Interview with photographer Kelly Schuster

Briefly say hi and tell us a little about yourself.

Hi everyone! My name is Kelly and I’m a Wedding and Lifestyle photographer located on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada. By day, I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist and I run a private practice, which focuses on children on the Autism Spectrum, but my evenings and weekends are all about photography! I started my photography business a little over a year ago and I can say it has truly become an all-consuming passion. I love creating unique, cinematic images that evoke emotion and tell a story.

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How did you get into photography? What attracted you to it?

I began taking photos in high school, when my stepdad gave me his old Pentax camera, and I immediately fell in love with it. I had zero technical knowledge, but I loved taking portraits of the people in my life. Black and white photography particularly caught my eye. I’ve always been on the artistic side (drawing, painting, singing etc), but there was something so unique about photography. I love that photography can be forgiving, that you can salvage something in post with a few simple tweaks. I love that sometimes the moments that go wrong, when you don’t adjust your settings quickly enough, can yield some of the most beautiful images. Perhaps most of all, I love that with photography, you can help people to see themselves in a new light.

Lesley-Anne & Kevin's Wedding

What are your favourite subjects to photograph? Why?

People. No question. Every face is unique and beautiful in its own way. I find eyes particularly captivating, which is why I always exaggerate them in my photos to make them pop! 

Have you done some destination weddings or photoshoots? What is it like shooting in a new area you’ve never been before? How do you prepare?

I’m desperate to shoot abroad but I have not yet had the opportunity. I am the type of person that is very comfortable travelling to new places and I am pretty good at thinking on the spot and problem solving, which is definitely a vital skill when you are shooting somewhere unfamiliar.

If I were to shoot in a new location/country I would first reach out to any other photographers I know/follow who have either travelled there or live there and ask them for the lay of the land. I would try and learn about the lighting and the optimal shooting times and what to expect from the weather. If there is time, I would explore the venue ahead of time to scout out prime locations and start to plan the shoot in my head. Other than that, I would just try and pack appropriately and wear comfy shoes! 

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What are a couple pieces of advice you would tell someone who is looking to get into Wedding and Lifestyle photography as a career?

Start small and build up your foundational knowledge and skills (make sure you know how to use your camera in Manual to be able to adjust your settings on the fly), but don’t be afraid to just say yes to every opportunity that comes your way! Try every kind of shoot and every kind of light you can. Don’t just shoot at golden hour, because sometimes we have to work in lighting conditions that are suboptimal. If you want to try a new kind of shoot or a new type of light, don’t be scared to reach out to friends (or even people you follow on social media) to ask them to model for you.

Experiment, develop your own personal style and once you find it, do your best to be consistent. This will help your clients know what to expect when they book with you.

In terms of resources, I would highly recommend signing up for the Unraveled Academy, as they have some absolutely incredible videos on shooting, editing, running your business etc. A few other business must-haves in my opinion are: Backblaze (keep your files safe!), PicTime or Pixieset, Honeybook (for project management), and Narrative (for blogging). It took me a while to discover all these tools and I wish I had known about them the day I started.

To see more of Kelly’s work, click here for her website or here for her Instagram.