Wouter van der Weerd
Would you mind introducing yourself? I am Wouter van der Weerd, if you speak English, then Walter is fine. I am a 35-year-old photographer from the Netherlands. I love to take photos, make videos, play guitar, and am very curious to see how fatherhood will be this summer! :)
Where are you from, and where do you currently live? I was born in Groningen. It’s a reasonable size city in the north of our country, the Netherlands. It’s known to be a very “young” city. Actually, the city itself is pretty old but we have a very well known university and loads of young people who want to study and enjoy life here. All and all a pretty awesome place to live. I was born in Groningen and have never lived anywhere else. I travelled to loads of places but always feel fine coming home to Groningen.
Wouter's (Walter's) Instagram - @wwebbs
How would you describe your style of photography? This is kind of difficult. I don’t really go for just one type of photography but I do try to maintain a certain style of photography. As you can see on Instagram and my website. I don’t just take landscape photos, I tend to change the subject every now and then. But coming back to the question, I do think it’s fair to say that even though the subjects or stories of my photos are changing from time to time the style is pretty consistent. I think the editing and post-processing brings in a certain continuity. I tend to like and go for the more warmer scenes and stories when taking photos. In my mind places I’ve visited are always, or at least the memories of it, warm. Perhaps that is why I tend to go for the more warmer tones in my photos and edits. How would you call it, well if you want to put a name to it, I guess, landscape, city and occasional lifestyle photographer with a love for warm tones :)
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I’ve always had a fascination for photography, but never in a sense of actually understanding the art of it. Making memories, point and shoot, is something I’ve been doing for years now. But the moment I realized that taking a photo can be more than just point and shoot was when I first got my real camera with two exchangeable lenses. My father gave me his old Canon EOS 300D with two lenses. Out of the blue, he decided to upgrade his camera to a more compact version. He was tired of bringing lenses and other stuff when he could also just bring a small more compact camera. He gave his old one to me when I visited my parents during a holiday on the island of Terschelling. Because the beach was nearby I decided to make the best of the moment and started exploring the beach with my first ever DSLR camera. When I discovered what the camera, well, in this case, the lenses, could do, for instance when it comes to a shallow depth of field and sharpness, I was amazed and hooked. The possibilities this would give me to make better photos were enormous! From that moment on photography became more than just point and shoot. I was hooked!
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? The moment described earlier, discovering photography, was a pretty special moment. But because it makes no sense writing the same answer twice and I, fortunately, have more great memories because of photography I will write down something else. Recently I visited the island of Terschelling. A small island on the coast of the Netherlands. An island I visit very often. After drinking a few beers in the harbour with friends they decided to drink a few more beers I decided something different. I went on a hike. I thought it was going to be a hike of about an hour. But it turned out a little different. I walked across the island towards the part where not many people go. The sea is rough and the winds are strong on that part of the island. Because temperatures were not exactly high I didn’t come across anybody else during my entire hike. Halfway through the hike, I had to climb up some pretty high dunes. While standing on top of these magnificent mighty dunes I could see the harbour in the far distance, on the other side I saw the sea and the creation of new sand plates and dunes. The sun came through the clouds and everything turned to white. It was a great moment and I was pretty glad to have brought the camera.
Who/What inspires you to take these wonderful photographs? There is not just one person or one thing that inspires me to take photos. Photography is something that slowly developed into something that I love. What started out with just simple point and shoot memories has become something a little more professional and time-consuming. I’ve always had a great respect for people who can tell stories, whether it be through making a movie, performing a song or writing a book. Once something touches people, inspires people it has something appealing. Besides that, I’ve always had a fascination for old photos. Not because of the fact that the photos are old, printed on film, or were taken with a very old camera, but more because of what’s in the photo. I saw photos of my grandfather as a captain on his ship. He had passed and I never really knew him. But by looking at the photos, the memories, he, in some way, became real and an inspiration. Those two things, telling an inspirational story and creating memories, are both found in photography. I guess that’s why I like photography so much.
