Lensbaby spark

To start the new year off right, I want to start a new series of blogs! In these blogs I will be talking about the things I use in my photography and I’ll show you guys the results these things give and how you can use them in different ways.

The first blog in this series is about a cute and cheap little lens I got for Christmas, the Lensbaby Spark.

Now believe me when I say this lens feels more like a nice toy than a professional tool, but you can get great results with it! It’s a cute little plastic lens that you focus manually by pushing and twisting it. This creates a tilt-shift effect with a small focus point while the majority of the image is out of focus and blurred. My boyfriend got it for me because I mentioned it a couple of times and he knows I like to try new things and experiment with my photography, so this was the perfect gift for me!

To test it,  I invited over my muse Tinotenda to shoot for a few hours and just experiment and have some fun without a plan or any expectations. Sometimes days like that are really good if you’re stuck in a rut or your creativity is a little blocked because you feel like you’re just doing the same thing over and over. (I can’t be the only one who gets like that, right?)

Working with this lens really takes some practice. It’s quite hard to find the right way to focus and manipulate the effect, but once you get the hang of it it’s really a lot of fun.  What’s confusing at first is that you have no idea what aperture you’re shooting at, because the lens doesn’t tell you its aperture and the camera can’t read it either. After looking it up I found that the Aperture is said to be 5.6 and it’s a 50mm lens. This kind of gives you an idea of what you’re working with and can help you figure out what camera settings to use.

I couldn’t shoot with it for too long, because it did kind of mess up my eyes ability to focus and see properly! You can see that not every image is perfectly focused on the model’s face but with the kind of results you get it doesn’t always matter that much. When you’re shooting creative images, the only limit is your own imagination and interpretation. Don’t be afraid to get weird with it!

Check out a few of the setups we did using the Lensbaby Spark! It’s definitely not for every shoot, but you’ll see it really adds a different atmosphere and mood to an image, which makes it a great tool for creative photography.

The Lensbaby Spark is available for Canon and Nikon cameras.

Check out Lensbaby and all they have to offer here (affiliate link)


Photoshop Action: Breeze

A new action to add some drama to your images! Check out the previews below.



You can order this action for 3 euros, using the PayPal button below.

Please make sure to mention your email address in the transaction so I can email you the action after payment has gone through.
It’s as simple as that! 🙂

your email adress

Dusk Warrior

A 24hr photoshoot challenge.

Last week, stylist Liz Scarlet and I decided to give ourselves a little challenge: to completely plan and produce a photoshoot from A-Z within 24 hours. Meaning: finding a shooting team, a location, finding and picking up clothing samples, shooting (hair, makeup, styling, taking photos) and even retouching the final images. I think we totally nailed the challenge by creating ‘Dusk Warrior’, thanks to a great team!

All images were shot with natural light and a reflector. The light wasn’t great, loads of clouds and trees that made it quite dark, but in the end we got what we needed. Next time I’ll hopefully have some equipment to bring along.. for even better results!

I absolutely loved doing this and I’m very happy with the results. I really hope we’ll be able to do more like this in the future, because it really gets the creative juices flowing! Let me know what you think in the comments below or at my Facebook page! 🙂

Photography: Josefien Hoekstra
Styling: Liz Scarlet
Hair: Ilona Pouw
Model: Elsemieke van der Heijden

(click the photos for a better view)

Behind the scenes

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Torture Garden

A couple of weeks ago I shot with fabulous fetish model Dutch Dame. I have known her for years now, and we have always expressed interest in working together, but somehow it just never really happened. Needless to say, I was really excited when she contacted me about a shoot for Torture Garden Clothing. The outfit was simply too amazing to pass up. To complete the team we got Ashley Wolthers to join us to work some make-up and hair magic.


I used a simple but effective light setup, blue gelled light placed slightly behind the model from both sides and a simple softbox placed in front of the model from the left.

The softbox gives subtle soft shadows so the light isn’t too flat and dull, while the blue gelled lighting gives some blue highlighs and reflections.


