Szymon Szymczakowski admits he is an old school romantic. And there isn't anything more romantic or heart-filled than photos of the people and events that mean the most. "Our moments are precious. They only happen once. To capture them, you need someone who will take the time to know you, someone who will pour his heart and soul into creating photographers that will move you."
The team at The Ring love Szymon's ability to capture the essence of the people he photographs. He says he takes the time to truly get to know who you are, and that this is how he translates that connection and your personality into images that you'll appreciate for life. With his gentle, unobtrusive approach to your wedding day and genuine care for the couples he shoots, Szymon is quickly on his way to becoming one of the 'must meet' photographers on the island.
Here's more on Szymon...
A lifelong dream
Szymon Szymczakowski, of Szymon Photography, has accomplished two of his lifelong dreams, making them a reality. The first one he shares with his lovely wife and children; the love for the West Coast of Vancouver Island, hence their move to Ucluelet. The second, was a combination of life changing events and the search for artistic expression that began Szymon’s adventurous photography journey.
We love that Szymon has become so involved in his community – encouraging and organizing shoots with other wedding experts on the West Coast. One of Syzmon’s first projects in Ucluelet was to take shots of local businesspeople so as to get to know his neighbors!
He laughingly helped us to try to learn how to say his name which is Szymon(sh-y-mon) Szymczakowski (shym-cha-covski). “The “v” is very subtle, it is not “cowski” or “coughski”. Thankfully, he accepts well-meaning variations!
Szymon is the perfect fit as a photographer on the West Coast, in part, to his rather unusual history with the area. His parents took him to Tofino when he was younger, and “it’s very difficult to explain but something happened. After that, I always kept coming back to Tofino to “recharge my batteries” and just relax. It was a place that was close to my heart, and one that I ventured to often. The splendid beauty, pounding surf and the life of the region is what kept me coming back.”
Szymon returned in 2004, but this time he returned with a beautiful girl named Shannon (his words!) “What was really neat was how Shannon shared the same passion for the West Coast as me.”
“Two years later, we went back to Tofino once again. This time I had my dad custom design an engagement ring and I proposed on Chesterman Beach, right on the rocks overlooking Rosie Bay. That evening, we went for a walk along the beach and I took out my point and shoot camera and snapped a photo that was published in Here’s How Magazine,” he explains.
Many years and two children later, Szymon and Shannon returned to Ucluelet bought a home and Szymon began taking photos of an area of the world he has always had a love for. With a serendipitous story like that, is it any wonder that Szymon’s photography reflects the romance of the West Coast?!
Szymon at Work
“I am still new,” Szymon admits, “therefore, I am motivated and driven to deliver the highest quality products to all my clients. I read various wedding photography forums to keep up to date with the latest trends. I have participated in two amazing wedding photography workshops, one in Vancouver and the other in Mexico with the talented and award winning Christina Craft from FunkyTown Photography and have learned a great deal. Through social networking, I have identified and met key wedding photographers to whom I look up to. What genuinely surprised me was how their career paths and achieved success parallel mine! This led me to realize that I could positively achieve this crazy dream of mine.”
Szymon works very hard to keep a high standard of professionalism. “For every photo session, I dress nicely despite ending up lying in the ferns in an attempt to get the optimal shot. I am perpetually looking for unique angles and this often entails climbing, crawling and getting wet. It is one element that sets a professional apart from the average photographer. I am continuously pushing myself to do more of this. Nothing but the highest of standard for all my clients!”
He is also looking to incorporate video in the future. “I use fusion photography to create short videos that combine videography, photography and audio to tell a story. I see huge potential in incorporating video into weddings and I am currently looking at teaming up with another photographer to deliver this service.”
Szymon feels communication is a huge part of what he offers couples. “I understand that my clients lead very busy lifestyles, therefore, I respond promptly to their correspondence. I am also very attentive to my clients needs and establish a comfortable line of communication throughout the entire process.”
It’s also fun to see how Szymon is very proud of how he delivers those all-important photos! Custom packaged USB sticks are used to provide a secure and fashionable way of delivering precious images to couples.
Along with his professionalism, what we love about Szymon is his artistic vision.
In his own words
“As a narrator through images, I am always looking for the best way to tell a story. It’s not about snapping lots of photos, as much as it is about thinking about the image before you shoot and merely recreating that image with your camera. For me, life has been rewarded with many happy moments, and I wish to capture similar ones of others. As long as the couples are in love, I am happy to tell their story!”
“Your wedding only happens once. My job is to deliver images that will last a lifetime and that you will reflect upon often. My goal is to have you be comfortable with me like I was a friend or family member, so that we can capture your images in the most natural way. My style of photography is unique; however, the “feel” of the photo session and how you wish to display your photos requires your input with subtle direction from me.”
“It is the natural composition of the individual in my photos that captivates couples. I pride myself on my ability to raise their comfort level so that they can be themselves in front of my camera. My style is for those couples who are looking for a unique twist to the original wedding structure. This consists of more candid and less posed photography. The perfect bride is one who is open minded, up to the challenge of having fun, lives life to the fullest and believes that she needs the best photographer to connect with.”
Szymon’s take on photography is that it should be a mixture of amusing moments, true passion and high fashion, which reflects the couples true essence, captured in time!
