Photography Feature: Carmen Roberts

Carmen Roberts is another local KZN photographer that has seemed to spring out in popularity lately - we've seen her work around the web so many times, have been to weddings that she's shot at and witnessed our own friends engagement shoots by her. Carmen is also a talented family photographer and the proof is really in her amazing shots that capture perfect moments. Her work is honest, beautiful to look at and a true treat to the eyes.
How did you get into photography? Was it a hobby that expanded into a business, or has it been a dream since you were young?
I knew I always wanted to do something creative and art was one of my favourite subjects at school. I completed my BA degree and thought I would go into the world of magazines or advertising. A family friend, Willem Oets was looking for someone to market some of his photography products so I jumped at the opportunity to get some work experience and of course needed the money! Willem invited me on one of the Namib Desert workshops where they teach you photography in the beautiful Namib dunes. My eyes were opened to the world of photography and I went on to work for Willem for 4 years, soaking up as much info as I could, teaching on the different workshops he offers and shooting small jobs for people who asked me. I started full time on my own in 2008. 

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Reliable, independent and compassionate. 
What were you doing prior to becoming a photographer? 
I traveled for 2 years then studied for 4 years and waitressed over that that 6 year period. My parents were never shy of hard work and that ethos rubbed off of us kids. I had many other random jobs over that time including working on a lettuce farm in the UK planting 80 000 lettuce a day. I’m very proud of this achievement - haha! After my studies I worked in the photographic industry for 4 years learning the ropes of photography and general business skills before starting on my own.

What did you study? 
Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication 

Where are you based and do you travel for your photography? 
In Durban but happy to travel for work. I have 2 children so I also have to consider what is best for them, but if you want to fly me to Bali I won’t say no! 

How would you describe your photographic aesthetic? 
I like clean, uncluttered and visually strong images. I tend to stay classic in my approach to shooting and editing. Most of the time you have to “pose” your subject in order to capture them however; I enjoy the moments in between the posed ones as those generally really tell the story of the person or the moment. I prefer natural light but I also know how to use my flash for when it’s required.

What inspires your photography? 
Human beings; their expressions and their reactions when they see themselves in a photo. During a shoot I often stop and show my subject a photo on the back of my camera and inside I can see them thinking, ‘Hey, I’m not so bad actually’; I love that moment. I’m always inspired to keep learning and keep growing as a photographer as every year you improve. When I look back at photos I took when I started it keeps me motivated to keep moving forward.
Besides photography, what are your other loves? 
My children, Grace (5) and Samuel (3), my supporting husband, the rest of my wonderful family, Jesus, reading, cooking and cleaning (tad OCD in that department).

Besides wedding photography, what else do you shoot? 
I've photographed over over 200 weddings (and counting) and I also shoot family portraits, maternity and newborns. 
Do you enjoy shooting weddings? 
I can honestly say yes! I even cry at weddings and I don’t even know the people (haha)! Luckily I can hide behind my camera when this happens. Wedding photography is not for the faint hearted as you are on your feet and giving physically and emotionally but it makes me so happy when my clients are happy.

 If you had to choose a photographer to shoot your wedding, who would it be? Who inspires you? 
Willem Oets took my photos and I love them. I love the work of our local girls Jacki Bruniquel and Samantha Maber and internationally I’m inspired by Jonas Peterson, Jose Villa and newborn photographer Erin Elizabeth. I once read a quote by Theodore Roosevelt which said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it’s important to maintain that perspective and try to maintain your own style.

What do you see in the future for yourself? 
Hopefully getting more sleep, haha, ok maybe I’m not joking, more sleep would be great. As a mom of 2 young children running your own business can be very rewarding but also very tiring as they still wake me up a lot at night but as with most things in life, it gets easier with time. I would like to get my business to a point where I spend less time in front of the computer editing and more time shooting.  This would involve hiring someone to work full time which would be great!
What are your wedding / engagement / general shoot rates? 
I have various packages for all of the above and best to email me as it depends when and where. Weddings generally start at R10 000.

How can people get hold of you? 
My website , Facebook page, email or call me 0845145230.
Finish these sentences!

Right now I am happy about Durban’s winter weather and the fact that I don’t live in a colder place.

Photography is subjective. Not everyone has the same likes and viewpoint and that is why there is a photographer out there for every type of client, no matter how unique their taste is.

Rooibos tea has its purposes, mainly for pregnant women, I prefer my plunger and filter coffee

I am so grateful  for the life I have and the opportunities I have been blessed with. Every person out there deserves an opportunity to help them get started in life. It breaks my heart to see kids born into poverty as they didn’t ask for life they have been dealt.

People would say that I am organised

I get annoyed when People don’t strap their kids into a car seat or let them sit up front one someone’s lap. I have contemplated making a sign to keep in my car and I lift it up against the window when I see an “offender”. I would love to see their face when I do this.

A photograph is a moment in time you will never have back, cheesy I know and I’m not the type for cheese but I look how fast my kids are growing and I’m so glad to have so many pics of them!

In a year I will be more grey but its ok, I have a good hairdresser to help me sort that out

When I wake up in the morning I press snooze on my alarm and then it’s a mad rush to get the kids ready for school.

I don't understand how the internet and emails work. They just goes out there into this cyber abyss. Amazing actually.

I am terrified of ummmm, not too much actually. Having kids means I have had come to grips with all sorts of things from blood to insects. I strongly believe the scripture 2 Tim 1:7 “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love power and a sound mind” so when I’m fearful of anything I just keep that going on in my head.

Tomorrow I will be travelling to Hluhluwe to shoot a wedding at Thanda game lodge, I’m very excited as I have never been before.

If I had a million Rand I would realize that it probably wouldn’t go as far as I wish it could!!! I would love to help out a few of the local organisation in my area like Bobbi Bear for abused children. I would fly all my family (brothers, sisters, nephews & parents) to a lovely destination for a holiday as the last time we were all together was over 5 years ago. I would also invest money for my children’s education and then definitely spend a weekend at a spa!

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