So how do you balance a romantic relationship with a life that revolves around photography? In this series, I explore the benefits to shooting and running a photography business together with your better half. Of course we'll tackle the common pitfalls and find out how you can shape the perfect photography holiday. Let's start by introducing the eight amazing creatives in landscape photography who will make you want to buy your romance a camera for Christmas.
Inge Bovens and Stan Bessems
If you haven’t heard from these amazing Dutch photographers, you’re missing out. Their work boasts mysterious forests and grand landscapes alike. This romantic couple is from the south of the Netherlands, where rich, old woodland dominates the natural landscape. Not all of their photography is shot in the Netherlands though, as they Inge and Stan travel regularly to scenic locations around the world. They’re the only couple who I have interviewed for this series who don’t run a photography business together. But who’s to say if that won’t happen in the future?
Alain and Natalie Briot
I doubt if Alain Briot needs an introduction. Not only is he one of the greatest landscape photographers of our time, Briot is also a writer about the genre. I’ve first read one of his many insightful essays on landscape photography while I was on a plane to Greece, as he was featured in the inflight magazine. The images are credited to Alain, as he focuses on the artistic and marketing aspects of their business. His loving wife Natalie, a non-photographer, is in charge of the logistical aspects as they have made their business Beautiful Landscape a success.
Alister Benn and Juanli Sun
Alister Benn is an award winning Scottish landscape photographer, author, educator and guide. He lives on the Isle of Skye off the north west coast of Scotland with his wife Juanli Sun. Each year they lead small group workshops and tours through their business Available Light Images to select locations around the Scottish Highlands, Southern Iceland, Northern Spain, Tibet, and Himalaya. Juanli and Alister both create their own stunning images and in the field they share responsibilities for teaching. Juanli focuses very strongly on the innate creativity in all of us, whereas Alister can add a solid technical foundation to the same focus.
Dylan Toh and Marianne Lim
Leading the top landscape photographers on 500px, Dylan and Marianne’s work is well-known with good reason. This South Australian couple loves the rugged outdoors, which is heavily featured in their work. They have their own approach to photography and work part-time in this field. That helps to balance managing their family and while venturing to remote places and looking out for their young ones. Dylan is the morning photographer and Marianne is the sunset/golden hour shooter. Together, they teach photography through their business Everlook Photography and not as much as they would like to.
Working as a Couple in the Field
Dylan and Marianne have to juggle their relationship, photography, and young children. They manage with Dylan generally getting up early in the morning, tending to do the dawn shoots. He often finds himself walking in the dark to locations he never visited before. Marianne will then look after the children. In return, they’ll often visit locations at sunset as a family, where the roles are reversed. Marianne gets time off from the kids to photograph, while Dylan looks after their offspring.
This is how we've always done it, and still do. It works for us and we have the same goals. Love for each other and love for photography makes our lives complete.
Managing a Business Together
Alain and Natalie take care of different areas of their business to avoid redundancy. As successful business partners, you don’t want to be both doing the same thing, because it is counter productive. While Alain is the artistic and marketing mastermind of the business, Natalie manages the logistical aspects of the business.
When they’re home, Alister tends to take care of the creative side of things, concentrating on making images and writing to fit various utilities, such as portfolios, social media, and writing for magazines and websites. Juanli deals with all the admin, logistics, trip planning, flights, hotel booking etc. When she’s in the mood she will also spend a few days working on one image for her own enjoyment. “It works well for us, as I simply can’t be creative with a brain full of logistics!”
We'll dive into the blue and discover more of that iceberg in the next article, when we address managing a business together in a world where everyone has a camera in one form or another.