Shutterstock Portrait Studio: Aline Bouma at CreativeMornings/Amsterdam
For the last three years with Shutterstock, we worked with photographers to capture the spirit of CreativeMornings’ attendees in chapters around the world. Together, we’ve collected over 2,000 portraits.
A good portrait tells the truth about a person in that moment in time—not the whole truth, but close to it. It’s an intimate dynamic that requires connection, patience, and acuity of the subject’s spirit.
We interviewed each talented photographer to learn to see what they see when they raise the camera.
Meet Aline Bouma, photographer.
What is it about portraiture that inspires you?
Simply interacting with people, getting to know new people, ending up in interesting places, the conversations I’m having with people I portray and just stepping into someones life every single time. I’m a curious person by nature and portraying people is a great way to keep that curiosity fed.
Portraiture is a personal exchange—how do you get your subjects to open up? What do you say or do?
When I’m taking someones picture, I try to keep things low pressure and relaxed by talking about everything but the photography itself. Being in front of a camera is always a bit scary, so I typically like to combine the photoshoot with a nice walk or having a coffee at their place. Just the activity of spending time together lets people get used to me and my camera, resulting in a relaxed atmosphere where we create beautiful photos.
At what moment do you know you successfully captured someone’s spirit or personality? How do you know?
I’m not sure that moment can be put into words, instead I think that it’s a feeling that happens when you see the photo. Sometimes a picture speaks for itself and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a simple as that. My way of working is based around my intuition and I don’t really believe in a general approach you can just apply to anyone. Some people look best when they’re cracking up, while others are absolutely beautiful with their faces fixed.
What advice would you give to people just picking up a camera, ready to explore the wonderful art of photography?
Don’t ever give up! And don’t be disappointed if your first 100 photos are ugly. Keep going. Always keep going. Notice the little things. Notice the ground, notice the sky and notice everything in between. Learning to photograph is pretty comparable to learning any other creative hobby like painting or sculpting. By doing the thing you’re doing you’ll slowly get the hang of things, allowing you to grow into your own process. (Oh, and pro-tip: never ever portray someone in direct sunlight :).
See more of the CreativeMornings/Amsterdam portraits.
Discover more of Aline’s work on her website and Instagram.