Podcast Episode 10: This is Linda Bouritius
For the tenth episode of our This is Reportage Podcast we’re thrilled to be bringing you the fantastic Linda Bouritius! Based in the Netherlands, Linda was ranked 28th in the World in our Top 100 Photographers of 2019 and has won 7 Lifetime TiR Awards (including 3 Story Awards). Her work is full of life; vibrant, exciting and dynamic – it was an honour to interview her for the Podcast. Linda covers lots of really interesting subjects, including:
dealing with the unpredictability of our industry, what she used to do before being a wedding photographer and how some people were surprised at her change in direction, setting an example for her daughter, shooting concerts and music, why she specifically got into weddings (They’re “like a mini-festival, but on a personal level” – love that quote!), what it was like choosing a wedding photographer – and the day itself – from a bride’s perspective (Linda was recently married), how important it was to have her husband involved in the decision as much as possible, the important realisation that people have busy lives, how she becomes part of the party in order to capture it intimately, “being as much of a guest as possible”, one of her most recent favourite TV series, how she balances being a mum and working, how one of her Reportage Award-winning images caused some controversy; how she dealt with this and how it affected her career and outlook, which day she would choose to ‘do a Groundhog Day’, the reasons why she chooses to deliver her images in a certain way and timeframe, her circle of booking to feedback, a memorable mistake and how she learnt from it, what makes a good wedding photographer, and more…
If you enjoyed this episode, leaving a little review on iTunes would be so massively appreciated – it’ll help the episodes get more visibility, and we really think these people deserve to be listened to by as many ears as possible!
Alan Law: Hey, Linda. How you doing?
Linda Bouritius: Hi, Alan. Hi. I’m doing great.
Alan Law: Good stuff. Thanks for joining us, all the way from Holland. How’s things with you? Has it been a good season?
Linda Bouritius: Yes, things are doing fine. It has been an excellent season, looking back at it. I must say, there’s been a little bit of a rough start.
Alan Law: Oh, really?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. 2019 has been a little bit strange in terms of … How do you say it? … Couples finding the right way to me.
Alan Law: Right. Okay.
Linda Bouritius: It’s a very slow start for my inquiries, but in the end, everything all came together. And, I must say, the couples that have been with me, this year, have been amazing. So, I’m really blessed with that.
Linda Bouritius: It’s been a bit scary, but I think that a lot of colleagues recognized that’s for the start of a year. Like, are you going to get the bookings that you want, or not? But, it all worked out fine this year. So, that was really great.
Alan Law: That’s great. And, it is kind of scary every year, isn’t it, really? I guess, it’s part of our job, not really knowing when the inquiries are coming in.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. I would say, this season has been my fourth full-time season of shooting weddings. So, I was kind of hoping, like, maybe after three years, you should be able to have some kind of, I don’t know, customer base, or name, or…
Alan Law: Repeat business. That’d be funny.
Linda Bouritius: … Brand, out there, that should be providing you for a certain amount of certainty. But, I think, yeah, it’s something that comes with being your business owner, and also, the type of business that we have, because we don’t work with a lot of returning customers. I hope.
Alan Law: Yeah, that’s true. You hope not.
Linda Bouritius: So, yes.
Alan Law: Buy one get one free.
Linda Bouritius: For me, it is a struggle, every year. And, it’s really something that I need to get my shoulders up, and get my confidence up good to manage that. Every year, I know it will work out fine, but you always have these dark months, in winter, when there’s no weddings, and no joy, and just you, and your computer. Then, you can easily start to doubt whether you’re in the right direction with your work. Especially, if inquiries aren’t running. But, luckily for next year, things are looking really good, so hopefully, these dark months are more relaxed, this year.
Alan Law: That’s good. Good. Oh, that’s really good. You say in your This is Reportage bio that, “some people were surprised when I took a giant leap of faith, and quit my job to start my own photography business”. So, can you tell us about that? What did you used to do?
Linda Bouritius: I used to work in communications. I think, in the last few years, primarily, in marketing communications, and some online communications. I worked for a big automotive brand in the Netherlands. And, my last assignment was with a truck company. So, I worked, mainly, in business-to-business, making sure our dealers were able to attract clients who were interested in buying trucks.
Alan Law: Okay.
Linda Bouritius: That’s a completely different business, but it was a really good job. A really big company, so there was a lot of securities, there. I became a mom, so I think, my daughter wasn’t even a year when I decided to quit my job. A little bit out of the loop for my employer, but for myself, it was a process already started a long time ago. I think it was …
Linda Bouritius: Especially, my daughter. She pushed me, or at least, I wanted to set an example for her, that you can choose your profession, whenever you want, and can change it, whenever you want. I remember that my mom, especially, got a little bit scared about my decision, because she was like, “Oh, you got a mortgage, you got a kid. What are you going to do?” I was like, “Yeah, well, I need to take this jump, and if it don’t work out, I know I still have my education, and my resume, and my former employer, that I could always give a ring back.” There were some kind of securities there, but, yeah. I just took a job in a restaurant, for the first few months, and then, started up my photography from scratch.
