Many people dream of being their own boss and travelling the world doing what they love. Through years of dedicated learning and hard work, wedding and portrait photographer Kristina Wild has made that dream her reality.
As part of our On The Couch series, we had the chance to sit down with Kristina. Through the conversation, we explored favourite gear, the power of authenticity when connecting with clients and the importance of evolving to stay fresh and current.
In 2008, Kristina purchased her first DSLR, a Canon 40D with the 18-55mm kit lens. Driven to learn the craft of photography, she consumed hours of YouTube, sifted through endless online articles, and connected with other photographers to find out how to achieve specific techniques. But perhaps most importantly, she practised a LOT by taking more than a million photos just around her home.
‘It was just so exciting to me; I just really fixated on being able to make a better photo every time. And to this day, I still haven’t taken my best photo; I’ll never take it.’
Kristina quickly outgrew the kit lens that came with her Canon 40D and grabbed herself the much-beloved Canon 50mm f/1.8 or ‘nifty fifty’. The wide aperture of the 50mm prime lens helped Kristina realise the look she had been searching for and allowed her to begin developing a style of her own. Since then, she has gone on to shoot hundreds of weddings and more than a thousand family photo sessions across Australia and the world.
Today her go-to kit includes two Canon 5D IV bodies and several prime lenses. Kristina has the two bodies harnessed to her for quick access, ensuring she captures every unpredictable moment of gold.
The 50mm remains Kristina’s focal length of choice, but she has upgraded to the pro-level L series f/1.2 version, which she tells us is on her camera 95% of the time. When photographing a ceremony, Kristina prefers to step back, switching out the 50mm for the 85mm or 135mm. The longer focal length allows her to capture special memories without encroaching on the couple’s intimate moments.
‘That’s [50mm lens] my mind's eye, that’s what I see. It’s such a robust lens that you can use in any situation.’
The Canon EF 24mm F/1.4 III USM lives on her other camera body serving multiple purposes. Kristina tells us it makes a great macro lens, is perfect for unexpected moments and always joins her when she hits the dancefloor.
It’s easy to see why Kristina has become so successful as a wedding photographer.
Weddings are notoriously challenging, and the stakes are high. Many would crumble under the pressure; Kristina thrives on ‘MacGyvering’ her way out of a challenging wedding day.
‘What I say to all my couples on their wedding day is that “the only thing you can control is your attitude”.’
As if photographing a wedding isn’t hectic enough, Kristina also takes on the role of unofficial bridesmaid or groomsman, acting as a ‘power ranger’ to deflect any negative energy away from her couple or the people in that circle.
When she was younger, Kristina worked as a checkout operator and attributes this to how she learned to have fast conversations. Now when she goes into a wedding, she can chat quickly with everyone in the room, working out their vibe and what they’re into so she can relate to them through a common interest, be it football, music or even Ru Paul’s Drag Race.