So I had plans to post my 20 best photos of 2017 a few weeks back, and well… it’s already the end of January 2018 (say what?!) and I am only getting to this blog post now. Yeah, 2017 was cray-cray and if I wasn’t taking photo shoots or editing, I was falling asleep over my supper while trying to post sneak peeks and full shoots on my website. But you know what? It was incredibly FUN and super rewarding to be able to do all of these shoots with my fantastic clients (you guys really are amazing). And it gave me all the warm fuzzies to go back and pick my 20 best photos of 2017. Here they are, in no particular order:
1 Megan, Tristan, and Ben
During the Jooste’s family shoot, these 3 kiddos were full of life, running, jumping and having a ball! It was hard to capture a moment where all three were still, so we made a game of it. I told them to pile on top of each other and as you can tell from the look on Meg’s face, she’s loving being on top of the heap! Another reason this photo is one of my 20 best photos of 2017 is it was also published on the cover of Mum’s Mail on the East Rand. (Look ma, I’m famous!)
2 Johann and Klaradyn
This lovely couple won an e-voucher in a competition with me early in 2017. They asked me to do a couple’s shoot for them and when they arrived at Irene Dairy Farm, both were visibly nervous. It took a few moments for this lovely couple to relax and start laughing when I made jokes with them, but soon they were having a ball. Towards the end of the shoot, we were near a small dam with a very drowsy swan snoozing on the bank. I was fiddling with settings on my camera and Klaradyn had closed her eyes against a stiff breeze as it was making her eyes water. I told her to rest her forehead against Johann’s face and captured this moment as they both giggled.
3 Anesia and Barney
It’s always such a delight for me to see a couple in love. It’s even better when you know them and I was truly honoured to do this Save the Date shoot for my friends Anesia and Barney. Just by the way, if you’re ever wondering whether every shoot is a piece of cake, it’s not. During this quick shoot, Anesia’s little girl was most upset that she was not in her mother’s arms and stood wailing next to me until we grabbed her and made her the centre of attention.
4 Little Linke and her daddy
This little princess was just 17 days old and had clearly stolen her daddy’s heart good and proper within those first three weeks of life. I love how John-Martin cradled her with such tenderness and such joy during this newborn photo shoot.
5 The Abadirs
During this maternity shoot with the Abadir family, we had a great idea to use falling leaves as a type of confetti. What you can’t see in this picture and the reason it makes the cut as one of my 20 best photos of 2017, is Liesel’s sister Mary was furiously shaking a tree branch to try get those leaves to fall. I love the expression on Liesel’s face and how happy and glowing this mommy-to-be looks. The rest of us found it hilarious, especially considering those leaves were too tiny to be seen in the final photo!
This is what pure happiness looks like. Kayla had been striking poses for me like the little rockstar that she is during the shoot I did with her family. And I caught her at a moment when she was laughing. I love that this captures the essence of this beautiful little girl and her joy.
7 Amy and Tekoa
This little babe just laughed, smiled and laughed some more during the family shoot I did with the Bentleys and Kennards. Tekoa takes after his gorgeous mom, Amy, with her mischievous smile and how they both find joy in every moment. I mean just LOOK at this photo! He totally captured my heart with his toothless, gummy little grin and I love how the wind played with her hair as she gave him a smooch.
8 Baby Luca
I couldn’t have asked for a more content baby boy during this newborn and family shoot I did with the Bornmans. Luca just snoozed. He opened an eye once or twice to blink at me sleepily and then just drifted off into yet another nap as only newborns can do. He allowed his mom and I to pose him, move him and snuggle him in turns without so much as a peep. And I was thrilled with this shot of our sleeping prince.
9 Mondi and Nova-Mae
Mondi got in touch with me and asked me to shoot Nova-Mae’s second birthday party in Pretoria East. We decided to squeeze in a quick Mommy & Me photo shoot prior to all the guests arriving. And like any toddler, Nova-Mae had lots to investigate and play with, but as soon as Mondi scooped her baby girl up in her arms, I had magic happening in front of my camera. These three pics were completely spontaneous and unposed and I love the bond between them.