Alan Law: Wow. Cool. That must have been pretty scary. What was it about that time, specifically, then, that made you just want to do something else, then?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. I think, I was almost at the company for nine years. I’ve been working at various operation companies, so not always for the same brand, or the same business, but always within the same kind of work. And, I was feeling like, within the communications field, I reached my ceiling. I don’t know how you call that.
Alan Law: Right. Sure. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: Then, basically, next, there was a management position, or something like that, and I was 28, 29, at the time. I wasn’t feeling like, I was mature enough, or senior enough, to take on a position like that. I was also feeling like, I wasn’t doing something that was really in line with how I was looking at life. For example, making sure that there are more trucks on the road. It’s not something I like, because I generally hate them being on the road, and causing traffic bumps, and stuff like that. Also, they’re not that environmentally friendly… Those are things that … Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: I think, especially, when you also become a parent, you start to think about, “Okay. What is my footprint in life, and what do I contribute?” So, I kind of, forgot your question, but that was a little bit, what the process started, and made me realize I want to do more with what I do, and give something back, maybe. Something for me, as well.
Alan Law: Did you have weddings in mind, at that time, when you left?
Linda Bouritius: Not specifically. I, actually, I think, during the last years being employed, I started, in my free time, picking up the camera. I was shooting concerts, and musical events, and I was doing that for an online radio station, and for some concert guides, kind of, platform. It was all voluntary basis. Basically, you get into a festival for free, and you just shoot pictures.
Alan Law: Nice. Okay.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. For me, at the time, it was nice. I was finding out that the energy I got from just one day shooting, was more than I get from four weeks at work.
Alan Law: Oh, that’s cool. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: So, I had to change that balance. I also recognized that music is very big passion of mine, that I wanted to keep that a private thing, and not a work thing. That I wanted it to be special, just with my husband. We will just be sitting, and enjoying music, instead of me walking out on him, all the time. “I have to see this band. I’d have to walk there.”
Linda Bouritius: I think, I was always … So, I just started out in doing some newborn shoots, family shoots. Did some shoots for my former employer, when they had business meetings, or stuff like that. But, I think, weddings always attracted me, in some way, because I’m a little bit of a romantic.
Alan Law: That’s cool.
Linda Bouritius: And, I think, for me, it was the kind of photography where it all came together. It contains portraits, it contains daily life, it contain beauty. There’s music in it. There’s party in it. So, for me, it’s like a mini festival, but then, on a personal level. So, that, really, was what translated my early kind of photography into weddings.
Alan Law: I love that description, there. “Like a mini festival, but on a personal level.” That’s a great way to describe weddings.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. That’s how I like to enjoy them. So, I will see a wedding every weekend, now.
Alan Law: That’s cool. Oh, that’s cool.
Linda Bouritius: You can really dive into one person. I always thought, “How cool would it be, if you’re like, actually, at a music festival, and you had this one person, or photographer, who could follow you, and your group of friends around, for all the day. I don’t know if that’s the business case, yet.
Alan Law: Ah, you should try it. I bet, there’d be a lot of people who’d like that. You should go for it.
Linda Bouritius: The rich, and famous, at Coachella or something.
Alan Law: You were married, yourself, quite recently. Was that about a year ago?
Linda Bouritius: Yes.
Alan Law: Cool.
Linda Bouritius: Last year, in October. So, a year, and a month, right now.
Alan Law: Cool. Well, happy anniversary. Just over.
Linda Bouritius: Thank you.
Alan Law: And, you had, was it Yves Schepers, shot your wedding, was it?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. Together with Dries Rengle
Alan Law: Ah, cool. And, how was that, being on the other side? From a bride’s perspective. What was that like?
Linda Bouritius: It was amazing. I can fully recall that there was this one moment, on that day, and my guests were in one room, and I was just moving around a little bit, just looking around me. I saw the two guys working really hard, and I was like, “Ah, I don’t have to work today.” That was so nice. I got married after the season, also.
Linda Bouritius: I think, I really had some really nice couples, that I could close last season with. I felt, with every bone in my body, that I was ready for my own wedding, and I was done with other peoples’ wedding, for a few months. So, during the wedding, I was the most confident in them, of course. It was so nice to see other people work for you, for a change.
Alan Law: You could eat the food, guilt-free, as well.
Linda Bouritius: Yes! Make sure everything there is of your choice, and drink as much as possible.
Alan Law: That’s always good. And, it’s interesting. How did you find your photographer? Did you always have someone in mind, or did you go through a process? I think, as wedding photographers, we’re always thinking about, how do brides, and grooms, find us? I’m just wondering, how did you find your photographer.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. This is funny, because, I think, that’s the most asked question. Couples ask me, after the last year, when they found out that I got married myself. Like, “Oh, who was your wedding photographer, and was it difficult?” People always assume that, for me, as a wedding photographer, that it was very difficult to find a photographer, but I always say, it’s like, we’ve got first choice. We know. We know the people.
Linda Bouritius: I think, we have a very different process than a regular wedding couple, that is starting with a blank sheet, and just diving into this new world of weddings, and getting to know names, and learning names, and learning about styles, and what’s out there. I think we, as wedding photographers, have a front row seat on the business, and knowing what is there. So, for me, it was very easy. I think, we had a short list of four names.
Alan Law: That is a short list.
Linda Bouritius: That’s a very short list. Yeah. I think, we both had a little bit, like, okay, maybe, not a Dutch photographer, sometimes also, makes it a little bit easier to look a little bit abroad.
Alan Law: Why did you think, specifically, not a Dutch photographer?
Linda Bouritius: Maybe, because … I’ve had this talk with Dutch colleagues as well, and they said, “Sometimes, it’s easier to say, “Well, we go abroad.”,” so we don’t offend anybody.” And even though Belgium feels like the Netherlands. We speak the same language. I’ve loved Yves’ work for a long time, already. And, I think, what really helps, that we’ve met each other for a couple times, already, during other conferences, and other seminars, and we have this group of Dutch and Belgium friends, but a wedding photographer group that we are both part of, so we also know each other a little bit outside of work. For me, especially, it was very important that my husband was having a great connection with them, as well.
Alan Law: That part of it is so important, isn’t it? It’s not just their photographic skill, it’s … You need to be able to get on with them, and click with them, as a person as well.
Linda Bouritius: Yes. I know, I think, what we did was, having both Yves and Dries, they have good chemistry together, but also, they’re very different, in types of character. And, I think that really reflects, also, on how me and my husband are, in types of character, I think. Dries is a little bit more outgoing, which is more, my personality. Yves can be a little bit more in the background, but still, having his eyes open, and feeling, and hearing everything, and it’s more, how I see my husband.
Linda Bouritius: Just, like a great mix of, also, what we want to see in our images, but also, in terms that we connected together. I wanted to include my husband, of course, as much as possible, as well, so it’s not just me, because I am the wedding photographer, and I make all the decisions about wedding photography. But, he was really involved, and he was, actually, making the final decision.
Alan Law: Okay. Cool.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah.
Alan Law: He made good choices. I mean, I met Yves. I’ve met him a couple times, at Nine Dots Gathering. He’s a brilliant, and lovely guy, and a brilliant photographer, as well. So, yeah.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah.
Alan Law: Were you a good client? Did you give them, like, a hundred group shots to do?
Linda Bouritius: No. That’s, actually, very…that’s the other way. I experienced, because … You know what it’s like to be a wedding photographer. You know, also, what the frustrating parts of the job are, so you also want to be, like, “Okay.” I felt like, “Okay, I want to give them, also, the best day of their lives,” a little bit. So, we want to make sure that they’re taken care of the right way, and they have food in time. Yes, we did have some group shots, but we’re not the types that have, luckily for them, the 50 choice of lists or something like that.
Alan Law: That’s funny. Cool. And, you were happy with the photos, I’m sure?
Linda Bouritius: Really happy. Yes. We, actually, we just ordered our album. Or, I make my albums. We sit down, two weeks ago, together, just to really run through the pictures again, and made an album. It’s been over a year.
Alan Law: Oh, right, yeah? That’s funny.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah, life happens. We had been on a honeymoon, for six weeks. We traveled to New Zealand, and when we got back, we got the pictures, but then, life started again, and school, and kids. We shared the pictures with your family, and then, yeah. Wedding season starts. And at the end of the season we’re like, “Okay, now, it’s time for our wedding album, first.”
Alan Law: Oh, okay. That’s cool. A good time to do it, just after your anniversary, though.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. Yeah. We had a nice opportunity, there. But, it also made me realize, sometimes, I’m a little bit worried, like, if I’m known to get an immediate response from my clients, or they’re not responding in the timing I was hoping for. I now realize, they have lives.
Alan Law: Ah, that’s cool …
Linda Bouritius: We’re just a part of it. And I’m sure, if you’re not an important part of it, you would’ve known, as well. And, if there’s something wrong, you would’ve known. No news, isn’t always bad news.
Alan Law: That’s so true. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. People have things in their life, that are happening in their life, that are just more of a priority. For example, getting you a certain number of images for their wedding album.
Alan Law: Yeah. I mean, that’s so true, and that’s great you’ve been able to see both sides of life, like that, because, I think, a lot of wedding photographers can get kind of upset, or wonder what is going on, when they don’t hear back from someone straight away. But, yeah, life happens, and some things are more important.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. As wedding photographers, we, of course, play special role in keeping their memories alive. It’s their memories, and their lives, in the end, I think.
Alan Law: That’s so true. Yeah. For you, personally, go back to you, as a wedding photographer. Which part of the wedding, do you enjoy capturing the most?
Linda Bouritius: I think, the party.
Alan Law: Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: I would say, getting ready, because I really like to … It depends, a little bit. Sometimes, the getting ready, in the Netherlands, is like, thirty minutes, with a bride.
Alan Law: Oh, wow. That’s pretty short.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah, or thirty, thirty-five minutes. And then, it’s just, for me, some safe shots, some beauty shots, a little bit of the environment, and the friends there, getting into the dress, and it’s a little bit rushed. But, sometimes, the couples booked me, are like, “Okay, for an hour, and a half.” And I really have time to play in the morning, that I really like. But, I must say that, the feeling of the party, like, there’s no further itinerary for the day.
Linda Bouritius: It’s just you, and your guests, and having fun. As a wedding photographer, I really like to jump straight into this energy, and become part of the party, without me having drinking on the dance floor. Yeah. Going with the flow, and get close, and really make the connection, there, with all the guests. I really like the energy that’s in a party.
Linda Bouritius: People always ask, “Is it still nice to make pictures, of like, the drunk people?” But, I will say, “It’s not, like, angry drunk, or annoying drunk.” Sometimes, people can be annoying, but that’s maybe one percent. Most of the time, it’s like, this energy that gets extra, extra much out of it, and I really like to be on that high with them.
Alan Law: That’s cool. Do you dance, as well, yourself, as you’re photographing?
Linda Bouritius: Yes. Really, I think, that during the whole day, be as much of a guest as possible. If they have a dress code, I like to dress accordingly to it. A client of mine had a disco party, as their party theme.
Alan Law: Okay.
Linda Bouritius: After dinner, they had an hour free that people could get re-dressed, and they had a special dressing room for that, and everybody getting their disco outfit, and lots of glitters, and everything, was all there. So, I made sure I also brought, like, a glitter t-shirt for myself. So people say, “Hey, she’s making an effort, and she’s part of our day, and she’s one of us.” And, it makes it really easy for me to connect with my clients, and their guests, and get the kind of shots that I want, that I really like in there, and in that moment.
Alan Law: That’s so cool. That’s really good advice, as well. ‘Cause they’ll just be a lot more relaxed in your presence, and you’ll be able to get right in there, and yeah. All good. That’s cool. So, to change tack slightly, what’s your favorite Netflix, or other, streaming service TV series? Or, what are you watching, at the moment?
Linda Bouritius: Oh.
Alan Law: Do you watch much telly?
Linda Bouritius: No. Almost, only on demand. I don’t watch much. But, one of the things, it’s not … They’ve just stopped airing it. I was watching it on, we call it Video Land here, I don’t know what UK version is of it. But, I really loved Handmaid’s Tale.
Alan Law: Oh, cool. I’ve not seen that. Yeah. Is that really good?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. It’s a little bit of a surreal story, but I love the visual elements in it. I had a discussion with a friend of mine, as well. It’s, like, really focusing on the highlights, and it’s symmetrical, and it’s playing with the reds, and the whites. Yeah, it’s a really visual eye pleaser. And, I think, a good story about … It’s like, politics, and how it can go wrong, in the future. I think, it also has a great message for today, in it.
Alan Law: Oh, okay. I’ll have to watch. I’ve never read the book. Have you read the book?
Linda Bouritius: No, I haven’t.
Alan Law: Ah, okay. I should check that out. Cool.
Linda Bouritius: No, I don’t have a show that I’m really following right now. So, more like, inbetween editing, and …what was I watching the other day…like The Good Place. That’s more like a funny show, about people are thinking they’re going to The Good Place, which is actually Hell, and then, about, afterlife. It’s really, like, how you call … Like, an absurd kind of comedy show, with Kristen Bell.
Alan Law: Ah, okay. That sounds good. I like stuff to do with the afterlife.
Linda Bouritius: I have a really broad spectrum of things that I like. It’s the same with music. I really like little unknown singer-songwriters, but as much as I like Beyoncé, or big names that are out there. I’ve got a broad perspective of that sense.
Alan Law: That’s cool, though. That’s good to have a wide range.
Linda Bouritius: And, I’m watching a lot of Disney Channel, at the moment, with my kids, which is funny. Road to Memory Lane, for me.
Alan Law: What’s your favorite Disney film?
Linda Bouritius: Robin Hood.
Alan Law: Ah, really?
Linda Bouritius: The one with the fox.
Alan Law: Ah, yeah. You know, I used to fancy Maid Marian, in that.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. I fancied Robin. We have something in common.
Alan Law: That’s really funny. I haven’t seen that in years. That is great, though. That is really good. Yeah, so, you mentioned your kids, there. You’ve got two children, haven’t you?
Linda Bouritius: Yes, that’s correct.
Alan Law: How do you find balancing home life, and being a mom, and the endless hours of being a wedding photographer?
Linda Bouritius: I think, this past year, has been the first year that I was able to cope with it. Like I said, in the beginning, when I started out deciding I wanted to become a photographer, my daughter just turned one, basically.
Alan Law: Right.
Linda Bouritius: So, in her first year, second year, basically, I was all about me building up my business, and finding out what I wanted to do, and in 2016, I decided to go full on weddings. In February, of that year, my son got born.
Alan Law: Wow, okay.
Linda Bouritius: So, he was born in February, and in May, I had my first full season of eighteen weddings starting. That was a difficult year.
Alan Law: How did you do that?
Linda Bouritius: I don’t know. At one end, I was like, “This is my time. This is my path that I’ve chosen, as a photographer, and I want to go for that.” But, I also, at the other end, I chose to be a mom. I had to be committed to that, as well. So, that was kind of a struggle, that year, and it wasn’t, I think, one of the prettiest years in my life. I think, it was all about surviving. You have your kids, you have your career, but you also have your husband, so, I think, he was the one hurting the most from that year.
Linda Bouritius: Also, early 2017, after that season, I went to a workshop in Thailand, with two other Dutch photographers. We visited the Two Mann workshop.
Alan Law: Ah, cool.
Linda Bouritius: Honestly, I wasn’t … I learned a lot, but for me to be away from home, to have some beach around me, and some sun, was the best experience I could give myself, after this year. And, especially, also, the talks that I had with the people, over there about, I’m dealing with motherhood. Also, being your own business owner, and combining that. Especially with travelling, and working long hours.
Linda Bouritius: So, I think, coming from that, I think, I knew things had to change. Simple things in the house. I was always working everywhere. We said, “Okay, we got to build an office, in the house.” And, when I’m in the office, nobody can disturb me. But, when I’m out of the office, there’s no business involved, anymore. So, I realized … Started to scheduling the things. And, my kids now know, if mama is at the attic, she’s there, you better leave her alone. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: And, I think, also, in the first year, you really want to prove yourself as a photographer, because there’s so many of us out there. And, you really want to show that, “Hey, there’s me. I’ve my unique voice, and I want to make a change in this industry,” and, really, want to work your butt off, basically, to prove yourself. And, I think, now, in the business for over four years, I’m letting go of that, a little bit, as well.
Linda Bouritius: I think, with letting that go, there’s more room for my family. And, I think, this year, we really made … I think, they’re a little bit older, now. They’re three, and five. So, no diapers, anymore. One is at school.
Alan Law: That’s cool. That makes quite a difference, when one’s at school. It’ll be even bigger difference, when they’re both at school.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. They’re both at school, within three months.
Alan Law: All right.
Linda Bouritius: Next year’s going to be Heaven, though. To be honest, I think, this year, really made me realize how fast time has been going. And, especially, this last half year, with having my son still around me, not every day, but three days in a week, I really want to make the most out of it. It’s not that… We haven’t planned crazy stuff, but just hanging on the couch, and watching Disney moves, together. It’s like, this time is precious, and next year, he’s going to be at school, and we don’t have that time anymore.
Linda Bouritius: The shift, I think, in mindsets this year, that I want to be more present at home, and that work is nice, but it’s not everything. Yeah. I want to make a better balance. I think, yeah, I’m proud of the way things have gone, this last year.
Alan Law: That’s cool. It sounds like you’ve got it all sorted. That’s great. And, I totally relate to what you’re saying about this time being precious. I’ve got an eight year old, and a five year old, and he just started school a few months ago, and I miss him now. I love my time with them, when they were little and here, so it’s a funny time.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. I was just telling you, most of the time, we’re just telling each other, the other night, the last two or three weekends, I was at home, for the first time, in months. So, we had this consecutive weekends together, and it’s really so rich. We’re feeling really rich, by having that. Even though it’s worth it, it’s only one Saturday, and you’re still with your family on Sunday, but, on those Sundays, you have this wedding hangover.
Linda Bouritius: It’s like, “Oh, I’ve just been around hundred people for 24 hours. Get away from me.” Now, we’re really more involved, and always looking forward to the holiday season, and spending time with friends, and family, as well. And, picking up on my social life during those months. Yeah.
Alan Law: It’s so important. We can’t just work, work. Life’s not about working ourselves to the bone, you know? That’s not what life’s about. And, you mentioned just then about having a unique voice, as well. There’s a specific image you took (above), which caused a bit of discussion and controversy I think? You then won a Reportage Award for it, and you discussed it in our This is How series.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah, my sausage image.
Alan Law: Ha yeah, your sausage image. Can you tell us about that?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. Yeah. I think, that was one of my most favorite weddings. It was such a chaos, which I love. People are just doing their own thing, and it doesn’t matter. And, I think, the whole group of guests was already showing that that was such, how you call it, like a mixed crowd of people, from all over the place, which has a really nice vibe to it. It was a wedding that they had a stage for their reggae band, on it. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: People were literally just walking around smoking weed. Other people were sipping on their Diet Coke. It was … The whole day was so diverse, and a lot of contrasts in it, which I like to see in life. And, I think … I, actually, already finished working, and then, the bride asked me, “Do you want a sausage?” And, I was like … I was a vegetarian, at the time. I’m not anymore. So, I declined the sausage. And then, I looked around, and I saw the three ladies biting the sausage, and I’d just put down my camera, and I was like, “No, no, no. Not going to happen.” I picked it up, really quickly, then I made the shot.
Linda Bouritius: I think, it was picked up really quickly. It won a Fearless award, as well, and a Masters Award in the Netherlands, and I think, MyWed once made it an Image of the Day. That hit a lot … I don’t know if that’s their channel, or their audience, that have a lot of, “How can you post this?”, and, “It’s not flattering for the bride,” and, “It’s sexist,” and, I’m always like, “If it’s sexist, it’s something sexist in your imagination.” It’s just a girl eating a sausage. So, hey, what’s wrong with that?
Linda Bouritius: I do recall, when seeing the image, I’m all about having fun, and seeing humor in things, and I know the bride, especially that bride, she was all about that, as well. She was having a big laugh about the picture, as well, that actually took a picture a second after it, that she was even posing with her husband, licking the sausage. That’s something for her. And, it was a posed moment, so it wasn’t doing it for me. But, it showed me, really, what kind of bride she is. I was only honoring her day, and her way of being alive, and being all dressed up in a nice hat, and still eating a sausage with your friends, like with your bare hands. Yeah. I, especially, like that contrast in that image.
Alan Law: Yeah it’s super! And, it’s real life, it’s fun. And, those are the kinds of clients that, you know, you want to shoot more of, don’t you?
Linda Bouritius: Yes. Yeah. I’ve got a big frame of it, now, in my living room. So, if any clients are coming to visit me, for an intake, it’s the first image that they see. And, it always brings a smile to their face. Like, “Oh, this is funny.” Or, like, “Oh, that’s a great picture.” Or, if they’ve seen it before, or they already know it. So, for me, it’s a good, like, first checker how my couples respond, and if they really are, like, a true match.
Alan Law: That’s cool. A proper, like a, filter, straight away. That’s brilliant, I think. It must have been strange, having that kind of discussion around one of your images, though. It must’ve been a weird time.
Linda Bouritius: Yes! It’s always, like … It gives me, especially, a person that’s really, goes with the underbelly feeling. I don’t know if that’s … That’s how we call it in Netherlands. Underbelly.
Alan Law: Oh, okay.
Linda Bouritius: Just speak from your belly. I don’t know if that’s an expression… You feel strange vibes inside of you, like, “Eh. Doesn’t feel right.” It’s always like, if people really like, talked you down negative. At one point, it wasn’t just about the image, but also, about me, as a photographer, that was hurting my clients, I was like, “Hey, if you know me, I’m way at the other side of that spectrum.”
Linda Bouritius: But, it was also really nice to see that, because, I wasn’t entering the discussion, because I don’t think, it wasn’t even my discussion, that I started. I wasn’t feeling like, I should be, like, really get included myself, and get maybe more, rubbish thrown at me. But, it was really nice to see some other people stepping up. I think, that really shows, also, a little bit of a difference in types of photographers, that really liked a more old fashioned posts. Like, a wedding is not maybe, the best day of your life, but the most beautiful day of your life. And, it’s all about design, and details, and flowers, and stuff, which I generally alsoreally love at a wedding.
Linda Bouritius: But, it was really nice to see that there was this other groups standing up. I say, “Well, this is life. This is what we document, as well.” It’s not all about pretty poses, and directed scenes that you should take a picture of. This is what happens at a wedding. Why shouldn’t you capture it, because you’re paid to capture a wedding. I think, it’s really nice to see that they’re like … I think, there’s a more … I think the image already is two years old, now.
Linda Bouritius: I think, especially, if you look back five years ago, when I just started, you really had, like … photojournalism, in wedding photography, was really something like a new trend. And, I think, it’s now becoming more mainstream, and every type of wedding photographer includes photo journalism at one stage in their wedding, so it’s been more of a general basis, than a different type of wedding photography, anymore.
Alan Law: That’s true. It has changed a bit, hasn’t it? It’s a super image. Yeah, you wrote such a great piece about it. Exactly, how you got the shot, and your thoughts behind it, and how it’s impacted you. If people are listening on iTunes, or whatnot, I’ll include a link through to that piece. Definitely check it out. It’s brilliant.
Alan Law: So, to change tack slightly, if you could choose one day in your life, to live over and over again, like Groundhog Day … Have you seen Groundhog Day?
Linda Bouritius: Yes.
Alan Law: Yeah. I love that film. Which day would you choose to live over, and over, again?
Linda Bouritius: Oh, wow. That’s a difficult one.
Alan Law: It is a difficult one, isn’t it, yeah?
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. Be honest, I was thinking about my wedding day.
Alan Law: Ah, that’s cool. That is cool.
Linda Bouritius: Because, it ends, and the thing that sucked the most about getting married, it’s only one day, and it ends.
Alan Law: Right. Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: And, I really felt like I would want to relive that moment again, and again, and again. And that, maybe, I also realized why our pictures are so important. It’s funny, because it wasn’t the best, or the most important day of my life, like some people say, “Oh, when you get married, it’s the best day of your life.” I said, “Well, when you’re a mom, you know, that there are more days that are life changing, than that.” But, I think, the feeling that we had together, yes. I don’t mind reliving that.
Alan Law: That’s cool. Cool. That’s a great answer. It’s funny when people say it’s the best day of your life, though, because I think, that means every day going forward is going to be worse than this day, isn’t it? It’s like, the rest of your life … Yeah! It’s all downhill from here.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah.
Alan Law: That’s funny.
Linda Bouritius: Stop, after the wedding. Get divorced the day after. No. You know, I think, it’s also has a little bit to do with expectations, that it has to be the best day, and I think, sometimes, couples … I think, especially, brides are getting a lot of pressure on their shoulders. I must honestly say, as a bride, I was feeling a lot of pressure. Like, “My day has to be perfect.” And, also, because I’m a wedding photographer, people are going to look at, also, my pictures. They expect me to know weddings, so they expect it to be perfect. I don’t know.
Alan Law: Yeah, that’s true. I didn’t think of that.
Linda Bouritius: It’s the craziest thing, getting married. It does a lot with your emotions in all kinds of way.
Alan Law: Has that made you appreciate more than, now, when you’re photographing, maybe, what the bride’s going through, a bit more, now, as well?
Linda Bouritius: Yes. The whole preparation is not something that’s been come up with, in a week. So, I’m really like, “Okay, this is something you’ve been thinking about for, maybe, I don’t know, for a while. Like, even before you got proposed to, maybe.” And then, from the time I’m planning this … I think, most of the times, people are working on a wedding, for a year. So, I had some discussions, for example, with a colleague, about when you deliver your images. They would be like, “Yeah, you should deliver them, as soon as possible. In one, or two weeks,” and I’m like, “No.”
Linda Bouritius: The wedding wasn’t planned in two weeks. The feeling like, it ended so quickly, that really got to me. After two weeks, I was like, “I miss my wedding. Can we get back there? It was so amazing.” Yes. I always make sure my clients, within that period of two weeks, now, receive a slideshow. They can know, “Yes, it was that great.” You don’t get all your photos yet, but yes, it was that great. Here’s the highlights of your day, to remind you of that, and also, to make sure that you have something to show to your parents, because they will be all over you.
Linda Bouritius: I recognize that, when waiting for my own images. I don’t mind waiting, but telling people that I’m waiting is more annoying than the waiting, itself. For example, now I know that, if I give them, quite early in the process, a slideshow, like, eighteen highlights, images, they have something to chew on, for a while. But then, it’s still, at least, two months, to deliver the whole … They still have something to look forward to, when their day is over.
Alan Law: That’s cool.
Linda Bouritius: I think, my clients, my couples have given me the feedback, as well. I always invite them back over, when I have their album ready. Because they start at my dinner table, we start with a good conversation, and I like to wrap it up with an end conversation with them at the same table, again, and then, invite them over for the album, and looking back at the highlights of the day, looking at their experience with me working as their photographer, and getting some feedback on what’s expected.
Alan Law: Oh, wow, that’s really cool.
Linda Bouritius: They’re always telling me, like, “Aw … ” It feels like it’s been three, or maybe four months, in time, between shooting the wedding, and having them over for the album. Maybe, four months. So, it feels really fast, because I’ve been giving them sneak peeks, at first, and then slideshow, and then, everything, and then the album. So, we’re breaking it up, a little bit. Doesn’t feel like one waiting time.
Alan Law: Right, okay.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah.
Alan Law: That’s cool. Very cool.
Linda Bouritius: And, they still have something to look forward. After the album, OK, now it’s done…you need to book me in ten years for your renewal.
Alan Law: That’s cool. Back to your wedding work. Have you made any memorable mistakes, at any weddings?
Linda Bouritius: For my own wedding?
Alan Law: No. I mean, from your wedding work, as a photographer. Yeah. Have you made any mistakes? Any memorable ones?
Linda Bouritius: Yes. I know that, I had a wedding this year. There was also a videographer, and we didn’t connect at all.
Alan Law: Okay.
Linda Bouritius: My type of communication is quite direct. This is quite Dutch, we say. To be very open, and forward, because, I think, we’re under pressure during a wedding day, and I’m not there to read signals, or read someone’s mind. So, if there’s something wrong, or you want to have something done, please be, I would say, “This is me, if there’s something wrong, tell me. Be open about it, so we can fix it.” And, this was, a guy that was more like a passive aggressive type of communicator.
Alan Law: Ah, okay.
