This photo kept me from doing any other personal work for a whole year, and it was all because I’m too scared fo what I think of my own work.Read More
Sand Leather post
One of my clients gave me a call on a Wednesday afternoon and asked if I could fly to Cape Town to shoot for her company the following week. The client is Sand Leather Goods, and they make high-end leather bags. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, and a couple of days later, I was in Cape Town, prepping for the shoot. Here's a BTS video made by one of my closest mates, Simon Strehler AKA Adam Astra:
Here are some final images from the shoot:
I worked with an amazing team on this shoot:
Craig Hancock: @__crhancock__
Jan de Klerk: @deklerkj
Melissa Kock : @melissamayk
Henk de Villiers: @henkules
Assistant: Hanru Marais - @Hanrumarais
And of course, my amazing client, Biebie from @Sandleathergoods
"How 5 seconds of your time can change a life, every day" was the title of my talk.
I've got some pretty outrageous dreams. I always have, and honestly, I don't believe in not having dreams that feel unrealistic. There's a checklist in my mind of bonkers things I want to achieve before I die. Bonkers like "Photograph Obama", "Shoot the cover of TIME".
Doing a TED talk has been one such dream for a while, and it happened.
My talk is about a 5 second engagement that literally changed my life and helped form my character, and how it taught me that we can all do that for other people, every day.
I get asked all the time what awards I've won. And what magazines I've been published in. My answer has always been this:
Pretty much nothing.
I've never bothered to submit my work to competitions or magazines. I've always had an attitude of "I'm happy to win an award or have work published if I'm ASKED to do so, but not if I ask if I may". I don't want to come across as a jerk who thinks his work is the best. It isn't.
In 2015, things changed, and I was asked on one or two occasions by publications if they could publish my work, and that was such a privilege.
At the end of every year, there are usually 3 or 4 articles about "Top 10 wedding photographers in the world" that go totally viral. The photos in these articles are great, and the photographers are great too. My gripe with these articles is that 99% of the time, the only photographers on these lists are the photographers who pay an annual fee to be part of the organisation that wrote the article in the first place. These articles ignore ALL photographers who are NOT part of these organisations, no matter how good those photographers might be. This isn't the case with every one of these "Top 10" lists, but it is the case most of the time.
Similarly, there's a huge awards competition here in South Africa, where various wedding vendors sign up, pay the fee to be part of the listing, and then the "Top photographer of the year" is selected from that list. Any photographer who did not sign up and pay the fee is ignored.
And I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Being "Top 10" out of a pool consisting ONLY of other people who paid money to be entered feels a little like winning a Golf Tournament due to 99% of the competitors being disqualified only for wearing the wrong socks. I just don't get it. I considered entering that competition last year (and this year), but just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Being "Top 10" amongst everyone, with no restrictions - now THAT feels like something that matters to me.
SLR Lounge is a world-class website tailored somewhat to Wedding and Portrait photography. It features tutorials, articles, and guides written by some of the best photographers in the world. It's a site that I learned much of what I know today from, and the writers are people I've respected since I started shooting.
Two days ago, SLR Lounge published "150 Best International Wedding Photographers for 2016". This list was NOT made up of people who threw down some cash to be chosen. It was put together by actual photographers, who went through thousands of portfolios, analysed and curated the keepers, and then got opinions from other industry leaders. The list is made up of photographers from around the world.
There's a bunch of really, really great photographers on that list, and then there's some dude in South Africa who edits photos in his pajamas 3-4 times a week. He is me.
I couldn't really wrap my head around it when I saw my name on this list. I mean, the people on this list are literally the best in the industry, like the dudes from Nordica.
So, my point: As someone who doesn't place much emphasis on Photographic "awards", this particular award feels to me like an award that matters, and I'm absolutely honoured to be on a list with such incredible photographers.
Huge thanks to the folks at SLR Lounge for this. Really.
By the way - the images in this post come from Jenni and Coenraad's wedding. These two were lovely, and their relationship was something that really displayed true, authentic, unconditional love.
Last year, I decided to start teaching what I know about photography, and it was absolutely incredible. I started off with a Wedding Workshop in June, I then flew down to Cape Town to teach 2 photographers about light, and then I wrapped the year up with a bunch of talks and workshops at the Photo & Film expo. By the end of the year, I knew that I needed to teach WAY more this year, and I'm getting started bright and early.
My very first workshop this year will be on using flash. This workshop is a start to finish style workshop, taking you from the basics, all the way through to advanced technique. If you've wanted to use flash, and have feared the immense amount of information there is about this stuff online, this workshop is for you. Here's a video:
This workshop will be the ideal workshop for anyone wanting to build a rock-solid foundation for artificial light. If you have no idea how to use a flash of any kind, you'll be able to walk out of the workshop with all the knowledge you need to start lighting your subjects on your shoots. We'll start the day with some theory, and wrap the day off with a shoot in the studio.
Here's a breakdown:
Understanding How to Use Your Flash
That flash in your camera bag can sometimes feel like a nuclear bomb with a control panel that looks like a mixing desk. I'll reduce it to everything that matters.
Gear: Speedlights, Strobes, Triggers
There's an infinite amount of gear that's available for artificial lighting. I'll walk you through loads of it, and how it could line up with your needs. I'll also fill you in on how you probably don't need 99% of it, and how you can save money by using stuff around the house to create amazing light.
ND Filters, and HSS (High-Speed Sync)
The fancy stuff that allows you to shoot at f/1.4 in broad daylight. This stuff is a big part of my personal workflow. I'll show you how it all works - you might need to make it part of yours too.
Light modifiers can be the difference between awful light, and great light. We'll go over all the theory behind how/why light modifiers do what they do.
Balancing Ambient and Flash
This is probably the most significant aspect to artificial lighht - blending it with available light. Many photographers struggle a lot with this concept. After this workshop, you'll be able to balance ambient and flash in 10 seconds. Every single time.
The workshop will be a full day class, and will take place on the 12th of January 2016 at Sunshine Company in Cape Town.
The fee for the workshop will be R2000 per person. The first 5 bookings will only pay R1500, and there will only be 12 seats, so get in there! Lunch and snacks will be provided. All I need from you for this workshop is that you are 100% comfortable with shooting in Manual.
I look forward to seeing you there!
If you'd like to attend the workshop, please use the form below:
Please be advised that I will need you to pay in full to book your seat. No payment, no booking. The bookings will be made on a first come, first served basis.