Tell us a little about yourself.
I am married and have lived in Dartmouth Nova Scotia for almost my entire life. My full time career is as a long haul driver, travelling throughout North America and this is where my photography really took flight. Travelling to so many places, I was constantly taking pictures of everywhere we've gone over the last 13 years. My second full time career is wedding photography, honestly it isn't a part time career for me between marketing, sales, social media, accounting, web design and then the photography aspects. I hold a certificate from the New York Institute of Photography as well as a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary's University. Although I do have a studio, my true passion is wedding photography and cinematography and the entire process of creating artistic and fine art images and video for my clients. If I am not on the road travelling, I am home in my studio or photographing weddings. Seriously I have no idea how to take a vacation or even how to take weekends off. I have just started to get into the cinematic video side of things so that I can incorporate that into my wedding photography packages. I really enjoy doing both photography and video on a wedding day.
What inspired you to begin wedding photography?
Wedding photography was never in my life plans, it wasn't even on the radar in anyway, nor was any aspect of photography. I just fell into the wedding aspect by complete accident. I have done a lot of photography for myself over the last 13 years on the road as a long haul driver and posted my episodes online in the past. In 2006, a friend of my best-friend (whom I did not know) couldn't afford a wedding photographer, she was going to put disposable camera on tables for guests to take pictures for her, I felt that was seriously wrong. With a point and shoot camera and a lot of naivete, I stepped in, when the day was over I vowed I would never do another wedding again-the pressure was unreal. In 2008, I purchased my first DSLR, a D200 and an 18-200mm lens and set about to teach myself as much as I could, I wanted a better camera for our long haul travels and I wanted to be able to shoot in manual mode. Within two weeks of getting that camera I somehow got roped into two more weddings, by my sister. She knew two couples who just couldn't afford a professional photographer and threw my name out without my permission-ya gotta love sisters. I also have a huge problem with saying “no”. After those two weddings, something changed, I'm not sure what, but I really started to enjoy the wedding photography process and it has just grown from there with every wedding I've completed. I always say to people who ask me about my photography, it was a hobby that went way off the rails.
How long have you been in business?
Do you do photography for a living?
I have two full time careers though photography is not my living income.
Describe your photography style.
It is very documentary, capturing candid and emotional moments as they happen, my formals are done in a very relaxed posing style. I like to tell my clients what I'd like to see from them and them let them fall into those poses naturally. At that point if I see something I don't like I will step in and fix things. For me it's important for my client's personalities to shine through in each image I create and I feel I don't get that natural look from them if I am actually posing every body part on them.
Do you have an assistant on the wedding day? If so, why?
From 2008 to October 2016, I had one assistant who only looked after my gear and helped with formals. In November of 2016, I hired my first permanent second shooter/videographer. For my red label package it is just myself, for my grey and black label package there is myself and my second shooter. In November 2016, I had my first photo/video wedding and this is where I want to take my business, so I knew I would need a second shooter to cover moments when I am creating video. However, this has now morphed into both of us doing photos and video together throughout a 12 hour day with my most recent wedding on New Year's Eve, 2016. There is just no way I could cover both photo and video on my own, not with the cinematic style I want to produce along with my photography.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Lightroom and Photoshop are integral to my post processing workflow. I have a very artistic editing style, with an end result of producing fine art pieces for my client's walls. Every image goes through Lightroom editing, but formal images and images that I know could be printed for albums/canvases/prints those go into Photoshop for more editing. I love to paint in effects into different aspects of the image, very rarely will I apply a filter to an entire image. I will remove objects, people etc from images if they are bothering my eye which is also done in Photoshop as I feel I have more control over this over Lightroom. I want my images to be truly one of a kind, unique. I use filters such as Nik Software, Topaz among a ton of others.
Where would be your dream destination to photograph?
Well I have already photographed a wedding in Dominican Republic but honestly I would go anywhere as long as I am inspired by my clients and their plans for their wedding day. I don't really have a dream destination.
Do you offer customizable packages?
I offer three packages, but will also custom design a package to my customer's needs using my A La Carte Menu.
How much should I budget for my photography package?
If you want a good professional photographer for a full day, you really need to look at photographer's that are above the $1000 range in my opinion. I truly believe in the adage “you get what you pay for” My packages range from $1000-$2550 with cinema as an add-on, my goal was always to try and stay affordable as I do have a full time career that pays the bill. I can be more flexible in my pricing. At present time I have no thoughts of making my wedding photography business full time but you never know, I won't be on the road forever.
"You are truly amazing at what you do, not only in capturing the photo but capturing the moment and feeling is what your photography is about.” - Diane Hammond
“Sandra, ever since you added that first sneak peak wedding photo I have not been able to put my phone down. I've been looking through our album 500 times a day and it seems like every time I look at a picture again I find something else I love about it. Having you at our wedding was an absolute joy, from helping to sew my "something blue" onto my bouquet before my wedding to helping me remove stains from my dress before the reception, you went above and beyond what we expected from a photographer. I've gotten more compliments about my wedding photos than I can even count. Everyone is just blown away. You are far from just a photographer, you are an artist and I can't thank you enough.” - Sarah Allen
Get in touch!