20 Questions with Dorset Business News: Photographer Zelda de Hollander of Studio Shotz Photography takes the hotseat

By Andrew Diprose, Editor 

Each week we shine the spotlight on a member of Dorset’s business community and ask him, or her, for answers to our part fun/part serious questionnaire. This time…

She loves the smell of fresh flowers – and sizzling bacon – has been enjoying spaghetti bolognese since the age of five, enjoys meeting new people in her job and gets very frustrated at headshots which have been overly airbrushed.

Photographer Zelda de Hollander, of Studio Shotz Photography, takes the 20 Questions’ hotseat.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: Recently I’ve been absolutely loving the writing of Phoebe Waller-Bridge so I binge-watched Fleabag and Killing Eve in a matter of days. Already tempted to re-watch them both!

Q: Who would you like to share a car with?

A: Annie Leibovitz. Would love to have a conversation with her about portraiture.

Q: The best bit of my job is…?

A: Meeting new people. Before every photo shoot I try and sit down with people, for even five minutes and just have a chat. Find out more about them. Also, it might sound a bit cheesy but I absolutely love showing people how good you can look without filters and Photoshop…

Q: And the worst…?

A: People that assume this isn’t my job and ask if this is my ‘weekend’ job/side hustle and what do I actually do?

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: My dad. I lost him a few years ago but he was the one that convinced me to become self-employed and go after my dream job of being a photographer.

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

A: Fresh flowers – or sizzling bacon.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in Dorset?

A: Bournemouth beach. Any weather. It’s just a beautiful place. You can’t beat a good storm and cloud formation though.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a career?

A: Being passionate about your job is so important, but my advice is to actually get as much education as you can. I have a degree in commercial photography. It not only taught me photography but how to be in business, how to market myself and the behind the scenes nuts and bolts of running a creative business.

Q: What was your first record/CD?

A: I don’t actually remember exactly but it’s got to be something terribly embarrassing like Backstreet Boys or N Sync.

Q: What gets you angry?

A: A lack of manners. They’re free. Just be treated the way you’d want to be treated.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

A: My favourite band is Stereophonics, so anything by them. But recently my Alexa has got bored of me playing Twin Atlantic – Novocaine on repeat.

Q: What are the qualities you look for in a new employee?

A: I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to business, but the amazing contractors I work with such as event organisers, make-up artists, stylists etc need to be organised, friendly, helpful. Being a real people person in this line of work helps immensely.

Q: What’s your favourite food or dish?

A: I’ve had the same favourite meal since I was five – Spaghetti Bolognese. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it.

Q: Steamed sponge pudding and custard or a plate of melon?

A: Well I can’t eat dairy so not the custard! Reluctantly, then, the melon.

Q: Name the best thing about living/working in Dorset?

A: The amount of diversity we have in such a small area; from the scenery of the beach to the countryside to the massive range of industries we have. There’s everything and more in Dorset!

Q: If you were Prime Minister for the day what would be the first thing you do?

A: Give more money and resources to the NHS. That’s the only correct answer, right?

Q: What’s your biggest frustration?

A: Terrible filters and heavy use of Facetune. You’re already beautiful; don’t mess with your face so it doesn’t even look like you anymore!

Q:  Where’s your favourite holiday location?

A: It may have been a ‘working’ holiday but I LOVED New York when I went with my university class. It was January or February and  -7ºc out but there was so much to see, to do and the people were so kind. They just loved our ‘posh’ accents! We spent the entire time taking photos. Absolute perfection.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

A: Hopefully still taking photos! As long as I’m doing that I’ll be happy.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: Being the friendly expert behind the camera, helping to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera and looking great too!

View the full article on the Dorset Business News website here

Venus Magazine Cover & Feature

Was absolutely delighted to be asked to photograph not only the cover image for the new Venus Magazine, but also 2 features. The cover girl is Emma-Jane Taylor an Entrepreneur, TV Presenter on The Well-Being Show aka The Inspirational Mentor and author. Emma graced the cover of the magazine photographed in the picturesque Chandelier Bar in Christchurch, followed by a studio photo shoot, along with a few outfit changes, back at Studio Shotz. Here are my favourite images from the shoot…


For the Thames Valley London edition on the Venus Magazine, I also went on a road trip to Reading to photograph Sir John Madejski at the Madejski stadium. Sir John welcomed us into his penthouse apartment for a feature interview and my photo shoot, EK! Lucky for me, his apartment has a gorgeous wrap around deck that showcased the entire city of Reading. He also had numerous paintings, photographs and memorabilia which made for great backgrounds and props (I love the gnome!).

