Interview : Natasja Kremers
Today we kick off with our first interview and we couldn’t be any happier that it’s with Tasj of Natasja Kremers fame. Tasj has been shooting for ages and the fact that she still loves it and is producing epic images is a huge inspiration for everyone else. Once you’ve checked out her stuff below, make sure you go check out her stuff on Insta.
How did you get started in shooting weddings?
I just kind of fell into it after studying photography for 3 years back in the early 90s. I had wanted to get into fashion, that was always the direction I felt I was most drawn to but then black and white street photography also really appealed to me too. In my final year of studies I fell pregnant, it wasn’t planned and I ended up being a single mum for a few years so my photography was put on hold while I travelled and worked away with my now husband Desy. Weddings just kind of fell in my lap when friends kept asking me if I could photograph theirs. When Jordan, my eldest son, was about 10ish I quit my part time job at Witchery and started my business photographing.
Your photography has a real raw ‘behind the scenes’ feel about it with the moments you capture, but you also make brides look beautiful and grooms look badass – what’s your secret?
I guess I focus on being myself when I shoot. I’ve always felt if I were myself it would somehow be a mirror for people I photographed to let them be themselves and feel more comfortable, does that make sense? Photographing what you are drawn to is important and that also relates to letting go and not worrying so much about what you are supposed to photograph but instead photographing what you love and letting that guide you. After a while, putting out there what you love you and what you are drawn to, you attract the kind of clients who want you to capture that for them. Honesty and real emotions.
You’ve recently started shooting weddings on rangefinder cameras – how much of a difference do you think that’s making in both how you shoot & the images you’re producing?
The rangefinder cameras are my loves, Leica in particular from way back in the study days. I have 3 now, one Monochrom which is digital, another digital and a film one. When you have been shooting for as long as I have these cameras remind me why I love photography and make me excited about shooting for work. They are manual focus so naturally slow me down a lot which has been great, really looking at what I’m photographing before I press the camera to my face. They are also a lot smaller and make the behind the scenes imagery a lot easier to produce, you are not really considered the main photographer and can move around so much easier. When I get to receptions I often put my other camera equipment down and just wander around with this one little camera. I love love them, they make me happy.
How much of your wedding day is instinct vs planned?
A timeline is set in place for every wedding I shoot. I let the clients know that they need to let go on the day and be flexible in case things don’t go to plan but I strongly feel that if I don’t guide them in terms of what I’ll be looking for before the wedding especially in the preparation stages then things very often run late. There are so many things to organize on a wedding day I feel sharing my experience of being organized and asking for things to be ready really helps as couples don’t tend to do this very often, the getting married thing. I’ve been doing this for years and you would be surprised how beautifully organized couples are because of this. Then of course within this you can get excited with what you find on the day, backyards, beautiful windows, kids, old buildings etc. I don’t really check locations and do scouts, preferring to make sure the timing is correct and then going with the flow and playing with what’s there. Not having to worry about timing is so important, it allows for fun and relaxed smiles. But it’s important to be flexible and move with changes if they do come up.
What part of the wedding day do you look forward to the most?
The end. Kidding! The prep is usually my favourite. It’s a mix between the editorial / fashion / documentary bits that I love.
If you’re feeling pretty creatively flat what do you do to pick yourself back and be inspired?
Firstly I try to remind myself that I shouldn’t put pressure on myself, stress kills creativity. This is usually much harder to do. I’m such a stress head. Music and some mind relaxing techniques are great. What’s that app to help you relax? Clear your mind? It’s wonderful… Headspace! This certainly helps me clear my head of all the things that are running through it before a shoot or a wedding, it’s so hard to be creative when you are stressed about deadlines, family or every day stuff. I usually don’t do much in the morning of and the night before a wedding. Takes some practice and educating family to get that to happen but they are used to it now.
What’s your top tip to any wedding photographer out there who’d kill to shoot in a similar raw and emotive way as you?
Be yourself. Sounds like a dumb tip but it’s true. If this is what you love and what you are drawn to you must find a way to be yourself. It is ultimately what will set you apart from the rest. Sometimes I look at images my second shooters have shot and I wonder why I didn’t see that. Being creative means that we can be quite emotional and hard on ourselves when it comes to judging our own work. There’s so many of us out there that it’s difficult not to look at what everyone else is doing. Truth is though we are all individuals and unique in our own ways, making what sets us apart from the next wedding photographer out there is really what we should be focusing on. You can surely take inspiration from where certain trends are taking us and the way for example certain images are edited but an insert of yourself is so needed. The photographers you love, the ones who inspire you, you can see it in their work. You can see them in their work. It’s certainly what sets them apart.
If you weren’t shooting weddings – what would you be shooting or doing?
Tough question! I don’t know. Something creative. For sure. But then I’m no good at writing, drawing, sewing, painting so I guess the same. I’d be doing the same. Or I’m halfway decent at playing the piano, I studied music when I was little and I was pretty good. I’d probably be doing that I guess. That or a movie star.
What’s your favourite wedding photo you’ve ever taken, and why is it your fave?
This is the most toughest question to answer. Images I pick today I may not pick tomorrow. It always changes. I also seem to like certain images for personal reasons, or because I know they would mean the world to the client so there is an emotional connection to the images others may not feel. Here is an image that is currently a fave, my bride Kate surrounded by her friends on the dance floor just after entering her reception. It is technically challenged as there is so much noise and it’s slightly out of focus but I love it regardless.
Massive thanks to Tasj for being our first interviewee and rocking the socks off of wedding photography!