How I Started As A Wedding Photographer
I often get asked how I started photographing weddings. The story is like all good life stories - one where the destination keeps changing around every corner and each new experience opens and closes unexpected doors.
I completed both my Bachelors and Masters of Science at the University of Guelph. Following my second year of my undergrad, I had the opportunity to go to the Northwest Territories. I got a summer job as a lifeguard. The flights were covered, the pay was great and it was a chance to have a once in a lifetime experience. Permafrost limits the construction so the beauty of the mountains, rivers and valleys is raw. My roommate had a DSLR and she was always experimenting with new lenses and created some really great imagery. At the time I had a tiny Canon PowerShot and while it was great for capturing the memories, I felt like it couldn’t quite capture the beauty of the land around me.
The next summer I returned, having purchased an entry level DSLR camera for a couple hundred bucks. I never thought much more of it than just trying to capture this (twice in a lifetime) experience in as many photos as possible.
Our last year of undergrad, a few friends asked if I would capture their grad photos. For 20 bucks I captured photos all around campus and we had a blast. I posted these on Facebook and from there, the referrals started coming in.
In those days, I shot everything and anything. Club events, campus events, engagement sessions, birthday parties, maternity sessions - nothing was off limits. Today, I’m so glad for that experience. It allowed me to really work in my skills, learn how to adapt to any situation, and how to manage client expectations.
Fast forward, a few years and I’d completed my masters degree, and had no job. With hundreds of job applications sent through all sorts of online portals, and months passing with no calls, I decided to take the leap and launch my business. I applied and was selected for a grant for youth entrepreneurs in Ontario. I also received a job offer in clinical research at the same time. I started my job + the grant development process on the same day. That summer, I often thought to myself “when it rains, it pours”.
I started hustling to make contacts and shoot weddings. I love the thrill and excitement of a wedding day. The fast pace, the intense emotions, the absolute joy is so rewarding to capture.
I was lucky enough to connect with a few great photographers and build my portfolio. Every wedding I’ve booked has been a referral. I think that that speaks volumes about my work - connecting with others, being able to witness and capture their most treasured moments is my personal goal.
This summer I’ll be heading into my third wedding season. I’m lucky enough to be able to capture one of the happiest days of my clients' lives. If you have a friend or family member looking for a wedding photographer, I’d love to have your referral.
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