Derek Hui is an established photographer with operations based in the Greater Toronto Area. Specializing in lifestyle and wedding photography, we here at SDE Weddings, Toronto’s premier wedding videography, cinematography and photobooth group, have often encountered Derek in his natural habitat; right inside the hustle and bustle of the most hectic of wedding settings, collecting snapshot after snapshot of perfect pictures for the beloved bride and groom. An avid fan of fine art and photo-journalism, Derek found his calling in photography rather by chance, though it’s no random miracle that Derek’s skill in photography has taken him on a journey through the inner world of weddings, experiencing alongside our videographers and cinematographers here at SDE Weddings many-a-moment of marriages made complete.
We caught up with Derek in between his busy schedule of bridal shoots to ask him a few pertinent photography questions, and to get to know a little bit about himself and what it’s like to be a photographer. Being a storyteller-at-heart through his work, we were interested in Derek’s very own story; what brought him into photography, how he began this journey, what’s keeping him going, and what pointers if any can he give to aspiring photographers and indeed anyone interested in the wedding industry. Scroll further and learn a thing or two about what it’s like behind the lens.
“It still surprises me how I ended up here, finding something I love, and doing it for a living”
Derek, more or less, fell into the calling of professional photography by chance. A graduate of Economics & Criminology from the University of Waterloo, Derek brought his keen eye and analytic skills to an art he loved the most. “It still surprises me how I ended up here, finding something I love, and doing it for a living.” Starting from the bottom, with an amateur Nikon DSLR purchased humbly through his Air-Miles reward miles, Derek has since built up his repertoire, experience and portfolio to one that is widely demanded throughout Toronto’s wedding industry. In a bit of an ironic twist, his first Air-Miles investment of a camera has brought him full circle; as years later he’s made himself available not only for wedding work here in Toronto, but also for destination assignments worldwide.
“Feel more, think less” is Derek Hui’s mantra when it comes to photography, and are the few but powerful words of advice he gives for aspiring photographers looking into entering the industry. Having worked in professional photography for three years, Derek has several bits of wedding advice to share with us. In terms of the scenes Derek aims in capturing through his photography; “The in-between and off-beat moments that happen just before or after epic moments. […] are the moments we truly are ourselves and to be able to capture that is priceless.”
“Intimacy is Key”
For an ideal wedding to work on, Derek is still dreaming big. When asked to describe his “dream wedding”, or what he’d picture his own wedding to be like, Derek had a rather interesting response. “My dream wedding is to have a ceremony on a cliff, with only 20 or 30 of our closest friends present. No distractions, no phones, no reception. Everyone completely in sync and in the moment together. Intimacy is key.” True to his heart, Derek has a penchant for ‘pure’ moments captured in film, detached from external influence and focused entirely on the subject. Such a perspective for photography, emphasizing ‘intimacy’, is a key theme for Derek, and one he’s learned to embrace through the three years he’s worked behind the lens.
Naming a single favourite wedding moment out of the many Derek has worked on wasn’t easy, and indeed, Derek’s work seems inspired from all his past assignments. “I’ve teared up too many times at too many weddings to label a specific moment. I just love working with genuinely great and awesome humans.”. On the subject of inspiration, Derek draws from his personal relationships the most. “I have some of the greatest and most talented friends ever, they always inspire me.” Naming what draws him to the works of other photographers, artists and people in general, the pervailing theme is transparency; “The thing that draws me to anybody’s work (or any human in general) is honesty and openness.” Indeed, ‘honesty and openness’ is one of the facets of people that Derek values most, and seeks to cultivate in himself through his work. For his goals, Derek wishes “[…] to continue to be open and honest, and have an absolute blast living life.””
From his love of travel, laughter, of friendships and intimacy, Derek’s sights have seen life through the lenses, giving him a unique perspective which he takes with him in his photography. We here at SDE Weddings, Toronto’s premier wedding videography, cinematography and photobooth group, have learned a lot from our talk with Derek, learning how a colleague in our industry views their art and what they aim for. We wish Derek the best in his future, and hope that you too have learned a thing or two about the world behind the camera.
Derek Hui’s website derekhui.com