Do you hate asking strangers to snap your picture? Wanna come home from Amsterdam with keepsakes more special than selfies with crooked horizons and fading memories of your visit? Here are two ways to put yourself and your loved ones in the picture that require neither long arms nor expertise with a camera:
Be Part of the Art
Amsterdam is known for world-class museums where tourists and local art aficionados go to admire masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer and other 17th-century Dutch Masters. Many portray Golden Age celebrities in regal poses, as well as common folk doing everyday chores. Now you can become part of the art you admire with a Museumfoto shoot.
The unconventional photo studio is the brainchild of Britt and Peter Smits, a Dutch couple who ditched corporate jobs to open their tiny shop by the Nieuwe Kerk near Dam Square. With a small wardrobe of Renaissance-style garb and a few props that replicate objects from the 17th century, e.g., an old jug with a strip of white fabric standing in as milk, the couple now operate a studio that lets visitors put themselves in the iconic pictures they ogle at in local museums.
Fancy yourself as the milkmaid in Vermeer’s renowned painting? Or as Frans Hals’ Happy Drinker? If you’re 20-something or under, dare to compare with Johannes Vermeer’s coy Girl with a Pearl Earring, the famous portrait of a girl with a blue headscarf and tiny pearl stud that now hangs in the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Or transform into Dutch royalty as Holland’s Prince of Orange.
MuseumFoto is open daily, 11:00–17:00; 13:00–17:00 on Sundays. You’ll be in and out of the small studio in less than 30 minutes, with ready-to-frame prints to take home. Your costumed entry into art history will run you €13.50 for a print of a single-person photo or €20 for two prints of a scene with two people. Group shots run slightly more and can be hilarious with some creative gender-bending.
Just Be You
If capturing a real moment in time is what you’re after, book a Travelshoot during your visit. Founded by an Australian couple who became test customers for a photo shoot on the Brooklyn Bridge during a romantic trip to New York, the company connects local professional photographers with travelers seeking lasting memories of their trip. Along with sessions of candid shots at popular landmarks, the firm is available to document destination weddings, surprise proposals and other significant life moments.
Plan your own Travelshoot photo itinerary or opt for a shoot at a popular landmark like the iAmsterdam sign on Museumplein. After booking, you can send sample images that appeal to you or a Pinterest board you like to the photographer before your shoot. Alternatively, just put your memories in the hands and lens of a professional photographer.
In a week, you’ll receive a downloadable album of 20 shots. Rights to the high resolution digital photos are all yours. You can duplicate them as prints, use the images as holiday cards, or let all your Facebook friends know how fabulous you look on vacation, whether solo, with friends or embracing your significant other. Ready for your close-up? Say cheese!
Disclaimer: I received a discount on Museumfoto prints and complimentary Travelshoot with Robert W. Mason Photograpy (robertwmason.co.uk) for this post. All observations and opinions are my own.