How did I become a wedding photographer?
I started out my career after school with the intention of being a history teacher. Filled with the most absurd amount of knowledge of ancient greece and the events leading up to WW2, I took a break from this to have a year or two of computing related work for a internet provider, intending to get back into history when I had a bit of money saved.
Getting a taste for (fast) cars at this time meant I stayed in the industry – it was a expensive hobby – and through a few lucky chances ending up becoming a cisco & unix engineer for a stack of big name companies. The history career quickly faded away and was forgotten about.
A few years later I picked up a camera – a Nikon F80 film SLR and started taking snaps. With no real idea what I was doing, it quickly become a hobby. A couple of years later digital SLR’s started to become reality and I still remember standing at the camera store paying $4400 for a 6 megapixel Nikon D100 thinking I must be crazy.
With the ease of digital, the hobby became a addiction. Working in the Sydney CBD in my IT career I would often walk around Sydney late at night taking shots. Though I didn’t realise it at the time, shooting in low light after work massively accelerated my learning about photography. Expensive lenses soon followed – something I still keep buying today, over 15 years later!
Roughly around this time I started shooting girls on weekends, helping them build modelling portfolios. A chance meeting and I was shooting for various clothing labels and regularly saw my shots on the side of buildings & billboards.
Another chance meeting and suddenly I was on beaches at 5am shooting swimwear for magazines.
This continued for a year or two. Then a friend asked me to shoot his wedding for him. Hesitantly at the time, I took it on.
Suddenly I found something I really loved, and completely by accident. Weddings had everything that I wanted – I could use my fashion skills on the bridal shots & those same skills also lent themselves to the couple location photos. The challenges of shooting in all sorts of different light made my techy brain click nicely, and working on the computer picking out & editing photographs afterwards – a job many photographers considered a time consuming chore – was something I was actually enjoyed due to years of work with computers in my IT career.
The hobby became a new & exciting career. I had a few chance referrals, and together with a close friend Andrew we formed a wedding photography business called “Cato & Pade” (our surnames) and went from there, but on a part time basis just on weekends.
At this stage, many photographers were still stuck with the legacy of their years of knowledge using film cameras to shoot weddings. With a fresh approach to things based off digital, and using very expensive lenses that most photographers could not justify back then, we took off like a rocket. 2 years in we were doing 40 weddings a year. 4 years we were doing 80. The workload became too much to handle with the IT career. The hobby now became a full time career, the IT career left behind.
Andrew took a break from wedding photography to spend more time with his family on weekends and so I formed a new name, simply “Gavin Cato Photography”. That was back in 2009. 7 years later, I’m going strong – and completely happy in life with a career I love – and I still get a thrill out of looking through the shots after a wedding, and spending time editing & bringing out the magic in the shots. It’s not uncommon for me to get home from a wedding at 11-12pm, then be on the computer at 1am looking through the shots – looking forward to posting some online the next day.
With hundreds of weddings under my belt now I’m very experienced but am still constantly striving at self improvement. Every wedding I go to I push constantly to be the best in my field, and am always looking at new ways & techniques to improve. After all these years, my motivation is higher than ever. I now limit the amount of weddings I do each year – I put absolutely everything of myself into each and every wedding.
When you pick me for your wedding you don’t just get me on your wedding day – I’m here throughout the entire process and with all this experience behind me, I’m full of advice & tips on your wedding day – I can help with practically any detail. Wherever you are getting married – I’d love to be there.
My photography is natural & candid, with an emphasis on natural light. I love photos of people looking happy, with beautiful soft light & vibrant colours. I use very high end camera gear, and have developed a kit for weddings over many years of trying different lenses to get the specific look that I’m after.
There is nothing better having a career where you get excited before each wedding. If you feel a connection to my photography, I’d love for you to get in touch. Please click here to contact me.