We may know him as the go-to wedding photographer for the country’s biggest names, but Pat Dy kickstarted his career in photography by shooting fashion spreads and editorials for various magazine glossies. Now, of course, he covers one It-girl wedding after another, capturing priceless wedding snippets for the likes of Solenn Heussaff, Isabelle Daza, and recently-wedded Anne Curtis.
From being a mere pastime back in his elementary days to becoming his full-time profession years later, photography has since been a constant part of Pat’s life, which only shows that dedication and commitment pays off in the long run. Pat certainly knows the ropes of capturing the most authentic moments in life as evidenced by his excellent body of work and roster of happy clients. His formula to getting far in his chosen field is echoed in a combination of three things: nonstop hustling for what you love doing, an optimistic take and a widened perspective on learning, as well as investing in reliable equipment.
Below, Pat shares a little photography tip when it comes to choosing your gear, his most memorable wedding shoot so far, as well as an insider intel for the photographers-in-the-making.
Has photography always been your passion?
It was an on and off hobby since grade school. I took up music in college and rekindled my love for photography when I started shooting my own band.
What do you consider was your big break as a photographer in the fashion industry?
When I shot my first cover for Good Housekeeping, followed by Candy Magazine. And then Preview followed, then Metro, and the rest was history.
What was the biggest challenge you had to face when you were just a budding photographer?
Probably the constant stereotype on photographers especially when shooting events—that photographers are still viewed as scalpers.
What’s the most important trait aspiring photographers should have?
To shoot with passion and don’t think about the monetary side just yet. If you are free during the weekdays, shoot something!
What’s the biggest difference between shooting fashion editorials and big events like weddings?
In fashion, there’s time to direct the models or subjects, re-shoot your layouts if you need to, and have the whole editorial team help you achieve that shot. In weddings, you are always pressed for time and it’s up to you to decide how the entire look will go in terms of poses and even the locations to shoot. It’s also up to you to make sure the bride and groom will look effortlessly elegant on their big day.
How do you typically go about shooting weddings?
I would arrive 3 hours before the couple leaves for church and then leave after the program ends at the reception. So we’re talking about 12-14 hours of work.
What’s your secret to making sure that you always get the best and most genuine moments during weddings?
I tell my couples to imagine that we’re not there and just move freely. Enjoy the day!
What’s the most challenging thing about wedding photography?
The long hours!
How do you stay inspired and full of creativity in your line of work?
I stay inspired by continuing to shoot fashion. I look through magazines and apply what I observe to my everyday shoots.
Does the kind of equipment you use matter in being a pro photographer?
Yes! The right pro equipment matters. For weddings, full frame DSLRs are the preferred choice, especially to achieve the style that’s popular nowadays.
What should budding photographers look for in a camera if they want to invest in good equipment?
If it’s too expensive to buy a full-frame DSLR, it’s okay to buy non-full frame or mirrorless cameras, as long as you invest in fast prime lenses!
What’s been your most memorable shoot to date and why?
It would currently be Anne and Erwan’s wedding since everything was somehow structured and yet organic. It’s simple and yet creative, but most of all, their love rubbed off on everyone!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I get to meet new people and travel more nowadays.
How would you describe your photography style?
I came from shooting editorials so I got my eye trained with the best editors, especially with regards to tasteful executions. People describe my style as fashion forward, effortlessly elegant, and can always adapt to my subjects’ look and feel.
Who are the photographers you’ve personally looked up to?
Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Liebovitz, Mario Testino, and Joe Buissink.
What do you look for when hiring someone to be part of your team?
He/she must have passion, willing to shoot anytime, and learn as fast as he/she can eat nachos!
Looking back, what do you think has helped you grow into the photographer that you are now?
I keep in mind that all my bad experiences are learning years and I move on from them knowing that I can be better.
Any pro tips you can share to aspiring photographers in the industry?
Never stop shooting and learning. Don’t give yourself a free day when you’re just starting out and try to learn from everyone—from art directors, other photographers, and even business people.
Featured image via @patdy11