"Sometimes we need to get uncomfortable to really perform"
We recently had the opportunity to interview wedding photographer Rebekah August. She shared her journey with us on what it took to become a successful wedding photographer. It gives a good look at what many photographers choose as a way to apply their craft to make a living.
BG: How long have you been taking photographs professionally or unprofessionally?
RA: I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager and have always loved creating art through photography but it wasn’t until 2016 that I pursued it as a career by attending a professional photography program. I’ve been working full time as a photographer since I graduated from that program in 2018.
BG: What would you say is your photography style?
RA: As a wedding photographer, I gravitate towards shooting styles that tell stories and document real life moments. I would categorize my style as lifestyle/doc, though I am beginning to lean into editorial a bit more. My goal is always to capture what really happened in the most beautiful way possible - and beautiful as in emotive as oppose to aesthetically or even technically perfect.
BG: What or where do you most love to shoot?
RA: People and outdoors in short. In university, we shot mainly in the studio and although it’s pretty cool to be photographing in an environment where you have control over 100% of the elements; lights, props, models, etc., I must say that I think I am the most excited to be shooting with a couple, somewhere outdoors whether that be in the city or by the sea. Maybe it’s the lack of control I have over my environment and subjects that keeps it exciting for me! It’s a different experience every time and I think that keeps me motivated to create art each time.
BG: What is your go-to camera/lens or any other recommended gear that is a must-have?
RA: I recently (within the last couple of years) upgraded to Canon’s mirrorless cameras and am currently working with the R6’s. They’re fantastic cameras and have some really cool features, certainly an upgrade from my 5D Mark iii’s that I was rocking for a few years prior. I love shooting prime since it keeps my camera system relatively light in weight but I do pull out my 70-200 every now and then especially during receptions and cocktail hours - it’s a great one to have on hand when you need to get tighter than your 85mm will get you.
BG: What is one of the most exciting or exhilarating things you’ve done to capture a shot?
RA: Ah, probably trekking through ice and snow to get to the Katla Glacier in March of 2022 for an elopement in the south of Iceland. It also goes down as one of the toughest conditions weather wise we’ve ever shot in. We were fighting side ways sleet and wind the entire ceremony - it was pretty wild. One of the coolest experiences though.
BG: Who inspires you as a photographer?
RA: This was probably the hardest question of them all! There are a lot of photographers who have inspired me throughout the years. I’ve stumbled upon some new-to-me photographers who I’ve been loving to glean from in regards to their modern and editorial styles like Trynh and Holly Clark and then there are some OG’s like Katch Silva and India Earl who I always like to search up every now and then to see what they are up to. I also get a lot of inspiration from local artists and film photographers.
BG: Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?RA: Nothing you probably haven’t heard before but shoot as much as you can, do things outside of photography that inspire you and use that fuel to motivate you in your craft. If you want to be a full time photographer, start acting like you already are. If you can’t quite pay the bills yet just through photography, pretend like you have to and you’ll look at it in a whole new way. Sometimes we need to get uncomfortable to really perform and if that means putting in 4-6 hours of work into your business after you come home from the job that pays the bills, then that’s what it takes! You’ll reach your goals a lot sooner if you act like you have everything to loose if you don’t get there. Oh and try to enjoy the process as well. Start making connections and friends in the industry that you aspire to work in, sign up for mentorships and workshops - look at those costs as an investment. Attend classes or courses and watch the moves of the industry leaders.
BG: How has the Top Shelf improved your photography?
RA: The Top Shelf backpack has truly become a staple item for me. I bring it everywhere and it’s the perfect bag for my type of work. It’s aesthetically pleasing, lightweight and comfortable. The pushbutton closure has been a GAME changer!! There is nothing worse than unzipping a whole backpack in the middle of a shoot to change a lens so this has been huge for me. When I am travelling, I can use the zipper closer and have peace of mind that my gear is staying safe. The Top Shelf has given me the opportunity to be more efficient in my shooting and that is invaluable in my line of work. It’s quality made and durable and has withstood all of the adventures I’ve thrown at it. I would highly recommend this backpack to anyone who is on the move and likes to bring their cameras with them!