Blogs (Media Centre)


TAFE NSW Wollongong


Wollongong photographer and TAFE NSW graduate Ryan Bonacina has his sights set on a slice of a $4.3 billion dollar wedding photography industry.

Thanks to his ‘amazing’ experience at TAFE NSW Wollongong and his outstanding talents, Ryan at the age of 24 launched his own wedding photography business and landed himself a role at renowned PhotoMart in Barrack Heights while still studying at TAFE NSW Wollongong.

A recent report detailed how the pandemic created the largest decrease ever in the annual number of marriages, dropping by 30.6 per cent during covid with only 78,000 happening in 2020. However, projections are looking up with 500,000 weddings planned across Australia in the next three years.

Ryan Bonacina said “TAFE NSW allowed me to change my career to something I love, from working in the mines to capturing peoples weddings. A friend from the course and I launched our own business called Blackbird Studios.”

“TAFE NSW has been amazing, working with teachers that work in the field meaning you got inside tips and tricks and advice on how to better your craft and were always able to point you in the right direction.

“Through TAFE NSW I landed a role at Photomart. It gave me great insights into how to produce better my work, especially when shooting weddings and I met and shared stories with lots of other wedding photographers.”

Ryan developed his practical photography skills by studying a Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging at TAFE NSW Wollongong.

“I started taking photos because I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it, but TAFE NSW gave me the hands-on skills to make it so much better,” said Ryan.

During his studies, Ryan overcame a number of challenges including almost every wedding being cancelled and needing to adapt to virtual classes.

“Covid made it hard to get started in the photography field with people cancelling and having to move dates around, but it was fun trying to make it work and find other ways to capture photos.

“I want to capture more weddings and try my hand at editorial work. I'd love to make photography my full-time job,” said Ryan.

TAFE NSW Wollongong Photography Teacher, Andy Zakelj said Ryan’s dedication to his studies meant that he gained key skills to excel in his career.

“Ryan brings a strong work ethic, as well as his personal attributes of drive, determination and positivity to his chosen career.

“He has learned exceptional technical skills in photography and imaging, and the collaboration and teamwork that was crucial to his course completion will stand Ryan in good stead as he enters the industry and progresses his business.

“Ryan is a perfect example of students coming to TAFE NSW to realise their dream, reinvent themselves and start their own business,” Andy said.

For more information about photography and imaging courses available at TAFE NSW, visit or phone 131 601.