Photography Feature: Mel Dobson Photography

Morning Ruby friends, it's Kim here today and I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine and her beautiful photography. Mel Dobson has been interested in photography for as long as I can remember, and finally she has decided to fulfil her passion of becoming a professional photographer. She loves creative shoots specifically, and we love the fashion part of her portfolio! 

If you'd like to commission her for a job, whether its a newborn baby shoot or engagement shoot, she is always eager to travel and meet you at a beautiful destination to capture your memories on camera. But start first with reading all about her in our feature below, enjoy!

How did you get into photography/videography? Which did you get into first?
I have always loved photographs and being able to capture once in a lifetime moments. I think I first really got into my photography at Varsity (Rhodes University). I was in Second Year studying English and Psychology and had a lot of friends who studied Journalism. It was at that point that I realized that I should have studied Journalism from First Year but it was too late to start. So I finished my Degree and started a Postgraduate diploma in Journalism and Media studies in my Fourth Year. That’s when I really got into photography and started finding my creativity. The following year I worked in South Korea teaching English. This allowed me to Capture a whole different sort of life with my camera. When I returned from South Korea I started working on building my own photography business.

Was it a hobby that expanded into a business, or has it been a dream since you were young?
I guess it goes back to Work Experience in grade 10 when I followed around a Photographer for a week and loved the idea of being able to work and be creative at the same time. I have always enjoyed taking photographs and I liked the idea of doing something that I loved as a career. So what started off as more of a hobby I guess, has slowly expanded into a business.

Tell us about yourself in three words
Blonde(literally and figuratively sometimes), bubbly and energetic.

What did you study?
I studied BA in English and Psychology and a Postgraduate diploma in Journalism and Media studies at Rhodes University. I also just finished a Postgraduate diploma in Education through UNISA and am currently registered for a photography diploma through the Photographic Institute online.

Where are you based? And do you travel for your videography/photography?
I am currently based in Pietermaritzburg but am willing to travel when the need arises.

How would you describe your videography/photography "aesthetic"?
I enjoy capturing the natural moments between people. The intimate moments shared between a newly married couple or an inside joke shared between a family. I hate very posed and stiff photograph and prefer my subjects to be comfortable. I have always thought that a photographer’s job is to be unobtrusive and almost invisible. It is my job to move around and capture the true feeling of the day rather than one forced onto people by me.

What inspires you?
It probably sounds a little corny but I am inspired by the country we live in. Many people that have travelled outside of South Africa will know that we live in one of the most amazing and vibrant countries in the world. South Africa is alive with colour, amazing people with their own individual stories and some of the most beautiful landscapes found. I would find it hard to live in South Africa without being able to appreciate the beauty and be inspired by it.

Besides photography, what are your other loves?
I love the sunshine and days spent by the pool or on the beach. On the complete opposite end of that, I also love being curled up in my bed with a good book or a good series to watch (I’m more of a series gal rather than movies). I LOVE travelling and am looking forward to seeing more of what the world has to offer me in the next couple years. I love biltong and I have an unhealthy addiction to Caffeine especially coffee and Coca Cola.

What else do you shoot besides weddings?
I shoot various other things besides weddings. Anything from newborn shoots to travel photography, to a fairly new favourite of mine, fashion photography. I have found that I love the creative license given with something like fashion.

As a design and wedding blog, we have to ask: do you enjoy photographing weddings?
I have only recently shot my first wedding and found it really special. There are very few jobs that allow you to be part of the happiest day of someone’s life. Most of my other work has been with couples shoots or families and even these give me the opportunity to share special moments with people who truly love each other.

Who did you choose to photograph your own wedding? Who inspires you?
Considering I’m still far from placing that white dress on (and in truth a tiny bit scared of the idea of doing so J )I guess I can’t really tell you who photographed my wedding…but I have always loved Annie Leibowitz’s photography and I absolutely love Jackie Bruniquel and the creativity behind each one of her shoots.

What do you see in the future for yourself in the next few years?
TRAVEL!!! I am hoping that the next couple of years will include a lot more stamps in my green mamba passport. But I am also hoping to expand my Photography business more. I have had various other jobs for the last couple years and it will be good to be able to finally focus on my photography itself.

What are your wedding/engagement/general shoot rates?
My general shooting rates will depend on your specifications, the amount of time spent on shooting and the editing required. So if you want to find out more about it all you are welcome to get hold of me and I can give you pricing for the type of shoot you are wanting.

How can people get hold of you?
You can find me on my blog here, and my website here. You can keep up to date with me on my Facebook page, Mel Dobson Photography here, or alternatively please email me on with any queries.

Please finish these sentences:

Right now I am happy about being warm. I hate winter and I hate cold so I am happy that on crappy weather days like today I am indoors.

You probably already knew this, but my blonde hair is just an excuse for those moments when I say or do something dumb.

I am so grateful that I learnt how to laugh at myself and that I have been blessed with the friends and family that I have.

People would say that I am sometimes quite blunt but always happy, positive and loyal to my friends and family.

The worst job I ever had was waitressing. I absolutely hate having to remember food special and having to carry food to rude people, all the while having to keep a smile on my face because the customer is always right.

A photograph is a moment captured forever in an image

In a year I will be either travelling and working or just working and happy.

When I wake up in the morning I am grumpy so you better bring me coffee and leave it quietly on my bedside table.

Hashtags are annoying when you are having a conversation with someone and they say something stupid like “hashtag awesome”. They belong online, so leave them there please.

I am terrified of snakes and creepy things like toads and spiders jumping on me.

This Summer I’m going to hopefully be in Mozambique or anywhere where I can soak up the sun.

All photographs belong to Mel Dobson Photography and may not be used without permission.

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