Interview: Cafa Liu
Photographer Interview: Cafa Liu
Cafa Liu is probably one of my favourite wedding photographers. His work is bold, distinct, creative and fearless work. He just doesn't care about rules...in the world of wedding photography that is rare! I am thrilled to have him here for this interview.
Can you briefly tell us a little about your life, where were you born and raised?
I was born in China, living in Canada right now. I have no background in the art field. I became a wedding photographer while I moved to Toronto as an immigrant. Before that, I was a shutterbug.
Have you always been a photographer? What was your path to photography and specifically to shooting weddings?
Since everybody can call themselves a photographer, I thought I was a photographer as well. I knew nobody in Toronto when I stepped in this brand new country. For no special reasons, photography is my favourite hobby, so I thought maybe I can make a living from it. Why wedding, because the first person coming to me as a client was a wedding planner who lead me into the wedding industry.
Do you remember the first moment or time a camera/photography jumped out at you as something different/interesting/worth pursuing?
In my first year as a photography beginner, I won an award as first place of a contest organized by Nissan company. So that gave an illusion that I am good at photography.
Do you have a style or widely understood approach to shooting weddings ie fine-art, documentary?
I called my photography Cafa style. I thought everything depends on real moments, but would love to prefer expressing by an artsy way. Wedding photography basically is about documentary, but I don’t think it is a pure documentary photography. The couples are the bosses who pay you money to document their wedding, so you have to think about pleasing your clients, more or less. In other words, wedding photography is wedding photography, not something else photography.
What/who do you look at for visual inspiration? It could be a favourite photographer or blog? movies? etc
I always keep my eyes open outside the wedding field. No special blog or movies, the most important thing for me is to keep looking at/for something. The key point is to look and think about whatever stuff that’s in your interest. Mostly blogs I browse through is streetphotography which I thought was very very helpful.
What would a perfect day shooting a wedding look like for you?
The couple is the thing that matters. Shooting a perfect couple would be a perfect day shooting a wedding.
Do you have any sort of routine before a wedding to get yourself into the right frame of mind to achieve that perfect day?
I do not have any sort of routine before a wedding. I don’t like any kind of routined stuff. Routine means boring.
Generally speaking, what do you focus on when you are shooting a wedding, by which I mean, what (this could be anything eg your own artistic satisfaction, the couples emotion, people, details) about a wedding is important for you to prioritise while your shoot?
Moment is always the No.1 important thing which I focus on. Absolutely I also chase lots of stuff that attracts my attention, such as shadow, light, reflection..... Once I conclude that nothing is interesting over there, I take out my Cafa CD and then do my caflection....
I often think peoples experiences of marriages, theirs or their parents, can have an impact on their involvement in working in the world of weddings. Can you explain what weddings mean to you personally?
Wedding is one of the forms of the journey of life. Somebody prefer traveling with himself, somebody would love to travel with somebody else. Marriage is a cheaper way to finish the journey, because you two are sharing the costs along the way.
In the feedback you've received from wedding clients over the years, would there be one word that keeps popping up again and again?
Having seen lots of weddings, what would your advice be to a beloved family member if they came to you and said they were getting married and asked for (any) advice on how to approach their wedding day?
Be yourself. Just do something you are supposed to do. Forget the photographer. The wedding is your wedding, it does not belong to the photographer. No need to pretend to be doing something only for the purpose of photography. Enjoy your day. Don’t listen to any advice from photographers.
What three pieces of advice would you give young photographers starting out?
(1) Never copy the work from other photographers.
(2) Anybody can get a great shot, better photographers just shoot more.
(3) Shoot with instinct, learning something that appeals to you.
How can couples get in touch with you?
I thought Instagram is a good way to follow my works.
My account: @Cafa_wedding_photographer