We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Sansudsavat and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
As someone who travels a lot, I used to think that what made me happy was traveling the world and seeing new places. But I now realize that it’s not really about the place I visit or the things I do, it’s about the people I meet, and how I have helped them along the way.
I combined my passion for travel and photography to help capture authentic photography for couples who value living in the moment.
A few years ago, I was in Yosemite for an elopement. My couple came up to me after we just got done with our elopement experience and gave me a literal speech about how much of an impact I had on their wedding day and how lucky they were to have me as their wedding photographer… I started tearing up…
As a wedding photographer, I used to think that taking the most beautiful images would bring me the most happiness; but that’s not true. It’s the people that I serve in those photos that bring me the most happiness. Getting to see how in love the couples are in front of my camera, capturing those moments, and giving the memories back to them is one of the most rewarding things ever.
The reason I say all this is because life is precious, and it can be taken from us at any moment. I learned that the hard way.
On a random Wednesday afternoon, one of my army brothers passes away unexpectedly. And although we were very close, I didn’t have any photos of those good memories. We were busy living life in the moment and never paused to snap a photo. As time went by, I felt like I was losing more and more of our good memories…
(dang… that got dark really fast, sorry)
I don’t want anyone to experience that feeling of not having real photographs to look back on. So after years of mastering landscape & travel photography, I pivoted to weddings, and everything just clicked.
My purpose is to give people tangible memories while allowing them to live in the moment so that when they look back on their life, they’ll remember all the good moments long after they’re gone.
And that’s why it makes me so happy when people tell me how much my photographs mean to them. Even if you give me a billion dollars right now, I probably would still be taking wedding photos.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
You know, there are a lot of talented photographers out there. However, what sets me apart from others is my approach to photography. I take pride in prioritizing my couples’ experiences. It is much more important that my couples are having a great time on the wedding day than for me to give them the most epic photographs. Because of this, I get to know them before their wedding day, and help them build a wedding timeline that fits their personalities. During the wedding, I’d have them naturally interact with each other and be themselves. I prioritize direction over posing, keeping the interaction fun and light before bringing them closer for more intimate images. That’s how you capture real, authentic emotions that people will cherish, and that will lead to more meaningful wedding photographs.
Looking back at it now, it definitely was quite a journey starting my business. I started my Fearless Wedding & Elopement in 2020 during the pandemic. I was working as an EMT and I had $40K of credit card debt that I had to pay off within a year, so I had to work 70-90hrs per week while working on my photography business. Overcoming that period of my life/business was a huge challenge, but it also taught me the value of hard work and discipline.
What I’ve learned in business is that you will never get paid more than you do. If you don’t do more than you’re paid, you will not be successful. It’s about giving 110% in everything that you do. Even though my rate is higher than most photographers in the area, the value that my couples receive from working with me is more than what they paid. I’m also constantly learning and improving myself, and my wedding photography business, so I can best serve my couples.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friends are to visit Phoenix, I would totally recommend that they stay at Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town and hit up Outrider Rooftop Lounge during the day. Then, I would take them to South Mountain in my camper van. We’d make a charcuterie board and watch an epic sunset from the top. Once it starts getting late, we would go to RA Sushi Bar in Scottsdale around the Hilton Hotel!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a big shoutout to my family. They gave me an opportunity to come to The United State to pursue a better life. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Next up, is a long list of friends and fellow photographers that have helped me along the way! My photography career would not have been where it is today if it’s not because of them.
Other: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fearlesselopement
Sam Sansudsavat – Fearless Wedding & Elopement