10 Portrait session with Clarinda
During a family holiday in Pretoria, Clarinda got in touch with me for a spur-of-the-moment shoot. She wanted to do a family shoot as well as a portrait session. The morning of the shoot had to be one of the coldest winter days I’ve experienced yet, but our shoot at The Farm Inn yielded this incredible photo. I’d just gotten my 50mm portrait lens and I was experimenting with my new purchase. We had just about wrapped up and we were going to leave for their family shoot, when I noticed the light falling on her face from a nearby window. I told her to turn her body toward me and I climbed up into the windowsill and perched awkwardly for a few seconds to grab this shot. I love the result!
11 Jane and Howard
I’m a Durban girl and every few months I fly down to see family and friends. In July, Jane asked me to do a shoot with her and hubby Howard at Summerveld. Firstly, this is a truly gorgeous spot, even in the middle of winter, with a thick swathe of leaves scattered like a carpet. Those beautiful autumn hues brought a richness to this shoot, but it was really these two who stole the show. They are so in love! Howard was a little shy at first, but soon really got into the swing of things as I suggested poses and this one was by far my favourite as they caught each other’s eyes and began to smile.
12 Willem and Marshall
Boys will be boys! I don’t know which expression makes me laugh harder in this photo: Marshall’s “I’m going to slay dragons!” roar while brandishing his plastic sword, or dad Willem’s resigned expression as he carries his tiny warrior. Either way, I love the fierceness in this little knight’s face! Check out the rest of the Venter family’s shoot here.
13 Greea and Werner
Photo shoots can be daunting if you’re shy. And when she first found herself in front of the camera with her husband Werner, Greea became a little self-conscious. I joked and told stories, but Werner brought out the best in his beautiful wife during this shoot and soon, these expectant parents were at ease and sharing kisses in the sunlight during their maternity photo shoot. I just get absolute goosies when I see how the light frames them in this photo. (I was also super chuffed as this was the first shoot I did with my new 50mm lens. I really love that lens!)
14 The Sishi family
As I mentioned earlier, this family photo shoot with Clarinda’s family was spur of the moment. And the weather was freezing with a biting wind that made your eyes water! But between Elijah’s heart-wrenchingly cute smile, Kendra’s bubbliness and finally getting a real grin from Aaron-John, let’s face it: the weather didn’t matter when the photos were this beautiful. I think this one is one of my favourites because of the way Ed gathers his whole family together and hugs them tightly. These guys… they really love one another!
A girl’s gotta have her cake and eat it. During Aliyah’s first birthday party, she eyed me a little suspiciously when I got too close to her while she was eating her birthday cake. I would, too, if a stranger got too close to my icing. But happiness is a birthday princess with hundreds and thousands all over her lips!
16 Marika and Grant
Love, love, love. This couple is one of the special ones. During the family photo shoot I did with the entire Waterston clan, I took a few moments to take shots of each of the parents… and this one was entirely unscripted. Marika just took Grant and gave him a hug, watching their kids play in the background and he happened to glance at me. Click!
17 The De Jager family
You know what makes a photographer happy? A family who knows how to have fun together and I am so glad the De Jagers found me on Facebook. Morne, Annelien and their kids just had a blast from start to finish during their family photo shoot at Irene Dairy Farm. From swans gracing their photos to sunshine dancing around them, they took everything in their stride. Annelien even went barefoot through the mud to take a shot I’d proposed. It’s her sense of humour that makes this photo really shine!
He’s just got such an open face. It’s that frank, happy smile that makes you want to smile back. And Brandon was quite happy to pose, without any sense of shyness or pride – he is a sweet kid and it’s clear to me his kind nature comes from his parents, Grant and Marika. (See number 16).
19 James and Zoё
She’s the Schnauzer with no sense of her size. But every sense of how much her owner loves her and Zoё simply clambered onto James’ lap during this family shoot I did with the Reeves. It’s the floppy fur and the fact that you can’t quite see her eyes, plus the fact that she thinks she’s a lapdog that makes me love this one! (Keep an eye out for the sneak peek, coming soon!)
It’s the sunshine. It’s not just the sunshine that frames her, but the sunshine from within that makes me love this image of Marika. She’s a client who became a friend and I’m so touched and honoured to be able to say I know this woman! She’s got quite a story to share – you’ll find it here.
Did you love my 20 best photos of 2017?