Goldwerk Photography consists of Michael Draasch and Katja Seidel. They both come from Germany and have teamed up to be one of our most consistently successful contributors. So far, they’ve made about $18,000 being awarded for a number of different briefs.
We caught up with Michael and Katja and asked them to share how they’ve been working and what has gotten them to their successes thus far.
You’ve both lived in Hamburg, which some may argue as the epicenter of the world’s best photography talent. What is it like working there as both a photographer and as an assistant?
Hamburg is indeed a very busy place for photographers. We both started our photographic career in Hamburg (without knowing each other) but quickly moved to Barcelona. It isn´t difficult to find jobs as an assistant in Hamburg. There is a lot of competition in Hamburg but no more than any other big city. It’s very easy to make a production here because the market is well prepared for shoots. There are a lot of studios, locations, equipment suppliers, and production companies. Sometimes the weather can be a tricky issue.
Working in a partnership is a different dynamic from being solo. Tell us about the challenges and benefits of working as a partnership.
When we are developing a new idea for a job, we have to compromise with each other’s perceptions. The challenge is combining two different opinions and melting them into one picture that incorporates only the best ideas. This means you have to be considerate of your partner. On one hand it means to let go of something you might have thought was important for a picture, and on the other it forces you to think with a different perspective.
What types of cameras do you shoot with?
Hasselblad 3D, Canon EOs 1Ds, Canon 5D MKII, Pentax 6×7
You’ve had good success on ImageBrief, winning a number of briefs including one for a Toyota campaign. You obviously have a good feeling for what makes an image sell. How do you craft your images to maximise their commercial viability?
Generally we would say that each picture needs to be well composed. Overloaded pictures are okay, but you need to see the message of every picture. As it is hard to explain how a picture is produced, here’s an explanation of how we work:
1) Discuss the subject and make a shooting list.
2) Find the location, talents, etc.
3) What technical needs do we have to accomplish the work? (Lighting, camera, accessories, lenses, tripod, special effects etc.).
4) Find the right angle.
5) Set the lighting.
6) Give instructions.
How do you actively market your work and business to maintain a consistent flow of bookings in today’s competitive environment?
We are currently looking for a new agent. It is good to have help in client treatment and it helps you stay focused on creative issues. Apart from that we keep working on our own portfolios. We also split our talents in different branches of photography.
We’d love for you to share some tips on how to get the most out of submitting to briefs.
Good question! Tastes differ and you never know what a client might like but you are not on the wrong track if you orient yourself with the reference image and a little retouching may help as well.
Finally, tell us any personal projects you may be working on and send us one of your images that you love and tell us why.
We recently connected with a novelist from France. He had an idea for a photographic novel. It is a dark story with great acting talents in a great location. It was a hell of a lot of fun working night and day. We are currently in postproduction. The book will have 60 pages and 250 pictures. We hope to publish the book this year.
This picture is a snapshot we took during a break in the production with sister acting talents. The models where surprisingly shy that day so we hoped to lighten the mood by giving the nuns some champagne. Happiness appeared in their eyes and we were inspired by their vivacity. The production changed from that moment and we had a great shooting session the next day.
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