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Rock The Frock!!

I am going to get to wear my wedding dress again!!

We’re having a “multi-bride trash the dress picnic”!

On Saturday November 26th, the fabulous Jeanette Verster will be the official photographer for myself and three other brides as we rock our wedding dresses on a picnic in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden!

Picnic food, blankets, cushions… Its going to be so awesome!

If there are any photographers who would like to come and try their hand at photographing something different, you’re more than welcome to join us too! Leave a comment and I’ll send you more details of time and such.

I am so excited! This will be my third trash-the-dress shoot and the fifth time I’ll be wearing my wedding dress!

If anyone isn’t sure what “trash the dress” or “rock the frock” is, you can read about it here: Wikipedia

Category: photography, workshop  Comments off

From Behind The Lens

This week, my interview serves to introduce you to Joanne Markland of Joanne Markland Photography.

Her eight years of experience clearly shows in her fantastic portfolio. Be sure to check her out on Facebook too.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. I was born in Cape Town and have lived here most of my life.  My parents are originally from the UK so I started travelling from quite a young age and I still absolutely love travelling and will do so any chance I get. I would say I am a pretty shy person and that’s why I love being behind the camera. I have a pretty dry sense of humor and I can be sarcastic at times, but I blame my parents for that one. 😛 I am a hard worker and will always go that extra mile.  I love spending time with my hubby and with my friends  because without them life wouldn’t be as much fun. :)

Where are you based? I am based in Milnerton, Cape Town.

How did you get into photography? After doing a three year National Diploma course in photography, I ended up working on cruise ships as a photographer for about four years.  It was there I learnt how to work under pressure and how to work quickly. I was very lucky to shoot weddings in beautiful Caribbean locations like Jamaica, St Thomas, St Martyn and Grand Cayman whilst working on the ships. It was a great way to see the world for free but I wouldn’t say it was the best place to learn photography and when I finished my stint I decided I wanted to learn more and started working as an assistant at an advertising studio in Cape Town. I learnt so much about natural and studio lighting and I got to work on a variety of different genres in photography- portraits, food photography, still life, interior, exterior and nature- amongst others.  After two years of permanent assisting I freelanced for them and also started taking photographs for local magazines. I photographed weddings on a part time basis but I felt that that was where my real passion lay and decided to start doing it full time.

How do you describe your photographic style? I can’t say I have a particular style because I do like to try and mix it up a little.  I feel that when you give your couples the photos you want them to be able to look at them in twenty years time and you want them to love them just as much as they did the first day they looked at them.  I try to keep a bit of a traditional feel without it looking too posed and I try to keep it as relaxed and natural as possible.  It really all depends on the couple, you sometimes get really shy couples who don’t know what to do in front of the camera, so then you have to direct them.  Some couples are naturals and you can just snap away.

How long have you been photographing weddings? I have been doing weddings for about eight years now.

What type of camera do you use? I use the Nikon D700 with a variety of Nikon 2.8 lenses.

How do you market yourself? I use wedding websites like Celebration, Little Pink Book, word of mouth and Facebook.  I’m a little slack on Facebook though and am trying to train myself to use it.

What advice do you have for photographers who are just starting out? The wedding industry is a tough industry to get into as there is a lot of competition. Assist or second shoot at weddings even if you are doing your own weddings as there is always something new to learn. Even the most experienced photographers don’t know everything. Remember that a professional photographer is not someone who owns a digital camera and can press the shutter button down on continuous and think they will get nice shots. A professional photographer is someone who knows their equipment, knows how to light subjects properly, knows how to compose elements within a scene and someone who is willing to work hard in order to achieve all of this.

How do you put nervous or camera shy brides and couples at ease? One thing which I feel is a great way to get to know your couples is to do engagement shoots.  It’s almost like a practice run for them and it is here where you start to learn about their personalities.  By the time the wedding comes they know you and the way you work. It isn’t always possible to do these shoots so if this is the case then I feel if you are relaxed, friendly and understanding this gets them to relax a little.  Also when it comes to doing poses get someone to chat to the bride or if you are photographing couples get them to chat to each other and just start taking photos because they are so excited and in love and the moments you capture during this time are priceless.  You can still get the most beautiful photos from a nervous bride or couple it all depends on how you approach them and how you capture it.

What is your biggest challenge as a wedding photographer? I think the biggest challenge is that digital photography has become quite a big industry and it’s also become a lot more affordable.  A lot of people who buy digital cameras think they are automatically a photographer because they can just look at the screen and try again if it isn’t right, it seems so easy to them.  This can become quite challenging for the wedding photographers who have worked so hard to get to where they want to be and now we have to try even harder.

What has been the highlight of your career as a wedding photographer? I have met so many amazing, down to earth couples and just to know you have been a part of one of the biggest events in their lives is really special.

Which of the wedding photographs you have taken are your favourite? Shoo… it’s difficult to choose but here are some of my favourites.