For some extra flare and bokeh effects I used a piece of cling film and placed it in front of my lens. The blue light reflects off the cling film and results in some fun effects that really show in the image below.



I hope you enjoyed this little blog post filled with subtle tips & tricks. Let me know if you’re going to try it out for yourself, I’d love to see the results!

At the beach

When I get a crazy idea into my head, there is very little that can stop me. A great example of this is me standing in the ocean on a very cold day in September, with a very brave model actually getting down in the dirty sand with the ice cold waves crashing against her freezing body. We started off shooting in the nearby dunes while the sun was setting, and as I saw the sun setting and that gorgeous light hitting the ocean, I felt like it would be a complete waste not to use this moment.

(click the photos for a better view)


Now before you think I am totally evil, trust me when I say I won’t ever force anyone to do anything.. I simply come up with something and get really enthousiastic.

Luckily for me that’s usually enough to get others on board as well. We started off with some portraits but quickly got into the water.


I rarely ever ask my models to smile, but Daisy makes it look so beautiful and natural that I am very happy to have taken this shot.

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I had the great fortune of having Daisy van der Wees as my lovely model, and her father tagged along to support her. He did a really great job at it, making her feel more secure in her posing. Daisy is a real trooper. She looked totally comfortable and amazing in the cold ocean.


My love and greatest source of support Marco was there to help me with the reflector, which helped me get the perfect light for some great backlit beach babe shots.


For more results, check out the gallery or my Facebook page.

Photoshop Action: Soft Glow

From now on I will be making some of my favorite photoshop actions available for purchase. I make and use a LOT of actions for my photos, and now you can use them too!

The “Soft Glow” action is a very versatile action as shown in the images below. It works well for images with a slightly darker, fantasy-like vibe but can easily be used for a high-fashion image.

You can order this action for 3 euros, using the PayPal button below.

Please make sure to mention your email address in the transaction so I can email you the action after payment has gone through.
It’s as simple as that! 🙂

your email adress

soft glow

Totally illegal

A couple of weeks ago, two of my talented friends and I planned an impromptu trip to Paris to shoot some cool photos.  My dear friend Physalis lives in Paris and kindly offered us a place to stay. While we were getting ready for the shoot we discussed possible locations and she came up with the idea of shooting at the beautiful and famous cemetery that shall remain unnamed because as we found out, it’s totally illegal to shoot there..

Anyway, everyone was on board with this idea because, let’s face it, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Paris. So we packed our gear and some awesome outfits that Physalis put together, and got on the metro.

 We had a bag full of clothes and lots of make-up, Physalis dressed Julian up and Ashley did some truly awesome stuff to his face. While they were working I scoped the area and found some spots with great light and cool backdrops, and also experimented with some leaves in front of my lens to create some fun effects.

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Only about 20 minutes after we started shooting, a security guard showed up. He saw Julian first, rocking  a latex corset and a bright blue beard. That must have been an interesting view. The guard only spoke french, and I only understood half of what he was saying. Luckily we had the french Physalis with us and she talked to the guard. He told us we had to either pay a huge sum or we had to leave. But worst of all, he told me to delete ALL THE IMAGES from my memory card! I couldn’t allow that to happen, as I had so many great pictures on this card and I did not want this shoot that we were all so excited about to dissapear. So I played a little trick on him. I noticed that Physalis was trying to distract the guard, she kept talking to him and asking questions, so I had some time to be sneaky. I had three cards with me, but made it look like I only had two. All the images from this shoot were on one card that I kept hidden in the palm of my hand and then slid into my wallet as I grabbed the other two cards. I formatted those cards, since I had already imported the images that were on them, and showed him the ‘NO IMAGE’ message on my camera screen. HALLELUJA! He bought it and told us we could take our time to clean up and pack, and walk around some more, but we were not allowed to take any more pictures.

We were so incredibly lucky that Physalis was with us to talk to the guard, and that my boyfriend urged me to take two extra memory cards with me in my wallet. Even though our shoot was cut short and we didn’t get as many pictures as we wanted, I’m very happy to be able to share these results with you.

