Meet Elizabeth van der Bij, a wedding, boudoir, and flower photographer from Canada. Elizabeth owns ENV Photography and is usually a solo shooter, but occassionally hires a 2nd shooter. She uses Canon, and shoots RAW with her right eye in Shutter, Aperture, or Manual modes. She also uses a wide variety of actions.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
While helping a friend with photoshopping the images from a wedding she’d just shot, I thought that if I was pretty good at the editing for her, and I had fun shooting, why not try it out as a business for myself?
50mm, 50mm, 1600iso, 1/50, f/2.2
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Networking is extremely important and I have such a hard time doing it because I am so shy, but getting to know other photographers, wedding planners and other vendors will really help grow your business!
28-70mm, 38mm, 400iso, 1/200, f/2.8
What makes you different from everyone else?
I’d like to think that my personality is what makes me stand out as a person and my enjoyment in using the seediness of my surroundings to create contrast in my bridal images whenever possible.
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
I don’t know about up-and-coming, because I think she is already there, but it is Sarah Quiara of Sarah Q.
50mm, 50mm, 400iso, 1/200, f/8.0
One item you can’t live without?
My 100m 2.8 macro – the essential lens for rings shots and for flowers.
Your best bokeh image and why?
100mm, 100mm, 100iso, 1/60, f/3.5
I had a hard time choosing one, since it’s my aim to have great bokeh in all of my flower images, so I chose a ring shot, which is a little harder to get right.
Impossible to pin it down to one, but I have been reading the Twilight series recently – I’m a sucker for a good vampire story!
It’s a tie between The Lost Boys and Monster Squad.
17-35mm, 35mm, 400iso, 1/125, f/5.6
Where do you find inspiration?
Lately, it’s been from pulp novel covers for boudoir and from European fashion magazines for bridals.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
I am. It’s the person creating the images and intereacting with clients that sets the tone for the whole business.
17-35mm, 17mm, 400iso, 1/200, f/5.6
Do you use a second shooter?
Yes, when needed.
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
Just ask! What have you got to lose??
50mm, 50mm, 100iso, 1/200, f/2.8
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Kadie Pangburn of Pangburn Photography – she is my new found photographic hero!
50mm, 50mm, 250iso,1/40, f/1.8
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
It’s a slow process. I still work my day job, saving so I can buy better equipment and so I can afford to advertise. I’m building my portfolio and just trying to shoot as much as I can to get better and learn as much as I can.
100mm, 100mm, 400iso, 1/250, f/5.0
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Try to find a good balance between photographing and getting time for yourself – it’s easy for every aspect of your business to consume your life if you aren’t careful.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
I do mini marathon sessions, sometimes for free, sometimes just for the cost of files. It keeps me busy and provides with fresh material to work with, and I get to meet more people.
28-70mm, 44mm, 400iso, 1/250, f/9.0
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
I’ve yet to have it, but a group Trash the Dress session sure would be a lot of fun, followed by a trip to Starbucks for some Black Tea Lemonade.
Anything else you would like to share?
Though it may be a very competitive market, trash-talking your competition just to make you look better is a very bad idea. It just makes you look silly.
14-54mm, 23mm, 160iso, 1/60, f/4.5