Michel from King Street Photo Weddings shared a lot with us today! Thank you so much, Michel, for your very in-depth answers. You are definitely an inspiration, I’m sure our readers will agree. And boy are you lucky to work out of Charleston, I’m a bit jealous. ;)
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I am first a very proud father of two amazing daughters, Courtney & Chloe. My life is very simple. I am so, so blessed to be able to photograph weddings on weekends where I can spend quality time playing the most important role in my life: being Mr. Mom. I love life, people, the gift that God has given to me, and at 49 believe myself to be one of the healthiest people around. I spend an average of 1.5 hours, 5 days a week in the gym and believe that it is 50% of being healthy, while the other 50% is to eat very healthy. I believe that for every wedding I photograph, I am a historian that catches people laughing, crying, happy, and full of joy. Nothing beats a hug from mom or dad of either side of the couple that says “Thank You for your hard work and what you have done for them today.” That is why I do this from my heart. My quote to all of my clients is: “I photograph from my heart because I believe in myself.”
Read the entire interview after the jump…
2. How did you get into wedding photography?
I started my journey back in 1976 while attending high school on Maui Hawaii. My dad told me to get a job, so my first job was as a bag boy at a grocery store. Then I got into the Bruce Lee years and decided to be a security guard. That did not work out to well when a 250 pound Samoan stole something and everyone wanted for me to chase him. I chased him alright and passed him running for my life back to my house. Ha, ha. It took me 3 months, to go back to that mall and a very nice gentleman Joe Cabebee offered me a job of a lifetime- working for his photo shop. Yes, I learned everything from the camera, to film, chemistry, lenses, developing, dodging, burning, lighting, studying facial expression, posing, etc.
I moved to LA in 1980 and worked for a photo store there as well while pursuing my photography dream to photograph models, actors, and celebrities in Hollywood. I was an apprentice to many famous photographers, which was also something I have learned so much about. I ended up moving to Myrtle Beach, SC with a friend of mine whose uncle owned a famous photo store, and worked there until I eventually owned my own. I became a wedding photographer quite simply by photographing head shots for many famous clients here in town that eventually led to my unusual fashion style of doing wedding photography. I am now a master artiste whose passion and love for the art is unprecedented. I aim for every wedding I photograph to give my clients 1000% as I do not know what 100 or 110 % is….!
3. What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
There is nothing better then to have trust from the clients that have hired you for there biggest and most important day, then to have had a meeting and understand clearly what they want to remember their day like, then after giving the client what they request then putting more into it by giving them your heart and vision.
4. What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Besides the normal things that go on with a wedding, nothing. I always do not make myself the highlight of a wedding remember I am a professional and a fly on the wall, therefore there should never be any awkward moments.
5. What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
Too many great things, and when I am on a destination wedding like the Bahamas: Lobster and Steak– yum…!
6. What is your favorite venue and why?
Really, I love them all! The beauty I find in my wedding photography is to experience new and regular venues and creating amazing images from that particular venue.
7. Nikon or Canon?
Canon, I have sold equipment for 27 years. I have studied and been able to hold on and shoot with many cameras. I love those rangefinder cameras where you had to manually focus in the rangefinder and pray you know lighting. I love them all, however in today’s age, there are only two companies that hold the majority market share for professionals, those being Nikon and Canon. I shoot with Canon, I am proud to be a professional CPS member and shoot with their EOS 1 series. I have 4 of them, 8 various L Lenses, along with my reflectors, lighting modifier, Quatum lighting and slave units, and video light. Yes, they call me commando, Rambo, etc., when I show up for a wedding. I take it very seriously and there is absolutely no reason to not carry more then a least 3 cameras on you all day long. Now you understand why I train so hard.
8. What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
LA, Paris, Charleston, Italy, the Bahamas, the vineyard, and I could go on and on. Life is so, so very good.
9. If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I have a few under my belt, however I am bounded by a confidentiality agreement and I will never break that. I have to say that for me, I am an everybody photographer meaning I treat everyone the same celebrity or not and we are all equal.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Learn the craft and learn lighting, learn business, learn that you cannot call yourself a professional photographer if you have a day job, and please with all due respect please learn from someone that has over 25 years in this industry.