I am Anneli Young. A mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, a creative.
I have been married to William for 12 years, he is a citrus farmer and we live in the most beautiful Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape town of Kleinrivier, Hankey. We have three gorgeous kids Shawn (9), Hayley (7) and Emily (3).
I have been a photographer for the last 9 years and I am really having the time of my life. I love telling stories and I enjoy the happiness that my stories create. The memories that I can help create for other people and to be part of so many people’s private journeys. I obtained a degree in music (BMus) after school, taught for a few years and then resigned to be a “stay-at-home” mom.
I started off my career as an I’ll-do-anything photographer. I had to find out what I enjoyed the most and what I don’t like. It’s funny how one bad experience in a certain genre plays such a big role in deciding if that genre is for you.
I am prodominantly a wedding, lifestyle and boudoir photographer. I love shooting weddings. I get so involved with the realness of the day and more often than not I am crying just as hard as the guests. I have also recently started doing underwater shoots. This however is still very new to me and I am excited about learning more about it. I was very fortunate to be featured on the Fujifilm WTF platform, creating some underwater images, one that will be featured this week.
When starting lifestyle sessions, I did everything. From families, to maternity, newborns among the rest. I have decided to not do newborn sessions for new clients anymore. If I know you and if I have previously done a session for you, such as a wedding, I will be on your journey with you. Shooting what you need me too. I’ve just realised that I can’t specialise in everything. There are so many great newborn photographers in my area and I refer people away to one of them quite regularly. I love that we can be in an area where sharing and referring is still going strong and people have time for other photographers.
When I started doing boudoir photography, it took a little time getting to know this genre, but it’s my absolute favourite. I wish I could book them a little more often. I don’t shoot professional models. I prefer to work with real women, real moms, real wives. Someone that doesn’t necessarily fit into a size 10 and women that has some service stripes to show for their journey into motherhood. Someone that doesn’t always have time to pamper themselves, or wear a lot of makeup.
I think I love the results so much – especially the reaction from women that have been struggling a little with self-worth issues. I have gotten the most amazing feedback and responses from women saying that they ended up feeling so great about themselves afterwards and now see themselves with different eyes when looking into the mirror.
I am one of 5 photographers that forms part of the “Keep A Dream Alive” initiative, where it is our mission to plant dreams in young children through photography. Dressing them up as what they aspire to be one day, taking their photo and giving it back to them. To try and get the celebrities off their bedroom wall, and a photo of themselves there, dressed as a doctor, a pilot, an engineer, etc., to keep their dream alive. It’s an amazing project and giving back to your community really is extremely rewarding.
I am 100% for building up, encouraging, empowering and uplifting of women. We owe it to ourselves to feel amazing about who we are. As mentioned previously -feeling worthy is such an awesome thing to feel! The last 9 years has been an amazing journey. Photography has long ago stopped being my job. It developed into something so much bigger. It’s serving a purpose, it’s inspiring and empowering others, and truly filling my soul.
Anneli Young Photography