Photography Feature: Matt Masson

It's actually quite astounding to think that the photographer behind all these images is only twenty-three. Yes, you read that right! We first heard his name on Instagram, and have been hooked on his photography ever since. He's built up such a great wedding portfolio already, so we can only imagine the great heights he'll climb over the next few years. Read Matt's story below. Thanks for allowing us to feature your great work Matt!

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?
When I was about 14, I went on holiday with my family to my grandfather’s cottage situated near a remote river in the Transkei. It is by far one of the most gorgeous places to visit, in my opinion. My mom had brought her little three megapixel full-auto point and shoot camera along with us to take some casual family shots. I decided to take this camera out for the day and went exploring, taking photos of anything and everything that interested me. I captured some lovely images and this really sparked my interest in the discipline. When we arrived home after the holiday, I did some reading and decided to learn a bit more about photography. This is how it all started for me!

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Determined. Caring. Funny.

What did you study?
I have a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. All my knowledge of photography has been entirely self-taught through reading books, watching YouTube videos and pure experimentation. I have never been able to do a course or workshop on photography, however I guess this just made me more determined to learn and expand my knowledge.

What were you doing prior to becoming a photographer?
Upon finishing my degree, I was told by my parents that I should do an honours qualification, which I started. It was probably within the first week or so of honours that I decided I could not carry on studying and that I wanted to do photography full time. I remember the phone call I made to my dad to tell him that I am not going to do honours and that I want to start my own photography business. It was hectic! I had to convince him that it would be a viable career path. He came around and is now completely supportive of my career, which is so awesome.

Where are you based? And do you travel for your photography?
I am based in Glenwood, Durban. I love it because it is so central. All my favourite places are close by and it isn’t too much of a stretch to get around. I love travelling and exploring new places, so I absolutely 100% do travel for work. Actually, for the rest of 2014, I believe we are working at a different venue for almost every wedding, which is quite exciting!

How would you describe your photography "aesthetic"?
In one word: Experimental. I absolutely love to try new things with my photography and I am always thinking of new ideas and concepts to implement in my images. I love it when my clients have out-of-the-box ideas and they ask me to make them happen! I am always up for a challenge. I find it incredibly difficult to identify my own style. I can say that I always try to make my couples as comfortable as possible in front of the camera. From there we are able to work together to create some wonderful images.

What inspires your photography?
I am predominantly inspired by light, how it behaves and how it can be made to behave. I love that light can be used in an odd way to create something interesting and new. I am inspired by photographic discovery and the pursuit of the creation of something new. This really gets me excited!

Besides photography, what are your other loves?
My girlfriend, Ashlea, is number one on this list! I love music, both making and listening to it. I love meeting and getting to know new people. I love business and helping people be successful in their businesses. I love good coffee and chilling at my favourite coffee shops. I find this to be a great way to let myself think and come up with new ideas. Also, one of my favourite things in the world a nice long hot bubble bath with candles listening to some Bon Iver!

Is wedding photography your main speciality? What else do you shoot?
I read an article a long time ago that basically said that if you specialise in something, you can become a master of it. This is a big motivator as to why I chose to specialise in wedding and engagement photography. With this being said, I absolutely adore portrait photography. I also do the occasional maternity, corporate and commercial shoot every now and then to get my mind working in different ways.

As a design and wedding blog, we have to ask: do you enjoy photographing weddings?
Absolutely! I love how every wedding and each couple is different. I love people (real people) so weddings are perfect for me. I love that I get to make some of the most important photographs in my couple’s lives, which will be cherished for generations to come.

If you had to choose a photographer to take your own wedding photos, who would it be? Who inspires you?
Foremost, I am a fan of photography and absolutely adore photographers' work. With that being said, I always try avoid following other wedding photographers as I believe this does not benefit me creatively. When I started professionally, I followed all the top local wedding photographers closely, however I ended up comparing my work to theirs and it just led me into a creative rut. Since then, I don’t follow any local wedding photographer’s Facebook pages or websites. This way, any ideas that I may have are mine and I don’t feel like I am copying anyone. I am a strong believer in building and developing a personal style without copying someone else’s. With that being said, I am good friends with several photographers! I prefer to follow international photographers who don’t specialise in weddings. Joey L, Brandon Stanton and Chase Jarvis are probably my three favourites in that order. Locally, I like the work of Xavier Vehad, Kevin Goss-Ross and my friend Campbell Colledge. Ok to actually answer the question! I don’t want anyone other than Jacki Bruniquel to shoot my wedding – as cliché as that may be. She really is the photographers’ photographer!

What do you see in the future for yourself in the next few years?
My business goals for the next 5 years: 1. Shoot my first destination wedding. 2. Launch a media brand with several photographers and creative professionals. 3. Expand my network nationally with other wedding suppliers.

My personal goals/hopes for the next 5 years: 1. Complete my personal photographic project and host an exhibition. 2. Spend some time on holiday travelling abroad. 3. Build a home.

What are your wedding/engagement/general shoot rates?
I am a strong believer in Engagement Shoots, so much so that I have included an engagement shoot in every one of our packages for free. I think it is so important to spend some time with my couples prior to the wedding to get to know each other. The engagement shoot is the perfect place to do this!

Regarding our Wedding Collections, we have spent a great deal of time and effort researching and creating unique products of the highest quality. I have a detailed Wedding Collections document that I send to all of my enquiries with all of our pricing and product information. I also love to meet in person to discuss everything in depth as we offer a lot in our packages.

How can people get hold of you?
Cell: 083 287 1278

Please finish these sentences:
Right now I am... happy about life.
Photography is... so freaking important to me.
Rooibos tea is... just not my vibe – I prefer coffee!
I am so grateful for... my loving family.
People would say that... I am funny.
I get annoyed when... my flash overheats on a shoot!
A photograph is... a frame through which one is able to relive memories and emotions.
In a year... I will be 24!
When I wake up in the morning... I put my contact lenses in.
I don't understand... why our politicians are so full of rubbish.
I am terrified of... cockroaches.
Tomorrow I will be... shooting a wedding at the Hatchery on the North Coast of KZN.
If I had a million Rand I would... buy a Nikon D4s, a bigger camera bag and then I’d invest the rest.

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