Sunny Parmar is one of our Top 30 under 30 featured photographers.
Here’s a little bit more about him, what he does, and some of his best advice:
Tell us how you got started in photography.
I always liked taking pictures – although growing up that had less to do with me liking “photography” and was more about me disliking having my picture taken, so it was easier to be behind the camera than in front of it, but I never really knew what I was doing.
In 2010 Jess and I bought our first DSLR used from a friend – a Canon Rebel XSi. It was a big step up from our Canon Powershot and we both enjoyed playing around with it. That summer we attended a wedding, and took pictures throughout the day. After the wedding I made a DVD slideshow for the wedding couple, and they loved the pictures. They had hired a photographer but did not like the pictures they received from her and asked us if they could use ours for printing. We of course said yes, and from there things snowballed.
We were asked to photograph 3 weddings of families and friends for the summer of 2011, and we said yes. However, since we had no idea what we were doing and had simply “green boxed” up until that point, I figured it would be a good idea to get some practice and general knowledge before we photographed those weddings. I went on Kijiji and offered to shoot pretty much anything – including weddings for free. At the same time I started doing a tonne of research and learning about photography (that’s when I learned what an “F-stop” is!) bought a Canon 7D, 24-70mm lens, flash and a few other small things so that both Jess and I could photograph the weddings together.
We ended up photographing 9 weddings that summer (while I was still working full time), and a number of other shoots. We learned a tremendous amount from first hand experience, and we felt perfectly fine not charging anybody anything because frankly we weren’t worth it, and the experience was much more valuable. I was working for Alberta Justice at the time, and was applying to law school for the fall as well, but as the summer progressed I decided I really liked photography and wanted to pursue it a little bit more. I left my job at the end of July, told my parents I was putting off law school “for a year” and Jess and I focused on creating the photography business – which we officially did in November of 2011.
Now that you are one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 wedding photographers, what’s next for you?
I’m going to Disneyland!
Actually I’m not.
What’s next? I wish I knew. Actually I don’t wish I knew. That would ruin all the stress, anxiety and worry about getting there, right? Who would want to do that? Pfft.
What I would like to see next for Jess and I (because there is zero chance I could have accomplished anything up to this point without her), is more personal and professional success. That doesn’t necessarily mean more awards – although that does help the ego – but it means (at its simplest) being happier more frequently. For us that happens when we work with fun couples and give them pictures that they love. We want to do more of that, and as long as we are able to produce work that we are proud of and that our clients enjoy we should get there. We are also happiest when we get to spend QUALITY time together and with our dog Bella. Working for ourselves has given us that freedom, so we want to keep doing that, which means ensuring we can sustain a healthy viable business.
How has attending photography seminars or photo conventions such as the Canada Photo Convention benefited you as a photographer?
We haven’t attended a seminar or convention yet. CPC this year will be our first, and we are looking forward to it immensely!
What does it mean to you personally to be a young wedding photographer in Canada?
Young? I don’t feel young…Maybe that’s because I’ve turned 30 since the list was announced.
I guess it means it took me 27 years to find something that I loved to do and get paid to do. It means that everything that had happened to me prior to 2011 prepared me for this next chapter in our lives, and I hope that whatever happens going forward is enjoyable.
Tell us about a pinch-me moment that you had where you just couldn’t believe that this became your life.
We started offering destination weddings in April 2014, have already photographed two, and have another 5 in the next 12 months. Each time we have talked to a client about a destination wedding it’s a pinch me moment. We are getting paid to travel (which we love) and photograph weddings (which we also love). That’s pretty awesome – and hopefully this is just the start.
What’s one thing you would say to another photographer that’s just getting started?
Don’t do it for the money.
To see more of Sunny’s work, check out his website here.