Fireside Chat with Tara Whittaker Photography

posted by Sharon Auld

Today I would like to introduce a talented photographer, Tara Whittaker of Tara Whittaker Photography! Tara’s a photographer and stylist living in Calgary, Alberta but she also photographs weddings in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise areas).

I’ve known Tara for a couple of years now and have been fortunate to work with her on several occasions. We’ve done some fun collaborations together too. She’s smart, organized, energetic and always a lot of fun! She’s also super creative and you can count on her to always have interesting projects on the go!

Tara-Whittaker-PhotographyTell us a little about your background. What did you study and what path led you to what you are doing today?

I became interested in photography after high school and have been taking pictures ever since. I focused a lot on landscape and still life photography and had some shows in local galleries. The transition to wedding photography happened when some friends twisted my arm to take their wedding photographs. In preparation for that, I took a wedding photography workshop with Bebb Studios. It was like a light came on and I thought to myself “I could really do this”.

What 3 words best describe your photography style or business?

Fresh, Luminous, Playful.

Photo by Tara-Whittaker-PhotographyWhen you combine your photography style and your personality, what’s the result?

I approach every wedding with an ideal blend of photojournalism and impeccably styled imagery, while bringing along my own sense of fun and originality.


What makes your business different? 

My photography menu includes a few services that are unique in the wedding photography market. One is an option for couples to “style up their shoot”. It’s for couples that want to add a little something special to their engagement session. Here’s an example:

Katherine & Tyler had fond memories of movies in the park while travelling in Europe and decided on a rooftop movie night, complete with popcorn under the stars.

I’ll take an idea, develop the concept, create an inspiration board, plan hair and make-up, assist with wardrobe planning, scout for the ideal location and throw in the perfect props. The sky is the limit!

I also offer one-of-a-kind stop motion videos that can be used as save-the-dates or as wedding reception entertainment. They are a hit with friends and family and couples have a ball in the process. I help plan the video, down to the last detail including concept, hair & make-up, wardrobe assistance, prop scouting & location fees.  A Venetian-themed save-the-date was the perfect way for Michelle and Chris to introduce their upcoming Italian wedding.

How important is customer care in your business?

From the very first email until the wedding album is delivered, my couples can expect to be treated like my highest priority. My communication is prompt, my style relaxed and couples will feel completely pampered throughout the process.  I walk my brides and grooms through the entire process, ensuring that their wedding images are better than they ever imagined. It’s very important to me that my customers are completely satisfied with their wedding photography.  In order to ensure photographic excellence and incomparable customer service, I accept a limited number of wedding commissions per year.

Who makes a great Tara Whittaker Photography client?

When I look back at my brides from 2014, they were all completely different.  Some weddings were big, some small. Some weddings were glamorous and others rustic. I think the common thread would be that they saw what I’m able to do creatively and trusted me to do it.

Having got to know you over the past year or so, I see you as a very creative person. Where did that creative spark come from?

I come from a creative and entrepreneurial family. My Mother honed in on some of my skills early on and pushed me to pursue them, even when a more traditional route seemed easier. The two of us spent hours brainstorming.

Who inspires you?

I’m a huge fan of Grace Coddington, Creative Director for Vogue.  I love flipping through Vogue and seeing the way she brings the clothes to life and creates a story. When you look at her shoots, they have a very cinematic feel.

On a more personal note, I’ve also come to appreciate my Dad’s love for the underdog. It usually relates to sports teams but has also applied to fledgling photographers.

What has been one or two of your favourite projects over the past couple of years?

A highlight from this past summer was shooting Deb & Mike’s wedding in 100% photojournalistic style. A lot of couples say they want a photojournalistic feel but these two meant business. They wanted to capture the emotion and celebratory spirit of the day, without taking any time away from their guests.  We had no family formals and no couple’s session. It was challenging and invigorating, all at the same time.

One of the projects I’m most proud of is a Tuscan inspiration shoot at Cilantro Restaurant.  It had everything from Limoncello to a getaway Vespa.

Can you list a couple of resources across any media that you turn to for inspiration?

Cinema is a major influence for me.  Some movies are so beautifully shot that I find them mesmerizing to watch.  One of my favourite directors is Joe Wright.  You might know his work from Price & Prejudice (the 2005 version) and Anna Karenina (2012).  I enjoy the way he uses light and color in his movies.  A few other favourites in terms of cinematography, are The Godfather and the King’s Speech.

I get a lot of inspiration from my travels. I like to soak up everything from the landscapes to the city streets. Last Christmas, I got the idea to do shoe week  while admiring shop windows in Union Square, San Francisco. I’m headed to Australia and am looking forward to discovering a new place.

What would your dream project or collaboration be?

I was waiting for the call from George Clooney to photograph his wedding in Venice. Oh well…

I’ve always had a secret crush on Darcy Miller, Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings. It would be a dream to work on a project with Darcy and be featured in MSW.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?

Good question. I think I would probably be doing something in a related field but I would definitely want to remain self-employed.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning (when you don’t have a wedding to shoot)?

One thing is for sure, I would have a latte in my hand. I love spending time with my niece and nephews. High adventure ensues when we hang out.

Photo by Tara-Whittaker-Photography

A huge thank you to Tara for taking the time to chat with us today! We hope you enjoyed our very first “Fireside Chat” with her today. Tara is also a member of our Wedding Directory.


  • December 19, 2014 - 10:53 pm

    Bonnie - What a wonderful glimpse into a fabulous artist! Tara is a unique, fresh and inspired photographer and I was lucky enough to have her shoot our engagement, wedding and first year anniversary photos!ReplyCancel