Remco | From graphic design to slow photography
By Charlotte Jongejan
My grandfather was a very creative person who always encouraged me to get my hands dirty, think different and never be afraid to stand out. Those lessons shaped my focus and my life. I attended the School of Graphic Design and worked at different advertising and design studio’s as an art director/designer. In the early 2000’s I was just starting out when digital photography entered into the mainstream. I bought my first digital camera and fell in love.
5 THINGS ABOUT
SOULFUL PHOTOGRAPHY | BACK TO THE ESSENCE | ENERGY | FLEXIBLE | BIKER
“Simply taking a photo is not the same as truly transporting yourself into that moment, that character, that place and capturing its essence.”
LEAP OF FAITH
I made the instinctive decision to go back to university to study Photography + Concepting while working 5 days a week. Those two years were intense, but I knew I wanted to work in photography. Nothing else had ever given me that same energy, which I am convinced is the most important ingredient of creativity.
Armed with new skills and a hunger for independence, I started my own design agency in 2001, Soul of Design, followed in 2008 by More Creative. More Creative was doing well, my partner and I were managing a flexible team of creative people and we had a healthy roster of clients. I had always played around with photography, but the real eye-opening moment for me came in 2014. A couple of my photography projects had such positive response which gave me the confidence to believe I could do this full-time.
Starting this new career as a professional photographer with Remco Koenderman Photography, I adopted an entirely new way of working. I believe ‘work’ is an out-dated term, it implies a sacrifice and is associated with negative energy. But what you do, should give you energy, make you smile. I see this shift happening in the creative sector; colleagues are becoming like-minded creators who you collaborate with on projects. This new way of thinking and working permeates everything I do now; less structure, fewer timelines and more room for creativity and most importantly, fun.
THE TOUGH TIMES
I always have multiple projects running at any given time, collaborating with different professionals in new and exciting ways. Throw in a family (partner, 2 children), and you have a potentially hectic life! But I know this is the best way for me to live and work. My family has grown along with me and I can spend time with them whenever I want, another advantage of a flexible working life.
However, not everybody understands this new life I lead and I have lost some friends along the way. I make other plans now, don’t book up my agenda two months in advance. Not everybody can deal with that.
Money and budgets are always an issue for photo shoots and film, as we live in a time where everyone is a ‘photographer’. But if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!
I can work at an hourly rate or on a project base if that works better for a client. Being flexible and offering solutions means you will likely stay in the pool of preferred suppliers for future jobs. I always try to be creative when it comes to budgets, for most budgets there is a possible solution.
But it is important to work in a way that suits both you and the client. If the timing and budget and unrealistic or if it doesn’t feel right, consider saying no. To start up my photography business I used savings and assets from my previous company to invest in equipment, literature, seminars, travel and general administrative. Luckily, an independent photography business does not require large risky investments like an office or staff. I like to work with other freelance creatives who add value to my projects and help me deliver a final product of the highest quality. When you surround yourself with good people (and great materials) you increase your chances of success.
5 INSIDER TIPS
- Staying inspired is essential to my work and my happiness. One way I do this is something we call the “Friday Morning Sessions”. A good friend and I get together on Friday morning and throw ideas around, discuss what inspires us, what made us wonder, laugh and how we can inspire new entrepreneurs.
- Sometimes I take the ‘wrong’ way home on purpose. Getting lost can bring you to unexpected places and new stories.
- Expand your skillset beyond your ‘job title’. By taking on projects I may never have considered when I was working purely as a designer, I’m learning new skills in production, strategy and technology.
- Inspiration and opportunity can come from anyone at anytime. There is creativity in everything.
- When you stop enjoying what you are doing, it’s time to move on. Change. Evolve.