This year has been surreal. We travelled, expanded, explored, learned much, and made some new friends along the way. We again started the year with a cross continental road trip (Ottawa to California and back), and along the way photographed incredibly beautiful weddings in Palm Springs, beach sessions in Laguna, met new friends in Salt Lake City. There was an impromptu trip to Vietnam where we photographed exotic pockets of cities, nature, and even lovers on a vacation (despite what we’re told, approaching strangers is actually a good thing). There was even a mountaintop wedding in Colorado. We had beers and laughs in the Joshua Tree with new and old friends alike at the wonderful Heck Yeah photo-camp. We also photographed so many stunning weddings at home in Ottawa – a few highlights were Nancy and Chris’ incredible celebration at the Chateau Laurier and JP & Heather’s romantic wedding at the Horticulture Building. Indeed 2016 was quite a year (btw, if you need any destination wedding ideas, do let us know:)
When we talk to photographers just starting out, or even those further along in their careers, shooting destination weddings seems to be a goal. There’s an allure to jet-setting around, an odd ‘rockstar’ quality that has almost become an unspoken reason to get started in this industry. When we heard Sam Hurd speak at a conference earlier this year, something rang in our ears – to paraphrase, he told the crowd that if you can’t shoot well in your own backyard, you can’t expect clients to fly you around the world. When we heard that at the beginning of the year, it really stuck. We focused less on the ‘where’ and so much more on the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
With that, we saw our work improve and we were later honoured to be nominated for Rangefinder Magazine’s annual Rising Stars of Wedding Photography list, and out of 200 nominees, we made it to the top 30. Surreal. So to echo Sam’s advice, learn to shoot well in your own backyard. If you can tackle those challenges and limitations, you’ll be in a better position to make those destination weddings extraordinary. Anything beyond that is a bonus. So if we can offer any advice at this junction it’s to keep improving, keep learning, and (probably most importantly), nurture your relationships and keep approaching strangers.
Thank you for a beautiful and totally surreal 2016…. we’re excited to see what next year brings!