This month, I welcome photographer Frank Doorhof.
Tell us a little bit about you:
My name is Frank Doorhof, I’m a Fashion/celebrity photographer based in the Netherlands were we run our studio.
The main focus of the studio is education; you might know me from my book “Mastering the model shoot” that has been translated in several languages, my videos on KelbyOne or of course from one of our own instructional videos.
I’ve written two books, one in Dutch “The magic of the small strobe” and “Mastering the model shoot”.
On YouTube we have a very active channel where we upload videos weekly and it’s also the home of our videowebpodcasts like “Quite Frankly”, “The DOORhof is always open” and the live broadcast “Digital classroom”.
Feel free to subscribe to the channel, we really do appreciate that.
Where is home?
I live in Emmeloord, the Netherlands.
If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet, where would you build your dream home?
I think very close to New York. Don’t get me wrong I love where we live but New York has a tremendous draw on me; love the city to shoot but also the areas around New York. We always try to visit it at least once a year.
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
In the middle of preparing a new video release, a video on street and travel photography actually, a first for me.
What sort of work do you specialize in?
Mostly education and of course shooting models and artists.
Did you go to school to study photography?
No, I went to business school, but always had a passion for the more creative side of things.
How long have you been a photographer?
Since I can remember but with the intention of doing something with it I think since 2011-2012.
What or who got you started in photography?
My parents and grandparents were very much into video and photography so you could say they raised me with a camera mind 😀
How would you describe your style?
I love to find the uniqueness in things, I’ m not one for the Kodak point, or in other words the kind of shot everyone already took. I always try to push just a little bit further.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
At the moment mostly Sony A7RII and a Phase One DF+ with a Leaf
Credo60, and when I can I always try to shoot some rolls of films.
What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera?
That varies, but at the moment we are playing with a light-shaping tool called the light blaster, which I really like. Lighting wise I absolutely love the Elinchrom modifiers and especially the maxi light for outside and the Fresnel for that old fashioned awesome light. As you can see, too many to mention. Oh...and for small flash of course the flash benders, they are the most amazing piece of kit I ever saw, they really open up possibilities you normally don’t have or think about.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
Pfff, impossible to say. I do a lot of work with the 24-70 but I don’t believe there is one favourite lens, it’ s like asking do you prefer a car or a bike 😀
What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?
Mostly it depends on the situation. I love the Elinchrom Quadra for portability but also the RAW power of the Ranger RX speed. For small flash I always use the Phottix mitros+ strobes. Very nice that they have the radio inside.
Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light during a shoot?
It all depends on the look I want, in all honesty there is no rule that will always work, it’s a matter of the look you’ re after, the conditions and then you choose the modifiers and settings. I do always try to get as many looks as possible from one set, meaning I will always play with both strobes and natural light, this way I maximize my shoot.
What is your favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?
Without a doubt a tablet, can’t retouch without it.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Very important and not so important J I will always try to get the image as perfect as possible in camera, however there are always things you need to do in post. Think about skin, but also tinting. All my images are tinted.
I love analogue photography and with analogue you choose the film for the look you wanted, with digital it’s all the same, so now we choose the film after the shoot. For example with Alien Skin Exposure or DxO film pack, both are incredibly nice to use.
I also always love to give my images a bit more “pop” and for that I use MacPhun Intensify (for PC users Topaz Clarity).
Are you a MAC or PC lover?
I love my tools but they are tools, if I find that a PC will work better I’ll use a PC. At the moment however everything we use is Mac and iPad, but I’m soon testing a Surface Pro 4 so who knows.
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
I have my eyes on new gear all the time, however it has to give me new creative possibilities or make my workflow faster.
Can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow?
I try to get everything right in camera, so lighting, styling etc. I shoot tethered into Capture One (most stable solution) and use Tethertools cables for this. After this the RAW development is done inside Capture One and goes from there into Photoshop and back to a folder on my drive. Lightroom is used for storage and finding everything back. So Lightroom is where my images live, Capture One and Photoshop is where they are created. I always work in TIFF 16 bits ProPhotoRGB.
How do you feel about cropping an image?
Do it in camera, unless you have no choice. When shooting action I always crop later, I don’t want to miss that perfect jump or action because I tried to get it perfectly framed 😀
What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?
