A Visit With | Anna Vanover


Today I’m so delighted to have my friend Anna from Deer Lovers Photography share some insight into her daily life and her path to becoming a photographer. I used to work with her husband Andrew at the agency downtown and we all slowly started to hang out together more and more, they’ve definitely become one of our favorite couples here in San Diego and I’m so lucky that we’re able to call them friends. Read more about Anna below and be sure to check out their amazing photography:

Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in New Zealand and raised in Africa, where I actually met my (now) husband, Andrew, at 14. My family moved back to New Zealand where I finished up my last few years of high school and college. I then married the love of my life and moved to the United States where we now live in San Diego and love it. I’m a full time Wedding Photographer with my husband and we love exploring, good food and community.


Describe your path to becoming a photographer:
Oh gosh that’s a good question.
I was always very creative growing up but honestly never thought it was something I could turn into a career. My parents were very ‘school’ focused and college was just the next thing you did when you finished high school. I have a huge love for people and for a long time I loved the idea of being a nurse. But once I started college I would find myself editing photos when I should be writing papers on patient care.
Once Andrew and I got together however things turned 360. He was incredibly supportive of my dreams and hopes, and encouraged me to pursue photography if that was something I really wanted to do. I had shot a few weddings here and there for friends throughout college, and then once we got engaged, we shot weddings together. It was just a completely natural transition and I couldn’t honestly imagine doing anything else now. Its perfect for our lifestyle and love for travel and adventure, and there is nothing more fun than working side by side with your husband!

What’s a typical workday like for you?
I work full time from home Monday to Friday and on weekends we will usually have a wedding or engagement shoot of some kind. I’ll usually get up and have breakfast with Andrew to start our morning together. I like to begin work at 8 and will get things cranking with a cup of tea and emails. My work during the day varies depending on whether we have had weddings that weekend or not. Sometimes I’ll spend a good portion of my day editing images. While other days I am putting together inspiration for future weddings and blogging previous shoots. Editing, culling, printing, blogging, designing albums, client meetings and putting together packages for our brides make up the majority of my time. My work day ends at 5 and I’ll make dinner then we usually try to get out of the house and do something fun. From 5 until 8 the next morning I do my best to avoid anything work related. Which I honestly believe is important to keep a sane and balanced life!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job would definitely be seeing our work in print. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to hold your work in your own hands. Prints are everything. Going from an initial client meeting to seeing a beautiful image that you have lovingly captured, edited and printed come to life. It is sooo satisfying! Oh that and darling couples! Love me a sweet bride who can’t say enough good things about their photos!

What do you find to be the biggest challenge of being a photographer?
Hmm there is definitely no shortage of challenges. But in all honesty, as wonderful as it is to work from home and do something you love as a career, it can be hard to keep work and play separate. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like the thought of my life being one long never-ending work day even if it is work I enjoy! We love to take photos, not just for clients but for our own personal memories and when you take one of your favorite things to do in your free time, and turn it into a career, it can easily become a chore and the initial sparkle is gone. We are definitely figuring out fun ways to keep our personal photography a different experience to our wedding photography – some of those being polaroids and film for personal fun. That way even if we are still taking photos, it’s a whole different game! Also (am I allowed to have two?!) just learning to be more in the moment. I have a habit of always pulling out my phone or camera when I see something I love, and I struggle to just let it be and actually enjoy the moment as it happens. I don’t want all my memories to be half memories from behind a lens. It’s so refreshing to unplug and there is nothing sweeter than an uninterrupted moment that is just yours, and only yours forever.

What is your favorite moment to shoot in a wedding?
My favorite moment to shoot at a wedding would be when we are capturing our couples on their own. When a bride and groom are so in the moment that we are not even there. When everything is stripped away and it is just love. Pure love. And its beautiful.

Any advice you would give to someone wanting to be a photographer?
Don’t give up. Let me tell you, when we first moved to San Diego to start a wedding photography business it was miserable. In our first year out here we shot one wedding. One. It was so discouraging and for the longest time I felt like there was no way I could succeed at this. But you just have to keep trying. And try harder. And definitely get out there and meet other creatives in your city. I cannot emphasize enough how important they are. When you first start out you have the mindset that other photographers are competition, but it’s not like that. It’s about making connections and embracing the encouragement and the support of others who have been in your shoes. Other creatives have so much they can share with you, they’ve made the mistakes before you, so don’t waste the opportunity for wisdom and advice!

Who is inspiring you at the moment?
Nick ol’ boy. Nick Radford has been my inspiration from the get go, he initially made me want to take photos and his work is utterly magical. I only hope one day people will look at my work and think the same. I also reckon anyone that posts something on instagram that makes me want to go out and do it myself, has succeeded in inspiring me. So thank you everyone.

Favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Ooooh… I love to explore. Anything that takes me out of the house and into the wild. New Places, new faces and experiences are what I thrive off. Growing up overseas means I can never get enough of the unknown. Camping. Biking. Roadtrips. Adventure. The outdoors.

Find Anna here:

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