Samantha Donaldson

Published 14/7/2015



undefinedWhere is home for you?

West Auckland. 


When did you first pick up a camera and what was it?

My first camera was purple and it was one of those long rectangle instant ones. I must have been about 10, I loved that thing! When I was at Uni studying fashion design, I bought a Canon film SLR then I moved onto a DSLR - the Canon 400D teamed with the trusty 50mm 1.8 - whilst I was living in London and doing a lot of travelling. 



Did you study photography, or are you self-taught?

 I didn’t study photography at Uni or anything. When I knew I wanted to take my hobby into something more serious, I took some short courses/workshops through another photographer to learn the technical side of things. On top of that, a lot of self teaching. Additionally I have done a lot of second shooting of weddings which is a great way to learn also. 


Tell us a little about your style of photography.

I am primarily a wedding and portrait photographer, although do a little commercial and event work as well. I would say my overall style is natural with a documentary feel to it. I love to tell a story, capture all the little details and the candid in-between moments. I favour natural light, I rarely use my flash. 

What gear do you use? And what’s your favourite lens?

Im a Canon girl. I have a 5D mkIII and a mkII as my 2nd/back up camera. In my kit are Canon 50mm 1.2, 70-200mm 2.8, 24-70mm and 100mm 2.8 macro. I also have a Sigma 35mm ART. Favourite lens… thats hard! I use my 50mm and 35mm most often and love them both. My 100mm macro is my newest lens and I really love that too - so good for detail shots at weddings but also great for portraits. Dying to get the Canon 85mm 1.2, thats next on my list! 



What’s something you can’t leave the house without, that compliments your photography?

My new ONA camera bag, I'm in love with it! Who says you cant look stylish while shooting! 


What is/has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?

Believing in myself. It’s so hard not to constantly compare yourself to other photographers and feel discouraged. So whilst it’s good to see what others are doing, it’s not good to let it affect your confidence. Remembering that everyone has their own style, including yourself and to believe in that style, is hard but really important. Also, finding the time to shoot for myself - personal work always takes a backseat.


What do you feel has been your greatest photographic achievement to date?

Having my work featured on wedding blogs is always quite a thrill. Every booking really is a huge achievement to me, as it means someone has seen my work and liked it enough to want me to photograph them! 

Describe your dream client/job?

Oooh…. a wedding in the Tuscan countryside. I love Italy, so to shoot a wedding there would be a dream come true!


Could you take us through your typical day?

I have a 16month old so it mostly revolves around him! I have my mum hat on in the morning, once I get him down for his sleep at lunchtime I make a coffee, sit at the computer, clear emails then start work which is usually editing or album designing. Then its back to being a mum for the rest of the day! Occasionally I'll work in the evenings depending on my workload. 


What’s on your go to playlist for editing?

I like a very wide variety of music. My go-to playlist includes…Hozier, Eddie Vedder, Jay z, Lana del Ray, Empire of the Sun, Lorde, Broods, Of Monsters and Men, Ed Sheeran.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

I used to work in the fashion industry, if I wasn’t a photographer I would still be doing that or staying at home with my little man.


What tips or advice do you have for budding photographers?

 Shoot shoot shoot! The more you shoot, the better you get, the more you learn. Go and assist or second shoot other photographers.  


What do you enjoy doing to take a break from photography, what recharges you?

Good coffee and food at a good cafe, Spending time with my husband Aaron and little boy Hugo, catching up with family and friends, leaving the city for the weekend, going to the beach in summer.


Who/What motivates or inspires you to keep doping what you do?

When clients contact me after they have received their photos telling me how much they love them. Warm fuzzies every time.


If you could choose any photographer to take your portrait, who would you be most honoured to have photograph you, or your family?

That's so hard - I admire a lot of photographers! I really love Danelle Bohane’s work though, so would feel pretty honoured to have my portrait taken by her.



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