My approach to your big day is simple.
I assume I am there, as a trusted guest, to document your special moments - not to direct the proceedings nor to try and retire on the proceeds of just your wedding alone.
There is a marked difference between capturing your day and turning it into a complicated, temper-fraying look what a great photographer I am production shoot. Furthermore, starting out in life is costly enough for young couples and I try and bill you as fairly as possible given the level of experience and expertise I will bring to your assignment and the actual time involved on the entire project.
Why no long ''creative'' shoot? Basic manners folks! Many of your guests will have traveled from afar to share the day with you.
Ask yourself: Should they be sitting in the hall waiting for us to finish a multi-hour shoot with a photographic team or should we be with them sharing our happiness as soon as possible?
If you want a big production shoot that takes 1-3 hours between the ceremony and reception and arrive to thirsty and hungry guests then I probably not the photographer for you.
If, however, you want an album as unique as your partner and yourself, then read on.
Those special, unrepeatable moments
My background as a photo-journalist means I am well suited to capturing those fleeting moments of intimacy, the spontaneity of the day and the atmosphere of the event without intruding.
In another manner of speaking, my wedding shoot style is to capture what happens - as it may happen - and not to make anything happen specifically for the camera.
There is, of course, a time when experience and a practiced eye will dictate that we re-arrange a group for a better balance of outfits, or to get traditional protocols correct - but aside from these odd occasions, you will probably not be aware of my presence. You will be free to go about your business for the most part as if there were no cameras present at all.
I have found that such an approach to the day has many benefits:
Firstly - You, the bride (and the most important person on the day) can relax and not feel pressured.
Secondly, the photographs that result reflect true emotions and natural poses - not formulaic set-ups and cheesy smiles.
Thirdly - and perhaps most importantly - everyone involved in the day retains happy memories of sharing time with family and friends and not being bossed-around.
Of course, there are some particular photographs for which brides ask or which they particularly wish to have in their album. I am more than happy to accommodate these requests in the creative shoot as long as they do not push the creative shoot beyond 45 minutes as, in my experience, that is about the limit of patience of most wedding guests sitting in a hall waiting for the formalities to begin.
So, if you would like to have a one-of-a-kind set of memories for your one-of-a-kind day, what do you do?
STEP ONEDecide if you want a relaxed, documentary style of album of if you want a collection of poses and photographs you have seen in other albums.
If you want the entire set to consist of knock-offs of other photographer's work, then please call those photographers instead.
If you want natural, unforced and spur-of-the-moment photographs showing you and your family as you are, without falseness, then think about contacting me.
We will meet and I will show you a wider range of photographs/videos from many different weddings.
All will be as unique as the couples involved. There are certain commonalities (for example the ring shots, the small details of decor, the look on the face of the groom when he first sees you and your expression as he says his vows to you..) but generally - aside from the family group shots and the individual table groups - each wedding will consist of a collection of photographs reflecting your personality and the atmosphere of your day.
If you decide to book me, we then proceed to formalising the arrangement with a written agreement.
I have a simple time-based fee structure for my professional services.
You pay for the time I spend covering the wedding. If things are happening thick and fast, you may get more than a 1000 images of the day. If things are relaxed and proceed normally, you will get at least 300 top quality images taken throughout the proceedings. I include four hours post-ceremony in my pricing structure. Additional hours after those 4 have elapsed are billed in half hour increments.
Albums and other deliverables are over and above the hourly rate and are dependent upon your choice and budget.
If shooting at the service and the reception and only delivering a data carrier of images shot on the day, your photographs can cost you as little as R7 500.00. (South African Rand exchange rate average in Q2 2016 was US$1.00 = ZAR15.00 and so this price equates to approx US$500.00)
You, as the copyright holder of the photographs, will receive all the images taken on the day in high resolution within a week of the wedding.
I retain duplicate copies of the images in a secure archive should your carrier media be stolen, lost or damaged at any stage.
Copyright law forbids me to make use of any of your images unless you provide me with specific permission to do so.
However, this is a two-way street and intellectual property rights in the creative work (the photographs) vest with the author - me. All that this means is that I may not publish or use any photographs you commissioned without your permission and you must provide a credit to me as the photographer should you publish the images on any public platform (magazine, web page or social media etc).
You are, however, free to publish, use or otherwise deal in your photographs as you see fit.
If you want me to make up an album of images for you, then this is done as an additional job and charged at cost of production (including time spent in preparation of the album).
You are provided a quotation for the work and production and you can then accept or decline as you see fit. The price, depending on the album chosen and the number of pages included can be as little as ZAR1000.00 (US$68.00) or go up to ZAR 3 000.00 (US$200.00).
You are free to make up your own album if your budget is a little restricted due to other wedding costs.
Mention the words "come over and watch our wedding video" to your friends and most will suddenly have something else to attend to.
The tuth is, most folk were probably bored AT the wedding! Sitting watching a static, tripod mounted video camera churning out hours and hours of boring footage of the church or hall does not make it to the top of most human's most desirable activity lists.
I adopt a reportage/newsreel approach and provide an edited highlights disc of around 30 minutes of the day's proceedings. It is like watching a TV documentary of your wedding.
If you have a Membezo or an uMabo (if you have to ask what that is you are not in the target audience) I travel to the location and do the same thing with the proceedings. Your ceremony is captured and a documentary is put together of the most important parts of the day's proceedings which will be between 20 minutews to an hour (depending on the number of guests and gifts of course).
All speeches are recorded in full and delivered on a special disc. (So if Uncle Bob or Mrs Mthetwa WANT to hear themselves talking for 45 minutes, they can.)
OUT OF TOWN/NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES/OVERSEAS WORK
All wedding assignments are billed for photography within a 100km radius of Hillcrest, KwaZulu/Natal South Africa. If your wedding takes place outside this radius, you will need to arrange suitable, secure overnight accommodation for myself and an assistant within a 10 minute drive of the venue if it is within the province.
If outside the province of KwaZulu/Natal or out of the country, then all flights, accommodations and vehicle hire are for your account. The arrangements will be made through my management agent at cost and billed directly to yourself.
Overseas/neighbouring country commissions must be arranged with reference to the normal timing of the particular Visa requirements of the country in which you wish me to work. There is no additional charge for overseas work as regards professional services save where the government of the day may charge extra for a working Visa which I do not already have in which case the cost thereof will be recovered from yourself.
All work is secured by a 50% deposit on booking and the balance (for in Province weddings) is payable no later than 48 hours prior to the ceremony. For out of province/country work, the balance after the deposit is payable, in full, 48 hours prior to the planned time of my team's departure for your assignment.
During my 3 decades in the business I have covered most rites.
Christian, Hindi, Tamil, Gugurati, traditional African, Mormon, Bahai, Islamic reception functions, Civil ceremonies, ship-board weddings, ceremonies at motorcycle rallies and in caves, balloons and bungy platforms - you think of it, I have probably covered it.
If you think you have dreamt-up something out of the ordinary and you need an out of the box approach then perhaps you should get in touch to ensure everything that happens is covered.
You spend an inordinate amount of time on the little things to make your day perfect. I capture these details so that the memories last long after the ribbons are untied, the flowers thrown out and the items returned to the hiring specialists.
Whatever the weather, wherever the venue, I have probably documented a wedding at that or a similar spot and in similar conditions. You get on with the day and I and my equipment will make sure what happens is recorded for you to cherish forever.
Whatever the conditions (Rain, sleet, snow or shine) I wil document your day.