Hello dear readers!
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the lovely Fiona Chiu, our wedding photographer. I am so excited to feature her as our first Interview an Expert session for the series, and to share her story with you.
When did you realize that photography was your passion?
My passion for photography started in the latter half of my high school career. I loved spending time in the dark room, but discovered this passion a little too late. If you are familiar with the Canadian university system, you will know that in order to get admitted into a program, there are a series of prerequisites that you need to complete. Since I had no idea that I would love photography so much, I had not taken any of the prerequisites. However, I refused to let that be the end – I talked with the art department and got a plea bargain. If I developed an impressive enough portfolio, they would admit me into the right courses so that I could pursue my Fine Arts degree in university. Luckily, it all worked out.
When I started university, however, I started to feel the pressure; a Fine Arts degree is generally not respected, and I feared that I would not be able to make a livelihood. I decided to switch my majors, and graduated with a B.Ed and B.Sc. After I graduated, I travelled to France and taught for a year. It was during this time that I found myself once more. I finally had a bit more time to explore who I was as an individual, taking photos of my surroundings, and developing my craft once more.
In the end, I found my art, and am so happy that I have.
How did you transition from taking photos for yourself, to taking photos for others?
I never had an “AHA!” moment. I kind of went where the wind blew me. A couple of my friends had recently gotten engaged, and we decided to take some engagement photos for fun. This first time slowly progressed to more and more projects, and here I am today, so happy to share the stories of the couples I am photographing.
What was your first wedding experience like?
It definitely kept me on my toes. I had only been to one wedding as a guest previously, so in many ways, I was not sure what to expect. Getting great shots has a lot to do with anticipating the best moments, and this skill develops as you shoot more weddings. I probably shot at least 10 weddings as a second shooter before I felt confident to be the lead photographer for a wedding.
Developing the skills as a second shooter, to me, was invaluable. There are some photographers who jump right in, and I admire their confidence. However, I would never have felt comfortable doing that. Honing my abilities through acting as a second shooter is a great opportunity to develop your network. It is also an amazing mentorship experience, where you learn a lot of tips and tricks to create better work.
Stay tuned for part 2, which will feature some more technical aspects of getting great wedding photos! Sneak peek: Fiona will be sharing her favourite moment to capture in a wedding!