24 Jan SMOOTH OPERATOR: Aaron Shum
One of the first pro pics we ever received. We felt like rockstars. Serious faced ones at that. (Aaron Shum)
He was one of the first industry folk we crossed paths with, that seemed to be in it because of all the ‘romantic notions’ that you hope inspires someone to work in weddings. It was a few years back now, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and Aaron spoke about photographing that wedding as if it were his own. We (he & us) shared a ‘crew meal’ (and probably a beer) then got back to work. A week or so later he sent us an email out of the blue, with a couple of pics he snapped of us. You might be surprised to learn that not all photographers share their work so freely. But, as previously said, this ones in it for all the right reasons.
Anyway, we’ve hand selected a bunch of our favourite wedding industry suppliers. They’re on our website if you care to look. The tab is ‘Vendor Love’. This blog is to be the first of many where we host a casual Q&A, and hopefully allow you to better know some of these vendors that we think are the best in the game.
This is SMOOTH OPERATORS #1.
SMOOTH OPERATOR: Aaron Shum (photographer)
WHO IS THIS ‘AARON SHUM’?
Some days I ask myself that same question – haha! Pondering aside, I am 31 years old, have 2 beautiful bambinos Xav + Isla and am engaged to my gorgeous girl Zoe. Currently living on the Sunshine Coast. I haven’t always been a professional photographer, but it’s been in my blood from a young age. I developed [see what he did there!] my love for photography through landscape, and climbing snow-covered mountains.
Self protrait – a rare moment in front of the camera. (Aaron Shum)
I really feel that this photo life came from a natural progression. I never really pushed for it. It just grew from being a passion, to a lifestyle. For me it all started with a cheap and nasty Kodak film camera. By the age of 16 I started to research & learn all the basic things I thought I needed know (ie. exposure, aperture, etc.). I just wanted to capture the wilderness around me.
SO, WHEN/WHY/HOW WEDDINGS?
At first weddings never really interested me. But that all changed when I was asked to help assist another photographer (as a 2nd shooter) at a wedding. After helping on a few more weddings, I came to realise I how special the role was. I loved being a part of such a powerful & personal event, and realised how honoured I felt to be invited to take part in somebody’s wedding day. To be selected to help tell the story.
WHAT’S AARON SHUM’S STYLE?
Ethereal + emotive. I just love to create images that tell the true story of each couple. I hate doing the same thing over and over. So I always approach every photo shoot with fresh ideas and new energy.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Apart from having decent photographic skills and knowledge, I guess it’s mainly about being a person who really cares, can adapt, and can evoke, see & capture beautiful moments.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WEDDING PHOTO?
I think any photo that makes you feel something is a good photo.
It could be a funny or fun moment, something more intimate, a loved-up portrait session… I guess if you can capture ‘the connection’, it’s a good wedding photo.
FAVE INSPO SOURCES:
I have a few inspo sources. My number one inspo source is giving myself time to dream and be creative. I also get inspiration from White Mag, Nouba, Bon Iver, David Bowie,Smith Journal and spending time with fellow artists
MOST EXOTIC/UNIQUE LOCATION?
Probably Mount Aspiring Valley, New Zealand.
RAIN, HAIL, SHINE, BEACH OR BARN?
I love overcast, rainy, foggy days. I love settings with texture and changing landscapes.
Don’t stress. The kind of weather you’re praying you don’t get, Aaron turns to magic.
Don’t Stress. The weather you’re praying you won’t get, Aaron turns to magic. (Aaron Shum)
THREE Q’s COUPLES SHOULD ASK:
I don’t feel there’s really 3 crucial questions I feel a couple needs to ask. I guess you’ve just got to go with your gut feeling, and don’t be afraid to ask anything. Don’t ask 3, ask 33! I am an open book, so more than happy for couples to ask away!
HOW MUCH NOTICE DO YOU NEED?
If I am free, I’m happy to take a gig only a few days out. But, most of my couples seem to be booking 12mths in advance.
THREE ALBUMS CURRENTLY SPINNING:
Bon Iver’s 22, A Million
The National’s Trouble Will Find me
Violent Soho’s WACO
ANY LAST NUGS OF ADVICE?
Find a photographer whose work you are immediately drawn to, one who seems honestly passionate about what they do, and one that “gets you” – and can connect to the vision you have for you wedding.
Just go with your gut. This is your day & should be done your way. You have to like & feel comfortable with them. They will be around you all day, pointing their lens at you while your guard is (hopefully) down. If you find that person, you’ll feel comfortable to just let them be the photographer, and they’ll create greatness for you. After all, you loved their style & eye from the beginning.
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