Throwback Thursday.

Before I forget. Happy New Year! And yes, I missed another opportunity to do a ‘lookback on 2016’ post. But while I was in my archive I stumbled on to these awesome guys.

Throwback to a great day in September 2009. Loes & Stijn.

This was my third wedding I ever shot… *nervewrecking* I consider this wedding among one of the weddings that helped set my style, when I just started out in wedding photography I remember that wasn’t alwayst the easiest thing to step out of the traditional wedding pictures. So my advice, follow your heart, follow your style, try to shoot pictures for yourself.

Shooting an enagagement always helped me to step out of a ‘working relation’ with the couples and it helps everyone to be much more relaxed on the wedding day.

Trivia: Did you know that Mr Automative Frederik Herregods was my wingman on this wedding ? Time flies man!

city engagement session in Ghent

I just love doing engagement shoots. Even more so if there is time to grab a coffee. I met up with Celine & Brecht on a cold and sunny morning and they walked me around one of the (to me) lesser known parts of Ghent.

Gear: Fujifilm XT2 & XF35 , XPRO2 & XF16mm and a strand of led christmas lights.

An engagement session is the perfect warm up for your wedding and a great way for us to get to know each other while having lots of fun shooting in a very relaxed and casual way. It will also help you forget about the camera on your special day and make you shine even more!

Not engaged but looking for some EPIC pictures? A beLoved session is the perfect gift for you and your loved one, a fun and casual session that will yield some great pictures. And if you dare think a portrait session would be dull … try me 😉 Special offers for Valentine’s day. Ask me!

I’m also shooting another round of Joyfulness sessions. Do get in touch! http://instagram.com/tomleuntjensphotography

The big step, Going full time

The back story

I’ve been working a full-time day-job at Skarabee as a developer for the past 15 years. 8 years ago I rolled into photography and started as a part-time photographer. Finding a balance between a full time job, photography and family was a tough exercise, but we always made it work. I say ‘we’, because without the support of my wife that wouldn’t have been possible.

In those last 8 years I learned that I really love photography, when I haven’t been out shooting for a while I really miss it. My focus was on wedding photography because that is my ‘thing’, but also because it is the easiest to combine with a day job. I haven taken on some commercial assignments too but for the most part I had to say NO to potential clients because I couldn’t fit it in my schedule.

A good friend of mine always thinks we can fit 30 hours in a day… I wish that was the case.

The turning point

Last year I invested some more time in personal work, blogging, social media, networking. I’ve taken on a couple of new opportunities and assignments, some outside my regular scope of work. I learned that when you invest time, new opportunities seem to find you. But soon I found myself having to say NO again … because of a lack of time, or not being able to always take a day off at work.

Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and take the leap.

The decision *with a small heart*

I quit my day job to go full time. I feel 80% excited and 20% scared. (and I’ll probably wake up tomorrow feeling 20%/80%) Leaving a fun job and colleagues that have become friends over the past 15 years isn’t easy, stepping away from a fixed income feels like jumping of a cliff.

I guess this is something that has been on my mind for a couple of years now but I always found a reason (excuse) not to make the switch.

Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and take the leap.

I don’t want to wake up in 5 years time and feel sorry for myself that I never went for it.

A midlife ?

A midlife I hear you ask. Sure, I’m at halfway mark to 40 but if this was a midlife I’d be happy to choose between a bike or a mistress. Considering I’m not even into bikes that much that would have been the easy choice. So not a midlife but a choice of heart AND a well thought of decision. I don’t want to wake up in 5 years time and feel sorry for myself that I never went for it.

It won’t just be photography

I don’t wan’t to wake up in 5 years regretting that I did (jump) either.

Front End (Web) development has always been a passion of mine. So as a consultant I’ll be offering my expertise as full stack developer too. That way I’ll maintain my IT skills and force myself to stay up to date with trends in design, and evolution in technology. Photography will be taking the forefront and on some projects I’ll even be able to combine my skills, but at least this way I’ll be able to manage my own agenda.

Lets connect – lets work together

So for 2017 my focus won’t just be on wedding photography. I welcome commercial assignments (event photography, portrait, product and architectural photography). Whether you need a hand on an in-house project/application or your company needs a fresh website or online-store for your company. I can now make myself available 😉

The future is what I’ll make of it. Wish me luck 😉

See you soon!