It is arguable that a photographer is the third most important person at any wedding. After all, he or she has to work closely with the couple throughout the entire celebration to ensure the special day is captured perfectly. Choosing the right one is therefore a very personal decision. For those couples searching for a wedding photographer who will seamlessly reflect their style and personalities, Christine Hogg examines some Cape Town-based options.
CHRISéL MOUTON PHOTOGRAPHY
Chrisél is the girl behind the lens of Chrisél Mouton Photography. She is a full time photographer now, but Chrisél initially studied acting in Cape Town before – as a fresh graduate – she had to take on what she laughingly refers to as “adulting”. But entering the film industry as a youngster is intimidating, and when assisting on film sets lost its magic, Chrisél worked in Dubai as a flight attendant before returning to South Africa to work as?a radio DJ, whilst singing and dancing in musicals.?
All these experiences, coupled with the creativity that has always been an integral part of her life, is reflected in?Chrisél’s photography style: it’s sensitive and insightful, with meticulous attention to how the light falls. Wedding clients have praised Chrisél’s use of tone and colour as well as her ability to make them feel comfortable in front of a camera. Chrisél finds photography both challenging and stimulating and loves that it gives her the opportunity both to be creative and to connect with people – two things that she really treasures in life. “Photography has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” says Chrisél.
Known as “the girl with the camera”, Chantall Marshall decided to study photography straight after school. She shoots in a romantic, fine-art style using mainly natural lighting. To her, photography is personal: “If you look at my work, you will find a little bit of my heart,” she says. Pricing options include locally produced linen-covered coffee table books, and custom packages can be created to fit any particular need. A pre-planning session is always included, so everything runs smoothly on the big day and you can get to know each other a bit beforehand. Testimonials on her website describe Chantall as a talented and passionate photographer who is easy to work with.
At Dearheart Photos, weddings are a cause of great excitement. Although posing direction is given when needed, a documentary approach is taken. The philosophy is to rather have “an authentic memory over perfectly positioned hair” and immortalise spontaneous moments, such as “a gentle touch, a deep belly laugh, a shared look, overwhelming joy, passion and celebration”. Promising to be as relaxed as possible, Dearheart Photos’ aim is to capture a wedding day with as much TLC as went into organising it.
CRAZY LITTLE THING PHOTOGRAPHY
Gavin van Haght is a Cape Town-based international wedding photographer, who prefers natural moments over staged poses. He believes that photography should reflect his own as well as his clients’ happiness and hence he focuses on making everyone feel as comfortable as possible. Promising “a lifetime of happy memories”, his favourite photographs capture tears of joy, candid laughter and the look on the groom’s face as the bride walks down the aisle. Editing is a crucial part of what Crazy Little Thing Photography offers and Gavin insists on keeping the image as natural as possible, just enhancing colours and contrast to convey a particular mood. Various packages are available, ranging from standard to deluxe, with options to include prints and coffee table books. Travelling overseas or to a destination wedding within South Africa is possible, but transport and accommodation costs are charged beyond package prices.
Using natural light as much as possible, Tanya Kinnear’s style is organic and natural, with an emphasis on the candid, emotive, and authentic. She believes couples should rely less on trying to create the perfect wedding and instead be fully present in the moment, both in the journey leading up to the celebration and on the day itself. This allows her to create photos that capture the uniqueness of the couple’s personalities, their love for each other, the ‘real’ of their story and all the moments in between. “I think part of me being a documentary photographer is to capture weddings with heart. The majority of weddings all look and feel the same, with couples experiencing the day as a chore, instead of what it is – a celebration of their love!” she says. She works best with couples that go against the grain, who place importance on their unique taste and who own their wedding day rather than let it own them. Engagement shoots are included in all her packages and some packages include travel across South Africa. Tanya is particularly fond of elopements, intimate celebrations and unique weddings.
Simone Franzel realised early on that she wanted to focus on significant moments in life. She likes weddings because they have a certain order, but there’s still room for the unexpected: no two weddings are ever the same and therein lies her fascination. So when she’s not spending time with her family, she’s trying to find that unique thread which makes a love story special. Her focus is on emotions, such as the look on the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, grandma wiping away a quick tear or the little flower girl twirling in her dress. Although Simone’s style is clearly documentary, she enjoys setting up a creative shot to add an element of fine art. Based in Cape Town, Simone travels all over South Africa as well as internationally for weddings.