Fashion Photographer Denise Boomkens is our subject in this “Spotlight Interview” segment. Thank you Denise for sharing your time with James Robinson Photography Blog. Where do you call home?
Denise Boomkens: Amsterdam.
JRP: What led you to fashion photography? Is there any formal training or assisting in your background?
Denise Boomkens: I worked in the fashion industry before I became a photographer. After falling in love with photography and finishing my 4 years of study I started working straight away without assisting.
JRP: Name a photographer that has inspired you and your approach to fashion photography?
Denise Boomkens: Ellen von Umwerth was a great inspiration during my study. She draws a thin line between sensuality and fashion for me. My own approach to fashion photography is feminine, beauty, and also a bit of sensuality.
JRP: In your opinion how important are personal projects in the development of a photographer?
Denise Boomkens: I couldn’t live without my personal projects. Fashion photography is fantastic but as a photographer I also need to put my creativity in other projects. At this moment I have an exhibition in Rotterdam showing the work I shot at Burning Man last year. It has nothing to do with fashion photography but in a way it fits my work as a fashion photographer.
JRP: What would we find in your camera bag for a typical assignment shoot in studio or on location?
Denise Boomkens: I guess just camera’s and lenses.
JRP: Denise what is your approach to lighting? Do you prefer artificial or available light? What are your most used light modifiers?
Denise Boomkens: I almost never shoot with daylight. I don’t like to take the risk of having bad weather or rain all of a sudden. I use flash or I either use daylight lamps. I also like to work with different types of light.
JRP: Do you spend a lot of time processing images? Could you please describe your digital work flow and the software you use?
Denise Boomkens: Shooting one day normally means processing images one day, sometimes even longer. I use Phocus when I work with Hasselblad, Bridge if I work with Canon, after I use Photoshop.
JRP: Do you make use of custom white balances and color checks when you shoot?
Denise Boomkens: I use automatic white balances and color checks, using Photoshop after will correct everything I need.
JRP: Image printing, how is that handled?
Denise Boomkens: These days I hardly print myself. I have an Epson printer and use glossy paper to print, which I like the most for my work. Today I use an Ipad for my portfolio.
JRP: Do you recall your first paying job? What went wrong and right that day?
Denise Boomkens: My first paying job was for ELLE magazine. I was really nervous that day, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. So I booked a fantastic assistant that had been on the job for years and he helped me out. Fortunately nothing went wrong that day.
JRP: As you look through the viewfinder what is the most critical moment in the capture of an image?
Denise Boomkens: I think a sharp picture is important, unless you want it moved. I also think it’s important to capture something of the model that’s special. Not just a blank face but an expression, something you’re looking for at that moment. Light is very important too. As a photographer you can’t see everything so it’s important you have a great team to work with.
JRP: With today’s economy what changes are driving the fashion market place and how have you adjusted?
Denise Boomkens: The economy didn’t change that much for me. I think clients change, they choose the people they work with in a different way. I have great clients that ask me back for jobs and I try to deliver extra quality to keep everybody happy. Sometimes you have to work a bit harder for less money to get the work done but because of the requests for my work I have no problem with that.
JRP: What seems to be the biggest obstacle to over-come in building a client base?
Denise Boomkens: As a starting photographer you have to be patient. Jobs don’t come flying through the window. When you start you have to work on yourself. Show your portfolio again and again, listen to critics and learn. When you are patient and you really want to succeed you have to take your time to listen, to learn, to grow. Slowly you’ll build a client base.
JRP: If not fashion photography what would Denise Boomkens be doing with her time?
Denise Boomkens: Photography is also my hobby but when I am tired of taking or producing pictures I’d like to be creative in different ways. I like to paint, pottery is one of my hobbies, and I make lamps.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Denise Boomkens: A photographer once told me to TEST, TEST, TEST, and so I did. I tested like crazy and developed my own style very fast. Sometimes I hear photographers saying they don’t test at all, I don’t get that. Testing is a great way to find out new things, new styles, new ways. I don’t even see it as testing anymore, it’s more like doing my own projects.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with photographers starting out?
Denise Boomkens: Test, test, test and be patient. Don’t get negative when clients don’t book you at first. Sometimes you need to show your work 10 times before given a chance. Showing some perseverance is good.
JRP: Thank you Denise for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure. We wish you continued success.
Denise Boomkens: Thanks so much for this interview. It was a pleasure speaking with you!
JRP: To view more of Denise Boomkens’ photography please follow this link: