Henk Van Kooten << Back
After 8 years of balancing two careers, Henk decided to open his own studio in the town of Nijmegen in 1997. He was told he had a distinct style of his own, which was seen as something completely new across the globe. His customers appreciated the way he photographed, which played a part in creating some part of his present style, since they were the source of his inspiration.
He was able to grow his photography business by giving workshops, master classes and lectures across Europe and the U.S. Henk’s wife helps tremendously with the business as well. Christina works full-time doing sales, marketing, networking, make-up and styling.
Currently, Henk is the Chairman of the MPA and is proud to have been the President of the MPA in 2010-2011. He is also part of the Federation of European Photographers Judging in Brussels. Henk sees making mistakes, taking risks, and making last-minute decisions in photography as a necessity.
Henk has won numerous awards, including the International Wedding Photographer of the Year Award twice, the Lichfield Award (for the most creative use of people), the British Institute of Professional Photography awarded him for ‘Overseas Wedding,’ ‘Fashion and Glamour,’ ‘Commercial,’ and ‘Overall Photographer of the Year 2004’. Henk was the first Dutch photographer, and the sixth in Europe, to gain the title of Master Qualified European Photographer. He became a member of the PPA in America in 2007, and in 2009 also joined the Spanish Association FEPFI. In 2010 he was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Irish Photographers Association (FIPPA).
I don’t think there is a magical tool to success. It is all related to who you are. Your attitude, your personality, and your quality. Learn your own techniques, do your own marketing and what people will see is you. Like Frank Zappa said, ‘You are what you is’.” “The best marketing advice I ever received was to focus on what you want, one thing at a time. The industry is different from what it was 10 years ago. Photography is a business now more than ever. It’s not just about big talent, and working hard, it’s about networking, planning and business models. If you see from a passionate point of view, marketing can be the hardest part. It interferes with your creative process. In that case, your marketing should be more based on networking, talking, and exhibitions. If you look at photography as a business, quality is often no longer the main goal. Calculated emotions are used to connect and sell. This is the danger zone of today’s photography as a profession because it blocks evolving and innovating photography. You start to shoot for fear instead of shooting from the heart. If you look at photography as a profession, the combination works if you include creation, networking, personality, passion, and emotions. Everything comes together in balance. A professional photographer is not just the creator, not just a business person, it’s an honor.