Interview with Melanie Lemahieu

  • How did you start your business in photography in the first place?

 

My father was an amateur photographer, I have learned analog photography on the fly, helping my father to process photos in the darkroom. When digital photography started to be accessible, I decided to go to a photography school in order to learn digital photography, Photoshop techniques and to become an “official” photographer. After a few years taking assignments on the side next to my office job as a customer service specialist and after graduating from the Dutch photography school Fotovakschool in Amsterdam, I did everything in my power to turn my passion for photography into a full-time occupation.

 

 

  • What makes Melanie Lemahieu different from other professional photographers?

 

I’m a passionate and enthusiastic photographer, I think every person is photogenic, capturing feelings, small moments and interactions between people quickly became a passion and I also always had an insatiable creative itch. I truly love helping people and capturing their emotions and the connections between them. I know how to capture the memorable essence of each event and to offer imagery with a vibrant twist to my clients, imagery that has real heart & soul.

With a background in marketing and customer service, I truly love helping people and have the mission to provide my clients with a great experience, I am dedicated and work as a fly on the wall!

 

  • What kind of camera gear do you use?

 

I am using 2 Canon 5D Mark IV bodies together with different prime lenses.

 

 

  • What is your favorite lens and why?

 

It is difficult to say, I love all my lenses, depending on the situation and the requirements I need different lenses, but if I have to pick one, I would choose my zoom lens 24-70 mm 2.8 L II USM.

 

 

  • What’s your favorite tool/software to edit your pictures?

 

Lightroom!

 

 

  • When you go on travel, what are the essentials you take with you in your bag?

 

My Canon 5D Mark IV with my 24-70 mm lens for landscape as well as my 70-200 mm lens for close-ups when I cannot approach the subject, for street or wildlife photography.

 

 

  • How do you keep improving your photo skills? / How do you educate yourself?

 

I am part of many professional photographers groups where many new techniques and ideas are discussed, I am reading the professional press and follow different tutorials online.

 

 

  • What picture that you have taken, you are the most passionate/proud about and why?

 

Tough question! A lot of photos I have captured have a special meaning for me! If I have to pick one, I would choose a shot I took from a small Cessna plane without any door flying over the Island of Ameland. Without passion and love for discovery, I would not even have stepped into that scary little plane! I took that photo before I actually dared to “jump in the void without a parachute” to become a full-time freelance photographer. When in doubt or in a difficult time, it reminds me of how turning a passion into my work is a blessing and even if sometimes things are challenging, it is essential to persevere.

aerial view of the mudflat coastline at low tide with water wind
  • Who is your ‘mentor’? / Who is someone your look up to (photography-wise)? 

 

There are so many great photographers who inspire me as Martha Holmes, Linda McCartney, Mary Ellen Mark, Vivian Maier, Reza Deghati, but not only, also painters and filmmakers as Rembrandt or Truffaut. 

 

 

  •  What is your favorite location in Amsterdam to shoot?

 

NDSM, Amsterdam Noord, my favorite playground, so many possibilities to create!

Family and children Photoshoot in Amsterdam, together with the family for a fun photo session
  •  What is the one thing that takes a picture a good picture, in your opinion? 

 

There are different ingredients for a good picture. It is like cooking, 100 g of technics, 100g of attention to details, 100g of patience, 100g of composition, 100g of luck being at the right time at the right place with that perfect light, 100g of courage to approach a subject or guide your model, 100g of talent but overall, as much as you need of passion!

 

 

  •  What tip would you like to give to people who just started in photography?

 

Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away, keep your camera with you when going around and keep on shooting!

 

 

  • Since everybody nowadays has a camera in their pocket, what makes a professional photographer different from people who just take photos for a hobby?

 

It is true that nowadays cameras are able to produce very fine quality images. A professional photographer is well aware of this. This is why, even if a professional photographer very likely uses the best possible professional equipment, he/she advertises the images he/she took, not the gear he/she uses. It is also very true that what even the best camera on the market doesn’t feature are experience and knowledge.

