Today we’d like to introduce you to Toni Wieberg.
Hi Toni, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My now husband bought me my first DSLR camera for my 20th birthday because I was still using a dinky digital camera to take photos of everything.
From there, friends and family would ask me to take photos because they knew I had a good camera, but I didn’t charge anything.
Fast forward a few years, and we had our first baby. I was miserable in my 9-5 with an overtime bank job, not seeing my baby as much as I’d like, and having no creative outlet.
My husband encouraged me to take something I enjoy, like photography, and make it a business.
I did just that and never looked back. I became a full-time photographer in 2018, and I began offering wedding photography in 2019. As soon as I decided to make photography more than a hobby, I invested all I could in education.
I wanted to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could. If there was a mentorship near me, I did it. If there was a styled shoot in Missouri, I went.
Hourly sessions helped me to buy my first full-frame cameras, which I shot my first weddings on. Ever since my first wedding, I’ve done my best to build relationships with everyone I’m working with, from the couples to the vendors. I carried around business cards, shared galleries with vendors, and built connections with the couples and their guests.
After 2019, word of mouth really helped me to take off, and now, I’ve captured nearly 80 weddings while continuing to follow couples as their lives change, built relationships with amazing vendors, and been able to do it all while not missing out on events and milestones for my own family.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I think any wedding vendor who made it through 2020 would say it hasn’t been a smooth road. It was an unprecedented time where none of us knew what lay ahead.
People were rescheduling to protect their loved ones, and I think the best thing I could do in that process was to support them and stand behind them. I tried to be as accommodating as possible, and because of that, I only had 2 of my 24 weddings that year canceled. The rest either made their celebration smaller, rescheduled, or continued on as planned.
Other than the struggles Covid-19 brought us all, I’ve of course had other struggles as well. Many people may think photography is a quick start-up, easy-entry business, but there’s a lot of initial investment, along with continuing to update our equipment. The initial start-up was a struggle, and it didn’t come without sacrifices in our personal lives, but I would say it’s more than paid off.
A big struggle with photography is that there are so many photographers in the market, so the comparison is hard. I felt I really had to find something to make me “different,” and that’s when I discovered the look/style I was really going for the film, so I began to include medium format film in my work.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a film and fine art wedding and portrait photographer.
My goal is to capture one of the happiest days of a couple’s lives, and foster that relationship with them so I can continue to capture their memories as they celebrate anniversaries, grow their families, etc. I really don’t want a wedding day to come to an end thinking that’s the last time I’ll see that couple. I want it to be a “See you later” because we’ve built that friendship and trust.
I’m most proud of the number of relationships I’ve been able to cultivate through the years.
I know I’m hired as someone’s photographer, but I want to leave that wedding or session with them feeling like I’m a friend. I think that sets me apart, along with the fact that I offer film, which is “light and airy” while still preserving beautiful skin tones, showing dress details, and having this timelessness to it.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I think in the next 5-10 years we’ll see more “micro-weddings.” Not to keep bringing up Covid, but I think it really put things into perspective for couples getting married.
Of course many of us dream of this big celebration, but I think having to have these smaller weddings has helped many of us see what’s really important at the end of the day.
We value spending more time with those we love most, and what matters at the end of each and every wedding day is that you’re married to your person. So I think we’ll see more fabulous, small weddings.
- Prices start at $3000
Toni Wieberg Photography