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Hetty van der Zanden and I have known each other since I started on the blockchain and I enjoy her animal photography very much.

Hetty was born and raised in the Netherlands, where she still resides. She bought her first camera (a Konica Minolta compact camera) at the age of 15 and a world of possibilities opened up to her.

One of the things I like about Hetty is that she is a fighter and won't let challenges get in her way. She took care of her parents, who were both sick, for 18 months. Their passing (within two years of each other) affected her deeply. As a result, she made the decision to adopt dogs. And so Rowan, a White Shepherd, came into her life. He did not only give her her life back. Her passion for photography was also reawakened.

Since then, Hetty has worked hard to perfect her skills and become the talented photographer she is today. She focuses on dogs and like portrait photography as well.

Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Hetty, thank you for answering my questions! What inspired you to become a photographer? Any particular story?

Hetty van der Zanden: Photography has always been a great hobby since my youth, but the step to professional photography has taken a long time. Only after I started photographing my dogs, and the plumes flew in for that, and people seriously asked if I wanted to photograph their dogs, I realized that I could do something more with that hobby.

CM: What is your favorite subject to photograph?

HZ: My favorite subject to photograph is and remains the animal kingdom. And especially dogs. I love to be busy in the open air with the dogs. To win the trust of the dog(s), and to get them to show their character in the hour that you are with them. But besides dogs, and animals in general ... I also like to photograph nature.

CM: What makes a good photo?

HZ: For me personally it is a good photo if emotion is released by the person viewing the photo. And that can be different for everyone. That also applies to me, sometimes I do not like a photo at all ... but another says that it is a good photo. And vice versa. As with everything, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

In the case of photographing dogs, it is a good picture if you recognize the character of the dog. That's what I'm looking for when I go photographing dogs. The personality of the animal must be seen.

CM: What is the photo you prefer in your portfolio? Why?

HZ: There are several photos in my portfolio that I have an absolute preference for, but if I have to choose one photo that gives me a good feeling, then it is this photo. (see top of the page)

This photo gives me a good feeling because both my dogs are in it of course. But in addition it is a photo that has a special atmosphere in it because of the fog in the background. It gives a natural look, and the dogs are in the picture as they are. I can clearly recognize the characters of both of them here. In addition, this photo is one of the first photos I shared with a large audience ... and that has led to this photo being voted one of the most beautiful photographs of the Netherlands in 2017.

CM: Any photographer you admire?

HZ: Oh yes, so many photographers of whom I admire the work. A Canadian photographer that I have encountered on Steemit for example -- Derek Kind. His landscape work is phenomenal, I think. Two Dutch dog photographers Monica van der Made and Andreas Romijn.

The work of the Dutch photographer Ruben Cress also appeals to me very much. And then of course there is the other category I want to dive into. The part of the composite photography. And from that interest I look a lot at photographers / editors like Frans Heidenis, John Wilhelm, Adrian Sommeling, Rarindra Prakarsa... and I will probably have forgotten some names.

CM: What piece of advice would you give photographers who are starting with online promotion?

HZ: Get your name out there in as many places as you can… But don't over-estimate yourself. Because to really get your name out there means you have to engage too. Your photos are the eye-catchers, but if you don't engage with the people who follow you, they will forget you just as quickly as they followed you.

Try to find your target audience. If you are a portrait photographer, you probably are not going to find support in a group with landscape photographers.

Stay true to yourself and find your own style. There are so many others already! And believe in yourself, and keep believing in yourself, even when it is equally difficult.

CM: Anything else you would like to share?

HZ: Do not be afraid to try something 'new'. Continue to learn, even if you have been doing it for years. And just by stepping out of your comfort zone, you stimulate your creativity, which often leads to inspiring ideas.

And whatever advice I want to give is ... the best camera, is the one you have! Not everyone has an expensive camera, but that does not mean that you can not take beautiful pictures. Ultimately, a camera is a tool, but it is the person behind the camera who makes the photo.


For more information on Hetty van der Zanden, visit Whaleshares.

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