Small town creative: Tara Pearce, wedding photographer

By Jasmine Mansbridge

Tara Pearce is one half of Erin & Tara, a wedding photography business based in Kyneton, in the Victorian Goldfields. Erin & Tara have only been in the photo business for five years, but are in demand to capture the special days of couples all over Australia. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook.

First up, tell me about where you live. Have you always lived 'out of town'?

I live in Kyneton with my husband and two children. It is about a one hour drive from Melbourne. We have been here for eight years now. I spent time living in Kyneton when I was a child and my husband grew up here, so we both have a long term relationship with the place. It's been a great place to raise our two children Yorke and Mak, they are very established and happy here. It is far enough away from the city to be removed from it, but close enough to do business. My husband commutes there for work on a daily basis.

What is your employment background Tara. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Well I initially did a business degree and worked in the public sector. Our photography journey started 5 years ago when Erin & I thought it would be fun to photograph a wedding! This was before we owned a camera let alone knew how to use one. Let’s just say Google is our best friend!

Seriously? How can you have only been in the photo business for five years, that is crazy. You have done so well. How did you go from a city job to self employed creative. What did the transition look like?

Well initially I met a stylist, and I became a styling assistant. That only lasted a few gigs as the whole time I was watching the photographer and realised photography was something I would like to do. I was good friends with Erin and we started talking about it one day saying, this wedding thing, we could do it. We shot our first wedding together 3 months later and it all started from there. The biggest challenge was learning the technical side such as how to use a camera. Each year has had it’s own turning point from personal achievements such as creative growth to learning how to accept rejection gracefully. I believe the key turning point for us was when we started to trust our own judgment and abilities, which lead to more confidence giving us the freedom to express our creative vision.

In our first year we shot 30-40 weddings, the two of us with a camera each, so we could double our chance to achieving our vision and nailing the shot.

So five years on what has changed in how you do business?

After the first year of shooting weddings together we where pretty confident photographers and so we decided to shoot wedding individually. It works really well as that way we can commit to other individual work and family life. For example I generally take destination weddings while Erin prefers local weddings as she has younger children. These days we also have a team of talented assistants and we are about to launch a wedding photographer agency.

Can you tell me what has been your biggest challenge for your business?

Finding a good work/life balance! We are slowing finding a way to switch off from all the emails, but in the first three years of our business, we felt like we had to be 'on call' and sometimes I'd find myself emailing clients back at 2am. Crazy times! Not being photographers from the start meant having to learn all the technical stuff which was very daunting but together we worked it out. To be honest we learn something new every day, it's a pretty exciting industry to be in.

Oh and I nearly forgot…..juggling children and running a full-time business from home has it's challenges ;)

What about Erin & Tara are you most proud of ?

Looking back and remembering the conversation we had in a local cafe about becoming wedding photographers, that was five years ago and seeing where we are today! This is an achievement one we are very proud of.

What do you think has contributed to your success?

A lot of hard work, persistence and support from our amazing husbands! I'm also a massive believer in the Universe providing what you need when you need it.

Jasmine Mansbridge is a painter and mum to five kids. She regularly blogs about the intersection of creative work and family life, as well as her recent projects and travels. You can also find her on Instagram.