I am Gerald Bakker, Dutch amateur photographer and retoucher. Welcome to my website!
In my daily life, I am married to a lovely wife, father of three children and working as an IT professional. I have a technical background, having studied mathematics and computer science in the 80's.
I bought my first digital camera in Januari 2006: a Konica Minolta 5D. Until then, I wasn't a very enthousiastic photographer. My photos always came out too dark, too yellow, with blocked shadows, with distracting backgrounds or all of these together. Prints never resembled how I remembered the scene. Maybe I should have set up a darkroom and do the printing myself - but I didn't bother as I considered myself too clumsy for that. Besides, I didn't have the room in my house anyway (so I told myself).
All that changed with digital. I followed the example of my father, who bought a digital compact camera about one year earlier, started to work with a program called "Photoshop Elements" and assured me that he got better prints than ever. "No single failure!" he told me in astonishment. (And he had employed a darkroom for many years...) Given that experience with a compact camera, how much better results would I get with a digital SLR?
So I started shooting with my 5D, and shortly after bought a second-hand copy of Photoshop Elements version 3. Soon I realized that this program was not so straightforward to use, so I started to read Photoshop books and study tutorials wherever I could find them. I thought I could learn everything: open someone's eyes, add a person missing in a group photo, remove any distracting elements... Needless to say, a lot of that turned out very difficult, if not impossible. All things that a skilled photographer shouldn't have to do most of the time anyway...
Without doubt, all this study and experimentation gradually made me a not only a better retoucher, but also a better photographer. Extensively post-processing one's images has the effect of becoming aware why photographs do not meet quality standards in the first place. Instead of doing that assessment at the computer, I learned to do it behind the camera.
In September 2009 I bought a Sony A700, in September 2013 a Sony A77 and in August 2017 a Sony A99ii. Gradually, my photography evoluated from mere holiday and family pictures to something more artistic. In September 2010 I won first prize in a Dutch photo magazine contest with below photo:
A lot changed when I stumbled on the book "Professional Photoshop Color Correction" by Dan Margulis. Arguably, that single book teached me more useful things than all other Photoshop books I had read until then together. That book, and "Modern Photoshop Color Workflow" by the same author, changed the way I use Photoshop.
Eventually, Margulis' techniques and lessons inspired me to start this website. By now, I see myself more as a Photoshop author than as a photographer. I still love to go out shooting, but writing an article about some Photoshop technique is at least equally satisfying. Somehow I believe that I have more meaningful things to write than meaningful photographs to show.
Up to you as a reader to decide if I'm right.
As a matter of fact, I love to hear from you! Anything you want to comment on or ask about?
Click here for a contact form. You can even subscribe, meaning that I will send you a short notification when I upload a new article.
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