We are featuring Peter Gubernat for this week’s Vendor Spotlight. Peter started as a fashion photographer and after about two years, he decided to switch to weddings because his wife was a makeup artist and they wanted to work together.
I found some weddings on Craigslist just to see if I would like photographing weddings and got really lucky—the weddings I took on were amazing and that boosted my portfolio and I instantly began booking more weddings.
He has now been in business for eight years and when we asked what he loves most about photographing weddings, he said it was a difficult question to answer.
What I love about weddings most is the fact that it is a wedding, which takes a large variety of skills to photograph. It’s not like studio photography where you kind of do the same thing all the time—the environmental factors at a wedding alone make every wedding incredibly unique in terms of how you have to approach and photograph the day.
Now consider all the other aspects, number of guests, bridal party size, logistical distance, weather, timeline, stress, emotion, etc. Essentially, it’s like solving an equation that always changes—while being creative. But it’s that equation; the one that’s different every time is what fuels my ability to be creative. The equation is both the problem and the solution…. Does that make sense?
Peter has shot more than 180 weddings and will typically shoot around 30 a year. What makes his work distinct is that he’s a storyteller and a craftsman.
80% of the time I’m hands off documenting everything that’s happening, the other 20%, I have a very specific vision of what wedding portraits and couple’s moments should look like.
That’s not to say I pose my couples for 20 minutes and then take one photo—the opposite in fact, we move rather quickly exploring the area and creating unique photos that are a mix of architecture, emotion and composition.
Peter strives to capture the kind of photos his couples can hang on their wall and they won’t get old.
When they look at those portraits and yes, they’re wedding photos but there is another layer under there where it’s a piece of art decorating their home.
The best part of the wedding day for Peter is when he gets to shoot the couple’s portraits. It is when he has the most control to create something really unique and awesome.
I also love receptions—who doesn’t love a big ass party?!
Some photographers have mixed feelings on the first look, but Peter thinks they can be really great.
…a unique moment for just the bride and groom away from everyone. Weddings are not only stressful but also emotional—the bride and groom are at the center of a huge symphony and that starts to weigh on some people.
This is a great chance for the bride and groom to relieve some stress and center themselves for the rest of the day. A lot of people are very fragile alone but once they are together after the first look the rest of the day is rock solid.
Peter does not like having a plan or a shotlist because he believes that the spontaneous photos make the best photos.
In order for my couples to get the kind of photos they’ve come to expect from me, I need the latitude to be creative, so no shotlists. Instead, I manage my couple’s expectations from the beginning as to what kind of photos they will receive—this is where the trust comes in.
Trust. This is the basis of the advice that Peter has for newly engaged couples in the process of planning their wedding.
Trust the people you hire and invest in the process. When you’re involved it becomes a collaboration, which gives you the best results (especially when it comes to photography). Grooms, be involved! Don’t treat it like a burden—someone decided to spend their whole life with you and in this moment they want to take a photo with you—remember they could have chosen anyone else in the world to take a photo with—but they chose you!
We love working with Peter and we are so thrilled that he enjoys working with The Haight as well!
There is nothing like The Haight in the suburbs—it’s essentially having a bad ass city venue in the suburbs—very unique, rustic, chic and intimate. Great staff too! One of my favorite things is the silver heating/ac duct running on the ceiling. When I bounce light off of this duct, the entire dance floor is lit up and it looks AWESOME! The surrounding area is also really great for photos and portraits—lots of possible exploration.