Juma Bannister is a wedding photographer based in Trinidad.
How long have you been a photographer?
I started shooting in School in 1998 and owned my first camera in 2003. However, I did my first official wedding in February 2006.
Write a few sentences about some of your accomplishments and experiences as a photographer in the Caribbean.
I have done quite a bit in my short time as a photographer but I hardly think of myself as accomplished. I was the first Trinidadian and the first Caribbean born, Caribbean based photographer to be accepted into the Wedding Photojournalist Association (wpja.com). That was in 2007 and at the time I was pretty elated about it but now that’s just the standard. It’s pretty tough to establish and distinguish yourself in such a saturated Caribbean Wedding photographer market. However, I’ve found that you could be the most talented photographer in the world but if you don’t have clear standards and values and stick to them no matter what, you’ll just be another Joe with a camera. At the end of the day, people will have photographs to remember their wedding but what will they have to remember you?
What do you enjoy most about being a wedding photographer and why?
Building relationships. I’m BIG on relationship and I believe it is more important than photography. Many brides would say that I always have a story to tell, most of them derived from personal experiences. I’m very real and most people have no choice but to be real when it comes to making a lifetime commitment. I enjoy their stories and emotion and I love being a part of their process. I just happen to be skilled in photography, if I were a pharmacist it would be no different, except I most likely wouldn’t be meeting people from all over the world.
What are some of your favourite wedding details to capture?
Interaction between people. The connection between people is the most significant and favorite part of a wedding for me. Luckily this often plays out in powerful moments that make for amazing photographs.
Who’s your most memorable Caribbean bride and why?
That’s an easy one. It’s a memorable growth milestone but I can’t talk about the bride without talking about the groom. My most memorable Caribbean couple was Tarin and Lorenzo Hodges . Why? Their wedding represented my first step into serious wedding photography. Tarin and Lorenzo gave me an opportunity to do what I knew I could. They trusted me when they really didn’t have a reason to. They gave me valuable advice that I still use today (Tarin works in finance and gave me pricing advice even though it meant that they might have to pay more). It’s the most work and preparation I’ve ever done for a wedding but I enjoyed every second. Thanks Tarin and Lorenzo.