What kind of camera do you use? I mainly use the Canon EOS 70D. It’s an older DSLR camera. I use it in combination with three Sigma lenses. The 17-50mm f/2.8 the 18-250mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 30mm f/1.4. I also own a wide-angle Canon lens but I don’t use it that much. Besides that camera, I also own a Canon G7X Mark2. The EOS 70D sometimes is just too much of a hassle to bring with me. It’s too big and heavy to bring all the time. For those times I recently bought a G7X Mark2.
What is your editing process like? I don’t think modern day photography can go completely without at least a little post-processing (editing). Back in the old days' photographers had the opportunity to be creative by choosing different kinds of film and paper to develop the negatives on. Because a digital camera only has the one sensor I feel it lacks in many ways to create a perfect picture in camera. The composition, on the other hand, is something that can never be changed afterwards. That is something that just has to be right, you can’t improve, besides cropping a little, a bad composition into a great composition with editing. But the colours, the contrast, the balance between shadows and highlights, the white balance and tones, those are the things you can tweak and use to gain more control over what the image should tell. A bad photo will never be a great photo after editing. But a great photo can be even greater with editing. I experienced over the years that editing photos is a great way of adding just a little extra to a photo. Therefore I don’t edit or process my images in a great way. Adjustments are always subtle and minor. Once a photo needs more edits or adjustments in most cases the photo just isn’t good enough. Sometimes the photos are transferred to my phone prior to being transferred to my computer, for instance, while travelling. On my phone, I like to use two apps in particular. The app Polarr is great for toning and tuning the colours, shadows and highlights. I add the white borders with Snapseed. That last one is actually a great free app. You should try it! On my computer, I edit the photos with Adobe Lightroom and add the white borders with Adobe Photoshop.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? Take photos! Just take loads of photos and try new things. Look at other inspiring photographers, find what they are using to make great compositions. Don’t copy others, try to use what others do to develop your own style and remember to keep it simple. I know it’s a matter of taste but I like to keep it simple. Focus on one subject and above all focus on what the image should tell.
What are some of your passions/hobbies other than photography? I recently visited Lisbon with my girl. Last year we made a road trip through the Alps. I just love to travel with my girl. Besides travelling I own a small company called Studio15. I own it together with a friend of mine. Thanks to Studio15 we are more and more often able to use our photography and videography skills in a professional way. I love to go to concerts, listen to music, play a little guitar, tennis and love to go to the movies.
Do you have any photography related plans for this summer that you would like to share? Normally I would say, yes we have planned a trip to… but this time, no, if everything goes to plan I will become a father this summer. And, well, I guess when it comes to photography, loads and loads of photos will be made! :)
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Joe Greer (@ioegreer) and Dan Tom (@dantom) - these guys just have a gift, a talent so great. Everything they put out there is gold. Been following them for quite some time now and they’re both not sticking to just one type of photography, they keep progressing and trying new things but always with a constant level of quality and consistent style. Another one that suits this description is Thomas Seear-Budd (@thomasseearbudd), he doesn’t have the same amount of success as Dan Tom or Joe Greer but his work is certainly up there! Really great! (Click here to check out our interview with Thomas Seear-Budd!)
Laetitia Modine (@laetitiamodine) - This lady is on my list of people whom I have been following for quite some time now. She is in my opinion so good at making original compositions. She finds new ways of photographing all kinds of things all the time. She keeps things simple, her images are far from complex and focus on one particular thing. She thinks about how she uses colours and lines in almost all of her photos. Nice to follow and a great inspiration!
Andrew Kearns (@andrewtkearns) - this guy is amazing. He lives the life of a travelling photographer, makes the greatest photos of all kinds of things, keeps a constant level of quality and is so consistent in how he edits his photos. Just great. He used to combine his photography on Instagram with a great YouTube channel. He was very open and honest about what he went through and what it means to be a travelling photographer. Seeing this beside his great photos on Instagram puts things in perspective. On Instagram, everything can look so great all that time that you might no longer see and understand what goes on behind the making of images and all the travelling. It’s understandable that making videos became too much work besides his work as a photographer. He no longer puts as much video’s out there as he used to but his videos even though not being very recent still give you a nice perspective on things.
