October 5, 2015 | Posted in blog
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked this question, and in hindsight I sometimes wonder why I didn’t just slap my name in front of the word “Photography” to make it easier for myself. Then again, “Kelly Photography” or “Rabie Photography” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, nor is it as interesting or memorable…
If I’m honest I lucked out a bit too – I chose the name even before I had developed my own style. I didn’t even know there WERE different styles. Now my style embodies the very meaning of Umoya – it’s almost as if I knew… But no, I’m not psychic, nor do I possess a sort of otherworldly wisdom about the meaning of life. Pure luck, straight and simple.
So to answer that question… Directly translated it means “Spirit” in Xhosa. Why? This best describes the beauty of it:
Some African cultures believe that when you take someone’s picture, you are in essence capturing their spirit…
Through my informal lifestyle approach, this is what I strive to achieve – capturing intimate moments, spontaneous laughter and cherished memories. “LIFEstyle” can lend itself to any photographic situation: Family, newborn, events and special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.
“Lifestyle” photography is less about posed portraiture, and more about capturing activities and favourite ways families enjoy spending their time together, allowing life to happen naturally – which produces images that truly capture a family’s unique relationship, and showcases the special bond they share.
I travel either to clients’ homes or to beautiful settings on location, capturing families being themselves and having fun, which of course works well with unpredictable children who are opportunistic in asserting their independence.
From the natural moments captured I go on to create emotive images with a story behind each one – something different to where people are inserted into poses and settings that are identical to portraits hanging on every other family’s walls.
There are generally two types of newborn photographers. The first, who adopt perhaps the most well-known style, are talented with using props, backdrops, and posing a baby into adorable sleepy positions while using more of a portrait approach to the session. The second, like me, do not pose the baby and rather use the baby’s family and surroundings as the backdrop and adopt a lifestyle approach. Both styles appeal to different clients, both camps of photographers have spent many hours and investment in studying and honing their skill, and both are excellent at what they do. I have several friends whose work I admire and am happy to refer to when I know a more posed style is wanted by a potential client.
For me though, it’s simple. No props, backdrops or outfits. It’s just baby. The pros of this style are that I flow with the family – if baby is cranky or needs a feed, we don’t have to be there for hours sweating over whether baby will settle or not. You are left with images filled with genuine emotion and connection, which allow you to reflect over what that babymoon period really felt like.
My lifestyle approach allows me to photograph the day as it happens through the eyes of the guests, capturing genuine intimate moments that couples can look back on with fond memories. I will catch the internal struggle to fight back the tears during speeches, an affectionate embrace, laugh-out-loud moments, and heart-on-your-sleeve emotion. Couples can enjoy a stress-free day, safe in the knowledge that someone is in the sidelines documenting it all for them to reminisce over later.
So, when looking for a photographer, decide which style appeals to you most – if you are after fun and intimate images that will give you a sense of nostalgia every time you look at them, then don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or my Facebook page.
Thanks for reading!