Nick van der Touw copy.jpg

Nick Van der Touw
South Africa
State / Region
Western Cape
900 rand per hour

I was raised and have lived most of my life in one of the most picturesque locations on the planet, Cape Town, South Africa. It wasn't until after school when I was deep into a four-year degree in Human Life Sciences that I discovered my passion for photography. I finished my post-grad in Behavioural Genetics, but by then was already spending any free time I had teaching myself photography. I worked for a year at a Tuberculosis research laboratory before I quit and took the leap into photography full-time. The decision was life-changing and I haven't looked back since.

I'm currently employed full time as a fashion photographer at Zando, South Africa's largest online fashion destination. 

Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions)


Our readers would love to get to know you more Nick. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?

A lot of people have asked me that if I could go back and change things would I have still completed my degree. My answer has always been that I wouldn't change anything for the world. Studying science has given me a unique worldview that influences my thought processes and creativity.

Nick, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?

I have a passion for people which has translated into a love for portrait photography. My aspiration is to constantly improve upon my work so as to achieve a unique style through which I can express myself, something I feel I haven't reached yet.

My start to photography began when I left my job at Tuberculosis research lab and decided to pursue the dream. I needed money for equipment and managed to get a job working as a photographer on a cruise ship between New York and Bermuda. After six months I'd gotten together everything I needed and returned home. Through some luck and the kind words of a model friend that had worked with the company before I managed to get a job as a full-time photographer at Zando, shooting catalog as well as marketing and campaign shoots.

Who is your inspiration in life Nick? How do you keep inspired?

One photographer I draw great inspiration from is Joey L. His work ethic is outstanding and his ability to balance natural and artificial light is masterful. His recent images from the Kurdistan region are incredible and have also served to bring attention to the often misunderstood Kurdish rebel fighters, currently engaged in a war with ISIS for their homes.

We all make mistakes Nick, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about a time being a Photographer, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
Communication on set is paramount to a successful shoot. Oftentimes my head is in the clouds and if I could go back I think I'd make sure to clearly communicate my ideas with colleagues to ensure that no misunderstandings arise. Pre-planning is also key to ensure that everything goes according to plan on the day.

Nick, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?

I'm lucky enough to be employed full time by a single client, so priority always goes to them. As for side work I make sure to clearly communicate my capabilities and availability beforehand to ensure there are no problems further down the line. 

Please tell us, Nick, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?

Cat calling is a problem in South Africa as much as it is in the rest of the world. Some construction workers were harassing two of the models we had booked for a shoot. The safety and well-being of the models is also a responsibility of the photographer and even though I was outnumbered I had to tell them off. Their attitude quickly changed once confronted and the models were thankful that I had respected their dignity.

Nick, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
Recently we had a shoot scheduled where the models had been booked without a casting. I managed to persuade the team to push the shoot in order to obtain models I was comfortable working with and knew would execute the brief. Having a good working relationship with the models and your team is key. When this happens you're able to produce your best work.

Nick, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want with share to everyone. What is it and why?
My first billboard was a proud moment for me. It's great to see your work out there in the world.

Nick, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
On a recent shoot, we were given full creative license, which was really exciting. It was fun to collaborate with the makeup artist and art director to create looks we wouldn't normally go for.

What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?

Work hard and work often. It's as simple and as difficult as that. You have to put in the hours in order to bridge the gap between your creative vision and the work you're currently putting out. It's something I'm still striving for.

Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands, and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I'm interested in any collaboration whether they be experienced or new to the industry. I feel that everyone has something unique to bring to the table and we can all learn something new from each other.

Please add any photo credits for the photos you uploaded so that everybody can get recognized. Please fill this our properly,
(Name and Instagram @Username)

Cover Photo: Bianca Nakan - @designr.bee
Photo 1: Maya Stepper - @mayastepper
Photo 2: Lou-Marie Taljaard - @loumarietaljaard
Photo 3: Maya Stepper - @mayastepper
Photo 4: Anya Bruwer - @anyabruwer_ddl
Photo 5: Kyra Cole - @calamarirose_
Photo 6: Gabrielle Pollock - @gabriellepollock
Photo 7: Danika Pienaar - @danikapienaar
Photo 8: Simone Theunissen - @fro2sim1


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