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  By Mike Valeriani
 

How to Choose Photography Styles About Photography Tips 4 Pros DIY Weddings

How I ended up a Wedding Photographer...

... and made a Wedding Photographer website

Wedding photographer Mike Valeriani flying his aeroplaneMy real name is Michele, an Italian name that is impossible to pronounce, spell or remember for English speaking people.

You would pronounce it more like “Michelle”... a girl’s name. So, many years ago when I moved to California, I changed it to Michael.

Now I live in England, with my wife and two adorable children. 

 


Photography and I...

I’ve always loved photography and absolutely never thought I would have become a wedding photographer later in life. I first started taking pictures at age 13. My father gave me my very first camera as a present. It was a compact Kodak Disk, one of those obscene mistakes of the past. The negative size was simply ridiculous and consequently the quality of the photographs produced was very poor.

Woman with hat facing the sea with a boatNot a camera for a future professional photographer, you would say. It wasn’t long before I “borrowed” my father’s Nikon FE and started playing with real photography.

I was totally fascinated by this interesting way of capturing and reproducing reality.

To make a long story short, I studied at the European Institute of Design in Rome (Italy), at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara (California) and at the Academy of Art in San Francisco (California). Still I hadn’t remotely considered of becoming a wedding photographer.

 

The Wedding Discovery

I’ve always worked alongside my father (editor) for magazines of all sorts. My work has been published in all five continents and I took picture of all sort of people, including the King and Queen of Spain and the President of Italy, other than a multitude of personalities.

Tree with table against a green and yellow backgroundI had been invited by the President of Algeria to take part in a diplomatic mission to illustrate Algeria to the world in all its beauty. See some samples of the photos I took in Algeria.

But there was something I didn’t like about working for magazines: they told me what to shoot, when to shoot, what camera to use, what lens to use, what film to use and sometimes even what shutter speed to use! It was a bit stressful at times. Then one day, by accident, I discovered weddings. A wedding photographer in Italy used to be considered someone who was generally not good enough to work for magazines. Maybe now it's different; this was then. So I never paid any attention at all to this kind of photography. That was until a wedding photographer friend of mine got sick and could not shoot a wedding the following Saturday.

I approached this wedding from a distance, but during the day I was actually having a lot of fun! I could shoot anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, using all of my creativity and nobody was telling me what to do... and I could even have a drink between shots! Not only that, but also everything looked and felt so beautiful. Everyone looked at their very best... and everyone was so happy! Then I thought: is this really wedding photography? Or am I just having a good day? I had never imagined that being a wedding photographer could have been so much fun!

Blue image of Srinagar lake with mountains in the backgroundThis is how and why I became a wedding photographer: because I loved it! Now I could not think of any other field in photography that would be more rewarding.

Maybe travel photography would be slightly more rewarding (since I love travelling so much), but then I would never be at home spending time with my wife and children.

So after all I believe being a wedding photographer is the most rewarding and enjoyable form of photography. Want to become a wedding photographer? Just read my Wedding Photographer Guide to help you start in the business.

 

In Search of Adventure...

I am always looking for new and fun ways of making a living, or exciting new places to move to... and this has nothing to do with being a wedding photographer.

Seagull flying against the sunOne day a while ago I was searching the net for new possibilities in Australia and I came across a website about the Australian outback that scored number one on Google when I searched for “outback Australia”.

A friend of mine had told me that the Australian government put up some serious grants for grab, as they were looking to populate the Australian outback with young families from Europe.

According to him, the government would give you 100.000 Dollars on a bank account of your choice right away, 5000 Dollars a month for your work, a house, plenty of land and all the machineries you would need to work the land with the crop of your choice. All this with a five years commitment. What’s the catch? Simple: live in the middle of nowhere with some five or so other young families with children. Next settlement of another five families? 500 miles.

Sunset with the sun disappearing behind the mountainsI loved the idea! We always tend to think that the world has all been discovered, but we are wrong; there is plenty out there still the way God made it, just waiting to be conquered.

Anyway, I couldn’t find anything about this “opportunity”; maybe it was just a one off thing years ago.

What I did find was this very interesting website about Australia, built by a woman who knew little or nothing about the internet and that made a living out of her passion for travelling in Australia. Then she told the story behind her site and lots of bells started ringing in my head. What if...

 

My Life had Just Changed...

I looked deeper into her intriguing success story and only then I realized the great potential of SBI!

SBI stands for Site Build It! It’s a Canadian company that literally changed my life. They helped me build a website that scores the highest numbers on every major search engine out there and they guided me (and keep guiding me) in making money with the thousands of visitors I get. I built a website about my passion (wedding photography) and I am actually making a living out of it. I'm still a wedding photographer, but I am much more relaxed... and happy :-)

Click on the "Next" link below to read more about how my life changed.

 

 

 

 
  
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