We had the good fortune of connecting with Femke Tewari and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Femke, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Being punctual, reliable, hard-working, and honest. And nice! Photography is more than anything people work. My photographs turn out well only if the people I photograph feel comfortable and relaxed. Every shoot is a collaboration, which is what I love about what I do. Often the people I photograph are quite creative and that usually comes out during the shoot. You can frequently hear me say that someone else deserves the credit for a photograph – be it the subject or model or the stylist or another creative that helps with the shoot. It’s so important to let things unfold naturally. This way the photographs always look fresh and authentic. Despite or because of my willingness to ‘go with the flow’ during shoots, the final photographs are very consistent style-wise. My style is quite unique I feel, which I owe to my international background. I was born and raised in Holland but lived in Singapore for a long time, and also in France, Belgium, Hong Kong, San Francisco and close to New York. I even backpacked for a year by myself all over the globe. Clients know what they’ll get when they hire me – they can see it on my website. Companies like this consistency because my photos strengthen their brand and make them more recognizable. I work with wellness, skincare, and lifestyle brands, but also have many portrait clients. Within reason, I bend over backward to make sure my clients are happy. I have been very fortunate with the clients I have worked with. Many have become friends. Being kind and generous is a great way to build your network.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since Covid I have been pouring my heart into The Miami Woman Project. The Project will be a book of photographs and stories of strong women of all colors and ethnicities in the city, where they come from and the passions that drive them. As the mom of 2 teen girls, one dark-skinned adopted beauty, the other a mix of my Dutch blonde self and my Nepali husband, I think it’s so important for girls of all colors to have role models that look like them. And that’s what the women in the book are. The more women I meet, hear, and photograph, the more I feel that this project will be the most valuable thing I have done in my photographer’s life. Their fascinating stories have already changed my life (as I hope they will do to others) and I’m only getting started. One by one, I’m publishing the women and their stories on my blog. So far, their journeys have taken me to China, Algeria, Vietnam, Cuba, Colombia, Martinique, France, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Honduras, Brazil without getting on a plane! Many left because of wars and other hardships. But these women are fighters and survivors. Their stories and photographs shine because they have managed to turn their lives around. On the commercial side, I create photography of women, nature and products for branding and social media of Skincare and Wellness businesses and lifestyle brands. My images are natural, calm and minimalist, which is instrumental in elevating a brands’ image. I focus on working with models of all colors and ethnicities to help those companies become more diverse and inclusive in their marketing. The hardest part about being a photographer I’d say is that you mostly work alone and you need a lot of drive, passion and support from family and friends to make it work. Also, clients often don’t realize how much work and cost is involved in their final product. Photo shoots are just 10% of my work. The rest is planning, processing, marketing, ongoing education, etc. If you want great quality photos, you need high end equipment and that’s costly. Right now, I’m learning to create video, which I’m really excited about. And a few months ago I bought a drone and love the stuff I can create with it! Like this I keep expanding my horizons and offering new products to my clients.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The best times I have had in Miami are on the water. A day of sailing on Biscayne Bay is a must – leave from Dinner Key Marina and anchor near Elliott Key for some swimming and snorkeling and bring a picnic. Or you can stop at No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne for a fresh seafood lunch. On your way back, pass by the quirky Stiltsville houses and read on why they are an interesting interesting part of Miami history. Finish the day with dinner at Glass & Vine in The Grove – the food is great, it’s outdoors and tables are nicely spaced out. Paddleboarding is a great way to see some beautiful neighborhoods in Coral Gables. Rent them at the parking lot in Matheson Hammock and from there you can easily enter the canals of a few upscale gated communities. After your paddle, treat yourself to drinks & dinner at the Red Fish Grill by chef Adrianne on the beach of Matheson Hammock. Visit the Design District, if only to window shop, and admire all the great facades of the high-end brands. I once met an architect who helped design the area and he told me that many stores have awesome roof terraces. Just ask the store staff! For a quick lunch that doesn’t break the bank, visit St. Roch gourmet food court. After lunch, make your way to Wynwood to roam the streets while admiring the murals and graffiti. Make sure to visit Walt Grace to ogle over guitars and vintage cars – it’s a weird combo but a very cool store. Then drinks and delicious tapas at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar surrounded by art. Miami Beach has many restored Art Deco boutique and medium-sized hotels that are worth a stay or a visit. You can fill a day to tour them, have a drink, a bite, and admire their interiors. Examples are The Betsy, The Delano, The National, any of the Life House hotels, Pali House Miami, hetero-friendly Axel Beach (stay for their grilled octopus!), Casa Casuarina (the old Versace Mansion – they will only allow you in with a lunch/dinner reservation – it’s worth it), The Cadillac Hotel – visit their beach bar/restaurant for drinks with your feet in the sand, The Faena, The Nautilus, The Lennox and The Savoy. These are all great places to stay and/or dine. And let’s not forget The Standard for a yoga session and sunset over the water over a healthy dinner. The Betsy Hotel is a haven for cultural on-goings on The Beach – the place always has great photography exhibits and live jazz every night of the week on top of other art programs. My favorite Miami food by far is ceviche, and, in my opinion, the place that does this best is Jaguar in Coconut Grove. You can choose from 10 different flavors! If you want to have Peruvian (Lomo Saltado, Ceviche, Grilled Octopus and more) in a great location, go to La Mar at the Mandarin. Sit outdoors on the water for a breeze and great views of the city.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was little, growing up in Holland, I watched my dad how he developed his photographs in a small room that he had converted into his darkroom. It was magical to see the photos slowly appear. Back then, he used this beautiful thick matte paper and the photos were all black and white. He photographed mostly our family and those photos are so beautiful – I’m really glad we still have them. He always taught me to not have people pose, but to capture moments, which is still the thing that has influenced my style the most. I’m also still crazy about thick matte art paper and work with a lab that creates gorgeous prints for my clients. Thankfully my husband is also passionate about photography. Even though it’s not a profession you have to make a lot of money, he has always been super supportive. So I’m really grateful to the two most important men in my life! I’m also grateful for every single person or client that trusts me to create their photographs. People photography is a very intimate process. Even when I photograph a model for a commercial lifestyle campaign it’s important that they feel comfortable. Sometimes shoots can be emotional experiences. I show women – and girls – their outer and inner beauty. Often they never saw that in themselves. It’s very powerful. You know you’re creating something that will stay with a person for the rest of their life. And then their children will treasure the photographs and their children. This is why, for my portrait clients, I turn photos into beautiful fine art prints. It’s very different than a picture on a phone or computer.

Website: https://www.femketewari.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/femketewariphotographer/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/femketewari/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/femketewariphotography

Image Credits
Personal Image: Photo by Terri Joshi All other images: Photos by Femke Tewari

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.