Interview: Meet Fashion Photographer Nicolass de Bruin

Nicolass de Bruin is a successful Fashion Photographer who has worked in New York and Los Angeles. Nicolass runs his photography company, Nicolass de Bruin Photography , with his wife. As a former fashion model from Holland, Nicolass is able to us his modeling talent and background to capture gorgeous images. He fills us in on what it takes to make it in the fashion photography business and offers advice for anyone interested in pursuing this career.

What sparked your interest in photography?

“I was an international fashion model and I moved to NYC with a girlfriend. She came home one day crying and showed me images taken by a good fashion photographer, but she looked like hell. So to comfort her I told her I would take some images of her…she laughed through her tears and said: What do you know about photography? I replied: ‘Well the guy who just shot you doesn’t know much either and you just paid him and the makeup artist over 600 bucks!’ I had an old Canon T70, we bought some film, shot one roll and developed the film and I went to a color darkroom and started printing.”

How did you develop your skills as a photographer?

”My travels to more exotic parts of the world as a fashion model gave me a taste for the decadence of luxury. I was lucky and traveled to very nice places - Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Caribbean, Greece, Italy, Spain, etcetera - and working with great fashion photographers like Bruce Weber, David Lachapelle, Antoine Verglas, Robert Tragtenberg, Robert Withman, Aldo Fallei made it possible for me to see the masters at work, because as a model the majority of the day you are waiting.”

What does it take to be a fantastic photographer?

”Being able to make people look their very best! Everybody has a great angle in which they look great and to find this angle takes a sharp eye. With a lot of people this angle is only visible a fraction of a second and trying to get it back recreating it is the big challenge. Professional models know how to work this angle and they “force” you to keep on shooting because it looks so great that you can ‘t get enough.”

Tell me about working as a fashion photographer in New York and Los Angeles.

“In New York City, you have to be very outgoing and promote yourself during parties and events and know a lot of people to get “in the door”. It is not so much who you are, but who you know. There are also so many really talented photographers in New York. I love NYC but it was killing me, and I felt like I was drowning. I did a lot of model tests and hotographed about 2000 guys and girls.

My luck was that I knew a lot of models and agents and they gave me chance to develop my skill. When I got married my wife and I moved to Los Angeles. Getting work in LA is a little easier, but the rates are lower and to make the same amount of money as you would in NYC, your talents have to stand out. My wife and I work as a team, and together, I think we do stand out. Besides handling the marketing, my wife also take care of most of the concepts, makeup/hair and wardrobe styling. This gives us the advantage, because getting these things together and getting them right is the hardest part of a photo shoot.”

What is the best way to find work as a fashion and beauty photographer?

“Market yourself everywhere you can.”

What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography?

“Shoot, shoot, shoot!!! Everyday (if possible) the more you shoot the more you learn! If you start now: start digital!! I hated it, but love it now, and after 2 years of shooting digital, I finally get the same results as with film. Digital is the future and you can check yourself after each image you take: the perfect way to see your “mistakes” and correct them right away. The other thing to remember is not get discouraged!! It doesn’t matter what people say…keep doing what you feel is good, but look at the big magazines and photographers o see if you are on the right path! The last and most important thing: keep it simple! Don’t make yourself and others crazy with difficult and hard to realize setups (light or décor) leave this to the people with huge budgets and set builders until you are ready to take on larger scale concepts, of course.”

What do you love the most about your job?

“Freedom and the ability to make the world a nicer place with my images. Remember you are not saving the world with your images, so keep it real and relax. Don’t give up, sometimes you might want to hang your camera in the closet for a couple of weeks, but if it is your calling, you will get the itch and start shooting again.”