Jonathan Gipaya is a destination wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington. He began his photography career as a child documenting family vacations with a 2 MP Kodak camera and has been passionate about capturing special once-in-a-lifetime moments ever since then. An active Instagrammer, Jonathan posts beautiful photos from adventures in the Pacific Northwest and weddings and engagements he shoots across the world — in fact, we first got to know Jonathan as a friend after he posted a great photo of his Leather Brixton at Fenway Park following an engagement shoot at the legendary baseball stadium. Since then, we’ve enjoyed following Jonathan’s career and look forward to the great things he has ahead, as he transitions to being a full-time photographer in 2015!
ONA: How did you get into photography?
JG: I studied music in college and was regularly playing shows as an active musician outside of school. I had purchased a Canon T2i and a 35mm f/2 lens and started getting into concert photography. It was an extreme challenge starting out with this type of photography, but it helped me improve my technical knowledge very quickly. I started getting hired to photograph local bands’ concerts and portrait work for their websites. I did some portrait work for friends while I was in school and was asked to photograph my first wedding 2 years ago. I was extremely nervous, but for my first wedding, I thought I had done a great job. After that wedding and a few engagement shoots, my career as a wedding and portrait photographer began — that was just a little over a year ago.
JG: I currently photograph with my Canon 5D Mark III and my most used lens is the Canon 35L. It’s a popular combination amongst the photographers I admire and follow. I have to give a shoutout to the Canon 135L too. That is some beautiful glass.
JG: I love photographing weddings. Give me a couple who values the importance of wedding photography and are totally in love. I love it when couples get excited about their engagement and wedding photos and have a great time doing it. Being based in the Pacific Northwest, I love collaborating with my clients to deliver them great photos and finding ways to incorporate some of the natural beauty Washington has to offer. I want to photograph and document couples’ amazing stories in equally amazing locations around the world. I don’t have one specific dream project, but I would love to be able to photograph engagements and weddings in Europe, specifically Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway for their well-known landscapes. I’d love to be able to photograph couples in classic romantic locations in Paris and Venice. That would be quite the dream for me as a wedding photographer.
JG: In my experience so far, it has been finding a balance between your social life and your work life. I’ve been working a Monday through Friday 8-5 job on top of being a wedding photographer, and it has been tough to have any time for myself, my family and friends. I’m continually learning to balance everything and it will definitely help once I’m a full-time photographer starting this year!
JG: I’d like to think my style of photography is organic — photographing and documenting a couple in a way that is natural and genuine. I’d say about 99% of my photography uses the available light given to me and I definitely like to have fun at my shoots.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
JG: Never lose sight of why you enjoyed photography in the first place and continually strive to be your best and improve on your craft by photographing as much as possible.
JG: I first heard about your wonderful products on Jasmine Star’s blog. I was very impressed and started following ONA on Instagram, checked out the website and purchased a Leather Brixton for myself and a Leather Bowery for my assistant. The rest is history!