Over the last near decade I’ve photographed hundreds of women, but there’s one area of my portfolio that was lacking- men’s portraits. One model call and fun-filled, expressive session later at my Middelburg studio, and we created these portraits. Why do I say ‘we’? Simply because a photo isn’t taken but is a collaboration between photographer and subject; and what a pleasure to work with fellow artist, Adriaan.
If not now, when? When you lose 10 kilos, or when the weather’s different to whatever it is now? We all give ourselves different lofty end goals for when we’ll get around to booking that portrait session you’ve been wanting. The reality is those end goals seems to be just out of reach, and those beautiful photos you dream of having for your wall get put off year after year.
Think of it in this way. At the end of your life your loved ones are given a book, and in that book is a recollection of all your favourite memories together, all those special moments shared that they can turn to when they miss you most. What would you want to accompany the stories in your book- low quality cellphone snapshots or something more artistic that added to the stories in your book, your stories. Even more, what photo would you like for the cover as the best representation of you? As scary, and perhaps morbid, a thought it may be now, it’s a thought that will become a reality for each of us one day: what are you going to leave behind for the people who cherish you most and how do you want to be remembered.
Each day you live, each obstacle you conquer, each person you grow to love, each memory you make, all are woven together to create a story that is unique to you, and one day it’ll be through the photos you leave behind that your story will be relived and remembered for your partner, your children, your family and your friends.
When you choose to book a professional photographer to add some of the visuals to your story, it’s more than just adding some pretty pictures; it’s about noticing that your story and the story of your loved ones has value and is worth investing in. It’s about trusting an outsider to see your story in a totally different light and show it from an angle you haven’t seen before, and in high quality photos that are well composed and lit.
You and your story are more than a few snapshots on an old device forgotten in a draw, you are a work of art and your story deserves to be beautifully told in an artwork, not eventually but today.
Every woman I photograph is unique and special in her own way, with her own story to tell. Natasja is no different, she’s an amazingly strong woman who believes in doing what she can to motivate those around her.
A self-confessed ‘plain-Jane’ who never wears makeup, we decided to go with a bolder look but to keep the styling soft and natural.
Sometimes no matter how much you plan, life throws you a curveball and you need to just go with it. Initially I had planned for a Bridgerton inspired session, right down to sewing the period-appropriate dress- then load shedding happened, announced at the last minute.
When Bianca arrived for her session, there was no power for hair or studio lighting so we decided to wing it by digging through my studio wardrobe and accessories, and playing around with makeup. What we ended up creating is a beautiful witchy-woman session with a film-inspired, yet modern look.
One of the new joys of my recently revamped Middelburg studio, is that it’s perfect for glowing, natural light sessions. I recently had the pleasure of photographing the Smith family once again in my new studio.
I tend to draw much inspiration from traditional art sources, especially paintings, and this session was in large part inspired by the Dutch ‘Old Masters’ still life paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries.
It’s decided, your walls need updating with new portraits. So you open your web browser and type in, “photographer near me,” and end up with a intimidatingly long list of results. How do you choose a photographer who’ll deliver the photos you want?
Choosing a photographer who’ll be the right fit can be an easy process if you stick to the following guide.
Pick a Niché
Just as you wouldn’t go to a butchery to buy a cake, so it’s always best to choose a photographer who specialises in the particular type of portraits you’re looking to create. You can easily narrow down your search by using the genre of photos you want to create and area you reside in; for example: “family photographer Middelburg” or “childrens photographer Witbank”.
By choosing a photographer who specialises in specific genres, you’re almost guaranteed a photographer who has ample experience and skills, and the specialised equipment to create the exact photos you want.
Find Your Style
Formal or candid, dark and moody or light and airy? It always helps to know the look you’d like for your own photos. If you’re not sure on what your preferred style is, create a Pinterest board and add photos of the genre of photography you’d like to book. Once you’ve got a good board going, you’ll be able to see a similar look start to emerge. It’s also handy to share your board with the photographer you do end up booking to give them insight into your expectations.
An extra word on style from a portrait photographer who’s been around for nearly eight years: Remember that trends come and go, even in editing style. So while you may want that Insta-perfect look of today, it will end up looking terribly dated in two years.
Keeping it Professional
You may find a photographer whose work you love, but will they be able to deliver that same standard for your photos? To help you figure out whether a photographer has that professional edge, consider the following:
- is their social media and website up-to-date?
- do they have terms and conditions or a set contract?
- what’s their response time like?
- do they have good reviews?
Also be sure to look at their portfolio and if they have on social media or a blog, full sessions to get an idea for the quality of their work.
Staying in Budget
While we’d all love to book the best of the best, the best usually comes at a price tag to match. If you’ve found your perfect photographer match but are unsure of how affordable their packages are, just remember that pricing shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.
Some moments and milestones only happen once and you need to decide how important those memories are to you. Also bear in mind that often giving up something as simple as a daily cappuccino at a coffeeshop for a month can go a long way to almost fully funding a quality portrait session.
As a mom myself, it never ceases to amaze me how fast our children grow up. It’s not until you put two photos, taken even a few months apart, side by side that you see just how much those little faces change. It’s the reason why I encourage parents to invest in quality photos of their children- so they have those memories before they’re gone.
I recently had Nadine’s gorgeous girls in my Middelburg studio for a classic studio session and for a different portrait.
I hinted at something ‘different’ and here it is: a composite image that brings the beach to you when you’re stuck 600km away from it’s shores.
Spending two months of the national lockdown stuck with no work and no creative outlet was, like for many photographers, a terribly trying time. However with South Africa now at level three, it means that photographers can work and create again, albeit with all the necessary precautions. It also meant that some of the ideas I’ve had swirling in my mind the last few months can be brought out into reality.
I adore music and spend many hours daily listening to everything from death metal to Mozart; however during lockdown I’ve been hooked on a forever favourite- Purity Ring. The etheral lyrics and music of this Canadian band struck inspiration to create images that reflect the feel of their music.
This past Saturday I meet with Marzaane at my Middelburg studio to create something decidedly different.