Q & A with Illuminate Photography

Welcome to my Q&A with Tabitha Mee from illuminate Photography.

I think it is important to learn about the providers that you are going to book for your special day.
They know a lot about the industry and are really talented at what they do.

Tabitha is one of those talented providers. I LOVE her work. She has a beautiful style that is so calm and serene. Everyone looks so relaxed and happy in her photographs. I asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say.

1. How long have you been photographing weddings?
2011 was my first wedding season. I had shot one or two weddings for friends and acquaintances before that, but I’d say 2011 is when I got “serious” about it.

2. What made you start in this industry, or have you always known you wanted to do wedding photography?
Very soon after I got my first “real” camera in 2009, I realised that I was most drawn to portrait photography. Weddings just seemed to flow naturally out of that love, and I haven’t looked back ;)

3. How would you describe your style?
Natural and romantic with a creative and personal touch.

4. Is there a photographer that inspires you in your work?
I am hugely inspired by SO many photographers! I feel like I can really learn something from everyone, including from my amazing second shooters who push me to be a better photographer without even realising it! In terms of the bigger names in the wedding industry, I really admire both Ryan Brenizer and Jonas Peterson’s creativity and love looking at all the fearless photographers’ work. I also really enjoy following some lesser-known fashion and fine Art photographers.

5. If you could shoot a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be?
That’s a really tough one! I’m going to be sneaky and pick two countries – India and Indonesia. The Mediterranean coast or somewhere in the dessert would also be amazing!

6. How do you charge for your weddings? Can you work with most budgets?
I have different collections depending on your needs, and am also happy to customise something for you specifically. I’d say that I can work with most middle-range budgets.

7. How important is photoshop and/or lightroom or any other editing programme to you? Do clients ask you to “photoshop out their wrinkles” How far is too far when it comes to editing?
I do spend a decent amount of time on the post-process as I am a bit of a perfectionist, but my aim is always to keep the pictures looking natural and to honestly reflect the wedding day. I always try to think of what I would want if I was a bride. No one wants photos that look obviously photoshopped! However, if you woke up with a big zit on your chin on your wedding day, I’ll ensure that you won’t need to remember that every time you look at your wedding pictures!

8. How far in advance should brides book you for their wedding day?
6-9 months seems to be the standard. If you are getting married in season, you’d probably be safe closer to a year. I prefer not to take on weddings that are too much further away than that.

9. How does Pinterest work for you? Is it sometimes too much inspiration for a bride & they give you impossible tasks?
I am always open to trying news things! Some of my favourite shots have been based on ideas sent to me by brides. As long as they understand that there are many factors that influence how a shot looks and therefore I cannot guarantee an exact replica. What I can guarantee is that I will add my own creative flair to it :)

10. What is your favourite wedding to date and why?
I am going to be very cheesy and say “my own!”. And the reason I loved it so much has nothing to do with the venue, the weather, the decor, the dress or even the photos – I love that I got married to my best friend and that we had our favourite people around to share in that joy. Weddings that echo that sentiment are my favourite.

11. What equipment do you normally bring to a wedding?
Besides my “paparazzi” 70-200mm lens that I use for outdoor ceremonies, everything I own just about fits into one small bag. I don’t feel that flashy gear suits me at all. I shoot with a Canon 6D and mostly use 50mm or 85mm prime lenses to achieve the look I want. I may bring out my flash during reception if need be, and I like to use a video light for some more creative shots occasionally.

12. Best piece of wedding advice?
Remember that a wedding only lasts a day, but marriage lasts a lifetime. If something doesn’t go 100% as you planned it, just let it go. It’s not going to be what you remember about your wedding in 10 or 20 years time, unless you allow it to bother you endlessly on the day, which is just counter-productive.

Thanks for your time Tabitha!

If you would like to have a chat with Tabitha about her work or would like to book her for your wedding, contact her on the information below. You won’t be sorry!

Website: http://illuminate-photography.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/we.are.illuminate
Email Address: tabithamee@gmail.com

Sarah and Stephan tie the knot

Sarah and I initially met over skype for the first time when she decided she needed a planner in Cape Town for her wedding. Sarah and Stephan live in Johannesburg, so they were looking for someone who could help plan their wedding in Cape Town.

I was super happy when they hired me. Sarah and I got on right away, we spoke often and emailed back and forth with ideas and comments. She is a bride who knows what she wants, so when they mentioned that Tokara Wine Estate was one of their all time favourite places, I got to work and we booked the venue.

