Sybrand Cillié - Photographer Interview

Sybrand Cillié – Photographer Interview


Today I’d like to introduce you to South African photographer Sybrand Cillié who has agreed to answer a few questions for us about his photography.

Sybrand Cillie.jpg

How did you first get into photography?

I’ve always had an interest in photography, but could never afford to really learn the craft shooting film. Just over 5 years ago I blew a whole months salary on a digital (point and shoot) camera and immediately fell in love with photography. A few months later I bought a 20D and from there everything snowballed to where I am today. I’ve now been a full time photographer for about 4 and a half years.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
hmmmm difficult one… I would say ‘learning how to properly bounce on camera flash’. I used direct flash for way too long.

What type of camera do you use most?
My main body at the moment is a Canon 1D mk4 – I love everything about it – the high ISO capabilities; super fast and accurate focus; the high frame rate and it’s built like a tank.

What is your favorite lens?

Another difficult one…. I would say my 17-40mm F4 L – I just love shooting wide. (My most used lens however the 24-70 F2.8 L)

Could you share a favorite recent image and tell us a little of the back story behind it?

Looking at the photo (above) it simply looks like a car going really fast. What makes the image so special for me is that the guy driving is BLIND and going 320km/h (200MPH) – He set a new Guinness World Record for a blind person.

I had the honour to spend a few days with this amazing man and witness this historic event. Read the whole story here.

Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?

The best advice I can give you is to learn how to shoot in Manual mode – not just how to get the little light meter in the middle to 0EV but actually learning to read the LCD/histogram on the back of your camera. Yes it’s difficult at first, but once you’ve got it, you are in TOTAL control and I promise you’ll never go back!

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • schantel May 21, 2010 06:49 pm

    Wow! Its great to see a fellow South African being interviewed. Well done Sybrand!

  • Anna Fernau May 21, 2010 07:39 am

    Sybrand photographed my family while we were on vacation in South Africa and he was fantastic. It was a windy and misty day on the famous Simon's Town boulders beach with all the penguins. Sybrand took some amazing shots of my son and husband on the rocks together and some great shots with the kids and the penguins. His website is incredible ... a must-see for anyone interested in photography, especially portaiture. So pleased to see him profiled here and I feel so privileged to have had him photograph us!!

  • Bruce May 19, 2010 06:56 pm

    His wedding photography is amazing. Thanks for featuring this interview.

  • Jason Collin Photography May 19, 2010 02:46 am

    Photographing a blind person trying to set a record for fastest drive sounds like as an interesting as a photography assignment can get!

  • Franky j May 18, 2010 10:51 pm

    Great post, love that he said to use Manuel. I almost stop using that, but going to start back up. Glad he said use the histogram, I will.

  • Paul Pacurar May 18, 2010 09:07 pm

    Good post! Yes, Manual mode is the best, of course. The histogram also, in a certain way is "more" than the image itself. But it can be quite misleading sometimes...

  • Fatih May 18, 2010 11:42 am

    The last OFFICIAL Guiness World Record is set by a Turkish blind man last month on 02 April 2010.
    And his speed was 292.89 kph.

    [eimg url='' title='?m=02&d=20100402&t=2&i=85821958&w=460&r=2010-04-02T155934Z_01_BTRE63118AF00_RTROPTP_0_TURKEY']

    Read more at Reuters:

  • Mei Teng May 18, 2010 11:00 am

    His wedding photography is amazing. Thanks for featuring this interview.