Going From Guitar --> Photography With Daniel Silbert
I met Daniel Silbert through music. My husband played in bands that opened for his band, Steel Train, and we'd occasionally cross paths at concerts of mutual friends and acquaintances. Like a lot of musicians, Daniel found another creative hobby along the way in photography. Except now his hobby has grown into a successful career with To The Moon, and in a way he never expected.
"I was basically dragged kicking and screaming to shoot my first wedding. I had such a terrible notion of what wedding photography was," he said. "In my head, I saw those awful gazebo shots where the photographer is cracking terrible jokes as a desperate attempt to get a couple smiling. I saw bridal parties lined up blandly against the walls of catering halls. I saw forced family photos lacking an aesthetic eye. Needless to say, I feared a major lack of inspiration in this career path."
Daniel has been a professional photographer since 2012, but it all began years before that.
"I first picked up a camera on tour. Steel Train was touring around the country and I felt like I needed to document our time. I learned by experimentation and by asking photographers some pretty basic questions. I quickly realized that a camera is a pretty simple instrument and shortly thereafter, I became obsessed and it really hasn’t stopped. Every night I photographed the bands on stage as well as backstage and throughout the day. I didn’t realize at the time that I was getting a crash course in documentary, and ultimately, wedding photography."
As mentioned, he was not interested at first.
"I had a friend who introduced me to a successful wedding photographer and he asked me if I wanted to shoot a wedding for him. I remember telling my now-wife that I didn’t want to even meet with him. I had such a sour taste in my mouth about wedding photography. Coming from tour and being surrounded by artists all the time, I had no intention of being in the wedding industry."
Having watched my husband struggle to consider alternate career paths (similar or not) other than being part of the live-music experience, I can sympathize. But Daniel found the common thread.
"Ultimately, I agreed to shoot a wedding for him as a second photographer and I actually found it to be a seamless transition because it incorporated all the aspects of photography that I loved. It felt like shooting a band--when they are on stage there is no controlling the lights or their movements and that is exactly the majority of a wedding shoot is. Then there is the getting ready process which is like the backstage scenario. Lastly, the portraits are my favorite part. I love working with the couples to make beautiful, powerful, and hopefully timeless portraits.
After the first wedding I sort of related wedding photography to playing a college show. It pays really well but no one talks about it. As time went on and I shot more weddings, I developed my own style and became very proud of my work. I no longer resisted the title of Wedding Photographer."
But Daniel hasn't given up on his personal photography, either. (Thank God because it's also beautiful.)
"My personal work and my wedding work are very connected. I shoot everything with the same intention, and therefore the only differences are the subjects and circumstances. I always look for the drama and creative lighting in situations, regardless if its at a wedding or backstage at a show, or even if I am in the studio with a client producing the lighting myself. I think the fact that I don’t overload myself with weddings and have time to shoot other clients allows me to continually feel inspired. The editing process is also very important to me, and I love giving the photo a unique treatment that speaks to the shot. If I overloaded myself with weddings, I would have to send my post work out to a third party and it would no longer feel like me."
Daniel's advice for couples in search of their wedding photographer? "Find someone with a personality and energy you can connect with. Their eye is obviously incredibly important, but so is the way they make you feel. They're a big part of your day--you want their presence to be seamless and you want them to make you feel at ease."