In the middle of Sir John’s penthouse was a beautiful black grand piano, I asked if he wouldn’t mind posing for me while playing “Oh, I only play this thing when I’m drunk” I think I’m quite persuasive and he looked so happy tinkling the ivories…

Why are Digital Files so Important to Photographers?

“Oh, that’s expensive! All you’re doing is burning the pictures to a CD”

You’d be surprised how often I hear this. Clients nowadays seem to assume that digital files are included in all photo shoot packages. I believe this is solely the fault of amateur and hobbyist photographers, I do not know ANY PROFESSIONAL photographer that give digital files away included with packages, or very very cheaply.

It has become the norm to see £40 shoot and burn, but this is because amateurs do not have to make a living from what they’re doing. They have a day job. They believe they are beating the professionals at their own game, being cheap & getting the clients. Probably not realising that what they’re doing is not only losing them money, but irreparably damaging the industry they love so.

Would you be happy if someone with basic knowledge of your industry came into your place of work and offered to do your job for a fraction of the cost?. . . you’d be out of a job. By giving your money to an amateur you are taking my business away from me, the experienced professional & my contemporaries.

Ok, so almost everyone that has a computer will have some form of photo editing software on it, most popular being Adobe Photoshop. This is one of the major reasons why I am so against giving digital files to clients, they will ‘tinker’ with (Photoshop) my images. Especially with the popularity of such phone apps as Instagram, editing photos in just 1 click. That client will then turn the image I have worked hours on into something that I did not intend it to be; possibly losing my photographic style, even the original quality. When you upload that edited image to Facebook & tell all your friends where you got it done – how do you know you’re not now damaging my business? As what your friends are seeing is not what I gave you.  A Photographer’s learned skill, individual style, knowledge and time spent on your set of images should also be considered.

To combat this, I offer both colour and black&white versions of all purchased digital images for my clients, as well as any specific amendments that they wish.

You may see an hour spent taking the photos – but in actual fact that photographer will probably spend on average 8 – 16 hours just on your set of images. This is mainly due to editing of your images; this is not just ‘Photoshopping’ them, it includes uploading, backing up, sifting through & picking out the best images, individually colour correcting, cropping, airbrushing, re-naming and backing up the edited images, this all before I’ve even uploaded them for you to view. So that 30 minute or hour long photo shoot has turned into 2 full day’s work. This time scale comes from preparation time, including checking equipment of setting up the studio, time spent photographing the client, uploading time, backing up original files, editing, uploading to online album, sorting through and checking orders and print quality, as well as any additional time required for ordering, client liaisons and shipment.

“But photography’s free! Taking digital photos doesn’t cost anything!”

Oh boy, how wrong you are! Let’s just do a little maths – That 30 minute shoot, £40 shoot and burn yes? If I worked 6 days a week, 3 shoots a week, every week – I’d be making a grand total of £6240…… Hmm, that’s not quite right now is it? What do you make a year? Let’s say £20,000? That’s already £130 for your shoot – Oh, but wait. I haven’t included my overheads! I have a studio with rent and rates, and a website and a phone, insurance, those cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, sample products and background papers didn’t just buy themselves. . . . . . And, don’t I deserve a week off, maybe even two? (Well…That’s now working out as a minimum of £350 for just your small 30 minute shoot)

Giving away digital files also brings up the question; who owns the image!? The photographer took it, so initially full copyright is with them (or that studio). But giving you the high resolution file, does the customer now own that file, enabling them to do whatever they wish with it. Even sell it for profit? Let’s go back to basics, you browse photographers by their previous portfolio work, check out their photographic style, how they work. Well….if they’re giving away all the digital files, legally they can’t advertise with those images because you now own them. So what are they expected to advertise with?

I do sell my digital files, as there is a strong trend at the moment for this & I’m not prepared to completely deny my customers, but I feel I do price my images accordingly.  I offer Full Usage Rights with my high resolution images which, long story short, means that I still own the copyright to the image so you cannot sell it on, however you do get a high resolution file which you can then print, store,  reproduce, upload to Facebook but I still have the rights to advertise with it – everyone gets what they want!

For any beginner photographers out there, my advice is Do Not Shoot and Burn….or if you do, make sure you price it correctly.