Ah! Mazing Vendor: Onada Photography

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hey guys!! 

I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing one of the premier photographers in the area. She was such a delight to talk to, so personable, and bubbly! I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!
Memi: Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography. 

Onada:  I’ve always liked taking pictures since I was little, I’ve always owned a camera and liked taking pictures. I also loved getting my picture taken! I think it all tied to the fact that my Dad was a huge photo enthusiast. He always had really fancy Nikon’s and all this expensive camera gear and he was always taking pictures of us. So we have all of our albums from when we were born to when we were ten and growing, and just loads and loads of pictures of us.  About three and a half years ago I purchased an entry level Nikon SLR (single lens reflex) camera and was attending a friend’s wedding in Jamaica. She was getting married on a resort and had to use the resort’s photographer but he decided to get there after the ceremony began. So my friend asked me if I could use my camera and take pictures of them getting ready. I did and I actually really, really liked it. That is when I realized OMG I can actually do something with this! So when I got back from the wedding I got her pictures ready and she LOVED them! She liked them more than the resort photographers pics, haha! From there I put an ad out and that is how I pretty much got into the wedding business. 

Memi: What do you love the MOST about photography?

Onada:  I just love looking at the pictures I’m taking. I am really big on visual memories, like I love watching old videos and looking at pictures. There is a picture for literally EVERY phase of my life and I just LOVE having them to look at. So that is what makes me love photography! For example, if I see a friend for five minutes and we don’t get to spend that much time together, if we are able to take a picture together I will always be able to keep that memory with me.  Photography also helps me meet people because I am kind of introverted so I don’t really go out of my way to meet people but with this I get to meet a LOTT of people and make a lot of new friends. 

Memi: What is your favorite thing/event to shoot?

Onada:  The wedding ceremony itself, is my favorite thing to shoot, and then engagement sessions. I say the ceremony because nowadays people take marriage so lightly, but at that special moment at the altar what they are saying to each other is just so beautiful and overwhelming. There have been times when I’m shooting weddings and I’m like standing there crying, hahaha! I’m like OMG I’m supposed to be taking pictures and I’m standing here crying, so that WHOLE emotional aspect of the ceremony is my favorite part because it’s just so important to the couple and the family! It’s just one of those moments, like once it’s done you cant take it back but you can always remember it with the pictures and videos.  I like engagement sessions because I get to interact with the couple. It’s just me and them, no guests, no bridal party just us! We get to talk to each other and get to know each other and that is where I have met a lot of my friends through photography. I still talk to and have lunch with a lot of my former brides. 

Memi: What motivates you to wake up every day and want to pick up your camera and shoot?

Onada: I just love doing it! There are just so many beautiful things out there that I just feel like how can I NOT photograph this!  Even if I don’t have my SLR I have an iPhone, and I’m ALWAYS taking pictures on my phone! I’ll take pictures of random things, like while I’m shopping or of a gorgeous tree; I’m just always taking pictures! There are so many pretty things out there and what I see makes me want to just photograph things! Especially, in the summer I’m just like, take a picture of me in front of this flower, or in front of this tree, hahaha!

Memi: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Onada: I read a lot of fashion magazines and books and I also follow my favorite photographers. Two of my favorite photographers are Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina their work is just SO beautiful! I still read a lot of wedding magazines just to look at pictures and look at what is going on in the industry. I watch a lot of fashion shows just to see what people are wearing, how people are posing, etc. I get a lot of inspiration from fashion, I LOVE fashion!  During weddings you have limited control over who you photograph and what the wedding will look like because you are only there to document it.  So I try to draw inspiration from my clients. I ask them what do you want your day to look like? What do you imagine yourself looking like when you get your pictures back? When they give me their ideas I keep them in mind when I’m taking their pictures. For example, if the couple lets me know they love laughing and having a good time I will try to capture that essence of them or if they say they are more romantic then I wont only get pictures of them acting crazy I will make sure to get some romantic pictures in there! 

Memi: Whose wedding/event would you LOVE to shoot?

Onada: I would love to do an event that Preston Bailey has designed or like a suburban chic vintage type of event. As far as celebrities hmmm.....I would love to shoot someone like Lily Allen’s wedding. I really like her music, her fashion sense, and her personality. I like her because I think she will really have a sense of doing something different. I ALSO love Tracee Ellis Ross, I think that would be really nice too! If I had those opportunities I would JUMP at them!

Memi:  What is some advice you have for our readers who are searching for a wedding photographer? 

Onada: Definitely pick a photographer where you LOVE their images and you LOVE their personality. You have to love their personality because this person will be in your face for eight hours with a camera so you want to have fun with them and not be irritated by them. Don’t settle for someone! Make sure you are on the same page with them! When looking don’t focus just on the money, look at the work first, then based on their work then look into the budget. The WORST thing is trying to look for a budget photographer and at the end of the day you hate your pictures when you get them. First step, is to LOVE the images, love the photographers personality, look at their work FIRST, then think can I afford this? You want to be able to look at your images and say OH I LOVEE my wedding pictures and have BEAUTIFUL  images to look back at forever! 

Memi: Where do you see Onada in the next 5 years?

Onada: Still taking pictures and doing weddings. I want to be able to do a mix of like high-end, mid-level weddings because I don’t want to just limit myself to one market. I want to start doing more family events and baby portraits because I think babies are fun to photograph. I plan on being very successful with my business and staying true to myself and still pursuing my passion! 

Memi: As a female entrepreneur do you have any advice for any young ladies that want to get in the industry or start their own business period?

Onada: Business in general is challenging especially as a woman who has so many roles, especially if you work, are married, have kids, etc. Those are already full time jobs. So it can make running your own business extrememly hard. I say when you love something and are passionate about it just find a way to carve out an HOUR In your day everyday to do what you love. I don’t watch a lot of television, I would love to sit around and watch Kim Kardashian, Real Housewives, etc…but at the end of the day those are hours you can not get back. Try to carve out one hour of your day every day, get on your blog, network with other people, that little hour you carve out will build up over time and it will PAY OFF in the long run. I still work full time and I sleep really late, like 1-2am and I have to wake up really early to go to work but I LOVE doing it. So when you love doing something it doesn’t really feel like work, learn to invest in yourself! And don’t think because you are doing something part time and someone else is doing it full time that you will never get ahead! You don’t know how that person started or what it took to get them where they are now.  Everybody starts somewhere! Learn to network and get to know other women that are in your field to help you as well! 

To see more of what Onada Photography has to offer check out her site here:

and her super cute blog

Stay Beautiful My Loves,

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