This week’s DBMH photographer crush is Victoria Black! Victoria is the co-founder and lead photographer of The Wild Hearts Collective. We sat down with Victoria to learn about her passion for all things photography and floral. Check out what she has to say about the industry and what inspires her!
Where are you sitting as you are writing this right now? How’s your day going? How are you feeling?
It’s Monday, I’m sitting in my East Vancouver studio surrounded by plants and passed out pooch, Walter. My day is going GREAT! My sister (Amanda, florist of Wild Hearts Collective) and I just booked our first international wedding together – we’re headed to Sweden, baby! Mondays are usually long days for me, because Marketing Mondays mean about 4 hours of post scheduling, and I get caught up on emails and invoicing from the weekend. BUT the music is pumpin’ the coffee is a flowin’ so Im having a pretty radical day!
To those that might not know you just yet, please introduce yourself – Who are you? Cat or dog person? What’s your photography style?
Hiya pals!! I am Victoria, one half of Wild Hearts Collective; a sister run photo and floral elopement and intimate wedding company based in Vancouver, Canada. I am a Simpsons loving weirdo hailing from Vancouver, livin’ with my tabby cat Rufus and my Mexican Rescue doggo, Walter. I’ve had Rufus for 9 years, and foster failed Walter last May – I love my little animal kingdom! I describe my work as Art centred emotion based photography – which means I document people authentically as possible while looking for the magic within every human, and portray their inner badass. I love dynamic art based images like double exposures, smoke bombs, and reflections. I find myself looking for interesting light and shadows, and am incredibly moved by images that have a film feel.
Can you show us 1 or 2 photographs that are particularly meaningful to you and share the story behind them?
This photo really is a defining moment for my career. Since starting Wild Hearts Collective I’ve had a dream to help plan and photograph adventure elopements for epic couples. When Amanda and I met over email/face-time I knew this couple embodied our brand to a tee. Amanda and Kane came from Australia to elope in the mountains, and they put their full trust in me to plan an unforgettable day for them. I honestly have such a forever connection with this couple now, it feels like I’ve known them for years, almost like long lost pals! We now text each other a few times a week with photos of our dogs. I’m actually hoping to visit them in Australia next year! Their elopement really fueled my fire to create incredible adventure elopements for rebellious and wildly in love couples.
What role does Instagram play for you as a photographer? Is it important for your business?
Instagram is such an integral part of marketing as a business owner. It’s a great platform to showcase your work, meet other incredible vendors (or colleagues) and target your ideal client. BUT (and this is a big but), there is life outside of Instagram! It’s not the end all be all of marketing your business or should be used as a tool as a level of success. If Instagram crashes tomorrow, would your business hinder? I went to a photo conference a couple months ago, Arc the Experience, and Catalina Jean gave an incredible talk on SEO. Since listening to her speak, I realize how important it is to expand your marketing from just Instagram.
If you had to pick just one thing, what would you say you love the most about being a wedding photographer?
Honestly, I am so grateful and lucky to be in this industry. The friends I have met, whether it’s other photographers, vendors or my past clients, are seriously amazing! However, what I love most is that my wedding galleries are apart of my clients legacy. The photographs that I’ve documented for my clients will out live my business, and will be passed on to future generations. That is the coolest part of my job, and is such a big deal to me!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced that could be a helpful lesson for other photographers?
Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot often, and show only what you want to book! If you’re photographing maternity or newborns, but want to work with connection and couples, you don’t have to turn down the work (the artist struggle can be real) just don’t show those photos on Instagram. Use Instagram as your resume to your potential clients! The last thing is to take inspiration from your favourite photographers, but find your personal style and voice. Your style/voice is really what will set you apart from other creatives.
What are your dreams for the future of your career?
My dreams are vast, and ever changing – Haha! In all seriousness, one of my biggest dreams is to photograph only elopements and intimate weddings. Right now, almost 50% of my bookings are elopements but I’d like to spend most of my time on finding epic adventure based locations with couples who want badass photographs. Another big goal for my career is proper work and life balance. This last season I found myself photographing 20+ weddings a season + editing + trying to maintain relationships with friends and trying find time to date (haha). Next season I’ve prioritized a bit more time to unwind between weddings – because, friends, the wedding burn out is REAL!
Who or what inspires you?
Man, this is a tough one. I am honestly so fricken inspired by the community in Vancouver. I think because Vancouver and the surrounding cities are so expensive to live in, its bred a group of amazing hustlers! That is so inspiring to watch people that I honestly look up to, crush their goals every day. I draw a lot of inspiration from is Sachin Khona, England native but resident of East Vancouver. His work is derived from light and its a true representation of documentation – it’s just really inspiring to look at this blogs and see how his mind creates. Another person I’m obsessed with right now is Sara Byrne from Portland, Oregon. She has such a very romantic editorial look, but has this very cool vibe to her work.I definitely pull inspiration from her work! Lastly, I see my work embodying someone like Joel of Barefoot and Bearded – Basically if I was a dude with an Australian accent I would look like him haha. His work manifests Adventure, creation and alternative couples. Everything I am inspired by. He also shoot analog (film) along with digital, which something I will be incorporating more of in 2019.