Experience and expertise are primordial and there is no shortcut to it. Not only a professional photographer has followed proper training, thoroughly learning photography techniques and concepts, building up skills and expertise, he/she has also spent many hours taking pictures in various environments, exposed to many settings, lighting conditions and subjects and has been able to cope with many different situations.  He/she is able to adapt and act on-the-fly, ready to capture that unique moment.

He/she knows posing techniques, is able to guide large groups, and a crucial requirement in photography, he/she is able to master lighting techniques.

 

 

  • What is your favorite discipline within your photography skills? For instance; do you like wedding photography more than event photography? Why?

 

My favorite area is to photograph events whether it is corporate events, private events such as weddings, or concerts and festivals. I really blossom when I have the chance to meet people from all walks of life and cultures, but most of all because I truly love looking for, sharing and capturing unexpected moments, portraits emotions and the connections between people, like a fly on the wall.

 

 

  • What are your goals as a photographer in the not too distant future? What is the first step you would take to achieve this goal?

 

Well in this particular period with coronavirus, I would say that expectations and goals have shifted a bit, I would love to be able to work and live again as before, to capture a big event with a lot of smiling people!

 

 

  • At what event would you like to take pictures as a professional photographer? / What is the number one event (as in a big concert for instance) you would like to take pictures of as a professional photographer?

 

Unfortunately many artists I really wanted to photograph passed away before I had a chance to get there or even before I was born! But I would love to take pictures of a concert of Iggy Pop or Bruce Springsteen, and not from the sound tower 100 m away! From the pit or even better the stage! (Dreaming is allowed right?!)

I would also dream to be an official photographer at the Cannes festival!

 

15 posing tips to get the most of your bachelorette photoshoot!

Amsterdam is a great location to plan your bachelor or bachelorette party, with plenty of great spots to have fun!

One of the many fun activities you have to make sure you plan during your bachelorette weekend in Amsterdam is a photo session.

It is one of the best ways to spend quality time with your friends, have fun in a beautiful city and bring priceless memories back home!

But what does a photo session look like and above all, what pose to take?

 

Here are 15 posing ideas for a successful and fun bachelorette photoshoot in Amsterdam!

1. Point at the camera

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

2. Everybody jump!

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

3. Everyone in one line with legs crossed

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

4. Throw the bouquet

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

5. Inline, back to the camera, except the bride who turns around

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

6. Grab some balloons

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

7. Lift the bride-to-be

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

8. Bride-to-be in front

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

9. From above

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

10. Dance!

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

11. Hug

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

12. Throw confetti’s or leaves

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

13. On a bridge

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

14. Grab a bike

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

15. Feet only

Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF

you will also find a few tips to help you organize your stag or hen  party photo session here

 

And if you would like me to help you capture your bachelor / bachelorette party, you can reach out to me to discuss the possible options!

5 photography tips to highlight your event

1- Think about how you plan to use your photos and prepare a shot list and briefing for your photographer

 

Before the event, consider how you plan on using your images and prepare a list of photos you want to be captured. In other words, a “shot list”.

Will the pictures be used for social media communications, marketing and promotion on your website or on a brochure?

Will they be shared with your clients and partners? Will they be used in a report for your sponsors?

Of course, you will want photos of the highlights and key moments of your event and for sure happy attendees interacting. However also think about future publication, reporting or promotion. More general abstract shots that highlight and showcase your brand may be used at a later stage on your website or marketing communications.

Among the items that you may want in your shot list are the speakers, important attendees, key players, preparation, signage, logos, partners and sponsors, décor, food, full room views, group photos, or candid photos.

Be as detailed as possible, illustrate your list with headshots of the people who need to be photographed, so your photographer is able to prepare the shooting and take the right equipment, stay on track and do not miss any images you need. If there’s anyone who would prefer not to be photographed, make sure this is also specified on the list!

You can also include a timeline of your event, a map of the venue and examples of photos you like in your briefing, this will help your photographer to understand your needs and prepare the shooting.

Do you need a special format for your image, depending on the publication, do you need portrait or landscape orientated or maybe 1:1 square photos? This is also something you should add to the briefing

Among others, here are a few useful questions you may ask yourself in order to build such a list:

What uses I want to make of my images?

