Hello everyone, we introduce John Verbruggen, who is master at architecture photography, lets see what he shares about his photographic journey…
Hello and welcome to Snaptured.com, please introduce yourself.
I´m John Verbruggen, I´m an architectural photographer. I work for all kinds of businesses, from smaller constructors, architects, real Estate asset funds to a world leader in industrial real estate. They need good photos for their investors, clients and marketing purposes. Beside work on assignment, I also do free work. At the moment I´m working on a series of photos of constructions sites in the blue hour.
You have a fantastic and inspiring portfolio. Can you tell us how you got started in architectural photography?
I worked in the IT sector, but got sick. I had severe Repetitive strain injury (RSI), which caused a lot of pain in my arms, neck and shoulders. It took me 9 years before I recovered from it. Then I started my own photography business. After a couple of months the economic crisis broke out. That gave me a tough start in the first 5 years of my company. But I really wanted to do this. I put my heart and soul into this work and no matter what, I wanted to succeed. Just not giving up to easy is an important factor if you want to have success in your work as a photographer.
What took you to be at this level? As a successful architectural photographer?
I have no formal education in photography.I am a self-taught photographer.I did a course at the New York institute of Photography. It was a course by mail. It gave me a wider view on the field of photography. Most of what I do, I have learned by doing it a lot, getting feedback online, looking at the work of other architectural photographers, who are at a higher level than I am, asking questions and looking critical at my own work on how I can improve it every day. I watched a lot of video online of people like Scott Kelby, Serge Ramelli and at Creativelive.com. I picked up something every time and integrated things into my own workflow. It takes a lot of practice before you are really good at Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s absolute necessary to deliver an excellent product to my clients.
What difficulties you face in the field of architectural photography?
Architectural Photography is relatively slow business. Not every day there are new projects ready to be photographed. Adding construction photography is a way to expand the work you can do. And I have to deal with that I’m heavenly dependant on good weather. The Netherlands has a fickle sea climate. Weather forecasts aren’t always reliable. If you have to do a series of locations in a short period of time, this can become a real challenge.
What type of photography you like to do most? Interior or exterior?
Exterior. I like to be outside and work with the weather. And I love to work in the blue hour. In this 30 – 60 minutes after the sunset you can make stunning photos. And with the exterior you can use the context around the building to make a more interesting photo. In the interior there is less room to move around and chose your own position with the camera.
Typical question, which image is your very best till now? We know all of your images are best but we want to know that one best image 🙂
It’s hard to pick the very best photo. For me as a professional Photographer you are as good as your last photo. I still want to improve my work every day.
This photo of The Rijksmunt Utrecht with Abel Tasman bridge is one of my favourite photos. I love working in the blue hour. This wonderful lit monument and the lighted bridge reflect perfectly in the calm water.
What gear you usually use for architectural photography? Your gears, lens etc…
I work with the Nikon D810. I use mostly the PC-E Nikkor lenses of 19 and 24 mm for my architectural photography. I further use the 16 – 35 mm, 24 -120 mm, 80 – 400 mm zoom lenses, a 50 mm and a 15 mm fish eye lens.I have a Think Tank Airport Takeaway bag to carry my gear around. I use a carbon tripod with a Really right Stuff BH 40 ball head and an L bracket to make switching between landscape and portrait fast and easy. Using a tripod is absolute mandatory for architectural photography. Take your time to compose your photo.
In general: Don’t make your gear to important! There are a lot of good camera’s that are capable to produce good photos. Buying a better camera doesn’t make you a better photographer automatically. Learn the craft of photography! My Instagram photos are made with my phone! A good photographer can make good photos with every camera.
What do you do when you are not photographing?
Enjoying life with my girlfriend. I like to visit museums with her and watch the work of Dutch master painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, Steen and Potter. The Rijks museum and the Mauritshuis museum are a must see for everyone who visits the Netherlands.
Which programs you use for editing purpose?
I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for editing my RAW files. 80 procent of my editing, I do in Lightroom. The other 20% is mostly retouch, work which I do in Photoshop. Photoshop has more and better capabilities for my retouching work. Sometimes I use the NIK filter collection, which unfortunately are not supported anymore by Google. Really a shame!
What is the best advice you can give for the young upcoming photographers?
- Shoot a lot!
- Be original, don’t shoot all the locations everyone else shoots.Discover your own locations and shoot them in your way! Develop a style!
- Shoot locations near your home. It makes it easy to go back many times if it didn’t work out and to improve quickly.
- Train your editing capabilities. Good editing and selecting the right photos largely determines whether people judge your work as good or not.
- Spread your work and be open to critical feedback! Don’t take it to personal. Constructive criticism is vital to get the level of your work up.
- Share your best work and with maximum 5 photos at the time. With this you force yourself to look critical at your own work. Kill your darlings!
Can you tell us what was the difficult assignment till now? Either personal or professional.
The most difficult was to start up my business and to get enough clients. The competition is fierce. There a lot of people who love to do my job and who work way to cheap. If you as ask peanuts, in the end your clients will not value your work. Charge an appropriate amount of money that will cover ALL of your costs and provide you with money for your hard work.
Finally, what is your goal for life? As an architectural photographer
I want to keep improving my work. I’m never 100% satisfied with my work. For example my interior work still needs to improve quite a bit. I would like to work for more internationally working clients.
Did you received any awards or recognition for your works? online or offline…
I have no awards. I do not participate in photo competitions. Most competitions don’t respect my copyrights. They want you to give them all of your rights and then they can do with whatever they want with my work. For me is that is the reason to not compete in photo competitions.
Thanks a lot for your time and valuable words…..
You can reach or follow John Verbruggen on social media