Editor’s note: Lots of brides-to-be say ‘I do’ – as in, I do want you to document my wedding – to internationally acclaimed South African photographer Brett Florens. He enjoys a highly successful career in wedding, commercial and fashion photography. And his editorial portrait work includes sessions with famous South African personalities such as Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and cricketer Jonty Rhodes.
Brett’s distinctive photographic style has earned him the honors of being selected as a Nikon® Wedding Photographer and a best-in-field exhibitor at the world’s largest, biennial imaging show, photokina.
We caught up with Brett right before his departure for WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International). He’ll be a featured presenter of “Weddings Meet Fashion” (his image made the cover of this year’s show brochure!) and a visitor to our booth to meet and greet attendees. So stay tuned for information on that by checking in on our Facebook page. For now, enjoy his tips on traveling with gear and the art and business of wedding photography.
P.S. If you’re at WPPI, stop by booth #727 and say hello. We’re giving away a some very cool prize packages each day at the show and online – one includes Brett’s “Modern Wedding Photography” DVD. Not at the show? Not a problem. You have a chance to win online. Stay tuned to our blog next week!
What do you like about working with Pro Messenger AW and Pro Roller Lite AW bags?
When shooting destination assignments, I often find that I am working on the beach or in a field or forest. I can then pack the Pro Messenger with one body and one or two essential lenses, without having to carry all my heavy gear around with me. The Pro Roller Lite is the ideal bag for a wedding photographer; the amount of gear you can pack in it, is impressive. The design is upmarket and suits my brand image. The ergonomics of the bag are very smooth and it is very sturdy, which is important in protecting all the expensive camera gear.
Your workshops and assignments take you all over the world. How do you prepare before you set out?
Two days beforehand, final confirmation with models, hair and make-up and venues are done, either by phone or email. If it’s a wedding, I confirm with the bride or the wedding coordinator on times and venues. Airline seats are also confirmed the day before.
I have been traveling to do workshops and destination weddings for a few years now and have the process of packing for shoots down to a fine art. My cabin baggage is comprised of the Pro Roller Lite 250 (containing all my camera gear). I then pack my Pro Messenger, which also goes on with me into the cabin. In this bag I don’t carry any camera gear, only my travel docs, iPad and toiletries. Then, once I arrive, I have the option of working out of either bag.
My Elinchrom Ranger RX gets safely packed into a Pelican case that is checked in. I take a minimum amount of clothing and this is packed last into the Pelican case. My wife Andrea runs through a checklist with me to confirm that I’ve got all the important documents, clothing and equipment with me! (Watch Brett packing his gear below.)
You’re a featured presenter at WPPI. What do you enjoy about teaching your craft?
Wow, this is huge for me. I have wanted to present at WPPI for a while now and I was asked to present my lecture on drawing inspiration from other photographic genres. My lecture is titled “Fashion Meets Weddings”. I love being able to share my ideas with like-minded people and it such a satisfying feeling when I see the delegates becoming more enthusiastic about their photography as a result of my teaching. I find it incredibly rewarding when I receive messages from people who have attended my workshops or presentations, about the positive influence I have had on their careers. I also enjoy listening to other educators, picking up on tips and techniques from them that will help my business.
Wedding photography is a big business these days and the competition is growing. How do you keep your creative approach fresh and relevant?
My style of wedding photography is very fashion/editorial based. I look to fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and successful fashion photographers for inspiration. Fashion is always changing, and by following the lighting and posing trends in the fashion world, I keep my work current and relevant.
A few extra travel tips from Brett:
- Book an extra day or two on an assignment; it leaves time to explore and shoot for yourself.
- Fully charge AA batteries the day before; they generally take longer to charge.
- Pack a pair of cotton pajamas for a long flight; change them in the restroom — they’re much more comfortable to sleep in than jeans.
- Wear extra layers of clothes to save on baggage weight allowances; layering helps with that — smart wedding trousers on first, then jeans, T-Shirt, smart shirt and then a jacket.