Who are the photos addressed to?

What is the story I would like to tell?

Which message and feeling I want to convey?

What are the moments I need to capture to illustrate the story I want to tell?

What makes my event and/or venue stand out?

What is particularly great about my performance and my audience?

What key moments and highlights are likely to occur and how can I make sure the photographer is in the right place at the right time to capture the action?

2- Capture your specificities, unique moments, emotions and highlights of your event

 

To convey your message and your values, tell your story, build your image and stand out, you will need to get eye-catching visuals, unique and strong emotional instants rather than random nameless images. If elements and people that make your event unique are included in the shots, your image will stand out and show the specificity of your event. Another great way to convey emotions and engage your viewers is to get shots of your event from the audience’s perspective, with the attendees ‘eyes. Your viewers will then turn into active participants.

corporate event photography conference photographer amsterdam
corporate event photography conference photographer amsterdam

3- Pay attention to the lighting

 

It is wise to check the lighting with the venue technicians before the event. Good light condition is indeed a key to produce high-quality images. If your venue is poorly lit, it will be difficult to obtain great images without using external lighting (flashes). If the stage lighting is weak or there is not any lighting, the speaker will most likely be in a “backlight” situation when standing in front of a bright screen, the use of a flash will then be unavoidable which can also be disturbing for the speakers and the audience. 

There is a huge difference between photos captured in a room or on a stage poorly lit and photos taken with proper stage lighting which, additionally to the better quality, will give also enhance the emotions and bring an extra dynamism and dramaturgy to your images.

If your event is taking place outside, in case of a very sunny day, you may want to place the stage in the shadow so the speaker would not be either counter light or over lighted with unflattering hard shadows and squeezed eyes. 

Even if some lighting issues can be corrected during editing, it will never be the same quality as when the light is right from start. 

corporate event photography conference photographer amsterdam event, corporate, conference,
corporate event photography conference photographer amsterdam event, corporate, conference,art, exhibition private and corporate party event photography; party photographer Amsterdam
corporate event photography conference photographer amsterdam

 4- Take both candid and staged photos

 

You will probably need both spontaneous shots for your marketing or publications on social media as well as more formal and staged shots maybe to print and give to the attendees or for official press releases. No matter what are your initial plans, a variety of both candid and staged photos is useful. Whilst most corporate events will require a range of more or less formal shots of attendees, do not hesitate to be playful and creative, shots of participants having fun can also be worthy. Not all the shots have to be candid and stolen while the subject is not looking at the camera, shots can be staged and look natural still. For example, handshakes can be difficult to catch, often it goes very fast, and once pressing the trigger, one of the people may already look somewhere else which is less engaging, do not hesitate to ask people’s help and “stage” a spontaneous handshake!

A professional photographer will be able to advise and guide you, you can trust his/her creativity!

event, corporate, conference, award, ceremony private and corporate party event photography; party photographer Amsterdam
event, corporate, conference party private and corporate party event photography; party photographer Amsterdam

5- Hire a professional corporate event photographer

 

Hiring someone may seem expensive and it is tempting to save money on such costs but the best way to receive high-quality images of your event and highlight your brand is to trust a professional. Photos are a versatile asset and the best durable method to get exposed, share an experience and build your image; in the long run, it is an investment that will allow you to save time and avoid hassles. Hiring a professional event photographer will have many benefits, such as profiting from his/her experience, equipment and dedication. 

If you need help to organize the professional photography coverage of your event, I would be delighted to discuss your project with you, please do not hesitate to contact me!

The benefits of hiring a professional corporate photographer

You need to document your event, showcase your brand or capture a special milestone, but when it comes to finding a photographer it is tempting to spend less time and money and ask an amateur photographer relative or colleague to help or use your smartphone.

The question of the budget is often a headache and it can be attractive to call upon a colleague who has an affinity with photography and do not get me wrong, there is no question that an amateur photographer can also take very beautiful photos but before choosing an amateur rather than a professional photographer, weigh the Pros and Cons. when it comes to your most important moments and representing your business, saving a little money instead of hiring a professional isn’t necessarily worth it. 

