Fujifilm South AfricaMiriek Jansen van RensburgTake TenX-CommunityX-T30X-UserXF23mm F1.4 R

TAKE TEN: Miriek Jansen van Rensburg

Moving her wedding photography business from Pretoria to Cape Town was a daunting prospect, but through an abundance mindset Miriek Jansen van Rensburg made it work. And when it comes to weddings, Miriek believes there are enough seats for everyone around the table. She shares her favourite images. (Image by @petalandleaf_photography)

Miriek Jansen van Rensburg

How did you get started in wedding photography?

I have loved taking photos since I first laid my hands on my mom’s small little camcorder when I was a kid, sneaking it out the house and taking photos with my friends. In high school, people started paying me to take photos at their formals and graduations – and I loved it!

In my first year at Open Window, I had photography, design and illustration as majors and then started taking photography more seriously. After doing a few lifestyle sessions I booked my first wedding in my third year of studying and fell in love with documenting the emotions of a wedding day.

After booking that first wedding it took months (now years) of hard work, marketing and building relationships to find my feet in the wedding industry. Today, I am obsessed with story-telling and real, raw moments between people.

The local wedding photography industry went through a period of saturation. How do you find the market currently? How do you differentiate yourself?

I started my business in Pretoria in 2019 and then moved to Cape Town in 2021, seeing that most of the amazing wedding venues in South Africa are based in the Western Cape. Starting over in a city filled with incredible photographers was daunting but I am a strong believer that there is enough space in this industry for all of us.

Other photographers are not my competition, the plan is for all of us to make it. I realised that I could grow faster with a community mindset over a competition one, and I sought out real, genuine friendships with other photographers. I’ve learned that you have to choose an abundance mindset over a scarcity mindset. You have to choose to believe there is enough room at the table for everyone; another business’ success doesn’t mean your loss.

I have a documentary approach to wedding photography and believe that the events of the day, as they naturally unfold without direction, are where the real interest is. I want myself and my clients to stay fully present in the reality of the day and to position ourselves around what’s actually happening.

What are the challenging parts of a wedding day?

Weddings are EMOTIONAL, and sometimes, emotions come with a bit of tension and stress. In these moments, it is important for us as photographers to stay calm and reassure our clients that it’s normal to feel this way and that everything is going to be more than fine, it’s going to be perfect!

Even if we have to make it happen by running around after boutonnieres, finding the rings, telling the mother-in-law to take a breath, politely organising the groomsmen or even asking the guest wearing white to excuse themselves from the group photo.

When did you switch to Fujifilm and why?

I switched to Fujifilm during my studies at Open Window. When I wanted to switch to mirrorless, Fujifilm was recommended by lecturers and a few friends. I quite liked the retro look, lightness and size of the cameras! I would say my first camera, the X-T30 is still my favourite. Being able to pop it in my moonbag and take it everywhere I go is amazing! This, with the XF23mmF1.4 R is my absolute favourite combo.

What’s on your photography bucket list?

I have so many amazing locations on my photography bucket list! My dreams are of travelling around the world for destination weddings and elopements. I have been a traveller and explorer all my life with a never-ending curiosity for new places, cultures and, of course, food. My top three would probably be the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Cappadocia in Turkey and Iceland.

Any tips and tricks for those looking to explore wedding photography?

Shoot, shoot, shoot! Post, post, post! I think the best advice I received when starting my business was to stay consistent with shooting and posting, even if that means you do some lifestyle session for free and to shoot weddings at a very low rate. The more you put out, the more clients will come your way! Engaged couples looking for wedding photographers want to see a broad portfolio and when you have that, you’re in!

Where can people find your work?

I am on Instagram under @miriekphotography, Facebook under @Miriek.photography and my website is miriekphotography.com.

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