When working with couples that don’t live in the area, Pinterest is a great help for inspiration. Sarah invited me to her board and it helped me make sure that her ideas came to life. Fennec from Fox and Co was the perfect addition to this wedding. Everything looked fabulous!

It was a boiling hot day, so once the ceremony was over the Oysters from Oyster King were served along with some bubbly and everyone cooled down and had a wonderful time. The couple and their friends danced the night away and Claire captured some seriously amazing moments!

This wedding was small, intimate, emotional and filled with love – which is exactly what a wedding should be filled with if you ask me.

To Sarah and Stephan, thank you for bringing me in on such a special day. I loved getting to know you both and I can see the love you have for eachother will last a lifetime! I wish you love, light and happiness in your marriage.

Thanks to the lovely providers who helped make this day a reality for the happy couple:

Photography: Claire Nicola
Venue – Tokara
Decor and Flowers: Fox and Co 
DJ: Oh my Gosh Productions – DJ Craig 
Live Music: Daniel Eppel 
Pastor: Troy Goldie 
Oysters: Oyster King 
Crepes/Midnight Snacks: Martjie Malan
Cake & Brownies: Love at First Site 
Brides Dress & Veil: Olivelli
Bridesmaids Dresses: Jovanista 
Wedding Rings: Browns 
Hair and Make Up: Francois Nel – francois.stylist@gmail.com
Thank you gifts: Sweet Temptations
Accommodation: Alluvia

Tobi and Kurt say I Do in South Africa

This wedding will always hold a special place in my heart. I love my job, I have said it many times before… but this wedding was just that extra bit of special for me.

Tobi contacted me in 2013 to help with her wedding. Kurt and Tobi live together in Bermuda and they needed me to make their South African dream wedding become a reality. We spent so much time chatting over skype that I felt we really became friends.

Tobi was a bride who was definitely a wedding planner in her passed life! She had a file that was almost larger than mine! It was so funny when she whipped it out once she arrived in SA. Kurt couldn’t believe she would cart that file all the way from Bermuda! She had printed out everything, and I mean everything that we ever discussed. So as you can imagine we went over every detail of this wedding with a fine tooth comb, and to be honest, it’s the only way. It was a wonderful day!

Contrary to popular belief, a bride is not always late. Tobi was actually very early to the church, she was so early that she had to wait in the limo so that some of the guests could get inside. Now that is a very excited bride if I ever saw one!

Once the ceremony was over and the confetti was thrown, the guests made their way to the lovely Nitida Wine Farm in Durbanville. Cocktails and canapes were served on arrival and guests were treated to the lovely sounds from Shout Music.

The happy couple were taken away for their photos by the talented Moira West.
I love every photo from this wedding, I am sure it is going to be hard for Tobi and Kurt to decide which ones to frame.

The decor looked absolutely stunning, and as usual, Fennec from Fox and Co pulled out all the stops for this wedding. She was a huge help to me on this wedding! It looked so wonderful once the sun had set and we put the fairy lights on. It really did look like a fairytale during the couples first dance.

I could go on and on about this wedding, I stayed slightly longer than I normally do because the guests were having such a good time on the dance floor that I enjoyed watching their dance moves.

Tobi and Kurt, once again I would like to thank you for hiring me to play such an important part in your wedding. I loved getting to know you both and seeing you on your wedding day and how happy you were really made my heart smile. I will be calling on you one day to show me Bermuda when it reaches its place on my bucket list!

Thanks to the amazing providers for making this day such a huge success:

Photographer: Moira West Photography
Decor: Fox and Co
Hair and Make Up: Cindy Horton
Venue: Nitida Wine Farm
Church: Holy Cross Church
Stationary: Lee’s Wedding Stationary
DJ: Dream Wedding DJ’s
Ceremony Music: Jazz Between Friends
Cocktail Hour Drinks: Shout Music
Photobooth: Picture Parlour
Dance Floor: SS Floor Hire
Cake: The Cake Box
Candy Table: Petite Bouchee
Videography: MW Productions
Brides Dress: Mori Lee Toronto
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Grooms attire: Mr Suit Hire
Wedding Rings: Shimansky
Transportation for guests: Illios
Transportation for bridal party: Royal Limo Service
Accommodation: Protea Island Club and Protea Hotel