Make-up by Ashley Wolthers, latex and styling by Physalis

Make-up by Ashley Wolthers, latex and styling by Physalis EPH_9062-Edit

Make-up by Ashley Wolthers,  styling by Physalis EPH_9171-Edit

In-camera effects

Tips & tricks!

I thought it would be fun to tell you  little bit about how I achieve some of the effects in my work.
A lot of people assume it’s all Photoshop, and clients actually ask me if I can retouch their photos to look like a certain photo from my portfolio. When I tell them that most effects are actually not photoshopped at all, I usually get a surprised look.

In reality, it’s really very simple. I hold stuff in front of my camera and I see what it does to the atmosphere of the image. I have a collection of strange fabrics, plastics and other transparent things that I hold in front of my lens to create a certain effect.

This image, for example, was created using cling film. I simply made a little hole in the cling film, and shot through it. Sometimes it’s as simple as that!

model Julian Bingham, MUA Ashley Wolthers


For the photo below, I actually used one of the coloured filters you’d usually put in front of your flash, only I put it in front of my lens. This creates a very vintage look with very little effort.

promo shot for Wither’s Avenue

And finally, this last photo was made using a sheer tulle-like fabric. A really cheap little curtain that I got at Ikea and actually use most often. When partially in front of your lens, it creates a very soft white vignette that can make your images look very dreamy and fairytale-like.

shot for Tante Suiker, model Britt Bush, MUA Ashley Wolthers

That’s all for this blog! I hope it inspired you to try out some silly things, too. You might be pleasantly surprised  by the outcome.
Good luck!

Black & Gold

Last week I had a fantastic shoot with an incredibly lovely team.
As usual it was an all-girls club ( that just keeps happening! ) and we were all bursting with energy, motivation and inspiration.

The team consisted of MUA Ashley Wolthers ( www.ashleydesign.nl ) designer and stylist Sannie from Skeletons in the closet ( http://www.skeletonsintheclosetclothing.com )  and model Whitney Marcial from MaxiMe Models

At the moment, all of my photoshoots take place in my livingroom because since I moved to Amersfoort my house is considerably smaller and we don’t have a seperate studio space ( boo! )
However, I do have enough room to create a little makeshift studio and most of the time it works perfectly.

You certainly won’t notice when you see the final images. It looks a bit silly on backstage pics, though…

The theme of the day was black and gold and we shot three different looks in total. We started with a pretty basic look with pretty simple light and worked it up to an extravagant look with coloured light and lots of shine!

For the first shot I used two flashes, one with spot with barndoors + grid and one with a reflective umbrella. It’s a very simple setup but it almost never fails.

 I added some subtle colours in post.


For this next shot, I added a blue filter to the spot with barndoors and grid. It makes the image a bit more atmospheric, and in my opinion it’s a lot more fun than just plain white light.

For the grand finale I added a red filter to the frontal flash with umbrella. By doing so all the white light is gone and you get an interesting mix of red and blue which really works well on Whitney’s gorgeous dark skin.


Here’s a straight from the camera shot of a happy dancing Whitney.

These dark images with no white light at all don’t always work. But when they do, they’re certainly spectacular!


White Widow

It is so frustrating that when I shoot something that I personally really love, it’s impossible to get it published!
This was the case with the White Widow editorial that I shot in October 2014 ( that long ago already! Damn.. )

As usual, the location wasn’t quite glamorous, and we had lots of interest from all the people passing by.
It was a really cold and windy shoot, but the wind did actually help us to create awesome shots, Lizzy’s hair and all the lace and tulle just moves so beautifully!

I loved the idea of a ghostlike bride and I personally really like how the images turned out.
However, the photos just don’t seem to fit in with any current magazine issues, so I decided to forget about that and just publish them for ourselves, because my awesome team deserves to finally use these images!

Model : Lizzy Meow
Make-up : Ashley Wolthers
Styling : Nina Konstanti

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And of course, some fun behind the scenes images! See the team in action 🙂
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