And it shows. “Wow! These are some of my favorite, most creative photos seen to date…” - Adele Larkin, General Manager Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
Getting to know you
Destination brides often find meeting with their photographer face to face a challenge. Szymon solves this problem by offering Skype conversations, face-to-face meetings and as many phone conversations as his couples wish, to ensure they are content with all the aspects of their photography request. “When you decide to invite me into your life, we will discuss what it is that you are trying to achieve. Prior to the shoot I will scout out the location, and look for ways to create that ideal image you are pursuing. I want to know a considerable amount about my couples, so I listen. It is important for me to know who they are and for them to be comfortable with me as a person, then as a photographer. Leading up to the wedding day, I answer all e-mails and phone messages promptly. It is my goal to have you so relaxed that on the wedding day you won’t have to worry about me.”
When a bride and groom arrive on the West Coast, it may be the first time they are seeing their venue in person. Szymon meets them as soon as possible to allay any fears and help them get comfortable with him in person. “I like to meet my couples and review everything, including the venue to scout great areas for pictures. This helps us to connect further and to deliver a more optimal product. We also fine-tune our image list; this gives me direction as to the type of photographs that are important to the bride and groom.”
Szymon’s thoughtful awareness of the special needs and stresses that destination brides and grooms can experience really sets him apart. Kim and Lee, who married on Oct. 1, 2011, appreciated that, “Szymon took the time to get to know us the day before the ceremony so as to better capture images that conveyed who we are individually and as a couple.”
What to expect the day of the wedding
Szymon’s philosophy regarding the wedding day is to be there for the couple in any way that he can. “I am on-call for the bride all day. If things change, I adapt. My schedule is always open. I will be present at least 30 minutes early and we will have a great day. You will have fun and won’t have to stress about me since most of the time you won’t even know I’m there. When I do make my presence known I will be gentle, un-obtrusive and working with you to capture memories to last you a lifetime. Our previous discussions, consultations and continuous communication up until the wedding day will make you enjoy your day that much more.”
Kim and Lee valued Szymon’s approach. “He seemed to be able to capture all the small details that make the experience of a wedding so meaningful but also express the bigger picture. Our photo shoot was the highlight of the day.... The resort and the landscape provided so many options, we loved experimenting with it all and having someone so willing to spend the time to capture it so well.”
After the wedding day
Szymon immediately starts to process each of your images and chooses those that he feels captures the essence of the couple. Brides and grooms can expect a very quick “sneak a peek” on Szymon’s blog and Facebook page within 24 hours. Allow 4-6 weeks for editing as Szymon likes to be sure that each photo is going to make the couple happy! Once the product is complete, it will be delivered to the bride and groom in that precious USB package.
It’s worth the wait, according to Kim and Lee, “You truly made our day. We are so pleased! You gave us wonderful images that we can cherish for a lifetime”.
Carly and Ryan agreed. ““They are amazing!!!!!! You did such a wonderful job and were a real pleasure to work with…thank you for capturing the day so perfectly! I am so thankful that you were our photographer; you really have the “eye” and are so talented!”
Equipment and a unique approach
Szymon gave us the most interesting explanation of camera lenses we have ever heard and we thought brides and grooms would find it fascinating as well!
“It is the cameras that capture the moment, and with their amazing technical ability, they are capable of shooting in some truly demanding light situations. The lenses are special; they each have their own personality. For instance, my 24 mm – 70 mm enjoys being everywhere, and is the one that is most attached to my Nikon D700. The 50mm has no concept for personal space and comes very close to all my brides; hence it makes an appearance after my other lenses have made an introduction. By getting close, the 50 mm is capable of capturing the intimate natural beauty of the bride. Then there is 70 mm – 200 mm, this one is a little sneaky. It likes to hide and shoot those private moments. Finally, there is the 14 mm – 24 mm, this one is a little camera shy as it only comes out to play in wide-open spaces. Perfect, for capturing the magnificent west coast scenery. Lastly, there is the macro, this one is detail driven. I strive hard to document all the elements that are so important to the bride.”
Szymon Says Pricing and Packages… (come on... you knew we couldn’t resist!)
As Szymon puts it, "I believe in simplicity". Here is his wedding pricing:
$750.00 – Elopement – up to 5 people, 1 hour prep, 1 hour ceremony and 1 -hour fine art portraiture.
$1800.00 – 4 hours of Wedding Photography – 1 hour prep, 1 hour ceremony and 2 hour fine art photography.
$350 per additional hour
All Brides Receive:
• Initial consultation either in-person, via Skype or by phone.
• Consultation prior to the wedding to view the site and potential shooting location(s)
• Szymon says, "I commit my schedule for the entire day to the bride. Unexpected events always arise therefore; my availability remains open to allow for changes."
• All images are reviewed, selective enhancements, like coloring, toning etc., are applied.
• a custom USB with “non-commercial” usage rights for printing.
• images in B&W and Colour.
• a custom designed slideshow set to music.
• a password protected online gallery.
Details, details, details…
• All prices are subject to taxes.
• A 40% non-refundable retainer and a signed contract is required to book Szymon.
• Szymon recommends booking as early as you can.