Whistler Wedding Collective shines light on emerging photography talent

Whistler Question
August 15, 2016
By: Michelle Ratcliffe
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Anastasia Chomlack has been telling love stories through a lens for over decade. From adventurous elopements to elaborate celebrations, her wedding photography has captured the unique and authentic details that Chomlack passionately believes tell the most truly beautiful stories.

Fittingly, it was this persistent desire to tell better stories that brought an inspired business idea into focus for Chomlack.

“I began to wonder what would happen if I consciously created the conditions for dedicated photographers to tell the kind of stories they wanted to tell,” she explained.

The Whistler Wedding Collective was Chomlack’s answer. Focused on supporting young artists in her industry with professional development, collective brand power and community connections, she is giving emerging photographers the freedom to tell better wedding stories.

“Essentially, I imagined the conditions that would have allowed me to thrive as a new photographer and began to create them for others,” she said, adding that Whistler’s community of creatives naturally lends itself to collaboration with those who share an affinity for authentic storytelling and an eye for the meaningful details.

Depth of field

As love blossomed in the Sea to Sky Corridor, so did demand for a dynamic style of wedding photography.

“My clients’ needs were evolving from standard destination wedding coverage to non-traditional ceremonies and last minute elopements in even more remote and unique destinations,” Chomlack explained.

While bookings increased, Chomlack met more young artists with plenty of talent, but little exposure and experience in the local market. Spotting the opportunity, the photographer was able to shift her solo career to a business with a wider focus. Leading this collective, with a deep team of creatives, has enabled her to keep up with demand without compromising her brand.

Double exposure

An important lesson Chomlack learned early on was the power of community connection and collaboration.

“Being able to work cooperatively with local vendors and connecting with complimentary businesses is tremendously valuable in a small community like Whistler,” she said.

It would take young photographers years, if not decades, to establish the industry relationships Chomlack has nurtured in the nuptial biz.

As a collective, Chomlack can introduce new talent to the right people in the industry, but also draw on the group’s shared network as they grow.

“By forming the Whistler Wedding Collective our connections have grown exponentially allowing us all to provide an even better service to our clients, support local businesses and of course, tell better stories,” she said.

Composition & focus

Chomlack’s photographic instincts are complimented by her experience and business acumen. It took her years of practice and evolution to shape her authentic stories into a strong brand with a system for marketing, networking and communications. She’s able to manage this side of the business to set her collective talent up for success.

“Centralizing the booking, contracts, marketing and scheduling allows Whistler Wedding Collective photographers the freedom to do what they do best – tell real stories of true beauty in all of its chaos and authenticity,” she said.

She is equally committed to the professional and artistic development of her team.

“We are deliberate about business mentorship and artistic growth,” she added.

Her model includes both professional development opportunities and annual photography retreats to progress as artists. It’s a practice that keeps the collective team a frame ahead of industry trends and helps them stand out professionally.

“Staying true to the reason I picked up a camera in the first place, was the most important thing I did to build a business that continues to inspire me,” Chomlack said. “Putting hindsight out in front of me and answering the question – ‘What would have helped me succeed as a new photographer?’ – has allowed me one of the greatest privileges any working artist can have – giving back.”

So, in her dedication to photographing unions, Chomlack has formed a special collaboration of her own.

Her Whistler Wedding Collective is a growing business, based on knowledge, sharing and mentorship – and that, in itself, is a beautiful story.

Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/VJRnm