How I became a professional wedding photographer

This blog comes about as a result of nagging by my long suffering website designer and a request for a bio for a photographic conference (which I’ll soon be running a workshop at). The truth is, that despite my fondness for a chat, I am much more interested in other people and their stories. None the less, here I sit at irony squared writing a self-portrait on how I became a professional photographer. Rather than photographing someone else’s portrait.

My love for photography started at a young age

As far as photography goes, I have been involved in it for most of my life. I learned photography with my father. Where I was either posing as a 10 year old work experience student in school holidays at News Limited in Surry Hills or later spending those school holidays in my Dad’s Sydney studio. I’d also go out on shoots for companies like TNT/Ansett, Singapore Airlines, Carlton United Breweries amongst many others. All this along with learning how to process film and print in my father’s darkroom. Tellingly, I wasn’t allowed to shoot colour film until I had learned to shoot, develop and print black and white images. 30 years later it is with black and white that my photographic taste lies. Don’t get me wrong, I do colour, I quite like it. But when I shoot for myself, most of it is mono.My passion lead me to be professional wedding photographer

Professional Photography, the burning flame reignites

Despite having the opportunity to work with my Dad after high school, I chased a few other careers. This included over a decade as an ambulance Paramedic. However photography was calling me back. So I picked up a camera again in 2010, with a view to just take nice shots for my own satisfaction. Fortunately the creative flames flickered back to life and I was able to convince my Dad to coach me and I rediscovered my love for the art of photography.

The passion burns bright…

Fast forward a few years and I’m attending workshops with some of my favourite photographers. Shooting and getting stuck into courses and loving it. In 2014 I was accepted into the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). This was great, a notable pit stop but only part of a longer journey. The truth is, that if I were rich I would still do exactly what I am doing because I love it. The true reward for my work is more in the pleasure than anything else.

Refining my skills in professional wedding photography

Over the last few years I have spent considerable time and effort honing my skills. This lead to undertaking mentoring with professional wedding photography guru, Ryan Schembri. Ryan is the youngest ever Grand Master of Photography. He was the winner of the 2019 World Portrait Photographer’s “International Wedding Photographer of the Year”. I’ve known Ryan for a number of years now and I’ve attended a number of workshops with him. However this was a step up in intensity.

I’d had my wedding photography portfolio assessed by the AIPP for my admission in 2014. However, having arguably the best professional wedding photographer in the world going through my work one on one was daunting to say the least – or so I thought, until I shot a wedding with him in Sydney! This was a great opportunity and a great experience. However living in Coffs Harbour makes 2nd-shooting difficult for a guy that shoots all over the world. Again, this was a highlight but the journey continues.

My professional wedding Photography Journey Continues…

Since my time with Ryan, I’ve done wedding photography in Canberra, Brisbane, Batemans Bay, Sydney and the Coffs Harbour area for some fantastic clients. Things were going well, and then got even better. Within the space of a few weeks I was asked to shoot my very first mentor’s wedding in Brisbane. Then I returned home to find that I had achieved a “Highly commended” award in the Mid North Coast’s Brides Choice Awards which is an award voted for by my former clients. The funny thing is, these last two highlights mean the most to me. Having a mentor choose me to shoot her wedding and then to be acknowledged by my clients for my work is a real honour and are genuine high points of my professional wedding photography journey so far.

You can read more about Simon here