Free Portraits In Amsterdam with a Leica! by Vincent van Kleef

Free Portraits In Amsterdam!

by Vincent van Kleef

I recently started a photography project in the Bos & Lommer district in Amsterdam, the city where I live. I offer my neighbours a free portrait session through the Bos & Lomer Facebook Group. As I moved to Amsterdam just a year ago, this gives me the opportunity to get to know my neighbours better and to hone my photography skills, especially portraits. The reactions have been great so far; people are genuinely grateful to have some nice pictures taken and furthermore, every photo shoot is a moment of connection between strangers too and that remains something really special.

Due to the popular demand , almost 50 shoots within a couple of weeks, I’ve had to tune down the amount of people being scheduled for a shoot. As it is surely a matter of ‘killing your darlings’ , I simple cannot decide which pictures to show to you, but  I want to show you one particular picture of a sweet little girl. A girl who is, according to her mum, quite difficult with strangers, let alone strangers taking pictures of her. However, during the shoot she transformed into an open, fun loving human being that she really is. The gratitude of her mum was enormous and made my heart skip a beat.  The participants and the fellow Facebook Group members all praised me for being able for taking portraits of complete strangers and letting them look at ease. This project has also reaffirmed the my realisation that just having the photographic skills and gear is not enough to have great results. Be able to connect with people is an essential skill with creating meaningful pictures, especially with portraits.

Click for larger! 

I also have made 3 collages.

Click the images for a larger version

My Blog:

All of the pictures are shot with a Leica M9, paired with the 50mm Summilux Asph, or the 1.8 75mm Voigtlander and are processed in Lightroom using the VSCO Kodak presets.

You can check a couple of my other portraits on my website:



  1. Very, very personal. – A nice show of human contact you have with people. – They accept you, hence so much openness in photos. – Visible, touchable.

  2. Nice idea, and lovely images – but most importantly is the message about the positives of photography and human interaction. Awesome work. Keep it up, and keep enjoying the positive side of humanity.

  3. The word that really hits me for this selection is : Spontaneity. I really enjoyed the sense of freedom your pictures/these people show.

    • Thanks! It is truly a wonderful experience John, meeting and connection with these people while doing what you want to the most: taking pictures!

  4. Lovely idea and lovely photographs. It’s not about the gear it’s about your attitude and personality. Well done.

  5. Nice photos and a cool idea/write-up. Your closing comment highlights a point I very much relate to: “Be able to connect with people is an essential skill with creating meaningful pictures, especially with portraits.”

    Best wishes,


  6. Is there any better combo M9 & Summilux 50mm F1.4 ASPH, not just image quality but going to your bag and knowing you are going to shoot with them. No wonder the little girl was happy.

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