This is and will always be a very special photoshoot for me. It represents a turning point in my life: the day that I took the step behind the lens.

Take the plunge by Zilla


I titled this shoot Take the plunge, because it properly fits the pool theme and expresses how I truly felt: like throwing myself in the deep.

Because I have a little secret to tell: just two weeks ago I bought a Sony A7RIV and this is my first time pointing it at an actual model.

Pool shoot Take the plunge by Zilla

My first photoshoot as a beauty photographer.

Yes indeed. Not only the first time using an upgraded version of my old Sony camera, but the first time ever shooting a beauty model.

And I was pretty scared to mention this. Because it could downgrade my capabilities to beginner level to the ones that do not read any further. But after some thought and reflection, I decide to stand for my own truth. I do not have to pretend to be a seasoned photographer. That’s just not who I am (yet).

But I am far from a beginner. I am a very experienced one. Fifteen years in the creative industry as a model, designer and retoucher have provided me with a lot of valuable knowledge.

Pool shoot Take the plunge by Zilla
Pool shoot Take the plunge by Zilla
Pool shoot beauty Take the plunge by Zilla
Floating Take the plunge by Zilla
Floating fabric by Zilla

Sink or swim.

I had lots of worries on forehand: “What if I cannot pull this off. What if I waste everyone’s time? What if all my photos come out blurry?“.

I came to realize that photography is not about knowing every technical button and setting. It is about having an eye for details, color, and composition. The exact skills I have been training and improving for years as a designer and retoucher.

The only thing I hadn’t done before was pushing the button.

It served me well to just take the plunge and start treading water. I am so super happy with the results and feel like I have learned many photography lessons on this one shoot day that normally would have taken me years to understand.

And in the end, it’s not the years but the results that count, isn’t it?

Pool shoot Take the plunge by Zilla
Close-up beauty water by Zilla
Swim quote by zilla

A different role, a different feeling

As a retoucher, I’ve always stepped-in last in line, after the shoot day already happened. Which meant missing out on the team-effort feeling of creating together. Although I knew the importance of my role, I sometimes felt alone in the creation process.

Being on set together with a creative crew is an entirely different thing.

Stepping into the role of the photographer creates a distinct relationship with the final image. It adds the element of human connection.

It made me think of my years in front of the camera as a model. That satisfying sense of togetherness and teamwork. Being at the center of a bigger creative machine working towards a final result.

Pool beauty jewellery by Zilla


Photography & Retouch by Zilla
Make-up Artist Juliëtte den Ouden
Model Judith Reekers (Touché models)
Video Maxim Bouten
Management Rose Boereboom
Producer Evert van de Braak