Why I take time to push my creative boundaries.

Are you a photographer who is feeling in a rut? Do you feel stagnant or bored with what you are doing? There are many ways to solve this and one of them is to push your creative boundaries. This is always scary at first but as they say, you only grow when you are out of your comfort zone!

In the past 8 days I have done 5 styled shoots. Anyone who has ever been involved in a styled shoot will know that this is complete madness! But there is method in my madness.

For those of you who are unclear about what a styled shoot is, the name is self-explanatory. Simply put, it is a shoot that is styled. These kinds of shoots always start off with brain storming sessions and a lot of research. A theme is picked and then outfits, location, colours, hair, make up and props, etc are all co-ordinated to tell that themed story. Generally there are a number of creative people involved, which means collaboration and a LOT of organization!

Why do I do styled shoots?

I am a curious photographer and an artist. I like to push myself, I like to explore, I like adventure and I like to create. I cannot do this if I just sit around making the same old work over and over again. I also love working with people. When shooting weddings, I am often left alone to make creative choices and this can sometimes be lonely. I love collaborating with other creative folk to make beautiful pictures. This process is nurturing for me, and I always learn so much and land up doing far more than I ever dreamt of. I also get to experiment with techniques that I wouldn’t necessarily try out at a wedding, especially not for the first time! I have found that if I don’t take time out in my schedule to do creative work I land up stagnating and I don’t push myself to learn more technically. I also know that if I am constantly producing creative work I will find clients who like creative photography and those are the people I love to work with!!!!

Recently I have been on a mission to learn more about light and posing. I have been playing with these two elements to communicate certain emotions and feelings, but also to make my clients look gorgeous! These are the factors I have really pushed in these shoots.

I would like to thank Charelle who has done make up for most of these shoots, Drew Christie who has done both hair and styling, and Carolyn McNeil who has done styling and flowers. Huge thanks also to Tracey Laubscher from Olivelli Durban for lending us the two gorgeous black wedding dresses. To Richard Chennells and Peter Engblom from The George Hotel in Eshowe, you have been so generous and we so appreciate it! Thanks to Sven from Davida for opening your shop for us and for being so incredibly patient. It has been a dream working with all of you talented folk! You all rock! I will be posting each shoot once they are all edited and will then go into detail about all the collaborators.

Last but certainly not least I need to thank my amazing clients. Everyone you see here came to me for an engagement shoot or a portrait session and didn’t quite know what hit them when the giant production unfolded. Thanks for running with our ideas and for being so wonderful!

PS The fifth shoot is top secret as the client bought the portrait session I auctioned off for Jess Nicholson and doesn’t want it blogged.

Hair, concept and styling: Drew Christie of Evolve Salon 031 8377334

Make up: Charelle Mc Allister 072 02 544 53

Olivelli Wedding Dresses: Tracey Laubscher 071 509 3223

Flowers, Styling, Concept: Carolyn McNeil from I Adore Weddings 


  1. Luis Dos Santos on July 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    WOW WOW WOW!!! Amazing work Jax! Loved every second of the shoot! Looking forward to seeing all the pics!

  2. Tricia on July 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Simply Wonderful!!!

  3. Debby on July 25, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Wow, Gorgeous Jax and team.

  4. Nathalie & Ronny on July 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    and this is why we chose you……
    Wow jax, if this is just one photo can you imagine the rest, we had so much fun and now we cant wait for our wedding day to really let go 😀
    p.s # tag amazeballs

  5. Nicole Carreira on August 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Wow Jax all of your pics are absolutely amazing!!
    We had SO much fun doing the shoot with you, LOVED it!
    Can’t wait to see the rest of the pics.

  6. Maricel Collier on January 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Jacki you are a true inspiration and your work : No words can actually describe how good it is.
    Keep it up!!!!

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