My name is Anuthasan Balasingam and I am a Montreal based wedding photographer. My parents and family call me Anushan, so I’ve decided to use this as my photography name - Anushan Photography.
I would like to share the story of how I went from a hobby photographer to running a part time business in the wedding industry. My goal is to hopefully inspire you, but mostly to show how passion and a good mindset can uplift the inner spirit and bring you to heights you never knew.
In high school, I was the first guy to own a "professional" camera among my group of friends. It was a Canon PowerShot A60 @ 2MP with 4 AA batteries. It made me fall in love with taking portraits and pictures with special effects. I would take pictures of my friends and all the amazing things I would see in my everyday life.
As you can imagine, memory cards back then were very limited and batteries would drain fast, but this allowed me to learn to think before clicking the shutter button.
Even though I enjoyed photography a lot, I still pursued my education in Aerospace Design & Manufacturing. This led to the other part of my life as a project manager – another story for another time. I loved that I was able to challenge my technical side at school and the creative one in photography. In building a portfolio on my own and in collaboration with friends, I had the chance to work with some great photographers.
One day, a good friend of mine – one well positioned in the wedding photography business – asked me to join him to expand his business. To give you an idea of the commitment of this great photographer, from a young age he gave 100% to photography. He went to photography school and worked with multiple studios. I admired his work as much as his down to earth personality. His level of creativity, experience and even general photography skills were way beyond my own.
At the moment he asked me to team up, I knew two important things. The first being that I would need to improve my skills quickly to be able to offer his standard of quality. The second was that friendship and money could be an issue if we had any bad communication with each other.
After sharing my concerns and coming to an agreement, we officially teamed up. I took care of the sales and marketing side of the business while he took care of the technical side. Contributing with my own background, I was able to learn so much thanks to him. We were both passionate about photography and willing to offer Montreal outstanding photography services.
Our work was being noticed and bookings were coming in. But within a few months, he grew dissatisfied with my lack of experience. One night, while having our routine beer at a bar near my place, he casually suggested that I should open a business under my own name. In other words, I got fired.
Before I could express my feelings about getting fired, I need to introduce an important person in my life – my girlfriend at the time. She doesn't like taking pictures and selfies even less. With me being the opposite, we got along perfectly! She was an important pillar of my life, especially in my photography journey.
The night I got fired, I felt multiple emotions which ignited a great fire inside me. Without a word to anyone, I went to bed. The next morning, I shared my story with my girlfriend. She inspired me to start my own business as a wedding photographer.
At the time, I had no idea where to start or if I would even survive in such a competitive market. But this great internal fire gave me a new level of motivation. For the first time, I felt this inner energy that would from then on shape my life.
Comparing myself to my mentors, I knew I had a lot to learn to make a name for myself. I worked late nights to learn everything I could about the industry. I was so hungry for knowledge, I researched all resources on the internet and in my own network.
With practice, I sharpened my skill as photographer exponentially by taking online courses, going to workshops (thank you @divinemethod Shiva) and buying the equipment I needed to achieve the quality that my clients deserved.
Thanks to my girlfriend’s support and understanding, I put many more hours into photography even than into our relationship. From registering my name in the Quebec business registry to finding premium quality wedding album suppliers in Italy, I did not stop, I was on fire! Anushan photography was expanding and getting recognized in the industry.
Look out for part 2 next week!