Spark & Whimsy Photography
A: 1524 Edgware Road, Victoria BC, V8T 2J7|
How did your company get started? How did you get into your field of expertise?
I fell in love with photography as a teen, and after high school I enrolled in a two-year college level diploma program focused primarily on commercial film photography. I was initially interested in fashion photography, but after a short training program with a fashion photographer in Montreal, I realized that the fashion industry wasn’t the right fit for me. I did some traveling after graduating in 2000, and found myself surprised and unprepared by how quickly the change from film to digital occurred. I didn’t even own a computer until 2004! I was interested in the Environmental Studies program at UVIC, so I moved from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in 2003 and threw myself into my studies. Shortly after I graduated from UVIC in 2007 (with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography & Environmental Studies), the global economic meltdown happened, and jobs in my new field were scarce. A friend from back home encouraged me to take up photography again, so I started investing in digital camera gear, learning Photoshop and building my business skills. Spark & Whimsy Photography was born a few years later.
What are you most passionate about professionally?
What most excites you about your business & the contribution you can make?
I love incorporating elements of fashion and portraiture into my wedding images, and I also love spending time with families who are marking major milestones in their lives, such as a marriage or the birth of a child. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for years as a server, and I find that wedding photography involves a lot of the same skills that serving does. I’ve used these transferrable skills, including diplomacy and conflict management, to diffuse tense situations while photographing weddings, and I love helping my clients feel more at ease on their wedding day. I had a couple a few years ago that had a very small outdoor ceremony, and the bride asked the guests to stand in a certain spot for the ceremony, but for some reason they were resistant to standing there. I could see that she was becoming increasingly agitated, but the guests seemed oblivious to how much distress they were causing her, so I told the guests that the light was better for photos in the area where the bride wanted them to stand, and they all moved without question. The bride was grateful that I saw what needed to be done and helped make it happen without having to be asked.
What makes your business unique?
My parents died when I was a teenager, so I treasure the few great photos I have of my family. I feel like I’m in a unique position to appreciate how special and fleeting life’s moments are, which makes me extra motivated to ensure that I do right by my clients and capture them with as much integrity, authenticity and compassion as I can.
What inspiring quote best describes your business or your passion for brides, weddings, love, etc.?
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. I love this metaphor. We get so caught up in striving for perfection, especially in situations where there’s a huge investment of time or money involved (like when we’re starting a business or planning a wedding), that it’s tempting to fixate on what’s “supposed” to be happening instead of enjoying what’s actually happening. In business, marriage and in life, I think it’s important to pick your battles and take the high road because swimming with the current is much easier (and way more fun) than struggling against it … especially on your wedding day!
What was the most rare/interesting/quirky request you’ve had from a bride or groom?
How did you make it happen for them?
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to do an engagement session on Trial Island off Oak Bay. One of the brides was a lightkeeper, and had worked at the Trial Island lighthouse before, so she arranged for us to travel there on a beautiful day at the end of June. Despite being raised on one island and moving to another as an adult, I don’t have a lot of experience with boats that aren’t ferries. We took a Zodiac from Oak Bay Marina to Trial Island, had tea with the lightkeeper, then walked all around the Island for the couple’s engagement session, stopping at various spots along the way. It truly was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and we had a great day together.
What would your dream wedding include? Even if you have already had yours, what would you have changed?
If I had my wedding to do over again, I would have bought the dress I really wanted instead of the one that was on sale, and I would have hired the photographer I really wanted instead of the one I could afford. My photographer was amazing, but in retrospect I realize that his style was not the style I had envisioned for my wedding photos. As a wedding photographer, that was a really valuable lesson for me to learn. It’s important to choose a photographer who’s style you love, because your photos are the heirlooms from your wedding day that you will reflect back on and treasure for years to come. If the photographer’s style is out of sync with your vision, chances are you’ll end up disappointed. Almost as important is to choose a photographer you like as a person. As a bride, you spend more of your day with your photographer than you do with anyone else (even your fiancé), so you’d better make sure you get along well with them!
Describe a situation or experience in your work that you are most proud of, that you found to be rewarding, inspiring or even funny…
I recently found out that an image from one of my 2014 weddings is going to be featured in the Spring edition of Niche magazine, which is really exciting. It was a challenge getting back to work 6 weeks after my son was born, but all of my couples were so amazing, and now one of the images is being published, so I’m very glad I did it.
What was the last thing that brought tears to your eyes?
A friend had a baby a few weeks ago, and hearing about her experience really brought the emotions of my own experience of childbirth rushing back to me. My son is only 10 months old, so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind!
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
I saw an image from Tumblr the other night of a lion cub biting an adult male lion, and the adult lion looks like he’s roaring in pain. The image was captioned and said something like, “Lions pretend to be hurt by the bites of their young to encourage them”, and then below it some smart aleck had commented “AHHHHHHHHH! YOU HAVE VANQUISHED ME, MIGHTY BEAST”, and I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a long time.
Finish this sentence…”Your wedding is the first step. But to make a marriage last…”
… there needs to be space for each person in the relationship to grow and change. Be prepared for lots of work, play, compromise and communication!