Whenever Shauna Heron picks up her camera, she aims to tell a story — she wants to capture what's happening around her as “authentically and masterfully” as she can.
The wedding photographer who calls Sudbury home firmly believes it's her job to roll with the day, shooting the moments that make the wedding.
“I am there first and foremost to document my couple's day,” Heron said. “I am there for moments, I'm there for the story, and if in the process of documenting this day I'm inspired by some light or by some wonderful details, I will photograph them. I will not photograph them though, just for the sake of getting the shot.”
While she hasn't been at it long, Heron's attitude toward her work has proven productive. One of her photos recently made the Junebug Best of the Best 2012 list. It was one of 50 photos chosen from a field of 7,000.
“I'm still in utter shock about it all,” Heron said. After only shooting professionally for two years, the local shutterbug felt she wasn't ready to enter to win “one of the most prestigious international wedding photography awards in the world.”
On a whim, she submitted some work, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
“My little picture — it was there amongst all my great friends and idols in photography,” she said. “I hope I never forget that moment.”
The prize picture was shot in Playa del Carmen, Mexico at an eco-resort called Xcaret.
“It's quite a fabulous and elaborate place,” Heron said.
She recalled the weather being dim — torrential downpours and gusty winds added to the mood. The fleck of light in the photo comes from the videographer's camera.
Another photographer was shooting from the alter in front of the couple, while Heron captured what he couldn't see.
“Because of the storm there were high winds and the brides dress and veil kept having to be rescued and rearranged by the bridesmaids,” Heron said.
“It created some wonderful movement and moments. This was one moment just before she picked up her train and shook it out. I love it because it's the before moment. I also have a shot of her with it in her hand, but this shot is just so graceful. It's the anticipation of her touching it that is so wonderful. I love this moment.”
Receiving such a prestigious award was a reaffirmation that Heron is on the right path, even in the early stages of her career.
“All my hard work has paid off,” she said. “It shows me I'm moving in the right direction, following my heart and my passion. There have been moments that people thought I was crazy, like when I left my full-time job. Sometimes that self doubt creeps in — this just reaffirms that I'm doing what I should be doing.”
In the last two years, Heron has networked extensively and taken many courses and workshops to develop her craft. She said she is looking forward to capturing many more moments before hanging up her camera.
For more information about the photographer, visit www.shaunaheron.com.