I found my photographer through a friend, but believe me, I’m not settling for some cheapo friend-of-a-friend job. Jolaika is the real deal.

I’d met her before a few times, but in our first official meeting as photographer-and-client, she was professional and asked questions that I never would have thought to consider. That meeting alone assured me that I wouldn’t have to go shopping around for photographers. She was the one.

15167703_1859259787637097_4549838276143978125_oOur engagement shoot was so much fun that I forgot I was paying her to do this. It was like hanging out with an old friend. She even helped make my camera-shy fiancé comfortable – which is something not even I can do sometimes.

I asked Jo some questions about photography and how she got started. Check out our interview below!

How long have you been taking photos?
I got into photography while I was in high school, probably over seven years ago. I did a lot of editing before I even got my first camera.

When did you decide you wanted to become a photographer?
It was grade ten, beginning of high school. I was kind of stuck in a rut. I was trying to find myself (as stereotypical as that is). Not once did I consider photography until I started art class. My school didn’t have a proper photography class, but we learned a lot about the different mediums with which you can express yourself. I got curious and picked up a camera, and I loved how much control I had.

Why did you decide you wanted to become a photographer?
I wasn’t the best painter. I wanted to express myself but had a lot of trouble showing my vision through paint. I discovered photo compositions and fell in love. It was a lot easier than painting actual objects. Then, I wanted to start creating my own content. I bought my first camera one year after I started high school. I started to get into the photographing aspect more than the editing.

You do couples’ shoots, but you also do a lot of model shoots. Is there one you prefer? Why/why not?
I love being able to plan a shoot (ex. location, outfits, hair, makeup). I think I prefer model shoots because I’ve done more thoroughly planned ones. I’ve recently expanded my business to more couples’ and wedding shoots. I’ve really started to love the mood they give. It’s just more intimate, spontaneous and uplifting. I would love to do more styled couples’ shoots and combine them with what I love so much about model shoots.

Lots of couples (or dudes, mostly) can be awkward in front of the camera, but still want nice photos. How do you deal with this?
I hate serious situations. I always joke during the shoot, even if the mood for the photos is dramatic. It really does open them up a bit more. I also like to meet with the couple beforehand, just so I’m not a complete stranger the day of the shoot. I also do a lot of “pretend I’m not here.” I don’t really like posing couples too much; they just tend to look stiff. Just doing their own thing and being genuine makes for the best photos!

What’s something couples can do to make the photographer’s job easier?
Take a deep breath. Everyone gets nervous. It happens. The most important thing is to be genuine and positive. Photo sessions should be fun and relaxing. Sometimes, the posing can feel a little awkward, but even the weirdest poses can turn into the best photos. You just have to put your trust in the photographer. Also, if you have ideas for poses or locations, let the photographer know. We love when clients have specific looks in mind. It helps give us an idea of what kind of style they’re into.

What’s your favourite place in Winnipeg to take photos?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. There are tons of locations with different feels throughout the city that I love. I really enjoy shooting at the Forks. The rustic brick tunnel, scenic paths around the market, lots of cool architecture, etc. There are so many different looks I can incorporate into a shoot.

Check out some photos from our engagement shoot on Jo’s website, PhotographyByJolaika.com, and then book a shoot with her! She’s also a makeup artist, if you need that too.