We start this series with Elizabeth from One Blue Fish Photography. They are based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia and her partner is on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia.
A brief introduction:
Liz has been a wedding photographer for about 5 years now. She has shot weddings all over North America as well as the Caribbean and is in the midst of a whirlwind wedding season. She spends her down time at her home in Hubbards, Nova Scotia with her husband and three children. I’ve reached her via skype and the interview takes about 10 minutes. Some of it is paraphrased for formatting.
What got you into wedding photography?
I’ve always been interested in photography and art in general. My father is an artist and I’ve been exposed to paintings and sculptors since I was an infant. I always knew some form of art would be a part of my life, it wasn’t until my late 20’s I knew it would be photography.
What is the hardest thing about being a wedding photographer?
The business end of it, for sure. I’ve seen some amazing photographers fall flat on their face because they couldn’t accept that they were not good business people. On the other hand, I’ve seen some mediocre photographers have moderate success because they were excellent business people. There is a partnership here between your skill as a photographer and you ability as a business person. If you lack skills in marketing and communication, web design and social media management you need to find someone who can do it for you. I firmly believe you will not succeed without those skills.
Tell me about your first paid shoot.
Ah this was awesome. So we lined up a shoot on the Halifax Waterfront for $25. It was an engagement session and the couple seemed really great. We were only going to charge $150 for the wedding because we needed the material for the portfolio and we didn’t have any experience. It seemed like the only way to get into the industry. Anyways I thought the shoot went really well but they ended up dumping us for their wedding day…
Dumping you? How come?
The bride didn’t like the amount of grain on the photos, back then I was definitely not an expert in post processing and I used a VSCO preset on most of the photos, one that had a ton of grain. We also delivered about 90 photos for the set, a big no-no.
Why wouldn’t you want to deliver that many photos?
You want to deliver only the best. Typically for a 1.5 hour shoot we will deliver between 20 and 30 photos, and it’s usually closer to 25. The reasoning is that you only want to show your best work. If you are delivering 90 photos for the same length of time what are the odds many of those photos are very similar to others or in fact not that good at all? Of course, we didn’t have anyone to tell us this so we just kind of learned as we went along.
That would have been a good time to quit though.
Yes, it would have. We didn’t have any other real photography commitments and it was quite upsetting when she dropped us. I just kept believing and battling and now we are at a spot where we are pretty comfortable with our position in the industry.
Part 2 of the interview will be coming soon!