster from the photos. You can usually only use this for your own advertising, for your model book, your website or if you want to have a poster printed by you. Before the shoot, agree with the photographer how many of the photos are included and how many of them have been edited. Many photographers do not even publish unprocessed images. How current do my reference photos as a model have to be? It should actually be clear: only current photos are allowed on the sedcard and in an application by email. Nothing is more disappointing for a photographer than when the booked model looks completely different than expected in person. So if you now have a different hair length or color, if your body dimensions have changed or if you have just gotten a few years older: Current photos are a must! And no matter how good the old pictures are, they may possibly still appear in the model book on one of the last pages. Models who apply with old photos and write / say: “But now I look different …” cannot hope to get an order. So you always need up-to-date images of yourself. You don’t get the images for your own use on all orders, sometimes you don’t even get to see them. There can be many reasons for this, for example an advertising agency does not want the new ad motif to circulate in advance and the photo to wear off as a result. Later you decide on a different motif and the pictures disappear into oblivion without you having a chance to get the pictures. So it’s not a bad idea to keep in touch with the photographers you work with. Almost all photographers plan free projects from time to time and are open to requests for a TfP shoot. In this way, two birds can be killed with one stone: You get your current photos, and the photographer doesn’t have to book an expensive model for his free project. Success at GoSee, the presentation date for models If you are invited to a GoSee, there are a few tips to optimize your chances: Come on time. Face the host (client, photographer, booker, …) positively and with a smile, spread a good mood. What is not possible is a sad, shy or negative appearance. Wear neat clothing that is neat but not too flashy. Subtle jewelry is ok. Make sure you have good skin. Come on well rested and not sleepy. Don’t wear too much makeup. Present your model book and answer all questions smiling and confident, but not arrogant. If you take these tips to heart when preparing for your appointment, you have a good chance of making an optimal impression. As a photo model, do I have to take care of the makeup myself? A make-up artist is present at many photo shoots. Then the model doesn’t have to worry about putting on make-up and appears on set without make-up. But it is of course gladly seen when the model supports the make-up artist and can replace it if necessary. The cost pressure is getting bigger and so it happens more and more often that a model also has to do her own make-up. There is usually no make-up artist available for test shoots; for TfP shoots, this is clarified before the appointment. In any case, the model should always have the basic make-up equipment with them: Make up Concealer rouge Mascara Lip gloss Transparent powder (very important!) By regularly working with make-up artists, a model learns to apply make-up according to type. Make-up artists like to give tips when asked about them. Professional model posing Professional models can act independently in front of the camera even without precise posing instructions from the photographer. In the briefing, the topic of the shoot is discussed and the model should then deliver the corresponding poses himself. The photographer gives minor instructions and corrections during the shoot, but doesn’t like to start with the basics. Therefore it is important for your success that you have a basic repertoire of poses “on it” and above all that you can act independently and naturally in front of the camera. Of course, you get the necessary security through many many shootings. The more you stand in front of the camera, the better you will get. Thorough preparation is also important in the run-up to shootings: Stand in front of a large mirror and practice posing. A good posing book can be helpful. Or you take a fashion newspaper and do some poses. It is important, however, that you only see such templates as suggestions and that you act independently relatively soon. Availability as a photo model Successful models are always available for inquiries from your agency or from photographers. That sounds a bit exaggerated at first, but it is very important for success in business. And availability doesn’t just mean being accessible by phone, but also always having an appointment calendar with you in order to be able to answer a booking request in a qualified manner. Of course it is understandable that there are situations in which you do not want to be disturbed and you are not immediately written off if you are not available. But many inquiries have to be decided at very short notice and the agency does not phone after you long, but tries immediately with another model. And the possible order has already been placed elsewhere. You should inform your agency of a longer absence, for example a vacation, so that they are informed accordingly. Application as a photo model with me From time to time I implement free projects in which I work with interesting and committed models on a TfP basis. That means, you only invest your time and the willingness that I may publish the photos. You can use these photos to apply to a model agency or for your personal purposes. I am looking for women and men between the ages of 22 and 52 with a positive and charismatic aura.
