Today, we are excited to feature a customer of ours who genuinely puts a smile on our face every time she comes into the store. She has been a regular to our rental department this last year and is one of the kindest souls. Her photography continues to grow and inspire, so without further ado, we are proud to feature portrait and couple photographer, Mele 'Ilikuone!
1. What gravitated you to photography and when did you get your first camera?
I’ve always loved photography. I still remember as a young girl begging my mom for disposable cameras and anxiously awaiting for prints to be ready at the local Rite Aid. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that my sister needed headshots done that I considered doing photography as more than a hobby. I was 17 years old when I got my first “real” camera.
2. Tell us what the journey was like from when you first started out until now?
My photography journey has always been one of creative passion for me. I would take photos here and there for friends and family but it wasn’t until last year that I dove into it more fully. Hours were being cut at work and I had to get out of my comfort zone to put my craft out there so that we could make ends meet. Before, only those closest to me knew I took photos. I shot a few weddings here and there but about Spring of last year is when I spent a lot of time on my social media platforms and website and creating. I thought to myself: ‘well, this is the best time to get over my fear and just do it’.
Being new to the Utah photography scene was intimidating but the more I got out and would shoot, the more comfortable I became. I’m overwhelmed with the support and business I’ve gained in the past few months. It’s still a struggle to not compare myself to all the other amazing photographers here but I’m learning that I have a lot to offer as well.
3. What is something you strive for at each photoshoot?
Capturing connection. That will always be my top priority at every shoot. A small moment between a bride and her groom. A mother and father admiring their children. The bride’s father in tears seeing his little girl in her dress. The list goes on of all the tender moments I’ve witnessed. I am deeply moved by the connection we share as humans and loved ones and aim to capture that love in every frame.
4. What camera do you shoot with now and what is your absolute favorite lens?
Sony A7RIV + Sigma 24mm 1.4. The dreamiest shots with this combo.
5. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?
I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve become comfortable not being comfortable. I wish when I first started that I would’ve gotten over what other people think about me sooner. People are always going to have an opinion on what we do, how we edit, etc. but what really matters is what I think of my work. No shot will ever be perfect. Not every wedding will go smoothly and that’s OKAY. If we wait for everything to be perfect and just right, we’ll be waiting forever.
6. If you had to choose one subject matter to shoot the rest of your life what would be?
Elopements and intimate weddings. I love love and there is something so special about a couple starting their forever with just the two of them.
We'd like to thank Mele for taking the time out to answer all of our questions and let us get to know her better. If you'd like to see more of Mele and her work, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.