Beware! This Job Report is going to be one of the most inspirational ones yet! Gabby of En Route Photography is the essence of “turning your dreams into reality”. A girl who dreamt of moving to Barcelona since the young age of 12, turned a break-up into an opportunity, packed her bags and started living the dream in one of the cutest Barcelona-apartments we’ve ever seen (see pictures below). We don’t know about you, but we could definitely learn a thing or two from Gabby. After all, we only get one shot at life, so we might as well do it right! This one is for all you dreamers out there: it’s time to start living those dreams, and doing what you really love! That way you’ll never have to work a day in your life!
1) Being a wedding photographer wasn’t always your career, right? What did you do before, and when did you decide you wanted to shoot weddings?
That’s right, I come from the world of business and marketing. I have a BA in International management and worked for a giant multi-national call center as their European Bid Manager for 5 years before I decided to leave the corporate world behind. I had a very responsible, and to be honest, amazing job for my age. I earnt good money, was respected and it was overall a huge career opportunity. However I woke up every morning feeling like I didn’t want to go to work, like it wasn’t my life, and knowing that I didn’t want to get stuck in an office for the rest of my life. At that time blogs had just started to be popular and I started my own, which became quite well known and opened my eyes to a whole new world out there (since then I’ve closed that lifestyle blog to fully focus on photography). I met some amazing new friends, got connected to other women all over the world and bought my first “real” camera to be able to take nice pictures for my blog. I always thought that being a photographer must be the most amazing job in the world, but I was also quite certain that it would take me decades to learn everything and actually be able to work as a photographer. I was wrong. During my online wanderings I found blogs from photographers who became incredibly successful just a few years after first picking up a camera and it planted that little voice in my head…”If they could do it maybe I could as well”. I always loved weddings and I knew straight away that I wanted to work with real people, so to be honest, I never even really considered any other genre of photography. After a year of picking up my first camera I decided to quit my job and give it a try for a year, no strings attached, just trying to make my dreams come true. I had nothing to lose I could always go back to an office job (or so I thought). It’s been over two years now and I’m very happy to say that (knock on wood) everything has worked out even better than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams, I’m an international wedding photographer traveling the world doing what I love, which is documenting peoples love stories!
2) How did you learn to be a photographer? Did you take classes?
When I started, I literally hardly knew how to turn on a camera. I wanted to learn so much and I was ready to take in any information that was available out there. I researched photography courses and started two of them but quit both of them after a very short time for the same reason, they were just not practical enough. I understand that most of these schools are geared for younger students who have years to spend in school and learn everything from art history to painting (and if you have time it’s definitely the way to go), but I had very specific needs and they were just not fulfilling them. I wanted practical information on how to shoot, and photoshop classes, and I wanted to start working fast! I realized that school might not be the best option for me but I also discovered that there are so so SOOOO many other options out there! I watched a gazillion online workshops (CreativeLive is amazing!), read every photography and business related book I could get my hands on and I hired a private teacher to teach me Photoshop and Lightroom. But most importantly I started shooting like there’s no tomorrow! At the end of the day practice makes perfect and you really only learn photography by doing it, so I started shooting my family, our house, my friends, their friends anyone and anything that would let me!
3) What do you love the most about your job?
Wedding photography is a very personal business. Many of my clients hire me more than a year in advance of their wedding, so we have a lot of time to get to know each other, talk about anything and everything, and I love being involved in their entire wedding planning process. Normally by the time that their wedding day arrives I feel like a guest with a fancy camera shooting my friends! This really helps as they can fully relax in front of my camera and they trust me completely. I often cry on weddings because I have an emotional connection with my clients and come on… who wouldn’t like going to weddings every weekend and photograph people in love. It really is such a joy! Furthermore, I always loved traveling and I’m extremely happy that I’ve managed to set up an international business which allows me to combine my two greatest passions, traveling and photography. I’m so excited for my future weddings, next year so far I’ve bookings from all over Spain, Austria, Norway and the United States!
4) Obviously being a photographer isn’t anything like a regular 9-5 job. How would you describe your daily routine (if there is such a thing)?
You’re quite right, there isn’t one! Wedding photography is very seasonal, so my main season from May – October looks very different from November – April. In the summer I’m usually traveling Friday – Sunday and then edit my images non stop Monday – Thursday. In the winter months life is a bit less hectic and I spend much more time in Barcelona. I work on designing albums, meeting potential new clients, writing blog posts, doing magazine and blog submissions, updating my website and other admin work.
5) What equipment do you shoot with?
My equipment is constantly changing and evolving. I’ve bought and sold so many lenses already it’s hard to keep up! At the moment my main camera is the Canon 5D Mark ii (but I’ll buy the Mark iii before the end of the year and I’m waiting for a Contax 645 medium format film camera to be available) and my favorite lenses are the 35mm f2, 50mm f1.4 and the 85mm f1.8. I only shoot with prime lenses as the creaminess and softness just cannot be reproduced with zoom lenses. I also use the Canon 580 EXii flash at night, but I try to shoot with natural/available light whenever possible.
6) Do you have a little story from a favorite wedding? Or one that has gone terribly wrong?
Thankfully nothing has ever gone terribly wrong! Favorite story… uff it’s really hard to pick… I could talk hours and hours about this topic, about my bride who I booked on Instagram, or the one time I ended up night swimming with the wedding party, or about the time when one of my favorite wedding photographer from the States accompanied me to one of my weddings and we ended up hitchhiking through Ibiza because no taxis were available, but honestly the best part of this job is that no two weddings are the same! I get to meet happy people all the time who are all looking to have a great time and because I always travel I’m also heavily exposed to different cultures, languages and a million new stories every season. Love love love it!!!!
7) Lastly, what would you tell girls with the dream of being a wedding photographer?
It’s totally possible and within your reach. If I could do it, anyone can do it! But you really need to want it! And I mean REALLY want it!! It’s often hard and challenging and frustrating and you need to be ready to give it your all and more and be certain that this is what you want. You need to get out of your comfort zone, you need to ask for help, you need to connect with other photographers and other vendors in the industry. You cannot be a wallflower! Also, you can be the most amazing photographer in the world, but if noone knows about you, it will always stay a hobby. You have to be as much of a businesswoman as a photographer. It’s pretty much 50% – 50% between actual photography related tasks (like shooting and editing) and other business, client management tasks. If you don’t enjoy owning your own business or if you think it would be too overwhelming then work as a photographer for someone else. More than anything, just go for it, just please give it a try! What do you have to lose? What’s the worst that can happen? Wouldn’t you rather have tried and failed than never have tried at all?
If you want to follow Gabby’s journey and her weddings, be sure to check out her Facebook page and blog (!) – and if you’re getting married next year, you know the drill! Get in touch with her asap, as her weekends for next year are already filling up fast, as she’s traveling around the world to shoot lots of love stories.