I absolutely loved this couple,  I like the fact it was a non traditional wedding and she didn’t want a photographer to begin with but she had so much fun posing and couldn’t stop laughing.

I just love how she looks like a little kid, so excited and surprised by the feathers.  This bride loved every single minute of her wedding, it was really a fairytale come true for her.

I love the expressions and love the checked floor.

This couple was so in love the entire day, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  I like the look on their faces…

Despite it being one of the windiest days in Cape Town we managed to get some great shots.  I like the composition of this one, the shadows and back lighting.

I love the building and reflection in this one and then adding the bride and the groom just finishes it off.

The final preparation before she goes down the aisle.

The theme for this wedding was a “Mad Hatters party”. It was so much fun, so Bo-Kaap in Cape Town seemed like the perfect location to do their shoot.  I love the colours and the expressions on their faces.

How important is a tool like Photoshop in your work, and do you retouch at all? I use Lightroom and Photoshop but only do basic retouching such as colour, contrast, black & white. I use Photoshop to remove blemishes or something in the image that shouldn’t be there.  I don’t believe in changing the photos too much because I try to keep it as real as possible, it’s a wedding and not a fashion shoot or advertising campaign  but also it all depends on what your couples like.

Do you have an assistant, or invite second shooters to assist at your weddings? I do have an assistant who also 2nd shoots for me.  I like to use the same assistant/2nd shooter because they know how you work and you build up a good relationship with them.  They can’t always come to every wedding with you so I am always keen to meet new people who want to assist.

Which of your photographs would you use to show off your creative and artistic side? I have a mixture of photos here, I think people tend to think that if you photograph weddings that’s all you can do.  I love photographing so many different things.

I was doing a shoot for Habitat for Humanity in a township and there were so many kids around.  I was trying to get them to cover their eyes and ears but one little girl just didn’t want to.

One evening I decided to go and photograph a sunset.  It started raining and normally I would pack up and leave but this time I stayed.  It ended up being one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, and I haven’t done any Photoshop to this shot.

This photo is made up of about 8-10 frames which are stitched together.  I love the texture and lighting.

This shot hasn’t been photo shopped much, all I did was clean up the spilled water on the surface.  I remember doing this shoot and I just wasn’t getting the right splash.  Eventually I threw that cherry in with a lot of force and was lucky enough to capture the result!  Sometimes being frustrated and impatient can work out for the best.

These are my nephews and niece.  To get them all to smile at the same time in one photo was difficult!

This was taken at a crèche in a township.  Some of these kids have such a hard life yet they just smile and love life.

What would you love to add to your equipment? I would love a medium format camera, is a Hasselblad too much too ask for???

Where would you love to do a wedding shoot? Scotland, I love the movie “Brave heart” because of the beautiful scenery, it has a mysterious feel about it and I think it would be amazing for weddings.  Or maybe I’m hoping Mel Gibson will appear in his kilt somewhere.

What is your work-flow after a wedding? When I get home after a wedding, no matter what time it is, I download my cards and back them up onto 2 hard drives.  I take the Sunday off and then start on Monday doing my selections, processing, and basic retouching.  I try to have a blog post up within 1 week-2 weeks.

How many images do you average for a wedding, and how many do you deliver to your clients? I shoot over 1000 images and my couples will get anything from 400-600 images.

Is there a wedding photographer you admire? There are so many great wedding photographers all over the world, so I don’t have just one which I admire; there are quite a few of them.

Whether its animals, landscapes, nature or portraits, most photographers seem have a penchant for a particular subject. What is yours? I really love photographing brides, they have been dreaming of this moment since they were a child.  It’s the one day they get to feel like a princess and get to be spoilt rotten.  So I love capturing that.

If you could be invisible- with your camera- for a day, you would… Hmmmmm, I have been thinking about this one for a while and just don’t have any idea.  Documenting people because as soon as they see you they change their body language completely so at least if they can’t see you, you could get some amazing expressions.

If you could photograph any musician, who would it be? Seal, I have always loved his music and he looks really great in photos.

Is there anything you’re learning to do? In a few weeks time I will be learning to be a mom to a little boy. :) Do they have courses for that????

What will you be up to in 2011? Besides being a first time mom, I have my first international wedding in the Seychelles which I am very excited about, I also have my local weddings and then what happens the rest of the year can be a surprise.

From Behind The Lens

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.

From Behind The Lens

This week I got to interview Alana of Alana Meyer Photography. I have been lucky enough to meet her in real life and I like her a lot, and then I found her blog and you know how I love wedding photographers blogs! I am sure you will be as impressed with her work as I have been.


She has a blog, she’s on Facebook, and she’s on Twitter as @alanameyerphoto.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. I was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe which some people don’t know and then went to Rhodes University and studied a Fine Arts degree majoring in photography, which was always a passion of mine. I decided to move to Johannesburg where my husband-to-be was working at the time. I worked for Gallo Images for several years, which again sparked my interest to pursue photography as a career. I am now a wedding and portrait photographer, following my dream of building a brand, growing a business and loving taking photos.

