The Photography Junkies interview with Frank Doorhof
As part of my wanting to bring you the people who inspire me i caught up with Frank Doorhof for an interview hope you enjoy.
Hi Frank Thank you for doing this ive been a long time admirer of your work and i want my readers
to share this too.
So for the people who are yet to discover you Tell us about yourself and what you do?
My name is Frank Doorhof and I was brought up in a family that was always into photography, so
from a very young age I was influenced by the passion for the still image, and also the moving by the
I started out with another business than photography but at the moment we are running a full time
commercial studio in Emmeloord and although I mostly specialize in workshops and teaching I still
also shoot families and artists, I just love to work with people one could say.
How did you get into photography?
It’s really in my blood, my grandparents and parents always had a passion for video and Photography
so I simply grew into it.
How do you keep inspired?
It sounds weird but inspiration is all around us, just look at things like structures and you can get
ideas for styling, backgrounds etc. Another great thing are music videos, just watch some Lady Gaga
videos and… well you will have ideas for some months to come.
How would you say you work would you consider yourself a methodical planner or do you set the
stage for something to happen?
It really depends on the assignment, I’m however more a person that will plan the idea and see the
location and then work from there with the team, in other words I can plan something but I’m almost
sure that on location something else will probably grow from the ideas we have.
How far ahead do you know what your final image will look like do you always work to a concept?
Also here it depends on the team and the assignment, with light I pretty much know before I shoot
the image how it will look (the light meter helps), but before the shoot itself we often only have
What does a typical day involve for you?
Believe it or not but there really is no typical day, but if I had to describe one it would be :
Up around 7:00AM, to the studio around 8:00 and working on social media, emails etc., at 10:00AM
normally our clients will start coming in (or the workshops start), around 15:00 we will try to stop
after which I will make backups and start retouching.
Most of the week we will be at home around 18:30 and have diner, after this I will work further on
emails, social media and some retouching but this depends on the day.
But again, this is the day that happens most of the days, in photography it’s very simple, you HAVE to
be able to work in flexible schedules, there are more than often days/weeks where we work almost
around the clock with only time off to sleep. And sometimes there are weeks where we even have
a few days off, but most of those days are filled with video material like our videowebpodcast “the
DOORhof is always open”
In short, we are never bored.
Do you have staff to take on jobs for you?
We work with one intern every 6 months, and of course Annewiek and myself.
Do you retouch your own?
Yes, without any doubt, it’s my work and I really want to do that myself, I don’t believe in shooting
and let someone else do the retouching, for me that’s part of the “art” but I have to add that I often
not spend more than 10 minutes on a shot, but that 10 minutes for me is incredibly important, it’s
determining the look and the final product, and that’s my job.
Of course everyone likes to hear about the kit whats your go to gear in your bag?
Depending on the assignment I will shoot with a Phase One DF+ with a Leaf Credo 60 on location, but
if I need flexibility and I don’t know if I have 100% control over light I will use a DSLR (Sony A99, or
Sony A7r), in the studio I also sometimes love to work with the awesome Mamiya RZ67ProII.
I also still shoot some film, for that I will use the Medium format cameras or a Leica R4 camera, I do
all the developing myself for film, just love the process and seeing the slides or negatives come to
alive is part of the magic for me.
The two essential things in my bag are however the X-rite colorchecker and my Lightmeter…. Well ok
While i was speaking to you at photography live you mentioned that you had sold your canon gear
and gone Sony can you tell us why?
Very simple…. Quality.
The dynamic range of the Sony DSLRs are just incredible, with high-ISO the performance is also great
on the new generation like the A99 and A7(r), also the lens system is very nice with some great
Minolta lenses and of course the new Zeiss glass
And finally the EVF, getting used to the EVF is something that will take time, but trust me… you will
not want to go back, I use a lot of manual focus lenses like M42 and with the EVF getting the focus
spot on is very easy.
What are your thoughts on the A7 and A7r?
It’s a concept I REALLY like, I’ve been shooting with the A7r for a few weeks now and I really see this
camera replace everything I have (expect MF), especially when travelling. Now I will carry the A99
and the FujiFilm X-E1, meaning two systems and two sets of lenses. With the A7r I can just add a
grip and the A convertor to shoot the fashion and workshops, for the street and “tourist” material
I remove the grip and the A convertor and use the smaller native lenses and I have a great street
Now everything falls if the image quality is not up to par and this is where the A7r shines, it’s an
incredibly great camera. So in short… I love it.
Could you imagine your work done on a small body with a full frame sensor?
Yeah why not, I’ve been using the A7r for a few weeks now and have done everything with it. It’s not
the camera Jay.
I think you are a great educator how did you fall into this roll when did you find that you could
Very simple, I was asked.