So what are the benefits of hiring a professional photographer? Here are the top 5 reasons to invest in professional photography for your website and online social presence.

 

 

Education, extensive knowledge and experience

Nowadays cameras are able to produce very fine quality images. A professional photographer is well aware of this. This is why, even if he/she very likely uses the best possible professional equipment, he/she advertises the images he/she took, not the gear he/she uses.

But it is also very true that what even the best camera on the market doesn’t feature are experience and knowledge.

Experience and expertise are primordial and there is no shortcut to it.

Not only your photographer has followed proper training, thoroughly learning photography techniques and concepts, building up skills and expertise, he/she has also spent many hours taking pictures in various environments, exposed to many settings, lighting conditions and subjects and has been able to cope with many different situations.  He/she is able to adapt and act on-the-fly, ready to capture that unique moment.

He/she knows posing techniques, is able to guide large groups, and a crucial requirement in photography, he/she is able to master lighting techniques.

 

 

Adapted professional equipment

As already mentioned above, good gear without experience is not sufficient. Great expertise and a high range professional set of equipment together will ensure you get top quality results, visually and technically.

Your photographer indeed has invested in high-end equipment and knows how to use different top range lenses, multiple off-camera flashes, reflectors, backdrop, etc.

Your photographer will know what gear to use to reach each specifically required result. In fact, he or she can be compared to any other professional as a mechanic or a plumber. Some of us may indeed own the basic tools and knowledge to perform some easy maintenance, but for specific tasks and results, the most efficient and time-saving way is to call a professional with the right knowledge and gear to effectively reach a proper result.

It is the same with photography, not only will you benefit from your photographer’s expertise but from his/her equipment as well. 

branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot

Professional software and editing skills

Your photographer has followed tuition and knows how to efficiently and neatly edit photos, he/she owns professional equipment, a computer with the right calibration and the latest software’s to reach high-quality results.

 

Content is king! Images are powerful assets that strengthen your online presence and represent your brand

Not only a picture worth a thousand words, now with the Internet, a picture is also the only valuable way to showcase your brand and enhance your organization’s online presence. 

Images can also help you to strengthen your presence online. Indeed, through Search Engine Optimization or SEO, optimized photos can help you perform better and be found more easily on the web.

Plus, the best way for potential customers to get to know your business is to show actual photos of your business to them, your team members, and your products or services.

Again, the cost of professional photography makes it tempting for companies to find a cheaper alternative, ask help from an amateur photographer or take photos themselves.  

But keep in mind that your pictures are a window for your (potential) clients and partners. Photos represent your business, your values and your brand. Whether it is to build your brand on social media or to highlight your product or services on your website or on a brochure, you want to take particular care of your online image and presence. 

Low quality and unprofessional photos of your official events, your organization and your staff, the products and services you offer will not convey the right image.

When it comes to successfully marketing and promoting your business, professional photos are a must regardless of the branch in which you work.

branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot
interior branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot
laboratories medical research branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot

Customer satisfaction, involvement and consideration of your needs and expectations

Your photographer like any other professional wants your satisfaction, he/she is totally involved and committed so that the best possible results are achieved. And this professional relationship will ensure you get professional guarantees in terms of service, quality and lead-time.

Your photographer has experience with visual requirements and will be able to determine your needs and ensure that your expectations are met. He/she will provide you with proper customer service and support.

Your photographer will make sure to discuss your requirements and needs before the photoshoot, paying attention to every detail, making sure no photos are missed, scout the location be very concerned about details.

Your photographer will also be here to support you after the shooting. She/he will perform further retouches if needed and be able to send you your photos again if unfortunately, you encounter a technical issue.

branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot

If you need any information or would like to discuss the possible options for corporate photoshoots, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

5 reasons to hire a professional photographer

You need to document your event, represent your brand, capture a special day, immortalize your wedding, or snap some family portraits, but when it comes to finding a photographer it is tempting to spend less time and money and ask an amateur photographer relative or colleague to help or use your smartphone.