Where are you based? Johannesburg, South Africa

How did you get into photography? I was given a Kodak point and shoot camera when I was eight years old, and ever since then I loved being behind the camera. My Barbie dolls were my first models at that stage- they were quite stiff though! 😛 I now have real live people as my models! :)

How do you describe your photographic style? I would describe my style as very natural, modern and elegant. I love letting people be themselves with a little direction from myself and then we just have fun during the shoot.

How long have you been photographing weddings? I have been second shooting weddings since 2009 and I took the plunge to go on my own seven months ago.

What type of camera do you use? I shoot with a Canon 7D and my back up camera is a Canon 50D.

How do you market yourself? Through my website, social media, The Pretty Blog and word of mouth.

What advice do you have for photographers who are just starting out? Keep at it & practise, practise, practise. You will have busy times and you will have quiet times but you’ll get through it. Interact with other photographers as well, because it can be a lonely business.

How do you put nervous or camera shy brides and couples at ease? I tell them how beautiful they look and I physically show them how they look on camera. I get excited about how gorgeous they are and it gets them excited too.

What is your biggest challenge as a wedding photographer? I would say the biggest challenge is being the time keeper. If the bride is running late, it means I can’t get the bridal photos of her before the ceremony. Also if the sun is setting and everything is running late it puts pressure on me to rush them.

What has been the highlight of your career as a wedding photographer? There’s no real moment, but the highlights of being a wedding photographer is definitely the response I get from satisfied clients. I just love to see their faces or hear in their voices how happy they are with the photos. I also love it when they tell me how much fun they had during the shoot.

Which of the wedding photographs you have taken are your favourite?

I love this shot- it is so typical to be the last thing to do before leaving for the church- to spritz oneself with perfume.

I love the series of photos as the colouring and lighting was so beautiful and they were so natural.

I love catching people as they go through their day and catching their emotion and love.

This is quite a dramatic shot which I love. It has the gritty cityscape behind this beautiful couple.

This is such an intimate moment- I love the emotion.

This one is so classic of the men scrambling for the garter! :)

How important is a tool like Photoshop in your work, and do you retouch at all? I use Lightroom and I would say it is a vital tool. It streamlines my processing, enabling me to choose the top photographs and edit through them quickly. It has tools which let me retouch easily and quickly. If there are specific areas that I need to work on, I will then take the photo into Photoshop and work on it there.

Do you have an assistant, or invite second shooters to assist at your weddings? I usually use a second shooter if the wedding is large (over 100 people) It is also great to have second shooters to help with getting different angles & holding reflectors & bags.

Which of your photographs would you use to show off your creative and artistic side?

I love this sunflare on her bare tummy.

I shot this through a hole in the wall & just love how it turned out.

Totally love quirky shots like this especially if there are gorgeous shoes featured. :)

This shot turned out so awesome.

This shot was spontaneous and the word laugh really evoked the models character as she was smiling and laughing all through the shoot.

This shot – although posed- is quite a quiet & natural moment between the two of them.

What would you love to add to your equipment? I have a photographic wish list a mile long :) But the main ones would be Canon 70-200 L 2.8, Canon Macro 100mm L 2.8 and the Canon 85mm 1.2 lens.

Where would you love to do a wedding shoot? Oh my gosh. I would absolutely LOVE to do a shoot in New York City. The skyscrapers, the yellow taxies, the coffee shops on the side of the road, the billboards- there is SO much to work with!!

What is your work-flow after a wedding? I upload the images, back them up on an external hard drive and then import them into Lightroom. I select the best images and then start to edit & retouch them.

How many images do you average for a wedding, and how many do you deliver to your clients? I usually take about 2000 images at a full day wedding. It will depend on the package, but the average I deliver is 500 photos.

Is there a wedding photographer you admire? There are lots, but I would have to say Christine Meintjes. She inspires me with her photography and with her business mind. I also am totally in love with Simply Bloom Photography’s style!

Whether its animals, landscapes, nature or portraits, most photographers seem have a penchant for a particular subject. What is yours? I do love couple portraits, although if I am somewhere beautiful with no models, then it has got to be landscapes or animals.

If you could be invisible- with your camera- for a day, you would… go all around Johannesburg and take photos of landscapes, cityscapes, streetscenes, &just take photos of people going about their everyday activities & not being aware of the camera.

If you could photograph any musician, who would it be? Adele – she has some striking features and her 1920s style is pretty awesome

Is there anything you’re learning to do? I find I am learning something new about business and photography every day.

What will you be up to in 2011? I will be doing my first international wedding this year. One in July and one in December, both in Zimbabwe. I can’t wait. I am nearly completely booked up for the end of the year so you’d better book soon if you’d like me as your wedding photographer.  :)