We’re changing it up this week! Instead of a feature update, we’re using today to announce a NEW staffer! Let me introduce you to Staff Photographer Mel Boonstra Jr. Mel is another photography veteran who’s work is second only to his professionalism! An easy going, sucker for a pretty face Detroit resident, Mel is one to know! Let’s take a moment and get to know our new staffer!
GMM: How long have you been a photographer?
Mel B: Professionally for 10 years but I started shooting in middle school and doing it as a “side job” from then on, so without giving away my age over 30 years.
GMM:: How did you get your start?
Mel B: I was just always into photography, but when it went digital I was hooked. I am a techie.
GMM: Do you like to keep your techniques a secret or do you like to share with others?
Mel B: I would have to say 60-40 there, most things I am more than willing to share but there are a few “tricks” I reserve for myself.
GMM: Who would you love to shoot?
Mel B: Kate Beckinsale!!!!! Huge crush.
GMM: Who is the most famous model you have shot with?
Mel B: Some of the cast of the Sapranos (extras) for a birthday bash in New York.
GMM: What makes you different from the other photographers?
Mel B: Well a lot really, being self-taught I find often times my outlook and approach to many things are different than traditionally trained photographers. I’m not saying that’s bad, just different. Much of what I have learned came from trial and error, big on the error…yet some of my personal favorite images were what others might call a “mistake”.
GMM: Who is your favorite photographer?
Mel B: Melissa Rodwel.
GMM: What is your ultimate goal as a photographer?
Mel B: Shoot until I die! Yup, I absolutely love it, there is nothing else in the world I would want to do, or could do. Since becoming a photographer I just look at things differently. I don’t think I could handle any type of traditional job.
GMM: What traits do you look for in a model?
Mel B: Personality, sure a smoking body but I like to see someone who comes alive in front of my lens, that in the words of Tyra can “smile with their eye’s” or just draw you in so deep you can’t look away. I like “different”.
GMM: Canon or Nikon?
Mel B: Canon of course! What is that other one you mentioned?!?
GMM: What is your favorite lens to use?
Mel B: Absolutely without a doubt the 70-200 L. This is my work horse.
GMM: What is your Favorite Lighting Gear?
Mel B: Well my studio is filled with Einstein’s, and I love them put on location I love my Cheetah Light, it was a game changer for me. Gives me the power I need without having to be a body builder to carry everything around.
GMM: Mac or PC?
Mel B: PC baby, PC…I don’t like fruit.
Shooting, Models, Locations
GMM: Do you have a favorite location to shoot?
Mel B: I have several actually, but spend countless hours in the summer scoping new locations on my motorcycle (my second love). I am drawn to “grungy” I am always looking for this type of location, I love the contrast between the model and the location.
GMM: Do you bring Hairstylist and Make up artist to your shoots?
Mel B: Not always but when It’s in the budget definitely.
GMM:Do models try to play you for gimmees? If so, does it work?
Mel B: LOL, ALL THE TIME, sometimes it works, what can I say I’m a sucker for a pretty girl.
GMM: Do you find it challenging to be around such beautiful models?
Mel B: Not at all, shooting models is great because unlike other areas of photography, they want to be there as well…not to mention I am happily married to a woman that supports me 100%.
GMM: Do you use model mayhem?
Mel B: I do, not always successfully, but it has worked out a time or two. I just don’t seem to have much like with them showing up.
GMM: What is your favorite social network?
Mel B: Facebook, invaluable source of FREE advertising.
GMM: What do you love about Facebook and what do you hate about Facebook?
Mel B: Free advertising and all the whining.
GMM: Do you think photographers get a bad rap?
Mel B: Absolutely, unfortunately there are a few bad eggs in every bunch. It’s not a dating service guys.
GMM: What is the worst experience you can remember from a photoshoot?
Mel B: My model showed up with her significant other and they had been fighting on the way over. When she walked in her eyes were all red a swollen due to crying and her makeup was a mess. I politely asked her partner to leave us and get a cup of coffee so I could calm her down, his response “you can have her”, he left and never came back. We didn’t end up shooting that day, I had to give her a ride home but we did re-schedule and knocked it out of the park.
GMM: Do you see a solid career for the bikini models?
Mel B: I would have to say as long as there are men and beer in the world YES!
GMM: Is there anything you want to express now that people should know about this business?
Mel B: It is a business! It’s not like it looks in the movies, all glamorous and stuff. I spend more time scouting, booking and post processing than I do shooting. If you think you are going to just take picture, you won’t be around long. This is a big one, don’t sell yourself short. The biggest mistake I see with new photographer is under charging. This sets a residence and people are unwilling to pay what you are worth once you figure out you are worth it. Gear is not cheap and this is a business….you need to treat it as one. Most of all have fun! If it stops being fun, you lost sight.