Talk about professional photography I have a long-standing friendship with Calvin Hollywood. We live only 15 kilometers apart and meet regularly to do sports together or to exchange ideas. Last week, Calvin and his colleague Robert came from Schwetzingen to Dossenheim by mountain bike to go biking with me. So I took the two 400 meters up to my local mountain in Dossenheim (Weißer Stein) and rode the yellow X-Trail and the Snakebite-Trail with them. On the way we passed the hang glider take-off area and took the opportunity to talk about the future of professional photography. Robert filmed and today you can see the result. We talk about the requirements for a professional photographer and how the professional profile of the photographer has changed in recent years. To the interview: The future of professional photography Whoever wants can I have already attended several seminars with Calvin and he was also a guest in one of my workshops. I know that Calvin delivers reliably and so I’m looking forward to his new book, which is out today. The book has nothing to do with photography. According to Calvin, he summarized his findings on the principles of success in order to be able to convey them to his children. And that is how this book came about. He asked me to point out this book launch and I’m very happy to do that. To the book My interview with Calvin Two years ago I visited Calvin in his office and interviewed him. In this conversation we get to know him in front of a side that may not be so well known. I was particularly surprised by his statement about which alternative career he would like to take up.
Do you remember the last really impressive street photos that you saw in an exhibition, in a book or online? What did they have in common? A balanced composition, sure – the right timing, yes, that is also part of it – but mostly we are fascinated by photos that have everything: composition, timing, preferably something that triggers emotions like direct eye contact and ultimately: the right light or . Weather. Here I would like to give you 7 tips on how you can get better photos by only going out in extreme weather conditions: 1. Bright Sun – Let Sunny Rule 16 work for you My favorite time for street photography is early in the morning or in the late afternoon on cloudless days, when the sun is low and you can only see the silhouettes of the oncoming passers-by in the backlight . I do not take photos in automatic mode in such light situations, as you can underline the effect of photos with the appropriate manual exposure. My favorite settings here are aperture 11 or 16, exposure 1/500 to 1/1000 at ISO 400. This is how you get high-contrast, depth-emphasized, expressive street photos. 2. Search for light situations – not for locations In extreme light conditions such as bright sun, you should not choose a specific location to take photos there. You may miss out on the best photos along the way! I therefore pay attention to lighting situations that can often change within a few minutes and position myself there, look for the best position and image section and wait there for passers-by. When the light changes, I move on and look for the next corner with ravishing light that gives me the harsh contrasts I’m looking for. 3. Be patient When you have found a spot with good light: don’t lose patience! Stay there for at least 10 to 20 minutes or until the lighting situation worsens. On days when I found fantastic spots with unique light and then walked on after a few minutes because nobody came, I was always annoyed in the evening that I hadn’t waited longer. Because often the situation you are waiting for comes exactly at the moment you put the camera away. 4. rain? Bring an umbrella That might sound obvious, but I live in Berlin and many people here find it too “uncool” to carry around an umbrella. Instead, you walk through the rain with a deep hood or “topless” and save yourself the shower in the evening. But there is another reason why I am always out and about with an umbrella besides the rain protection: You are more inconspicuous and are seen more as part of the crowd running through the rain than as a photographer. This allows you to be less noticeable. In addition, the screen can be used as an effect in one or the other photo when you are bored and nothing is happening in front of your eyes. 5. Be the first When it starts to rain or snow, grab your camera if you can and catch the first passers-by, surprised by the rain, running through the streets. Is it starting to storm? Even better. Now no one pays any attention to a street photographer standing around, because everyone is just busy recording their belongings. When there is snow, it is of course nicer to hold on to the unused variant without footprints and mud. Here you can better cut out individual passers-by in front of the background. In snow, of course, make sure that you overexpose it slightly. 6. The most extreme weather: gray skies The most extreme weather for me is a gray sky, because then it is extremely difficult to take really good street photos home. Instead of exciting light situations, you will only find mud, gray and gloom. But even then, if you had enough motivation to leave the house, you can take good photos: Watch out for reflections on cars, window panes or side mirrors or go to a busy place where you practice the master class of street photography : Working with the foreground, middle and background, i.e. several layers in the style of Alex Webb. You don’t necessarily need great light for this, but good luck and patience. Train stations are ideal for this, or places with a “clean” background such as beaches. 7. Don’t take photos if you don’t feel like it Most street photographers do not take photos for a living, but because it is simply their passion and it is incredibly fulfilling to see how your portfolio grows and grows. Therefore: If you don’t feel motivated to take photos despite the best (extreme) weather conditions, then don’t do it! Otherwise you will spoil the joy of photography in the long run if it becomes a duty. Sun, rain and snow will be back sooner than you think!