Thomas Heaton (@heatonthomas) - I mention him because I’ve followed him for a long time now. The strange thing is that I don’t mention him because of his great Instagram account or because of his style of photography in particular. If you ask me he sometimes is too technical and precise about taking just a single photo. Oh and he uses his tripod, also in situations where I can find no reason to use a tripod other than it looking professional. Sorry Thomas, nothing personal! He can be at the some of the most breathtaking locations and literally take hours before he’s satisfied with just that one photo. Still, I follow him and respect him in a great way because he takes his time to think before he does things, perhaps sometimes a bit too much though ;-) He tries to think about what would be the best thing to do before he actually does it. That is something I admire, I guess. Ok, so he sometimes takes too much time taking photos, but how he does things, especially his YouTube channel and the way he puts himself out there as a photographer is just great. Keep up the great work, especially on YouTube!
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you love and wish more people knew about? I would be able to make a very long list here. That’s the thing these days with being good at photography. Because of the internet and in particular Instagram it has become easier to show your work to a lot of people. This is great, you won’t hear me complaining about it, but I can not resist mentioning at least one downside of it all. So many people are on Instagram these days that you actually have to be good at the “Instagram game” to get some response. Just being good at photography and making great photos doesn’t always mean that you will get great response online, now that is not a big problem when being a great photographer still is the main reason for getting response online, but sometimes being good at the “Instagram game” seems to be more important than actually being a great photographer. I see so many great photographers on Instagram just not getting the same response in comparison to people who just know how to play the game of Instagram and don’t even put out great work. On the other hand, I guess this has always been the case. You always had to find a way for people to find you, see your work. Whether it being through Instagram these days or via galleries and magazines in the past. So let’s be grateful for online platforms and in particular Hippo Magazine (@hippomagazine) for making such a great effort to put out great work of some amazing photographers. First with only a great Instagram account but now also with a stunning website! Thanks Hippo Magazine! Coming back to the question, here are some great photographers who I think are worth a follow, they will continue to amaze and inspire you, trust me, they’ve been inspiring me for quite some time now!
Jeroen Verhulst (@jeroenv_otherside) (Click here to read our interview with Jeroen)
Marcus Jew (@whatwouldjewdo) (Click here to read our interview with Marcus)
Daan Annemans (@daannemans) (Click here to read our interview with Daan)
Jelle Canipel (@canipel)
Alex Hinson (@alexhinphotography)
Pablo Caballero (@pablo_caballero_) (Click here to read our interview with Pablo)
Brechje Gunec (@plndm)
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? This might be a big cliché but I don’t care. Seeing more and more of Iceland on Instagram makes me want to go there more and more often. I guess the Instagram marketing works his charms! ;) It seems like such a magical place, so raw and pure. We had plans to go there but we have to put it on hold for a while because of that other great adventure that will strike our lives this summer! :) Another place I would love to return to is Scotland. I’ve been there twice but it just keeps amazing me. The kindness of the people the history and culture and besides all this, the breathtaking landscapes. If I wasn’t so keen on living in the Netherlands I guess Scotland would be the country I would call home.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? None in particular. Really, you can find subjects and interesting stories in all seasons. When I come to think of the four seasons they all have their charm. Luckily for me, I live in a country that goes through all the four seasons. Now that I come to think a little more about it I guess in winter I tend to go out just a little less than in the other three seasons. Perhaps because of the temperatures and the fact that the most charming thing about winter is snow and ice and although we do have low temperatures here in winter we don’t see that many snow and ice in an average winter. Most of the time it’s just rain. So I guess winter is the least favourite of the season. But then again, when it does snow, and all the lakes are frozen I can’t stop going out. Let’s just stick to, all the seasons have their charm!
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions planned that you would like to share? I certainly do! I will be visiting France - Normandy, in May and will be travelling to two of the Dutch Islands, Terschelling (again) and Ameland! I guess that when this interview is published some of the photos of those trips will be up online on my Instagram account and website. :)
Anything extra you would like to share? As I said before, a great thank you to Hippo Magazine for supporting me and so many other photographers! It’s really great that you guys support great photography. And you do it in such a nice and ecstatic way. Just great, thanks guys!
Don't forget to follow Wouter on Instagram! (@wwebbs)
Before you go, be sure to check out Wouter's website as well! (www.wwebbs.nl)