Today we are chatting to an absolute power-house of a woman.
Dawn Oosthuis, a former teacher and netball coach, somehow found herself following her true passion in a series of very cool events. Not only is Dawn a mother of three, but she is the beautiful bad-ass boss behind Beyond Measure Productions, a wedding industry film and photography business that is hot on everyones lips!
Read on below to find out more about her passion, her love for coffee and chocolate, her top tips on managing the mom-work balance and what to do should you want to enter into the wonderful world of wedding film making.
Over to Dawn!
Hooray: Hi Dawn! Tell us about yourself.
Dawn: Hi Hooray, my name is Dawn and I run a company called Beyond Measure Productions that specializes in cinematic wedding films and photography. My life is a crazy balance between being a wife and mom of 3 (how did that happen?!), a photographer, videographer and owner-manager of Beyond Measure.
I adore working with different people and being creative so I’m incredibly grateful I get to do what I do.
I used to be a teacher and netball coach. I think that taught me how to deal with groups and gave me my love for working in a team (I never shoot alone). I also have a degree in Psychology and I think this gave me a good grounding in and love for working with people of all shapes, sizes, temperaments, vices, colours and quirks. I just love it!
I adore chocolate. It’s a problem. Let’s just leave it at that. I’m a self-diagnosed coffee snob – please don’t be offended if I ask you what coffee you’re serving me and then ask for tea instead. I can’t help myself. (I blame my multi-talented barista husband.) On a side-note, if you’re looking for a great cappuccino and chat, pop into my studio for a visit!
Hooray: How are you managing being a mom to three and running a business at the same time?
Dawn: Wow – good question. Work-family balance is probably the toughest thing us boss-moms grapple with. It’s not easy, sometimes very overwhelming and there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on.
1. I do as much as I possibly can while my little ones are at school or with the nanny (my God-send).
2. I try be as present as possible when I am with them (no technology and no distractions) during lunch and homework time (Arg, that stuff sucks).
3. I try be kind to myself when I don’t get everything I wanted done.
4. If all else fails, the awful late-night vigil…
Hooray: How did you get into the wedding industry?
Dawn: For years, I had done photography as a passion hobby, often ending up being my husband’s side-kick for videography. In 2013, numerous things collided to propel me into this crazy-beautiful industry. In short, the previous owners of Beyond Measure, wanted to move onto another opportunity and needed someone they could trust to look after their existing bookings and take the company forward. I had just had my second child, was dealing with a very ill first child (a story for another day), and was looking for the freedom to run my own time. It was like God just set me up and bam! I was a business owner. There was meant to be a 6-month transition period, but when the previous owners were called away suddenly to Johannesburg, I had to just dive in. Fortunately, I took on their existing editor and cinematographers and so had lots of support. I fell in love with the wedding industry immediately, put hours into improving my skill, and haven’t looked back since.
Hooray: Could you tell us more about your transition from teacher to videographer?
Dawn: I was blessed enough to be officially on maternity leave when I first took over the company, so I could take it slow. Also, I had been shooting for years on the side, so it was a fairly easy transition to full time, although I was making the transition to shooting video on DSLR and that was fun! It was probably harder figuring out the wedding industry than actually shooting video. It’s a close-knit community and I had to learn how to navigate it and make friends. I really love that part now!
Hooray: Any advice for someone who is thinking of starting a career in the wedding industry?
Dawn: DO ask for advice and learn from those around you. I soaked up everything I could, begged for criticism and feedback and worked at my skill until… well, I’m still working at my skill because there’s always something new to learn in the changing technology of video!
DO work in team if you can. I LOVE team. I love that we can hold each other up, be strong for each other on weak days, and see things differently, bringing collective creativity to the party. It just works for me!
DON’T try be something you’re not. In the beginning of my video career, I think I felt the pressure to have a particular persona and act like I knew exactly what I was doing all the time. I wish I had been more open about where I was and how I was doing – people pick it up anyway and prefer it when you’re transparent. Now, I find such freedom in being who I really am and acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, we are all real people and we appreciate it when others are genuine.
