Photography Feature: Derryn Semple

Local Durban photographer Derryn Semple is on the blog today, and we're putting her in front of the camera with an honest interview that we really loved. She's a natural, down-to-earth kinda gal, who seems to be able to capture the same natural emotions and behaviour in the people she photographs. After you've read Derryn's interview below, go and watch this video about her (by Micaela de Freitas) - it's a little behind the scenes look at her photography and into her life - again, very honest and shows what a hopeless romantic she is.

For all our photography features, we always ask photographers who they would/did choose to capture their own weddings - and she is the first one who actually had an answer because she is getting married this year! Congrats on your engagement Derryn - and we wish you a lifetime of happiness with your man.

We've picked a few of Derryn's loveliest photographs to show you, but if you'd like to see more, visit her website here.

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?
To be perfectly honest…I was signed up to do a social science degree after school. My mom told me I was being an idiot not to be doing something a little less academic and a little more creative. So I enquired about photography and one week before the lectures were about to start, signed up. I didn’t think that it would be anything more than a time-kill while I decided what I really wanted to do.

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Complex, Diplomatic, human

What were you doing prior to becoming a photographer?
Well, during my studies and for a while afterwards I taught synchronized swimming. This took me all the way to Singapore for three years. It was only after I returned to SA that I went into photography full time.

Where are you based? And do you travel for your photograpy?
I am based in Salt Rock, Durban. Yes I travel locally and abroad. This year I am going to Sydney and Ireland for weddings.

How would you describe your photography "aesthetic"?
Shew, I always struggle with this one. I’ve never been able to pinpoint my style really. But I know that in terms of posing, I opt for a more natural approach. Can I just say natural?

What inspires your photography?
I mainly draw inspiration from the subjects I am photographing and the surrounds. I seldom arrive with ideas in my mind – I find it easier to be inspired when I just let myself go with what’s in front of me. For just every day inspiration and pleasure, I look at Pinterest, Fearless Photographers, and other local photography blogs.

Besides photography, what are your other loves?
Well – my fiancé is number 1, although he’ll argue that I love Mongo my ginger cat more! Other than that, the sun and sea are big in my life. Even if I don’t make it down to the beach, I love looking out onto the horizon.  

Do you do wedding photography? If so, besides weddings, what else do you shoot?
Yes, I do a lot of wedding photography. But during quieter months, I take on any kind of portraiture. Families, maternity, new born, model portfolios. You name it!

As a design and wedding blog, we have to ask: do you enjoy photographing weddings?
Yes. If I didn’t enjoy it I certainly would NOT be doing it. Do what you love, and love what you do! Right?

If you had to choose a photographer to take your own wedding photos, who would it be? Who inspires you?
Well, funny that you ask as I am getting married at the end of the year. I have asked 3 of my very good friends and photographers to split the day up between them and photograph for some, party for the rest. Pickle Photography, Bright Girl Photography and CC Rossler. So many people have asked me with wide eyes – “Now who are you going to get to photograph YOUR wedding?” and I suppose they expect an answer involving some foreign name that is hard to pronounce. But we have AMAZING photographers right here who won’t leave me and my marriage in debt. Anyway, if I can confidently sell myself and my skill set to you for your wedding, then why wouldn’t I trust my colleagues to adequately capture my day. Shout out to Christy-Lee, CC and Eileen. Love you gals!

What do you see in the future for yourself in the next few years? 
Definitely puppies, marriage and babies. But on the work front – I guess just more weddings. I can’t see myself being the next best thing and going off to glamorous high profile occasions involving the finest china and R80 000 in flowers. I enjoy the more down to earth, natural weddings. However, I hope to really improve my skills and hone in on a particular style. I’d like to expand my business to not only photography, but also video and design.

What are your wedding/engagement/general shoot rates?
Weddings start at R12 500. And portrait shoots start at R1200

How can people get hold of you?
Twitter: @derrynsemple

Please finish these sentences:
Right now I am happy about...Everything!! It’s just one of those days. 

Photography is what I do, not what I am.

Rooibos tea is always in my cupboard but I don’t drink it.

I am so grateful that I found a career that I really do enjoy. And that earns me a comfortable living.

People would say that I am a bit too talkative at times. This comes from being 1 of 5 children.

I get annoyed when I (or other people) are treated unfairly.

A photograph is as close to a rewind button on life as you’ll get. (along with video)

In a year I will BE MRS SCHMIDT!!!!!!

When I wake up in the morning I immediately check the weather.

I don't understand some of the ignorance in the world around issues such as homosexuality.

I am terrified of not much. But my fiancé is terrified if lizards (like… goes into a sweat if he just sees one) and I think that’s hilarious!!

Tomorrow I will be powering through a monstrous to-do list. YES-I-WILL!!!

If I had a million Rand I would buy a house. I know – there are a ton of other things I can think of to do with the money, but right now we are renting and I hate that I am paying money into someone else’s mortgage.

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