I have spent the past 18 months learning the ropes of wedding and event photography, South Florida style.
I was lucky enough to meet and be employed by four really generous and excellent established wedding and event photographers. I’ve been working as a lighting assistant, 3rd shooter, 2nd shooter and main shooter – learning the ropes.
Frank Donnino, a veteran to wedding photography and a fearless advocate of mirrorless camera technology, was the first to take me on. His generosity of spirit and wealth of knowledge were phenomenal. The energy that he brought to his work was absolutely awe-inspiring. I’m speaking of him in the past tense because tragically, he passed away at the beginning of the year after many years of bravely fighting cancer. He is a HUGE loss to the photographic community. He taught me the value of slowing down the process and, as a 2nd shooter, “cherry picking” the shots. Completely contrary to the majority of professionals out there doing weddings and events, Frank insisted on shooting in jpg and “getting it right first time”. His trademark was his incredibly fast turnaround on producing the images for the couple: at most weddings we’d have an iPad playing a video of their shots for the day so far, waiting on the bridal table for when the couple arrived at the reception!!! His workflow methods were incredible. He told me that he wanted the couple to have their complete set of photographs by the time they got on the plane to go on honeymoon!! (And he did it…!!)
ToniJade Photography is a high end photographer originally from South Africa where she held the enviable position of being the official photographer for the Mandela family!! I was introduced to Toni by an event organiser who recognised my accent and facilitated the intro’s – so lucky!! Toni is a master at her craft and a very tough and exacting taskmaster. Her clients come before anything and woe betide anyone who doesn’t understand that! She originally landed in New York where she established a name for herself as a wedding photographer and then relocated to Boca Raton with her husband, Howard, once their family was started. She shoots all over the country and is in very high demand. It is inspirational working with her, to say the least.
iCapture Creative‘s Victoria is a gutsy single gal that is forging her way in the wedding and event photography scene in South Florida, lucky enough to have Toni as her mentor and partner. It is a pleasure to watch her work in the most stressful situations with a calm demeanour that defies belief. She never gets fussed and she keeps her cool despite soaring tempers and temperatures – I envy that calm.
Finally, and most recently, I have been working with Lenisse Komatsu who I met while working on a wedding with Frank Donnino. He was her mentor and helped her get on her feet in the business. Lenisse’s “joie d’vivre” is delightful to work with as she fires off shots capturing everything fast and efficiently with no regard for how many shots it takes. She infects her subjects with her joy and guileless grins making the whole experience great fun.
This business is tough but extremely rewarding when you get it right, so I have huge admiration for the photographers I am working with with and look forward to standing on my own two feet as a wedding and event photographer! This blog is just a shout-out to those who are helping me along my way, THANK YOU.