Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Kelvin of Kelvin Young Photography based in Toronto, ON! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
Hello, my name is Kelvin Young. I started Kelvin Young Photography Inc 8.5 years ago back in 2006 when I was 17 years old. I was one year away from graduating high school and fell in love with photography! I started photographing small events and shows, and then began accepting some paid work. Most wedding photographers stick with wedding and event photography, but throughout the years, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to branch out into all sorts of photography including food, performance/show, commercial, corporate, architecture and documentary photography. That keeps me happily busy throughout the year, even when wedding season comes to almost a complete stop during the winter months of December to April in Toronto.
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
When I purchased my first digital SLR camera, a Nikon D70s, I began job shadowing my friend Kanly, who was a local professional photographer. He took me out to some events and showed me how to use some basic functions on my new camera. I did a ton of reading and learning online on various photography forums, and began experimenting with all sorts of things on my camera. I was learning rapidly and started photographing different types of events. After high school, I got a job at a local boutique wedding photography studio ran by a husband and wife team. I started as a second photographer and then after about two years of working in the field, became a lead photographer for the studio.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
My favorite part of the wedding day to photograph would probably be a tie between the bridal party/bride and groom photo session and the wedding reception. I use a very casual, fun approach to my wedding photography and always have a great time with the bridal party and couple! The outdoor photo session is usually the only time I get to have full creative control with my photography (direction of light, background, etc.) and posing. During other parts of the day, getting ready photos, ceremony and reception are done with more of a candid approach. I also love reception coverage, especially when the couple or bridal party have a lot of interactive games and fun with their guests! This is the time when emotions pour out. Laughter and tears of joy during speeches and other special moments. Always a pleasure and honor to be able to photograph and capture such beautiful emotion.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Great question! I haven’t been in any really awkward situations, but I do remember one time during an outdoor bridal party photo session, I asked the bridal party to all rest their hands on the rail in front of them. They all did, but one poor bridesmaid put her hand right onto a bee hiding underneath the rail and then got stung! She was okay and didn’t even need a break, but I felt a bit guilty for leading her into doing that.
What is your favorite venue and why?
I have quite a few favorites, but the one that first comes to mind would probably be Canoe Restaurant. Located at the top of TD Towers on the 54th floor right in the heart of Toronto, the intimate venue is very exclusive, with a gorgeous view of the city through the floor to ceiling windows. The restaurant is part of the Oliver & Bonacini Group, known for their top notch fine dining restaurants all over Toronto. I always look forward to the great view and flawless meal I will receive at Canoe after a long, hard working wedding day!
Nikon or Canon?
Nikon all the way! I’ve been a Nikon photographer since I purchased my D70s back in 2005. Nikon cameras are built well to handle the elements (I’ve been in torrential rain in Toronto, a sandstorm in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan, dusty conditions across Africa, etc). After my D70s came the D2H, D300, D700, D2HS, D3, D7000, D3S, D4, D600, D610, and now the D4S and D750. I love using the latest Nikon cameras as they keep pushing the limits and developing amazing new features that make our workflow more efficient and fun!
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I love to travel, so my dream location to shoot a wedding is anywhere outside of Toronto! Toronto is a beautiful city with great backgrounds for photography, but nothing beats hopping onto a plane and flying to somewhere unfamiliar. Photographing a couple at a location I’ve never been to before allows me to work with new backgrounds and angles, giving my creativity a huge workout!
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I would love to have been the wedding photographer for Taiwanese singer Jay Chou and his wife, Taiwanese-Australian model Hannah Quinlivan back in January of this year. The intimate fairy tale wedding took place at UK’s 900-year-old Selby Abbey. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Jay Chou during his World Tour stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Center back in 2008. He put on an amazing performance with tons of pyro effects for over 10,000 screaming fans. It is one of my all time favorite concerts to photograph and I’d love to have also been his wedding photographer!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
The biggest advice I give and the number one thing I look for when hiring and expanding my team is learn and strive to take every photo with accurate exposure. With the rise of digital photography and the ease of use of the latest post processing software, many newer photographers tend to have a mentality of shoot now, fix later. RAW files allow a huge magnitude of flexibility for recovering blown highlights, bringing back detail in the shadows and more, but nothing beats simply nailing the correct exposure in camera. Not only does it yield the best image quality possible, it also saves you a ton of time in post production trying to fix things.
I aim for always exposing within 1/3rd of a stop, allowing me to breeze through post production with minimal time spent trying different sliders to fix an image that is poorly exposed. I believe technical skills should be the first thing a new photographer should master before working on creativity and posing. A photographer can be the most creative photographer and know the best angles for every situation, but if their photos are technically subpar, then it will reflect in their work. Don’t be lazy and get it right in camera, even if it takes a bit longer during your photo shoot. You’ll save more time in post production!
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
One important tip I offer to couples looking to hire a photographer for their big day is that alongside excellent photography that suits their style and taste, you must be comfortable and be able to connect with your photographer. I always tell this one fact to couples I meet, and it always shocks them a bit. Remember, your wedding photographer is the person you will spend the most time with on your big day. You’ll see them more than your maid of honor, best man or your parents. Being comfortable around them and being able to connect as a friend is essential. When you trust your photographer and enjoy having them around, you’ll pose naturally for the camera and have a great time!
Do you have any questions or comments for Kelvin? Add them to the comments below!