Hooray: Do you only shoot weddings? If not, tell us more
Dawn: No – we love creative video and shoot anything that needs good footage and storytelling. We have a sister company that we share our team and studio with, called 9Milmedia. This company handles all our corporate work and we do everything from TV adverts to social media video campaigns, induction videos, brand/corporate promos and event highlights.
Hooray: What do you love most about your job?
Dawn: Did I mention I love people? Ha ha – I love meeting new people, working alongside other photographers, chatting and making real connections. I also really love all the ‘PRETTY’ that comes with weddings – it’s just SO much fun to video and photograph beautiful things.
Hooray: What inspires you?
Dawn: I’m inspired by people, movement and stories. We love the special moments between people and their loved ones. We’re always watching TV adverts and the latest series and we push to translate this relevantly to the wedding industry.
Hooray: Running your own business can be hard, do you have a daily routine?
Dawn: Whew – without routine I think I would get nothing done! I get into my studio as early as possible in the morning, and crack through my emails, admin and marketing tasks. I then connect with my staff about the edits they’re working on – there are now 6 full-time members of Beyond Measure so this takes quite a bit of management. And then I start my own edits on images or albums. Oh, and somewhere inbetween there, I collect my kiddos from school and have lunch with them and hope they don’t highjack the rest of my work day.
Hooray: Any advice for #Boss mama bears wanting to have a third baby?
Dawn: Don’t try do it all on your own. Let people help you! Even if you can probably cope on your own, just say yes if someone offers help! The biggest lesson I have learnt is if I empower my husband (show him what to do!) instead of trying to be super-in-control-mom, I have a willing, able and wonderful partner in parenting. Communicate your needs clearly – he can’t sense or smell what you need but is most likely more than happy to do whatever he can. Go for it! Third time is a charm. For reals:-). There is nothing more precious than watching your two kiddies interacting with your new baby – it is heart-melting and downright magical.
Hooray: Tell us about your ideal wedding client
Dawn: We love couples that appreciate great cinematography and value story-telling where you are able to hear your vows and speeches again. Our ideal couple appreciates beautiful, elegant work that is never cheesy but is rather true to the emotion and vibe of the day.
Hooray: Can you describe your style?
Dawn: My photo style is very natural, elegant and creative. I love documenting special moments and creating beautiful images from natural interactions between the bride and groom. Our cinematic work combines steady, beautiful footage with music in a way that is not just a music video but is rather an elegant story of the day. Our films are a personalized signature, if you will, of our couple’s wedding, unique and full of emotion.
Hooray: Tell us your go-to spoil when you need a pamper
Dawn: PED-I-CURE!!! It cures most things, don’t you think? And if I’m being REALLY spoilt, a full body or back massage. Oh goodness, now I feel like a massage!
Hooray: If there was one thing you could change about the wedding industry, what would it be?
Dawn: I really love this industry and have been so blessed in my experience of it! The only thing I would change is maybe being able to meet up with my industry buddies – and make some more – more regularly.
Hooray: Name 5 of your favourite wedding vendors that you enjoy working with.
Dawn: This is really a tough one…. it’s so hard to choose!
1) I consider myself truly blessed if I get to shoot the awesome flowers & décor of Carolyn from Adore Weddings – if she’s done the planning, too, it’s going to be a wonderful day!
2) Smiths Bakeshop. Signature Chocolate Muffin that changed my life forever. Need I say more?
3) Faye from Poetry Weddings. The day will run smoothly and on time and we are always looked after so, so sweetly.
4) Derryn Schmidt from Derryn Schmidt Photography. There are so many great photographers who are genuinely awesome, but we have worked with her numerous times in the last year. We kind of dig this talented, considerate chick a LOT!
5) Steven Heyns (The Wedding Dj) and Jarryd Sunkell (KZN Wedding DJ) – we always get great laughs and great dancing footage when these fantastic DJ’s are around.
Dawn, thank you for sharing.
If you would like to get in touch with Dawn and her fantastic team, hit one of the links below.