My Journey So Far

  Gian Valdivia  is a Wedding and Portrait Photographer based in Virginia Beach, VA.  

Gian Valdivia is a Wedding and Portrait Photographer based in Virginia Beach, VA.  

My name is Gian and Virginia Beach is Home.  Fun fact -  I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and lived there until I was 11 years old.  I am 32 years old and in 2015, I said yes to forever with my love, Pattee.  You can consider me a Star Wars and Sci-Fi nerd, as well as a coffee and beer snob.  Those things all go together right?  Having grown up in the Philippines, I fell in love with the sport of Basketball.  Unfortunately, my dreams of playing in the NBA were crushed when I realize that I had stopped growing in High School at 5'4" (insert "smh" emoji here).  

My love affair with photography started back in 2008 when I picked up my first DSLR camera - A Nikon D40.  The feel of looking through the viewfinder (nerdy term alert) while pressing the shutter button to capture a moment just felt so fascinating compared to a point-and-shoot.  It felt natural to me.

In 2009, I decided to pursue photography and took a "Photography 101" class at a local community college during the winter semester while pursuing a major in Graphic Design.  I soon then discovered that my Photography Professor (Abigail Volkmann) was also a Full-Time Wedding Photographer (mind-blown).  In excitement, I approached Abigail about internship.  Long story short, I had the privilege of working with her that summer as a Second Shooter and was introduced to the lustrious Wedding Industry.  For that, I'm forever grateful! 

In 2011, at age 26, I finally purchased my first DSLR camera - The Canon 7D - and shot my first solo Wedding.  Like many of us when we first started out, it was terrifying and exciting at the same time!  I was excited to capture every moment but was also terrified that my shots would be out of focus or that I would miss the first kiss!  I shot probably one wedding that year but had my camera on me wherever I went.

As I progressed in 2012-2013, I began Second Shooting for my good friend, Catey Carey with RADIANT, while also pursuing other Weddings as Lead Photographer.  A few of my friends began to get married around that time as well and I had the honor of becoming their Wedding Photographer.  It was quite an experience and my one goal in mind was to create beautiful art and capture moments that matter.

In 2014, I was still in school part time, working full time at a "9 to 5", while still pursuing Photography.  That summer in July, I proposed to Pattee on my birthday in front of the Washington Monument in DC.  She said Yes!  Then began our one year journey of engagement.  

2015 was a year of joy and celebration amidst the chaos.  I had quit school, and was working three jobs.  I took a part-time job at Apple to save some money for the Wedding, while still working my "9 to 5" and pursuing Photography.  I shot probably four Weddings that year and several portrait sessions.  And finally on September 5th, 2015, Pattee and I celebrated our love for each other with those dear to us. 

In 2016, I ended up leaving Apple so I can focus on building my marriage with Pattee.  I still worked my "9 to 5" and continued to shoot Weddings and work with Families.  Work-Life-Balance became a challenge and Photography sort of had to take a back seat.  

2017 started out slow.  It was so slow to a point that I actually had the time to focus on capturing and creating what I really love.  It ended up becoming a year when I began to really build momentum in my business.  A year of digging deeper and figuring out my "Why."  It became a year of connection and collaboration.  A year of resourcing myself and casting fresh vision. 

So here we are today in 2018 - Nine years later when it all began.   This time, the focus is not so much about creating beautiful art - But more about building lasting relationships, loving on my clients, and capturing moments that tell their story.  

Will you be a part of my journey?