The Art Of Shooting: Sjef Van Den Berg

At Dutch Target, we take photography seriously. 🙂 Many people still don’t realise how important good photography is to communicating values and aspirations. Even as we now expect our TV programmes to be in gleaming high definition, many people simply don’t realise the level of skill needed to deliver an image that is really special.

In an era when pretty much everyone now has a high-quality camera on the phone in their pocket, photography has entered a different era, but it has undoubtedly reinforced the notion that taking a great shot is just a matter of pressing a button. You’ve probably seen a lot of terrible photographs of your local archery ranges, and particularly with a smaller sport, the photo your club or governing body puts up could make the difference between someone just looking and someone getting involved with the sport for the first time.

Taking photographs of archers has a number of special issues: what to leave in or out of the large, tall object that is an archer with a bow, images with huge expanses of green grass, and (usually) a limited number of angles to take a picture from.

After the Berlin World Cup, Dean went shooting with Dutch internationals Sjef Van Den Berg and Steve Wijler. Sjef is an enthusiastic photographer and we got his thoughts on shooting, along with some of his and Dean’s work.



Tell us what you did after Berlin, Sjef.  Dean, Steve and I went out to a place near Dean’s to shoot some pictures and arrows respectively. Dean worked his magic and after that, he asked us to do ours.

by Sjef van den Berg


You took a great photo of Steve (above). How did you approach it?
Actually I didn’t really approach it in a special manner, I bought a new lens in Berlin, an ultra-wide, something I wanted for quite some time now. I noticed that standing up, I didn’t get a nice perspective and the photo was very busy in the background, I tried eliminating most of the background by kneeling and pointing upwards. the photo was still a bit busy for my taste so I turned it into a black and white, this way the colours weren’t bothering me.

When did you start with serious (or slightly serious) photography?
I have always liked taking pictures, but wanted to be a little more serious about it in May 2016. I borrowed a small Nikon V1 from a friend and tried getting some nice shots with that. Without a lot of success but I did enjoy it a lot! From then on I got more and more serious about it to the point where people come to me with requests.

by Sjef van den Berg

When was the 
first time you realised you’d taken a good photograph and what was it?

I think it was July 2016, when I went to Archery Service Center, the Pro Shop I used to work, to make some pictures of their new building. I captured a moment where Sander, one of their former employees, was measuring a cabinet and I was really happy with the lines and the composition.

What was your first camera?   I started off my photography with a Nikon D3300 that I got from Nikon Netherlands. I soon made some lens upgrades, one of which a 50mm f1.4 lens, which I still use very regularly. After that, I bought a full frame Nikon D700. I heard that if I was serious about my photography at all I should have a full frame camera, because it would be better at pretty much everything. I used this for about a year and now I am back to a crop frame, the DX Nikon flagship: the D500. I absolutely love how fast and versatile it is, and by adding an ultrawide angle lens to my collection, I can now do all forms of photography with this body.  Also the upgrade to this camera has really had a positive effect on the production quality of our YouTube channel: Triple Trouble Archery. The camera works great for filming and with good glass, you get a wonderful dreamy bokeh.

Steve and Sjef (by Dean).

It’s tricky taking photographs of archers. What do you like to look for when shooting archery (with a camera!)

Normally when I go to an archery event these days, I try to make photo’s of things related to, but not archery itself! There are literally millions of photos of people shooting, so I want to make pictures that are different. I am not saying I am good at it yet, but I am ambitious at least.

Archery and photography are obviously very different disciplines. Or are they?  To me, they are both hobbies in which I can relax and not think about stuff for a while. I like to go out and shoot arrows, I also like to go out and shoot pictures. The main difference for me is that I make a living out of archery and photography only costs me money! 🙂

Where do you hope to go with photography?
I hope to continue having fun and maybe, if I practice more, do some small gigs for fun, after that, I am not sure!

Author: John Stanley

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