We’re continuing our series on Meet the PRO’s with a very special photographer this week. Aga is an exciting young photographer who uses her background in art and architecture to compose beautiful, elegant wedding photography. She is among the most widely recognized photographers on Taproll and we’re thrilled to have her sit down and answer some questions for us. Remember to check out her profile and visit her website. You won’t regret the time you spend browsing through her portfolio
Meet Aga Tomaszek of Cardiff, United Kingdom.
1. Briefly introduce yourself and your photography business.
I’m Aga, 28, I set up my wedding photography business 3 years ago and have been shooting like crazy since. I started as a freelance photographer trying all sorts of photographic work from newborn, babies, families, adults, events, engagements, weddings etc… finishing at model portfolios and designer collections. I always loved working with people and have never been into landscape, nature or sport photography. With wedding work boosting to the desired size I gave up portraiture and fashion (doing them rather for fun and excitement) and focused on becoming a full time wedding photographer.
2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I mostly love contact with people and the personal aspect of this job. It’s nothing like a corporate business or 9-5 office job; meeting new people, becoming part of their lives, developing ideas together is a priceless feeling.
3. What was your very first camera?
My very first camera was nikon d80 back in 2008, it seems like ancient times for me but really it was only 4 years ago! I’ve never been one of those ‘I picked my first camera when I was ten’ people. I wish I was, but my life took different path and admittedly, I could never afford an slr. Instead I painted and drew and at the age of 24 graduated as an architect. It all gave me a good art base and an eye trained for composition, perspective and colour. All I needed to do was get a grip on a new tool – camera, thankfully it didn’t take too long to figure this one out!
4. What are the keys to a great photo shoot or client engagement?
For me the key to a great engagement shoot is atmosphere. Not the location, not the gear, not the great idea of props (although they all help massively of course). I believe two people, initially absolutely terrified of being photographed (usually the first time ever by a professional), need a lot of chatting, comforting, joking around and ‘lightening the mood’ before the first photograph is taken.
5. What are some common mistakes that emerging business photographers will make? How can they be avoided?
Mistake I made whilst being a starter was working for free or symbolic charge for too long. Some say this is impossible to avoid, that a photographer ‘needs to start somewhere’ etc… but it’s really hard to swap from doing good work for free when you’re a beginner to doing great work for what it’s worth when you’re more advanced. I have done far too much work completely free of charge and people kept coming back to me for more, which was frustrating and made me doubt the photographer job could ever pay for itself. For some time I was also classified as a ‘budget’ photographer which I found rather infuriating but really it was just a consequence of my initial approach. Only when I started charging more properly I gained some self respect as well as respect of others.
6. What social media strategies or channels have worked best for you in expanding your photography business?
Facebook and Flickr were the two main social channels I decided to use at the start. Flickr helped me make some great photography contacts all over the world and grow in my technique; it’s also been an amazing inspiration from day one of my photographic adventure. Facebook took over Flickr some time ago and although I don’t appreciate its image compression and how small the images appear, it keeps me in touch with my clients who can keep up with my work, tag themselves and spread the word. I became really excited about Taproll when I was first invited to set up my profile there, I see it as an idea of a great potential and ideal presentation platform for photographers.
7. Any last thoughts, comments and/or suggestions for our photographers and clients?
I thought I’d share my favourite quote on this occasion. Claude Adams once said ‘having a camera makes you no more a photographer than having a hammer and some nails makes you a carpenter’. It made me chuckle when I first read it but I seriously couldn’t agree more with this statement. I find it even more relevant these days when everyone has a camera and we notice growing lack of appreciation for professional photographers. There are tons of photography carpenters out there, but I strongly believe quality and art will always stand out and be appreciated.