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How Photographers Can Avoid Burnout, With Jimmy Chan of Pixelicious

Make time to shoot personal projects. Practice is important, as much as shooting for clients, but remember why you picked up the camera in the first place. I love to travel, so I bring my camera gear along to take pictures of landscapes just for fun.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Chan, the wedding photographer of Pixelicious from Montreal (Canada). Known for their signature customer service and dedication to clients, Pixelicious is often quoted by some of the most prominent wedding, business and lifestyle publications such as Business Insider, BRIDES and Consumer Reports for helpful tips on photography.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am a computer engineer by profession, so I candidly tell my clients that I suffer from a split-personality disorder. Perhaps that’s a good thing because I look at weddings differently. We all have friends of friends who had a terrible experience with a photographer, Pixelicious was established to eliminate such horror stories.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I used to snap photos non-stop at family events like everyone else. These days, it’s rare that I get to attend a wedding as a guest but when I do get the chance, I don’t even bother bringing my camera anymore! Things happen so fast so I value the time spent with the newlyweds. Mingling and interacting with other humans have never been this much enjoyable.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I once sat on a wet bench accidentally while taking a shot, my bum didn’t look too good after that. Luckily I always wear dark colored pants, hopefully the guests didn’t notice but working with a wet bum throughout reception isn’t the greatest feeling. Since then my habit is to pack a spare set of clothing in my car, including underwear, whenever I go out on assignment.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our business model is simple: whatever other photographers are doing; we just do the opposite. For example, industry standard is to charge the full amount before or on the wedding day itself. Our clients only pay the balance after reviewing the retouched images, so no surprises and they know exactly what they are paying for. It comes back to the same, but the process introduces a level of honesty and transparency that clients appreciate tremendously. Horror stories cannot happen because we don’t get paid until the images are ready.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Definitely make time to shoot personal projects. Practice is important, as much as shooting for clients, but remember why you picked up the camera in the first place. I love to travel, so I bring my camera gear along to take pictures of landscapes just for fun.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My girlfriend comes to mind, we live together. Having a partner that shares the same goal and vision truly helps. It’s impossible to focus on running a business if you are constantly having relationship issues. Hearing from a girl’s perspective is refreshing (let’s face it, the wedding industry is catered to brides), so my girlfriend also acts as my consultant. I make her work for free, yay!


Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Planning our 3rd trip to Japan right now, this time we will focus on winter in Hokkaido! From the red-crowned cranes to snow monkeys, this will be beyond exciting!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I don’t see myself as a superhero or philanthropist (at least not yet). I honestly don’t know if I am bringing goodness to the world, but I do know, with 100% certainty, that I bring a lot of happiness to my clients. The stress and challenges that brides endure these days are staggering, so much that I wonder why people even bother having a wedding! Nothing brings more joy than seeing our clients tie the knot, then seeing their images for the first time.

Can you share “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Take Stunning Photos”. Please an example for each.

1) Using a wide angle lens forces you to walk closer to your subject, which will distort the face by stretching it wider. Try using a telephoto lens instead for close up portraiture, the resulting image will be much more flattering;

2) A stunning photo is the sum of small details: quality of light, a beautiful location, proper clothing, even hair and makeup. The more effort you put in, the better the end result so plan ahead;

3) The blazing sun is actually very challenging to work with. If your subject is facing the sun, his/her eyes will squint. If the sun is on either side, it will cast a harsh shadow splitting the person’s face. The easiest method is to place your subject between you and the sun. The backlight will also shine through the hair and dress;

4) Consider using a flash gun when shooting indoor. You can obtain fantastic pictures simply by bouncing the flash off the ceiling;

5) Slow down and execute the pose properly. Keep the spine straight while bending the joints for a natural look. No amount of Photoshop can fix a bad pose;


You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Every family deserves a high quality group photo. When was the last time you brought your parents and siblings to the studio? Never, right? Photography has become a commodity; family snap shots are often taken with cell phones. The image is then lost in the digital void, never to be printed or seen again. It was meant to preserve memories, somehow the pictures are easily forgotten.

Photographers should do pro bono work, similar to other professions. I would be delighted to offer group pictures free of charge to much needed families. Something worthy to be hung on the wall.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Not very active on social media but anyone can reach out via my website at https://www.pixelicious.ca

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Originally published at medium.com

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