After 8 successful years of wedding photography in South Africa, Donovan came to Toronto and is continuing his practice here, capturing special moments and raw emotion. Additionally, he joined the GTA Photography Classes family as an instructor! Donovan teaches Photo 101, Photo 201, 4-Day Intensive Classes, as well as our and Black & White Photography Workshop!
We asked Donovan to tell us a little more about his passion for photography and here’s what he had to say!
When and how did you fall in love with photography?
I fell in love with photography at the age of 9, the moment my Grandfather handed me his Pentax k1000 with a fresh spool of film in it and said “enjoy”. I took maybe 5 images and I knew in that very moment that photography was my calling (which is a very lucky thing to discover at that age). Fast forward to high school where we had a photography class, using the same Pentax k1000, I took and developed every shot and I simply couldn’t get enough of watching my images come to life before my eyes!
How would you define your photography style?
Well being in the wedding photography field now, you of course need to separate your work from others to stand out, with this in mind I would describe my style as being vibrant and warm with a touch of romance.
How did you become interested in wedding photography?
I simply offered to shoot a friend’s wedding for free, with no experience in weddings, I went in head first, made many mistakes (including running out of memory card space as the bride was walking down the isle and kicking over a wine glass during the “I do’s”) but after editing the images and handing them over to a happy client, I realized, I can do this!
What is your favourite part about shooting weddings?
I enjoy how every wedding is somehow the same and different at the same time, I enjoy the challenge of creating something unique and creative in the moment without having any chance to try again! I also enjoy getting love the wedding food…… ah the wedding food!
What was your most memorable photoshoot or photograph?
I would say it would have to be a destination wedding in Swaziland, I had my wife as my second shooter, a 3 day holiday with all expenses paid (with a wedding in between). the wedding its self was absolutely beautiful but they had a torrential down pour through out and with a bridal party who still happily stood in the rain for some awesome images, raced golf carts and danced the night away (including a great shot I got of the 65 year old father kicking well above his own head)!
Which piece of gear (lens, tripod etc.) is your favourite?
That would have to be my Tamron 90mm lens, it has been through the wars with me!
What’s your next photography purchase?
I am very excited for this one, I’ve got a purchase coming of a new 5D Mark IV, 24-70mm f/2.8. the new addition to the family!
What advice would you give to amateur photographers or anyone looking to get into wedding photography?
Shoot and learn every chance you get! The only way you know this industry is to practice, you will run into every challenge there is along the way, its how you take on that challenge while still maintaining a professional smile in front of a client! Believe me, its not easy as I have seen it all (even though that is not true, there is always something new!) but 2nd shoot, 3rd shoot even 4th shoot for wedding photographers! You will learn more at your first wedding about photography than you ever thought you could. And lastly but not least, CARDIO CARDIO CARDIO!
What do you love about working at GTA Photography Camps?
I feel like I wouldn’t need to answer that question if you have walked into the office space, its all about the people! From the amazing bright faces I get to work with, to the awesomely enthusiastic new students I get to meet at each and every class I teach.
Just so we can find out a bit more about the person behind the lens, could you tell us…
Who is your favourite photographer past or present? Currently that is going to be Tomas Heaton, an incredible landscape photographer who’s calm approach to every shot he takes has translated beautifully into my own work. I have learned a ton from his work and has also made me realize that when I am ready to put weddings behind me, landscapes will be my focus!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Right where I am! To be fair, I only arrived here 1 year ago so my love for Canada has only just begun! I am exactly where I want to be (but maybe a little outside of the city in nature).
What’s your favourite movie? My favourite movie has got to be “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, that movie inspired me to see the world more that I can put in words!
What would you do if you won the lottery? I would buy a large property by a lake and build my wife a house and build a second house so I can bring my family here from South Africa, they would love it here.
What’s your favourite hobby outside of photography? Drawing, the perfect way for me to calm my mind and make good use of my OCD, putting pencil to paper and just like the darkroom, watch your image come to life!
Sign Up For A Black & White Photography Workshop With Donovan!
Learn How To Train Your Eye To Shoot For Black And White!