Behind the lens: Pieter Beerden

Drivers’ Cult welcomes Belgian photographer Pieter Beerden - also known as @itspbx -  and his art to our store. As an introduction to Pieter and his work, you can read this exclusive interview with him!

Hello Pieter! Could you introduce yourself to the readers who are not familiar with your work yet?

I dropped out of high school and started working as a junior graphic designer at the age of 18. I learned everything about photography and graphic design by doing it, so I’m pretty much self-taught.

I’m 28 now, so I have almost 10 years of experience in Graphic Design... which gave me a big advantage in my photography career. To put my photography career in perspective: I started taking pictures of my own car for fun in January 2018, while my first decent shoot was only in October 2018. My first paid shoot was in April 2019, and I'm currently getting started as a part-time freelance photographer. I think it’s safe to say I have come a long way, but I’ll probably keep combining both jobs for a while.

As a designer, my biggest project is to design the “La Posta” magazines, where I'm responsible for all the design work and even some photography! Since february, I’ve been working with Drivers’ Cult to make my photos available for print as well.

 

Did your photo kit evolve along with your career?

I started with a Sony A5100 with a kit lens, which did cost me around 400 euros.

Along the way, I’ve made some adjustments. I bought a 18-105mm f4 for my Sony A5100, which I later also used on my Sony A7. (Pro tip: if you want to get started with photography and you’re serious about it, get an A7. It’s probably the best bang for your buck if you want to go full frame)

After a while I wanted to step up my game and got a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, which is my favorite lens at the moment because it’s just the perfect all round lens. And I always recommend this lens along with the Sony A7.

Later I also added a wide angle lens, the Tamron 17-28mm. Which is awesome for really sharp detail and interior shots.

I’ve tried a Sigma 35 f1.4 lens, which was good... but I like the convenience of a zoom lens.

With time, my budget has changed and now I’m shooting with a Sony A7R III body. And I’m still using the 28-75mm and 17-28 f2.8 Tamron lenses. I’m also using some Hoya pro circular polarizer filters on the lenses, which you definitely need doing automotive photography.

 

So you’ve been photographing for less than 2 years now, how is your personal development going?

It took me about a year until I found my own style that I was happy with. But if I look back at my old work I’m like ‘wtf was I doing??’. So it feels great to see how far I’ve come and how much progress I have made. It’s kind of addicting to see your own progress.

I’m still discovering a lot of things, for example: I’ve noticed that I like night photography (especially light-painting), however should be doing it more.

 

You’re mostly shooting sports cars, how did you start with this niche?

You have to start somewhere, you can’t expect everything to just happen. Take a regular car and focus on your own personal development; find your own style, know the best angles, learn how to match the style of the car with its surroundings and then... when you’re good at what you do, people will come to you with their cars.

Or just ask a friend, family member, or someone you know with a nice car. Personally, I started by shooting the cars of my friends and the cars at meetings. What a lot of people are forgetting, is that the car doesn’t have to be expensive to take beautiful photos.

 

Through starting @itspbx, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I’ve learned a lot but the most important thing is, building connections, building a community. And I think I have one of the strongest ones, it’s insane how much response I get every single time is post something new. I get so much support from my followers and couldn’t have done it without them. Whenever I was feeling down or not motivated I looked back at comments, dm’s, etc. and instantly I felt better again and found the motivation to do better.

It’s also very important to get your work out there and getting noticed by brands and companies. If no one likes, comments, shares, supports your work... it will be very hard to get noticed online.

A lot of people ask me how I did this, like there is some sort of trick, but there’s not.

It’s actually very simple and easy to do. It just takes a lot of time and effort.

Find similar artists, connect with them, support each other. Reach out to big repost pages and ask them if they would be interested in sharing your work. Answer every single comment, every single DM... If fans/followers/artists have questions, answer them. Help each other out and build a genuine connection.

Again, this takes time. I think I spent 8 hours or more per day on Instagram in the beginning to get my profile going. 8 hours a day, that’s a full time job.

 

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I’m not much of a reader but the book The Secret did have a big impact on my life. It’s about the law of attraction and I do actually believe in this. If you think positive thoughts, positive things will come to you. And vise versa, if you think negatively, you will attract negative things.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I always find this such a difficult question. Because I honestly don’t know what will happen. I’m the type of person that just guess with the flow. I believe if you work hard and stay consistent, things will happen.

But my main goal is to make a living out of my passion and leaving a positive impact on others while doing so.

I’ve got a bucket list of cars that I’d like to shoot, so I hope I’ll have some of them crossed off by then.

 

Which cars are we talking about?

  • Fiat Multipla (joking obviously)
  • BMW E36 M3
  • BMW E92 M3
  • BMW M8 Competition
  • Lamborghini Huracan Performante
  • Audi R8 V10 Performance
  • Porsche GT2RS
  • Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6x6
  • Ford Range Raptor

 

What photographers inspire you, and why?

@bykev is my biggest idol and inspiration in photography. He also started of as an automotive photographer on Instagram and it’s amazing to see how far he’s come in such a short period of time. Some of you may know him as ‘@SunsetM2’.He’s the one I turned to for advice whenever I wasn’t sure of a photo I took or an edit I made. I would send it to him and he would give me his honest opinion on it, which helped me improve A LOT!

@northborders, @petermckinnon and @thechrishau are a big inspiration as well. I have been watching them on Youtube for a while now and I’m always getting inspired or getting ideas from them or even learning new things because of their videos. They even give out business tips for starting or managing your photography business!

 

Advice for other photographers who want to get started or are just starting out?

Just fucking do it. Nobody is going to do it for you. You’re the one that’s in control. If you want to do it, just go for it. Watch some youtube videos and you will find out how easy everything is, as long as you’re putting in the effort. Go out and shoot as much as possible, try to improve every shoot & keep grinding!

Do what you love and do lots of it. Applies to anyone, about everything.

 

Do you have some practical tips as well?

I get a lot of questions about rolling shots. How to do it and which settings to use.

For rolling shots, you should be driving about 70km/h and you should lower your shutter speed (between 1/15 and 1/30) for a better rolling effect. You can do them both leaning out of the trunk of a car via the window. It all depends on the shot you want to get.

 

“Your best photo” does not exists, but what’s your favorite so far?

You’ll never be completely satisfied with your own work, and you’ve never shot “your best photo”. You’ll always be improving.

My favorite photo so far is this shot I took from a Lamborghini Huracan during golden hour on a rooftop. I have always been a huge Lambo fan so I already was really excited when the client asked me to shoot his Huracan.

This picture is actually available on the Drivers’ Cult website, here.