Everything around me. No seriously… If you really look at things there is so much out there that will inspire you, it can be a form, a material etc. I think I’m blessed with that kind of eye because it helps a lot.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
Without a doubt joining KelbyOne. (at that time KelbyTraining)
For photography it has to be shooting Wibi Soerjadi in the Concert gebouw in Amsterdam. I’m allowed on stage (which normally is strictly forbidden) and I’ve been able to get some amazing shots because I’m so close to the artist.
Do you have an assistant? If so why?
We always work with 2 interns, one is assisting me and one assists Annewiek on our social media output. I do everything myself online because I want to keep that personal and “real” but we need a lot of material like flyers, banners etc. and that’s the job of the interns and Annewiek. Annewiek also always travels with me and films and edits all the videos.
Where would be your dream destination assignment?
Very difficult, I would love to do something in China or Japan, but I also love the Scandinavian countries. And of course New York and LA. Man we love it all J
What is your favourite image you have shot recently? Can you describe its creation in regards to location, lighting, composition etc., also your thoughts when creating the image and what it means to you?
Very hard to do, I always try to shoot my best image today but the next day I already have another favorite…Most of my shots are created during the workshops because there we have 100% freedom to create.
The image I choose however was shot during a Digital Classroom with Nadine and it was shot during a live broadcast with just the light from the chandeliers. Because it was live the pressure is always high to create something cool but also not to mess up.
The image is I think important to show because a lot of people think you need expensive gear to create cool shots, and this shows you very clearly that gear is not important but it’s all about creativity, styling and understanding lighting and not which lens you use.
What do you think of the photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
At the moment the industry is changing very fast, but hey we’ve been saying that for the last 20 years about everything right?
I think the photography business is going to be a real problem for starting photographers, there are people offering shoots for 10 euros and less including prints and it’s next to impossible to earn any kind of living from that, so I’m afraid that photography as a profession will be a very harsh business with loads of competition for those few paying gigs.
A photographer who inspires you?
David Lachapelle http://davidlachapelle.com
Erwin Olaf http://www.erwinolaf.com
Jay Missal http://www.jaymaisel.com/recent-work/
A website and/or blog you visit often?
I always try to visit as many blogs as possible but time often is a problem, forums I love to visit are Luminous landscapes and of course sites like digital rev.
The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?
Scott Kelby, mostly because I also visit kelbyone very often but didn’t mention that in the previous question because it’s more a video site.
The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?
I always try to sit in when seminars are taught, you always learn something, however I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t really visit workshops, at PSW and trade shows I however always try to sneak in for a few minutes or the full time when a photographer speaks that I find inspiring.
One way you market your photography?
Mostly via social media. That’s in modern times the most powerful way to promote your work.
How important is an awesome website for your business?
Awesome is not that important, it’s important that you offer something that people can find easily and navigate easily. We try to hit that balance between being cool looking but also easy to navigate. We have some work to do 😀
Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
Brian May without a doubt on number 1.
Secondly, Lady GAGA (creative mastermind) and actor Bruce Campbell (My favourite B actor).
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Do it because you LOVE it, it has to be your passion. Don’t go in it for the fame and money because in all honestly that’s not really something that’s there in the first place and if it is just for a very very small amount of people.
Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
Expression and people.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
I believe that everything is connected and if you change one thing the rest probably wouldn’t happen that way. At the moment I feel incredibly blessed with the way my “career” is going so I would have loved to do things differently but I also think those were important learning points.
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...
I would photograph Area 51
I’ve learned the most from…
What talent would you most like to have?
Something you’re still learning?
We learn every single day, as soon as you stop or think you don’t need to… it’s the end. Photography is a creative process and we need to hone that skill every single day.
Something that is overrated?
Money and fame.
Something you’re saving up for?
A bigger RV for travels.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?
Your favourite film (movie) of all time?
Army of Darkness
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Keep my mouth shut and continue as we were…. Maybe buy that RV.
What photographic ambitions have you not yet achieved?
I would love to shoot more foreign actors and artists.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
If I could be doing the same thing I would consider myself very blessed.
And the last question, if you had one wish…
I wish for world peace… no seriously we live in a messed up world and it would be arrogant and egocentric if you would waste only one wish on anything else than world peace.
Oh one more, if someone said ‘How can I be the next Frank Doorhof?’ What would you say?
Why the hell would you want to be like me?
Your readers can find out more about me: