What is your name and where are you from? My name is Eelco van Leersum and I am from Utrecht, the Netherlands.
How long have you been taking pictures? For almost 3 years now
When did you get into photography and why? I used to play field hockey at a high level, but when I stepped down I had lots of extra spare time. So I thought I needed a new hobby to fill that up. My mother is a painter, but I have known since my childhood years I didn’t inherit her drawing talents, although I loved being creative. I then bought a better camera than the point and shoot I owned for holidays and started exploring the world of photography.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why? When I started photography I explored some different fields but only for a brief time. I quickly found out I loved working with other people. In my photos I almost always use natural light and shoot with a wide aperture because I love a shallow depth of field which brings the centre of attention to the model.
How do you approach a shoot ? Do you pre plan or is it a click and run? Most of the time I consult with the models of what they like to shoot. I think the interaction and creating together is a great deal of the fun photography brings to me. Based on that I create a mood board, find a location and select different outfits.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
Working with a mood board gives a great starting point, but we always end up with a lot of different images. During the shoot I like to experiment and try different angles. Using natural light makes that you can’t always create the images exactly as how you had them in mind. I don’t scout the locations beforehand, but love to act on the spot and find out how the light falls on that exact moment to create those photos that make both of us feel good.
Do you have an influences you can share? YouTube. You should never stop learning and YouTube offers tons of tutorials. It is actually the place where I started learning photography and especially editing.
What inspires you? Mostly other photographers and models. I wonder around Instagram a lot and that gives me ideas about new concepts, which I can then give my own twist. That’s also what I love about feature pages, they pick out the best shots of a lot of different photographers and models. It saves me a lot of time and introduces me to all the best work that’s around. Also always keep your eyes open while being outside, everything that happens around you can give new ideas.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph? Maybe not a bad photograph, but certainly bad quality. During every shoot there are some images which you can’t use, might it be due to motion blur, bad lighting or you forgot that big thing in the background which attracts too much attention.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
I don’t have an explicit end goal in mind. You should always keep setting small achievable goals for yourself. Reaching those goals give a lot of victories for yourself and makes you enjoy the ride as well. I really enjoy my day job, so photography will most likely stay the fun thing on the side. That gives me the advantage that I can choose who I work with. Working with even better, maybe even agency related, models is the goal I am setting now.
Which social media platforms do you use and why? Only Instagram. I started out with Facebook but I find Instagram much more photographers friendly. It’s easy to post and connect with a lot mind liked people. I also just recently created a Vero account, although it feels sheep like behaviour. I am not sure if Vero is gonna stick or just hyped.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media? I mainly follow photographers who like to interact and spread positive vibes. Some of them are Dutch and I have met in person also. Others are spread across the globe but we comment each other’s work and it sometimes really feels like you get to know each other a little bit. There is one photographer I do like to mention here and that is Dani Diamond. He was one of the first portrait photographers I came across on Instagram and learned a lot from his online tutorials. Still absolutely love his work.
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless? Smartphones are great parts of our lives nowadays as we always carry them with us. Taking a photo is now only a swipe and click away and I love that for my personal life as I mostly use my smartphone camera for that. It keeps track of all the things I have done and scrolling through my photo roll brings back great memories. But I wouldn’t switch to mobile photography for my portrait work as I think better results can still be achieved with a DSLR.
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice? My main gear is a Sony A77mII (APS-C) with a Sigma ART 18-35mm and 50mm. I started out with Sony mostly because of the A-mount. My dad had a few old Minolta lenses laying around and they fitted the digital cameras of Sony. It saved me a lot of money in the beginning and I gained excellent results with those almost 30 year old lenses. I upgraded my lenses to be able to shoot with more wide open apertures and haven’t regretted that choice.
What is your dream location to shoot at? That’s a difficult question as there are so many great places I still would like to shoot. But if I had to make a choice it would probably be Cape Town. Beautiful beaches and the vibe in the city should be awesome.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it? I don’t really have a favourite picture. Every photoshoot has it own favourite moments and brings new great photos.
In three words how would you describe your photography? Natural light portraits
How would you describe the current scene in photography?
As I spend a lot of time on Instagram I see a difference in photography. On one hand you have the photographers shooting and sharing their work and on the other hand you have the Instagrammers and bloggers who are sharing their life. Both use photography as a means, but just have different goals. I think it’s great it is all shared on one platform.
How do you feel about higher quality cameras being put into smart phones? So it’s a good development that the camera’s in smartphones are getting better, it’s just wonderful to see it’s even possible to get such good quality photos from a device which just fits your pocket.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images? Expensive cameras do not necessarily create better images, they just make it easier in difficult circumstances. The photographer handling the camera will always be in the lead. A great photographer will make the most beautiful images with a cheap camera. Also, if you take a look at photos made by iconic photographers from the past, you still see excellent shots made with camera’s that aren’t even on the market anymore. I am debating to switch over to the Sony FF mirrorless system, but only because I want to try out more video and netter low-light performance, not because I think it will make me a better photographer.