Thanks to the ever-growing popularity of the digital format and social media, photography is more popular today that it ever was before. Literally anyone with a smartphone can call themselves “photographers” now. All it takes is a click, a pretty OOTD, a fancy filter and voila! You are now a photographer.
But is that all there is?
Photography can also be stressful, especially when shooting once-in-a-lifetime moments, like weddings. Rae Cabradilla from Rainbowfish Photo takes us beyond the pretty filters and expensive lenses to give you an inside look at the world of wedding photography.
Hi! Tell us bit about yourself and your work.
Hi! My name is Rae and I am a photographer who specializes on wedding and food photography.
What are the common misconceptions about your line of work?
People often think being a photographer is as simple as clicking a few buttons on the camera. But that’s far from the truth. It takes years of practice, patience, and a good eye for detail. You also have to know how to lead, direct, and make people comfortable in front of a camera especially when it’s their first time. Every shoot is different and I always learn new things every time.
Describe your typical work day.
In a typical wedding program there are four segments—the preparation, ceremony, postnuptial pictorials (postnup), and reception. The team and I start by discussing how we’re going to shoot that day. We also make it a point to coordinate with the other suppliers, especially with the video and the coordination team. Once we get on the same page, we start taking photos of the preparation from putting on makeup, changing of clothes, to a more formal set of pictorials with family and friends. I’m usually assigned to take photos of the bride during preparation ’til she arrives at the church or ceremony area. During the ceremony, we keep our eyes open and quickly react when something interesting happens in the crowd or with the couple. You always have to anticipate what’s going to happen so you can capture the right moment. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that it’s always easier to capture the right mood and moments when you know your client and crowd better.
After the ceremony, the postnup follows. This is when we take the most time shooting the couple’s portraits. I know it gets tiring for some couples, especially when they’re wearing a gown and a tux, but we let them understand that we only want them to receive the best photos and that it’s important to have proper photos together to remember their special day. Lastly, the part where the couple can finally relax and enjoy with their guests is the reception. We usually just take photos of people’s reactions and enjoy the last few hours of the program. What matters to us the most is when our clients come back to us to let us know that they’re satisfied and happy with our services.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is traveling to a new location every now and then. It keeps me inspired and the new elements help make me more creative.
On the flipside, what’s the hardest part of your job? What makes it fulfilling? Will you trade it for something else?
The hardest part is when I feel numb and lose creativity. Sometimes when I keep doing the same thing, I get drained and uninspired. This can greatly affect my work. It becomes a template and redundant. In reality, it can’t always be avoided. But my team and I try to get out of the norm and find something new to shoot because this can create a huge difference whether it be a new angle, new movement, or pose with the couple. A little inspiration from other forms of art can also help fuel creativity.
The best part of my job is when our clients thank us and I see the biggest smiles on their faces (sometimes tears of joy) after seeing the photos. It’s always fulfilling to know you made other people happy. I don’t think I’ll trade it for anything else. I know I’ll have other creative ventures ahead, but photography will always be a part of me.
Any message to those who want to pursue the same career? What does it take to be successful or happy in your field?
You have to love it to pursue it. The challenge for new photographers is standing out in a pool of talented photographers already in the industry and sustaining yourself. It’s not an easy job. The pay is inconsistent; you will have good months and you will also experience the pains of being a freelancer and a creative. But you have to keep going. Build your portfolio, make connections, and keep your customers happy. I learned that not everyone will love your work, but don’t let that affect you. Art is relative. Price right and always deliver quality work, that way everyone’s happy.