2. What is your Profession (Speciality)?
Trained profession: Electronic Engineer
3. Please describe your Photographic field:
Weddings commercially, sport and birds personally
4. When you started out, what was the biggest “eye opener”? What were your expectations? What didn’t you expect?
For weddings, how much pressure it puts on the photographer to be creative in a short space of time and the concept that nothing can be repeated.
5. Tell us about your typical workday or workweek (whichever will be a better description of your profession)
For ‘real job’: typical work day is problem solving, problem solving and problem solving – whether technical, attending to client relationships or working on ‘a better way’ to do things.
6. What equipment do you shoot with?
Canon 5DMk3 – went straight from film to full frame on first 5D and just prefer it above any crop factor sensor
17-40mm F4L – the wide view on full frame at 17mm is just amazing to show what the human field of vision often experiences, but what photos can seldom show
24 – 105 mm F4L IS – Probably 90% of all photos I’ve taken on DSLR is on this lens. There are better primes and even better zoom lense, but few as versatile and useful as this one.
70-200mm f2.8L – Not the IS or latest MKii, but this range of lenses are just awesome for portraits of brides, some sport and even birds when they are close enough.
600mm f4L IS – An absolute beast of a lens that is no joke to handle or to carry, but nothing can match the results when it comes to birds or surfing.
7. What Computer hardware do you see as “must have” and required?
The best LCD or LED monitor you can buy, together with a colour calibration device.
For post processing, a computer with multiple core CPU’s and at least 8 GB of RAM!
8. What Software is needed to function in this field successfully?
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom above all else.
9. In this line of photography, do you need extra tuition, further studies or an internship?
For weddings I would most definitely strongly recommend a period of apprenticeship –at least one season working with an experienced wedding photographer as an assistant.
10. Can I make a decent living with this specialist field, or do I need to market my services more generally? Depends on how you define a decent living – and the lifestyle you want to afford. If you get to the top of your game, you can make a decent living, but remember most couples have weddings on a weekend and there are only 4 of those a month. So, most probably you would have to do other work during the week (or at least work on marketing, editing and maybe some studio work).
11. How do you get work? Do you have an agent? Do you do your own marketing and advertising?
No advertising – ever. Never intended to become a wedding photographer. Word of mouth referrals have kept me from ‘retiring’ as wedding photographer for at least the last 4 years.
12. How much time do you spend actually shooting in any given week?
Not more than 8 hours typically.
13. How much time do you spend editing or do you have a dedicated editor to do the work?
Far too much to my liking! I hate editing and see it as a necessary evil. In the days of film I could rely on a professional lab, now I have to do everything myself. For my own photography, I enjoy the editing and freedom of digital to an extent, but because my ‘day job’ sees me in front of a PC for at least 9 hours a day, I don’t enjoy any extra time in front of the PC to do editing. I prefer and enjoy taking photos far more!
14. Can you do this on your own, or do you need other specialists (like creative directors or food stylists, etc) to make the images happen?
For weddings, a bridal couple is kinda essential! A beautiful church and stunning reception venue makes life a lot easier too. In the end, you need a huge team of people, but luckily the bride arranges all of that.
15. Can you effectively shoot other styles if need be, or is your field very specialised?
I’ve tried my hand at other things, but don’t consider myself a professional apart from wedding photography where I’ve spent more than a decade to refine my skills.
16. What threatens your profession?
Speaking of wedding photography: The fact that anybody and everybody considers themselves to be a wedding photographer and you continually find that new entrants to the industry feel the need to offer their services at very low rates. This devalues the work of all the other wedding photographers. The sad part is that couples only discover their mistake once it is too late – when they can never get their wedding day back with no option for a second chance at making a better choice in photographer.
17. What future developments do you see in your line of work?
Possibly more wedding photographers offering wedding video packages also, now that DSLR cameras are so capable for video.
18. Who was the photographer(s) that inspired you most and why?
Koos van der Lende, the landscape photographer for his dedication and refusal to compromise his art for any commercial gain.
Wim van den Heever for his brilliant images of especially diving kingfishers and for following his passion for wildlife photography.
Chris van Lennep, a South African surfing photographer, for his pioneering work in shooting from the water .
19. Would you do this (What you are doing today) again if you just started out today? Is it worth it?
20. Any suggestions or “Pearls of Wisdom” for a Student wanting to get into this field?
Try to find what you’re good at and become the best at it you can possibly be. From the first day, charge the highest price you have the courage for and then you will never be without work.
Lastly: equipment is not the limit – you are. So work on expanding what you believe is possible.
by Ernst Ohlhoff
all images copyright Ernst Ohlhoff
The post 20 Questions to Pros: Ernst Ohlhoff – Wedding Photographer appeared first on ODP Magazine.