One of my heroes is Dean Collins and when I was asked to teach workshops for a group I tried to start
in his spirit. Because I use the lightmeter a lot I think people were hearing something they did not
hear somewhere else so they were really learning something that could make their workflow much
faster. Of course the rest of the material was also interesting, so people kept coming back for more.
At the moment I teach twice a week in our own studio and we do app 20-25 workshops abroad a
What would you say are your personal highlights over the past year?
The release of my book “Mastering the modelshoot” it’s getting rave reviews and does really well so
this is without any doubt one of the highlights of this year.
Another one is always teaching at PhotoShopWorld, the atmosphere and the responses of the
crowds are really special and it’s really something we really live towards.
Whats next for you? anything you are working towards? personal goals etc?
Oh there are so many things I would love to do J
But most I will just keep for myself, let me put it this way, we are always working on something,
the reason I don’t share this often is that for example we have been working on a concept for the
last 6 months and due to the hectic stage of our business (growing very fast) we have to change the
timeline constantly, but in 2014 I hope to really start working on this.
Do you do personal projects?
Yes see previous question
Are you working on one currently?
Yes, and I hope to show some in 2014.
Being a creative can sometimes be hard on the people around you especially if they dont get who
you are how would you say it has affected your home life?
Because Annewiek works with me it all graduated grew, our son Brian also is used to it, thankfully my
parents are always willing to take care of our house, cat and Brian when we are abroad so that gives
us a lot of freedom, but it’s always hectic and busy so sometimes it can be hard. We always try to get
some time off at least 4-5 times a week to watch a movie or some TV shows, this is very important
for us, especially because there will always be something to do.
If you could give a couple tips for personal success what would they be?
Never chase after it, if it happens it will happen and you can enjoy it. Keep the passion for
photography (or whatever you do) if you start hunting for success it will become a frustration, the
chance of really breaking through in today’s market is incredibly difficult so it will probably be a
disappointment and you will lose the passion. As you long as you keep that passion you will enjoy
photography and it will be much easier to “draw” luck in J
Whats the funniest/ strangest thing to happen on one of your shoots?
Oh my, if you know me you will know that there will always be something that happens, I strongly
believe in humor during a shoot so almost every day there will be something that would fit this
category. But the really weirdest that ever happened was during a workshop in which I used a
different brand strobes than I normally use.
One of the things I talked about was using smoke during
the theory part and believe it or not, we were not 20 minutes into the workshop working with the
strobes and one of the strobes started smoking like crazy (a bad board). The response of the group
was hilarious and ranging from “Ok so this is what you call a hot shoot” to “A so this is a strobe with a
build in smoke machine” well ok you had to be there.
Just so you dont get inundated with requests are you currently hiring?
I like to throw a statement in there sometimes is professional photography dead?
It depends, I don’t believe so.
I do believe that pricing in certain areas are going to a point that is ridiculous and some people think
that photography should actually be free if they print your name. But it’s not death.
But making a living with photography has become incredibly difficult.
Where do you see it going?
Difficult. I think it will be getting slightly better because some magazines/newspapers and
photographers themselves start to see what’s going on and that when there is no money the quality
will go down and that’s a bad thing.
However there are still enough pretty good shooters out there that have a day job and just love the
kick of being in a magazine so they will do it for free, and those people are not shooting bad and I
think that’s the real problem.
I think there will always be room for the really big names but I think the middle segment and lower
segment will be almost destroyed in a few years time. If you want to score a wedding for a normal
fee you will probably have to deliver insanely good quality because otherwise there is actually almost
no difference between uncle Harry with his DSLR and the photographer.
And to be honest I’ve seen sample books that go around as demo books from weddings where I
seriously wonder who had the guts to deliver that kind of quality and get paid for it and even end up
in a demo book…. And I’m not a real wedding shooter.
So in one way we could also say that the pricing is actually being destroyed by this kind of work,
people see that as the “standard”and think “Oh I can also do this” I think we should maybe start
by using demo books with awesome photography so people really see the difference between a
“weekend warrior” and someone who really knows how to shoot. And I don’t say that there are no
good weekend warriors by the way, some are amazing. But the demo material we show should be of
the best quality possible.
For example we recently showed a book to a client, who wanted something special, and the images
in that book really made me almost ashamed to show the book (it was really that bad), luckily my
client new what I shot, but otherwise he would have probably thought that he could do better. And
when we show weddings like that I’m afraid that people are indeed thinking that the quality is always
Thank you ever so much for your time i appreciate you answering my questions and i know my
readers do too
Where can people find you?
www.frankdoorhof.com (updated daily)
www.imagingtalk.com (our forum)
and finally on Instagram under Frank Doorhof (BTS shots during photoshoots).
What can they expect to find there?
can they contact you?
Yes best is to do this via our forum.