The Joy of being a Photographer

When I sit down and think about what it means to be a woman with her own business in 2021, I see faces. Business people, families, my family and even strangers.

When Nathalie, my eldest daughter, arrived I was working for the National Gallery. During my maternity I would photograph her at every available opportunity. She was changing day by day and I didn’t want to miss out on a second. I know the joy my family portraits bring from personal experience, and I channel that feeling into my work.

Growing up in Johannesburg my grandfather would come to visit and would venture, camera in hand, to the local game reserves in order to see the ‘big five’. I was eight years old, and using his pictures with storytelling, he would share his adventures. I can honestly say that my love of photography started there. His shots were so expressive and emotive, as was the joy on his face.

After college I travelled the world taking my camera everywhere. In Switzerland working as a chalet girl, I would occasionally hike up the nearest mountain with my camera and approach tourists offering to take souvenir photographs. That was the very first step into making my passion for photography a little business enterprise. I can still see their faces, full of that word again, joy!

I did briefly pack away my professional photography after the birth of Lucie my second daughter. I wanted to concentrate on being a mother again. You can document their lives, but sometimes you need to step away from the lens to enjoy what’s around you.

Of course I couldn’t stay away for too long. As a regular visitor to playgroups and nurseries word had spread about my little portrait shoots. My reputation was preceding me, and I grew my career as a professional photographer. I’ve met people from all walks of life, publishers, advertisers, and business leaders have told me their stories, opening their hearts as well as their boardrooms.

Most recently, before and during the global pandemic, my niche has been professional headshots. Particularly for other women in business. The headshot is growing ever more popular as part of the email signature, people interact with people – not just a name. We’ve all tried to establish ways of making the virtual network personable. I seem to bring out the strength and confidence that could only usually come across in person. My business has grown through recommendation, technology has even provided me with the ability to take the perfect headshot virtually!

As I think of all the faces from my life and career, I am drawn to one lady in particular. During her recent business shoot I suggested, just for fun, that she leap in the air. She embraced the idea and threw herself literally into it.

And do you know what I see when I look at her picture?

JOY.

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