SnapKnot is delighted to introduce Michel Berda of King Street Photo Weddings to our list of Charleston, South Carolina wedding photographers. When he’s not practicing one of his four languages or spending time with his family, Michel is devoting his life to unique wedding photography. We’re excited to share some of his industry insight with you.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am first a very proud father of two amazing daughters, Courtney & Chloe. My life is very simple. I am so, so blessed to be able to photograph weddings on weekends where I can spend quality time playing the most important role in my life: being Mr. Mom. I love life, people, the gift that God has given to me, and at 49 believe myself to be one of the healthiest people around. I spend an average of 1.5 hours, 5 days a week in the gym and believe that it is 50% of being healthy, while the other 50% is to eat very healthy. I believe that for every wedding I photograph, I am a historian that catches people laughing, crying, happy, and full of joy. Nothing beats a hug from mom or dad of either side of the couple that says “Thank You for your hard work and what you have done for them today.” That is why I do this from my heart. My quote to all of my clients is: “I photograph from my heart because I believe in myself.”
Why did you choose to become a photographer?
I started my journey back in 1976 while attending hight school on Maui Hawaii. My dad told me to get a job, so my first job was as a bag boy at a grocery store. Then I got into the Bruce Lee years and decided to be a security guard. That did not work out to well when a 250 pound samoan stole something and everyone wanted for me to chase him. I chased him alright and passed him running for my life back to my house. Ha, ha. It took me 3 months, to go back to that mall and a very nice gentleman Joe Cabebee offered me a job of a lifetime- working for his photo shop. Yes, I learned everything from the camera, to film, chemistry, lenses, developing, dodging, burning, lighting, studying facial expression, posing, etc.
I moved to LA in 1980 and worked for a photo store there as well while pursuing my photography dream to photograph models, actors, and celebrities in Hollywood. I was an apprentice to many famous photographers, which was also something I have learned so much about. I ended up moving to Myrtle Beach, SC with a friend of mine whose uncle owned a famous photo store, and worked there until I eventually owned my own. I became a wedding photographer quite simply by photographing head shots for many famous clients here in town that eventually led to my unusual fashion style of doing wedding photography. I am now a master artiste whose passion and love for the art is unprecedented. I aim for every wedding I photograph to give my clients 1000% as I do not know what 100 or 110 % is….!
How long have you been a photographer?
Well lets do the math. If I started in 1976 and we are in 2012 that would make it 36 years. Wow I am really getting old. He, he.
How would you classify your style of photography?
Hollywood fashion, odd angles, unique, showing emotions, painting for the album, and most importantly giving my clients amazing images, with character…!
Who or what are some of your influences on either a personal or professional level?
Herb Ritz, Richard Avadeon, Yervant, Bambi Cantrell, Charles Manning, as I have either taken workshops from them and or assisted them. There are so many more.
What’s your preferred type of camera equipment?
Well, I have sold equipment for 27 years. I have studied and been able to hold on and shoot with many cameras. I love those rangefinder cameras where you had to manually focus in the rangefinder and pray you know lighting. I love them all, however in today’s age, there are only two companies that hold the majority market share for professionals, those being Nikon and Canon. I shoot with Canon, I am proud to be a professional CPS member and shoot with their EOS 1 series. I have 4 of them, 8 various L Lenses, along with my reflectors, lighting modifier, Quatum lighting and slave units, and video light. Yes, they call me commando, Rambo, etc., when I show up for a wedding. I take it very seriously and there is absolutely no reason to not carry more then a least 3 cameras on you all day long. Now you understand why I train so hard.
What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer?
Very simply the digital era has brought photography to make everyone a so-called professional photographer. I am old school, so very simply first adapt a reasonable budget that will never make you look back and say, “Gosh I messed up, we should have spent more and gotten the right photographer.” There is no redo. Second, when you are shopping around and get impressed with a portfolio, that should not be good enough. Ask to see a recent wedding from the beginning to the end, as then you will see the difference between a digital so-called photographer and a real one. Third, I wrote an article in Studio Magazine called “Communication Is Key.”
Make certain that you meet with your potential photographer, get a feel for who he or she is, and if you walk out of that consultation and your heart says that he or she delivers a solid quality product, and that you love his passion, heart for what he is going to do for you, then turn around and sign a contract…….!
Any fun personal facts we should know about you?
I speak 4 languages. I am very respectful of the gift that God has given to me, life, and I intend on doing the right thing in loving everyone, and making a difference in this world. Where life is not all about taking it is way more about giving back……!
Anything else to add about yourself, the wedding industry, photography, brides, grooms, etc?
No. I already said too much. He, he
To my future clients of Snap Knot, mention this article during our consultation booking and I will offer an upgrade to my amazing albums selection at N/C