Get to Know a Wedding Photographer: Pedram Navid Photography

Today’s photographer interview is with Pedram of Pedram Navid Photography, based in Toronto, ON! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company

The two things that capture most of my attention are dogs and photography. I’m a huge Boston Terrier enthusiast, and spend my time volunteering with Boston Terrier Rescue Canada when I’m not working on images. I also give my time to local shelters and rescues offering free photography for animals big and small, everything from little bearded dragons to pigs, cows, and horses. My girlfriend and I are the photographers behind Pedram Navid Photography. We’re based out of Toronto and shoot both local and destination weddings. Our styles complement each other really well. I am all about the big-picture, high drama shots while she is all about the details. Every wedding to us is memorable, and it’s made that much more fun being able to go to work with someone you love.

Read the full interview after the cut!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I had been working an office job at a bank for 7 years, getting paid well but not loving what I was doing. I knew I wanted to ‘do what I loved’ so I spent my free-time at work coming up with a business plan and researching a way out. Photography was always in my blood, ever since I was a little kid. I would play with film cameras, ruining more rolls than I can remember trying to figure out how the little canisters worked. When digital came around, a camera never left my side. As my hobby grew into a passion, friends kept complimenting me on the photos and I realized I just might have the eye. A lot of my work was with animals: dogs, cats, reptiles, birds – there was something about being able to capture the soul of an animal that really spoke to me.
When a friend of mine told me she was getting married in France I knew this was my chance. A beautiful location with gorgeous people is the dream first portfolio for a wedding photographer, and so I asked her if I could shoot her wedding. I was fortunate enough to have her trust me based on just the photos of the animals I took. Of course, wedding photography is a whole other beast, and I spent the next few months reading and practicing with stuffed animals taped to light stands. When the wedding came, everything just worked out. All the practice paid off and I could really work any scene I found myself in. She loved the photos and the business has really just taken off from there.

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What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?

Definitely the creatives! Being able to whisk the bride & groom away from all the madness, giving them an hour alone to relax, take it easy, and get some beautiful images they’ll cherish forever…how could I resist?

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What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?

Delicately trying to whisk my girlfriend away from a drunken uncle at a wedding who was getting a little too touchy-feely.

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What is your favorite venue and why?

Does the town of Villerville count? A tiny village in Normandy, with beautiful stone houses, all painted in a neutral colour palette, lots of interesting shapes, tons of character, and a scene you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere in Ontario. It made my job very easy.

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Nikon or Canon?

They’re both the same to me, but I shoot Nikon simply because that’s where I started, although Nikon’s pop-up flash commander does give it a slight edge :)

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What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?

Anywhere I haven’t been! I love the spontaneity and challenge of a new location, trying to find the right background, lighting, and compositional elements is all part of the fun. But to really answer the question, I’d love to shoot a wedding in Costa Rica. That place is like a second home to me.

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If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?

This was the hardest question to answer, but I think I narrowed it down to Wes Anderson and his girlfriend Juman Malouf. I love the style of his movies and I think they’d translate really well to a wedding. They aren’t an annoying celebrity couple, they’ve been together for a long time, and seem genuinely interested in each other. Also, the guestlist would be amazing (hello, Bill Murray).

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?

Know your gear, know your client, and know yourself. There’s no substitution for practice and hard work, so take the time to know the ins and outs of your camera and lenses, it’ll save your butt come crunch time.

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You don’t have to book every client. I know when you’re first starting out you have the itch to take on anyone who shows the least bit of interest, but being able to separate out your bride from all the other brides will make your job (and your life) that much easier. Sometimes, it’s worth more to let a bride go than to book one that isn’t right for you. Running a business isn’t for everyone. There’s more to wedding photography than photography. Would you be equally comfortable owning a coffee shop, a drycleaners, or a restaurant? Wedding photography is more like running a drycleaner shop than most people think.

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What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?

I’ll let you in on a secret: the images are not the most important thing. You will go numb trying to find the best photographer for your budget by looking at photos. Meet a few photographers that are in your budget and whose style speaks to you. It will take less time and you’ll know right away when you met your photographer.

Thanks Pedram! For more information about Pedram Navid Photography, please visit his WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to his website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Pedram? Add them to the comments below!

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