Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Marianne van der Quast. I am at ease on rough terrains, I like to capture craftsmanship, I love telling stories with images, preferably in black and white!
How did your interest in photography begin?
I come from a creative family. My mother was a painter and as a child I watched my father developing photos in his darkroom. My mother learned me to look at the small details of nature and because of my father I love to see everything in the process of machining steel. All these things come back in the pictures I take. After seeing pictures from Anton Corbijn for the first time, I directly knew that I wanted to become a photographer. Not because of the famous people and bands on his pictures, but I loved his raw style of black and white images. This definitely influenced my style.
When did you decide to become a professional photographer?
First I spent some time with other photographers and I took some short courses. After a few months I was getting enthusiastic and was in doubt about what my next step should be: go to the photo academy or just start my own business. I decided to start my own business. and only take on assignments which make me happy. And that’s still the way I work! You can only achieve the best result by making real contact and taking a real interest in what you capture.
How did you became an Unlike Portrait Awards jury member?
I was very pleased when Luuk asked me to become a jury member. I am convinced that there are many ways to have a good cooperation amongst photographers besides your own assignments. I think it is a good way to get to know other photographers and learn from each other’s way of taking pictures!
What do you think is important when it comes to a great portrait?
Most important for making a portrait is to have a good interaction between the model and the photographer. Take your time to get to know your model! You will see their eyes and face relax. A beautiful portrait has a excellent lighting. Choose the right lighting for what you want to tell with the portrait. For me it is important to use the existing light and to fill in the details with another light source that fits to the portrait.
Can you tell us about the camera(system) and lenses you use?
I work with the Canon 5D Mark IV body and the Canon 1DX Mark II body. I use the 5D for portraits and visual stories and the 1DX is used for the rough work, like actions and outdoor shoots. The shutter of the 1DX is very loud, so I uses the 5D if want to be a fly on the wall. All lenses I use connect to both bodies and that’s very nice! My photo suitcase contains the following lenses: 16-35 mm F4, 24-70 mm F2.8, 70-200 mm F2.8, 50 mm F1.2, 85 mm F1.4. All flashlights and light formers I use are from ProFoto.
What’s your favorite lens (and why)?
The fixed lens 50 mm F1.2. I love working with a fixed lens. For me this lens is the perfect distance from me to the subject and the aperture is the best on F1.6.
What software do you use to process your images?
Bridge and Photoshop.
What makes a good day for you?
On some days I’m totally hyped when I come home! Most of the times this happens after a day with my camera at a rough terrain. Dust, mud and limited light. And preferably combined with diligent labour. But I can also be totally happy when I have worked with a client who enjoyed the day, is amazed at the result and has given me a really nice insight into the company.
When it comes to working with people, can you share any tips to our readers?
Get in touch. That already determines half the picture. Get to know the client and where his/her passion comes from. Listen carefully to the clients purpose of the pictures. But what’s also important: stick to your own style and match this to the needs of the client. When I stared as a photographer, others told me that my style was to different from what was common, but I wanted to stick to my own style and I did! And now the clients who suit me come to me for my specific style.
When it comes to your carrier, what was your highest high and your lowest low?
Let me start with my lowest low. I ones refused to deliver a series of pictures to a client. There was no click at all during the photo shoot and the dominant attitude of the client caused me to completely block. This tension was visible in all pictures. I told the client that I felt so uncomfortable during the shoot that I couldn’t make good images and therefore couldn’t deliver anything. This was horrible, but I learned a lot! When I don’t feel a connection to a client, I don’t take the assignment.
And now my highest high. That’s where I am now. I realise that I have set up a successful business entirely under my own steam and that I am allowed to do what I love best: taking photographs. I can work in my fantastic building, every assignment brings me to another new assignment and my first clients are still my clients.
Thank you for your time and availability for this interview Marianne!