Today’s photographer interview is with Camila of Bellatrix Photography based in Toronto, ON! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
I’ve been in love with photography for as long as I can remember. I anxiously waited for my mother to develop the film rolls we took on our trips when I was a kid. After I got my first digital point-and-shoot back in 2002, I never left my house without it. I became the annoying friend who would take photos of everything and everyone all the time!
I realized just how much I enjoyed the art of photography during high school when I developed my first photo in our tiny darkroom, but when time came to decide what I’d pursue in university, I thought it made sense to focus on something “concrete” – and I ended up double-majoring in professional writing & communication studies (but I still used up all my “elective courses” in photography).
Then, as I pursued my degree, I worked in a variety of part-time jobs that I really disliked and one day I just had a breakdown. I realized I no longer wanted to work on anything that did not fulfill me and inspire me. And so, at the end of 2011, just months after graduating, I decided to get my act together, pursue my dream, and open my own photography company.
Read the full interview after the cut!
I came across the name Bellatrix while taking an astronomy class at university. It’s the name of the 3rd brightest star in the constellation Orion, known as the Amazon star, and it’s also Latin for female warrior. I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it, and knew right then that it’d be the name of my company. Last year, I expanded Bellatrix to my homeland Brazil, and this year I also had the opportunity to work in Norway. I absolutely love to travel and I’m grateful every day for not only loving what I do for a living, but also for having the ability to travel and work in different locations throughout the year.
How did you get into wedding photography?
As most passionate photographers, I really love all types of photography. I can have fun shooting photos of a rusty fork if I feel like it (lol). But when I became a professional photographer, I quickly learned that I needed to specialize and find my niche. Family portraiture is what naturally came first, but as my reputation grew and my network expanded through my portraiture work, opportunities began to emerge for me to shoot weddings. I had already assisted a couple of really good wedding photographers when I was still in high school, and after shooting my first wedding as the main photographer, I quickly realized just much I enjoyed the thrill of capturing someone’s special day.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
Without a doubt, the hours before the wedding ceremony. I absolutely love capturing the bride and the room getting ready. The emotions are so intense, you can just feel the excitement in the air. I love capturing the details of the dress and accessories, and most of all, I love capturing the special moments between the close relatives and friends of the bride and the groom as they prepare to walk down the aisle.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
I once shot the wedding of a very funny and eccentric couple. They weren’t at all into the romantic and whimsical type of shots that we usually try to capture. They really liked making funny faces and sexual insinuations. I hadn’t really seen that side of them before, because when we shot our engagement photos, they had brought their young kids (from previous marriages) with them.
When I realized on the day of the wedding that I likely wouldn’t be taking any romantic portraits of them, I just accepted it and went with the flow – after all, you have to capture the essence of the couple, even if that means you don’t get to shoot the kind of photos that you like. But I was still pretty surprised when we were taking portraits inside the reception venue, which was an old church, and the bride suddenly kneeled in front of the groom and asked for a photo of them as she pretended to give him a you-know-what. The bridesmaids and groomsmen stood around and laughed with a little embarrassment. But regardless of those awkward moments, I had a ton of fun shooting this un-typical wedding.
What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
Green curry at an Indian wedding. Divine.
What is your favorite venue and why?
I really like the Berkeley Church in Toronto. The church was founded in 1871 but the building now functions as a venue and it’s no longer an active church. It’s just beautiful inside with its vintage, kind of gloomy, but very elegant feel, and it’s great for intimate receptions.
Nikon or Canon?
I’ve always been a Canon girl and would only ever switch if Nikon gave me tons of gear for free, haha.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
In Greece, on one of the islands. I can picture the bride and groom during sunset lovingly embracing each other with stunning ruins and breath-taking views of the ocean in the background.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Not just because they’re beyond gorgeous, but because I really love what she stands for.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Do whatever you can to assist a few great photographers before you begin shooting on your own. The experience you’ll get is invaluable.
Thanks Camila! For more about Bellatrix Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Camila? Add them to the comments below!