Linda Bouritius: And, I immediately felt like, when I entered … We’re not a good match, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s the couples’ choice, and we have to make it work. We’re both here playing for the same team … But, yeah. It got worse. He had some snarky comments, and stuff like that. And, instead of being, like, the better person, I really let him get under my skin.
Linda Bouritius: I realized, during the ceremony, which, I normally … When I enter the ceremony, I will double check my cards. Like, “Okay, this has been a long preparation time, and shooting time, before.” Then, sometimes, my cards are already, like, almost full. And then, I make sure that I start with new cards, before the ceremony. But, because I let the guy really get up to my nerves, so much. I wasn’t focused on my own work. So, I forgot to check my cards. By the time we got to the kiss, my card was full.
Alan Law: Oh, no! Nightmare!
Linda Bouritius: I, luckily, had two bodies. So, I steped backwards, where his second videographer was standing there. So, I was like, “Okay, elbow up in your face. Now, get the hell out of my picture.” So, I had to shoot it with an 85. And then, I had this brain fart, like, “Okay, get the 85 card out of it, and put it in my 35, so I could get the card as soon as possible.” But, the card was still writing when I took it out.
Linda Bouritius: So, then, I found out at home. I was like, “I did take a shot with an 85, but it wasn’t there, because …” I got a shot of the kiss, but I wasn’t in the right position, and I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and for me, it was a big list of, “Okay, you were there for your own job. And, yes, you make mistakes, but these are like, stupid, getting my ego in the way, or letting his ego get in the way of my work.” Yeah, that’s not going to happen, again.
Linda Bouritius: I think, that was my biggest mistake, I think, and one that I completely had myself only to blame, that I encountered, this year.
Alan Law: Well, that’s cool. That’s a cool story. We all make mistakes, all the time anyway. That is all good. So, I think, I’ve just got time for one last question. What, in your opinion, makes a good wedding photographer? It’s a deep one.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah. For me, it starts, all about a person that’s being able to empathise with other people, and able to connect with their needs. I think, there’s a difference. At least, that’s how I see it, personally, of course. For me, there’s a difference between someone who can take good pictures, or is a good photographer, if that makes sense. Or, is a good wedding photographer. You can be, like … Everybody can learn the same technical skills, but I think, what makes you different from the technical level, is how you interact with other people, and how you are able to connect with them.
Linda Bouritius: And, I think, that’s something I’ve learned from my previous work as a communications manager. I was always working on translating brands, or products, to people. I always say, in my work, I translate stories of human, people, of human beings, that are in love, and are together, into images. I think, if you want to be a good wedding photographer, you need to be able to read your clients, to know what they’re about, about what makes their, how do you call … Heart tick? Or, heart go faster, or … What tells something about their connection, what’s special about their love, and see that they’re not the same as a couple that you have next week, or the week before, and that they’re not irreplaceable, or interchangeable. I don’t know if that’s the right …
Alan Law: Yep.
Linda Bouritius: So, really, see the uniqueness of people, I think, that’s what should make you a really great wedding photographer. If that’s not too airy, or..
Alan Law: No! I think, that’s absolutely brilliant. Yep. That’s absolutely brilliant. That’s great. Linda, thank you so much. That was brilliant. That was so good.
Linda Bouritius: Thank you, so much, for inviting me. It was a really nice talk.
Alan Law: A really nice talk. And, honestly, that was so good. So open, and honest. So many nuggets of great info, in there. And, I really enjoyed talking to you. That was brilliant. Thank you.
Linda Bouritius: Thank you. You’re welcome.
Alan Law: And, I look forward to meeting you at the This is Reportage Christmas Party.
Linda Bouritius: Yes! It’s less than two weeks. I will be in London.
Alan Law: Yeah.
Linda Bouritius: Yeah! I’m pretty looking forward. I’ve already seen the list…there are a lot of people I’ve met, once or twice before, so I’m looking forward to reseeing them all again, and having some party, with you guys, together.
Alan Law: Ah, yeah, it’s going to be good. It’s going to be good. Looking forward to it. Awesome, Linda, thanks so much, and I’ll see you soon.
Linda Bouritius: See you soon. Bye-bye.
Alan Law: Bye-bye. Bye!
Thanks again to Linda for this fantastic interview! Visit her profile here on This is Reportage, her website, and the article she wrote for us about how she captured her ‘sausage’ image (spoken about in the Podcast) over here.
Remember that, if you’re enjoying our Podcast, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes (where you can also leave us a little review if you’d like to – we’d be so appreciative of that, and it helps more people find the show and enjoy these fab people).
Interested in joining This is Reportage? Now is a great time to join, as submissions to our first Collection of 2020 are open now – deadline is 23:59 GMT on 24th January 2020. If you’d like to get on our Top 100 Photographers list, entering the first of our six Collections of the year will give you the best chance to do so; members receive 60 Reportage Award entries and 18 Story Award entries per year, along with many other benefits. Apply to join us over here.