The question of the budget is often a headache and it can be attractive to call upon a friend who has an affinity with photography, and do not get me wrong, there is no question that an amateur photographer can also take very beautiful photos but before choosing an amateur rather than a professional photographer, weigh the Pros and Cons. when it comes to your most important moments and memories, saving a little money instead of hiring a professional isn’t necessarily worth it. Here are the top 5 reasons to hire a professional photographer:

 

 

1- Education, extensive knowledge & experience

 

It is true that nowadays, cameras are able to produce very fine quality images. A professional photographer is well aware of this. This is why, even if he/she very likely uses the best possible professional equipment, he/she advertises the images he/she took, not the gear he/she uses.

But it is also very true that what even the best camera on the market doesn’t feature is experience and knowledge.

Experience and expertise are primordial, and there is no shortcut to it.

Not only your photographer has followed proper training, thoroughly learning photography techniques and concepts, building up skills and expertise, he/she has also spent many hours taking pictures in various environments, exposed to many settings, lighting conditions and subjects, and has been able to cope with various situations.  He/she is able to adapt and act on the fly, ready to capture that unique moment.

He/she knows posing techniques, is able to guide large groups, and a crucial requirement in photography, he/she is able to master lighting techniques.

on location family photoshoot in Amsterdam Familie fotosessie Family and children Photoshoot in Amsterdam, together with the family for a fun photo session
Bachelorette party photoshoot Amsterdam session photo EVJF
Concert photograher, festival photographer, music art performance photography amsterdam
private and corporate party event photography; party photographer Amsterdam

2- Professional adapted equipment

 

As already mentioned in the first point, good gear without experience is not sufficient. Great expertise and a high range professional set of equipment together will ensure you get top quality results, visually and technically.

Your photographer indeed has and knows how to use different top range lenses, multiple off-camera flashes, reflectors, backdrop, etc.

Your photographer will know what gear to use to reach each specifically required result. He/she can be compared to a mechanic or a plumber! We may indeed all own the basic tools and knowledge to perform some easy basic maintenance, but for specific tasks and results, there is no question than to call a professional with the right knowledge and gear to effectively reach a proper result.

Not only will you benefit from your photographer’s expertise, but from his/her equipment as well. If you need a particular set of lenses to reach a result, you may otherwise have to rent one.

branding marketing lifestyle corporate photography business photoshoot

3- Professional software & editing skills

 

Your photographer has followed tuition and knows how to efficiently and neatly edit photos, he/she owns professional equipment, computer with the right calibration and latest software, to perform high-quality results.

4- Customer satisfaction, involvement & consideration of your needs and expectations

 

Your photographer as any other professional wants your satisfaction, he/she is totally involved and committed so that the best possible results are achieved, even if this means not taking any break!

And this professional relationship will ensure you get professional guarantees in terms of service, quality and lead-time.

Your photographer has experience with visual requirements and will be able to determine your needs and ensure that your expectations are met. He/she will provide you with proper customer service and support, which you would not get with your friends or relatives.

But how can you be sure your photographer understands your needs and is professional? He/she will ask you if it is possible to meet, to scout the location, be very concerned about details and ask you a lot of questions to determine what you are looking for, which moments need to be captured, if there is any group pictures needed, if so, how many people would there be on the pictures… he/she will send you some example, share a plan of action and make a “mood-board” with you, send you tips

 

5- The artist’s vision & touch

 

Finally, professional photographers do not only randomly capture snapshots, but they create a unique artistic image with a unique style, each photographer will place his or her own touch of creativity making your photos even more special and personal.

on location pregnancy photography - family photoshoot amsterdam
wedding photographer Amsterdam Melanie Lemahieu

Last but not least you can relax, not worry about a thing, concentrate on the important things and have some good time!

A dedicated professional photographer indeed has a cost but investing in the right professional for the right job is not something wise to save money on, particularly when it comes to your image and capturing your most important or precious moments.

Invest in images you will be proud of!

If you would like to discuss how I can work with you to create professional images for your corporate or private requirements, do not hesitate to get in touch!