I am Jessica Ellen and I’d love to document your wedding story. My passion is to capture the personality of your unique day by freezing those special split seconds that happen spontaneously throughout the day in pictures that can then be revisited over and over for years to come. After the celebration is over, the party has left and everything has been packed up, what you are left with is a whole lot of love, endless possibilities for the future and a spool full of precious memories from a day that passed by far too quickly. These are your memories, to cherish and remember forever. When I’m working, I like to be as unobtrusive as possible, guiding you in an unassuming way to get the best possible results from your pictures on your wedding day, without over-posing you or making you feel unnatural. Being a documentary photographer, I shoot with as much available light as possible, capturing your love story as it naturally unfolds on your special day. But I do pull out a bit of extra lighting gear when needed, usually during the reception after the sun has set and everyone is ready to party. After my husband and I got married, I realised how incredibly special our wedding video was was to me. It was so amazing to be able to revisit the day and sit and watch the vows and hear all the speeches that had whizzed by too fast to absorb properly at the time. And that is why my husband, a videographer, recently joined the Jessica Ellen portfolio offering documentary-style wedding videography. Together we’re a formidable wedding documentary team, working alongside each other to offer couples a great value package including both photography and video for their wedding day.
MORE ABOUT US
Where are you based and what areas do you cover?
We are based in Cape Town, but it is an absolute dream of ours to be able to travel the world documenting beautiful weddings and experiencing different cultures.
How did you get started in weddings?
I’ve had a passion for documenting moments for as long as I can remember. It was only when my friends starting getting married that I realised that I loved shooting weddings though. A lot of my friends would ask me to come and document extra parts of their weddings when they hadn’t hired more that one photographer to capture their day. The first full wedding I ever shot exclusively was the wedding of family friend. His father was very high up in the South Africa Marine Corps and had organised for their wedding to take place at Admiralty House in Simon’s Town. I was hired as their photographer for the day and my husband was my assistant, lugging what little gear I had at the time around for me. At the time all I had was pure passion for wedding photography, a very keen eye for composition and very basic camera knowledge. I shot the whole wedding with a Canon 600D and a kit lens I had bought in a bundle at Makro a couple of years prior. The bride actually had a better camera than I did at the time! I made countless rookie errors that day, it was a huge learning curve, but I look back at those photos with absolute pride. Some of those images are still in my portfolio today!
What inspires you?
Real love. Those goosebump moments that grip your heart. I hate to admit it but I’m usually a bit teary when those key moments happen throughout the day. When the bride reads the letter from her husband-to-be just before she gets dressed, that moment she walks down the aisle, dad in hand. The unveiling. The vows. That first kiss after the I dos. All these moments are so special and my aim is to capture them in a way that keeps the feeling of them alive when these moments are revisited in your pictures for years after.
Favourite place in South Africa?
We live in such a beautiful country that it makes it so hard to pick a favourite place. I obviously love the Cape and all the beautiful landscapes it has to offer; it’s the part of South Africa we’ve chosen to call home after all. Johannesburg where my husband and I both grew up will always have a special place in our hearts, its dirty citiness has its own kind of beauty that will always just feel familiar. The Transkei has always been a special place for us too, its the first place we went on holiday together, and we go back frequently. We also love the Lowveld and the Karoo. This country just has too much to offer to call one place your favourite!
What advice would you give to brides and grooms?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Nobody’s wedding day goes 100% according to plan, but it always ends up absolutely perfect anyway. The day passes in the blink of an eye, so don’t forget to take a step back on the day and just take it all in. You’ve planned these moments for months and all your hard work culminates in this one day; it’s too easy to get caught up in the hecticness of the schedule and running everything according to plan, so don’t forget to stand back and take the time to take a deep breath, appreciate all the special people who have come from all over to celebrate with you, and enjoy and admire the day you’ve created.