This week’s wedding photographer interview is with Allan and Wendy of Art Photo.
When Wendy asked me if they could be part of my interview series I went over to their website and I loved what I found! I spent simply aaaages browsing through their wedding blog posts and then checking out their couple shoots!
Be sure to find Art Photo on Facebook too!
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Allan and I are like old souls in young shells. We’ve been married for 14 years already, we had an early start in that department. Personality traits, we are both generally confident, vibrant, easy going, fun loving, sometimes a little crazy. We are equally passionate individuals which keeps things in our household abundantly interesting.
Where are you based? Durbanville Cape Town
How did you get into photography? Allan has always been the one with the camera in hand, started with our first little point and shoot about 8 years ago and eventually he purchased a 350D about 3 years ago. The more he did it as a hobby the more he kept realising it was what he wanted for a career. I was a bit of a late bloomer to the trade, not really taking any interest at first, always leaving it to Allan but then last year as a gift he bought me a canon 500D at the same time as he was upgrading his equipment, a kind of way for us to do something together. I didn’t know it at the time but that was the beginning for me. Our first day out together we started with a 4.30am landscape shoot on the beach, followed by a trip through hout bay and to the world of birds. By the end of that day I realised I had absolutely fallen in love not just with my husband all over again but with a new found passion for photography. Amazingly it just came pretty naturally and from there it’s all just escalated. I’d been in the creative industry for over 10 years and have always loved beautiful things and being creative but this just felt like a calling, I’ve never been so passionate over anything quite like it (well except for Allan of course ).
How do you describe your photographic style? I think what’s great about us as a team is that we both have very different styles so you end up with a mix of creative and natural reportage style all rolled into one. We love pushing the boundaries and don’t want to put our style into a box, its constantly evolving and ever changing, even from one shoot to the next.
How long have you been photographing weddings? Not very long actually, we only started doing paid photography this year so Art Photo is still very new in terms of being a business, before that we just did it for fun.
What type of camera do you use? Allan uses a canon 7D and I have a Nikon D7000.
How do you market yourself? We’ve actually only started marketing recently, everything has been very much word of mouth until now but we are slowly starting to put ads up on some of the blogs like the Bride with a Blog and soon should have something up at Oh Darling Bride, Wedding Focus and also in the Little Pink Book.
What advice do you have for photographers who are just starting out? It will be tough, you will at times wonder if you are good enough or if it’s the right choice to turn your hobby into a career. Dig deep, man up and just believe in yourself even when it feels like perhaps no one else does. It will get easier as you start getting your work out there but most of all, just enjoy the ride, don’t rush it, everything comes together in its own time.
How do you put nervous or camera shy brides and couples at ease? Allan and I are both fairly boisterous and easy going individuals. We take our craft very seriously but always keep things fun and light hearted. We treat every client as if they were old friends and get along with almost everyone so it all comes together naturally, if all else fails make them laugh even if we feel like idiots, it just breaks the ice and very quickly the couple eases up and realises there is really nothing to be stressing over.
What is your biggest challenge as a wedding photographer? The industry is a tough one, hardest thing is to set yourselves apart, to find a way where you can be creatively different. Apart from that it’s just plain tough in the beginning, you’re asking people to trust you with a very big day so until you have some solid work in your porty getting the work in can be a little challenging.
What has been the highlight of your career as a wedding photographer? Getting to meet interesting and fun couples.
Which of the wedding photographs you have taken are your favourite? Gosh this was tough, we have a lot of favourites.
Just love the angle of this.
Gosh we love our sunset shots, they’re almost becoming a bit of a signature shot for us.
Love the composition and the contrast between the harsh sun, rickety fence and couple.
Just such a sweet moment, love the colour and the way the brides eyes just pull you in.
So cute the way this looks like the couple are just having a moment, like they aren’t even aware anyone is watching.
Love shoe shots and the ankle bracelet on this shot for me is just too cute.
This is such an interesting landscape shot with the dried tree and soft colours.
How important is a tool like Photoshop in your work, and do you retouch at all? Absolutely vital. We are passionate photoshop users and it really is a fantastic tool that can make or break a photo, you can turn an average shot into a truly great one if you just know how. We do retouch yes, we don’t do virtual cosmetic surgery but we do remove blemishes and soften skin for instance. We understand every bride wants to look her best so we try to make sure she will get photo’s she’ll want to show off and feel good about. Of course everything is still done to look very natural, we don’t want plastic looking brides.
Do you have an assistant, or invite second shooters to assist at your weddings? Not at the moment, haven’t needed anyone else yet as we are already a team and help each other out. We work really well together.
Which of your photographs would you use to show off your creative and artistic side? I think these photo’s reflect the versatility with which we try to approach all our photography. We love contrasts from simple to beautiful, harsh and honest, the opportunity to mould a little piece of art out of an ordinary situation.
Great example of taking a simple situation and using the environment to create something really beautiful.
Love this portrait, its soft and beautiful yet still edgy at the same time.
This pic looks like it could almost be an accident, but I love the way the sunlight has been used to create an interesting effect.
Love the honesty and lines in the face.
A factory in Mooreesburg, the reflection in the water adds an interesting contrast and the dark editing gives a very old world feel to the photo.
Cape Town from a totally different angle.
Creative use of sunset to create mood and show a different side to the sport of kitesurfing.
What would you love to add to your equipment? Faster glass (lenses), which I’m sure will be happening very soon.
Where would you love to do a wedding shoot? Thailand or anywhere really tropical and beautiful, and absolutely must have beautiful skies !
What is your work-flow after a wedding? As soon as we get back we download and make second copies to an external drive. Everything is sorted and selected in photoshop bridge and the photo’s to be edited are imported into lightroom for editing, with photoshop being used for selected pieces and finishing off of certain images.
How many images do you average for a wedding, and how many do you deliver to your clients? We probably shoot between 1500 – 2000 each so between 3000 – 4000 btw the 2 of us. depending on the package we edit and supply between 400 and 600 final images.
Is there a wedding photographer you admire? So many, would be very hard to choose a favourite but love the work of Christine Meintjies, Shanna Jones, Jean Pierre Uys, Jose Villa, Yvette Gilbert, Dror Eyal, other photographers we love are Monte Zucker, Josef Hoflehner, Lee Casalena, Marco Grob, Morgan Norman and Scott Kelby to name a few.
Whether its animals, landscapes, nature or portraits, most photographers seem have a penchant for a particular subject. What is yours? Allan loves landscape and macro flower and insect type photography. I’d have to say mine is kids. I really love photographing kids.
If you could be invisible- with your camera- for a day, you would… shoot the politicians sleeping at parliament and the monks at a temple in Tibet.
If you could photograph any musician, who would it be? We would shoot the Beatles or Elvis Presley, one of the old greats, maybe James Brown or Michael Jackson, someone with energy.
Is there anything you’re learning to do? We are learning balance between work and family. We have 2 kids so always a challenge to make sure everyone and everything is getting the attention they deserve.
What will you be up to in 2011? Focusing on our creativity and improving our skills, photographing as much as we can and continuing with all the ground work that a new business requires in terms of establishing a killer new brand.