The end of 2015 has arrived and if I were to take a snapshot of life right now, I imagine it would seem very similar to last year. Time has moved on, but not much has changed. The day to day motions are pretty much the same. Of course that isn’t necessarily a bad thing (or true) – It’s just, I like to see progress. Luckily, for days when everything pretty much seems the same, I’ve kept a list of things I once dreamt of – Things that seemed impossible. Things that are now done.

 
EDUCATION:
The start of 2015 was “slow” for me in terms of photography – I didn’t have as many bookings as I’d have liked, so I used the time to reflect, learn, focus on my business & to grow. To become better. I also offered my services to a handful of photographers I admire to work as their second shooter or even at times, their assistant – I’m very content to carry bags and hold reflectors for a photographer if I admire their work. The learning opportunity is huge.
 
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. – Mark Twain
 
A recap of my education in 2015: The year started with a masterclass by Lizelle Lotter – I respect her work so much & as hard as it may be, if you just forget about her talent for a second, she is an incredible & inspiring, grounded human being to be around. | Early in the year, I noticed a Facebook status update by DuWayne Denton talking about how David Beckstead had changed his perspective on photography – If it’s good enough for DuWayne, it’s definitely good enough for me, so I enrolled for the David Beckstead workshop. | Kobus Tollig is a great guy and a great teacher – He is also a master of off camera flash. Signing up to his workshop to get a glimpse of what he does has changed the way I photograph with flash and was well worth the investment. | The queen of styled shoots, Debbie Lourens put together an incredible two days with some industry greats to talk about their experiences. Two days of inspiration – Who wouldn’t appreciate that. | I’ve always been a fan of Food photography – Done well, it tells a story of it’s own. When Tasha Seccombe announced she’d be hosting her first Food Photography Workshop, I was very, very excited.

On my list of things to do, for the very longest time, was to arrange a one-on-one with Christine Meintjes. She has always and continues to be my favourite photographer. Every image, every angle, the use of light – It just amazes me. Every Time. Photography aside, she is a phenomenal entrepreneur & business woman + so down to earth, kind & humble. I had sent her a mail about the one on one to start ironing out the logistics and then decided I wasn’t prepared. Ashton however, had other plans – I love when she does 🙂

So, for my birthday this year, Ashton gifted me with a one-on-one with Christine. We met up in July and discussed my business, where it was, where I wanted it to be and how I planned to get it there. Just an incredible experience and one of the highlights of my year.

These are some Behind The Scenes pics of some of the above mentioned happenings.

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Images supplied by: Lizelle Lotter (including header image) | Willem Foster | Debbie Lourens | Kobus Tollig.

 
The Pretty Blog:
The Pretty Blog launched in 2010 – It soon became the go to guide for anyone planning a wedding. Over time it has a evolved to a leading lifestyle platform with readers from all around the world. In my opinion, it’s the best content producer in South Africa, so of course it’s been a dream of mine to have my work featured by such an innovative publication.

In September this year, this became a reality & I’ve been fortunate enough to have had multiple features since then which will continue in the New Year & expand multiple genres. This is one of my proudest accomplishments for 2015.

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My good friend Tracey relaunched her cooking initiative Martha Who? so we’ve been working together which has been an absolute treat. This too will continue in the New Year & I’m very excited to see what we’re able to achieve.
 
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Amongst these exciting developments, continued education, our first year of marriage, making time for family and friends + everything, everybody else has to do, I was also able to squeeze in some wonderful shoots & beautiful weddings with some amazing people. I enjoyed a few corporate shoots and every now and then I threw in a personal project I wanted to work on as well. In no particular order, and for no particular reason other than I like them, here are some of my favorite images of the year:

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A Special Shout-Out:

I just want to take a quick minute to say a very special Thank You to these two lovelies. Yup, thats my wife and my mom. My two biggest fans. Surprise, Surprise 🙂
They offer support in everything I do. Every post I make online, every status update, every photo on instagram, and every tweet. They like, comment and share & I see it, and it makes me smile. So to you, I say Thank you for your support, it screams volumes.

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ROLL ON 2016:

I’m excited for the year ahead. I’m looking forward to photographing some beautiful weddings in the new year & look forward to interacting with more amazing individuals. I’m sure there’ll be challenges, there’ll be highs & lows, and that’s ok.

I wish for you a great start to the new year followed by awesome adventures, much laughter, continued success and big dreams.

Thank you for your kindness and support during 2015 – I’m truly grateful.

Keep safe,
Darren.

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