Birth Photographer - Marysol Blomerus
Your business name:
Marysol Blomerus Photography
Tell us a bit about your business:
I'm South Africa's first specialised birth photographer and videographer, I am an on-call birth storyteller using stills and video in an emotive, powerful style tailored for each family. I run an exclusive boutique style business focused on personalized service for up to 20 clients per year.
How long have you worked as a photographer?
2018 was my ten year anniversary!
Do you feel it was an instant success or did it take a while to find its feet?
I don't believe instant success exists. I would be highly skeptical of anyone who claimed it. When I began covering births in South Africa, it was basically unheard of. I felt like I had to work so hard not only to build a business, but a whole industry that didn't exist. There was no market demand for it from a client perspective and no access given by hospitals. I had to push through a double barrier. My first year of business, I marketed like a madwoman. Nothing. Not one client booked. For an entire year! Can you imagine? It was so demoralizing and I almost gave up. I wanted to finally let go of my side hustle, but that took longer than expected. Had my husband not encouraged me to give it some more time, I might have just folded. On the 13th month of that stretch, my first client booked. And from there it was slow and steady for a few years. There was no one magic bullet. It was simply the cumulative succession of hard work and learning what works.
If any, what kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?
Such a variety, and they all taught me skills that I carry into my current work. I used to be a janitor for a military training base, 100 urinals were mine for the cleaning at 4:30 am! That taught me how sometimes you have to wake up early and hustle. I was a freelance typesetter for Spanish books for almost a decade. This wasn't my passion but it helped fund things that were. It taught me to have an almost obnoxious attention to detail. I worked at a veterinary practice which was how I paid off debt really early in my life. That taught me one of the best life lessons: that debt stings, limits your options, and feels like cleaning up dog poo to get out of. So I never incurred a penny of it since.
Do you feel that you chose your "passion," or did it choose you?
Both. I feel God gifted me with certain talents and passions and I choose to co-create with Him in by developing them.
What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?
My children. My career choice allows me to be present at home with them alot. It gives me flexibility in that regard. I'm big on legacy and generational investment, so to have quality and quantity of time with them pushed me to build that riskier alternative. It's not for everyone, but it has been a real blessing and privilege for us as a family.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
I doubt my talent several times a year! The struggle is real, especially as I tackle more challenging aspects of my craft. However, it lessens over time as you work through it. I think the question of how you work through it is such a critical one to glean wisdom on. For me, it means getting out of my own head. I give voice to it in my journal, or with my husband or a friend. I have to arrest the thoughts so they don't grow in my mind. One of the best decisions I made was several years ago, was to completely stop following anyone else in my local industry. I unfollowed dozens of accounts and left a ton of groups. Especially where there was gossip or strife, I just removed myself from that level of drama. I stopped looking at my "competitors" work. The comparison was destroying my creativity and confidence. Instead, I reoriented my thinking to being in competition with myself. I'm becoming a better, more skilled, more excellent creative professional than I was a year ago. Why? So I can provide an even better service to people who have trusted me enough to hire me. One way I practically do that is I review my own work constantly for inspiration and course correction. I look back at shoots and ask myself what's working, where can I grow. I'm really selective of who in the industry I follow. I want to be inspired by professionals that I am perhaps purchasing ongoing education from, who work internationally, or who are in completely different niches than I am. It's really purposeful diverse inspiration. Instead of wasting an evening looking at other photographers and wallowing in insecurity, I start another one of my courses I purchased. It's a discipline to decide to cultivate yourself when you want to compare. All the above serves as a game plan to work through my doubts.
What is your favourite accomplishment?
Every time a client says to me something to the effect of "It has to be you there, not just because we think you are the best choice but because you bring who you are to our birth and we really want that."
It gets me every time. It means more to me than being published or award-winning.
Tell us about any workshops you may offer:
I've considered it, but just not offering in the immediate future.
What is your favourite lens and why?
The 24-70 2.8 is my workhorse. It's just such a versatile lens.
Are you working on any out of the ordinary projects at the moment?
I'm working on building up my youtube channel with information for expecting parents. Its a related but new medium/platform for me. Its a way I have been wanting to further connect with my audience on relevant research they are doing in that stage of life when they are awaiting a baby. I'm really excited about it.
JUST FOR FUN
What is playing in your CD player/iPod right now?
Sleeping At Last
What’s your favourite ’90s song?
Anything by Mariah Carey. I can't even pick one.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
Everything I haven't gotten done. Kidding. Maybe not so much. I do love driving, it helps me clear my head and process whatever is on my heart.
What were you like in high school?
I was motived and focused. I had a wonderful set of friends. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better high school 4 years.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your high school self?
I would tell myself that "You don't have to figure out your life right now. There's no way to anticipate how much you will learn about yourself in your 20's"
YOUR CONTACT INFO
Your website: capetownbirthphotography.com
Instagram handle: instagram.com/marysol_cptbirthphotographer/