It’s #MangoMonday and I would love to introduce you our editorial wedding photographer, Ayyyna. I love that our Mango Family is so diverse and multicultural. I believe that having so many talented people from all over the world pushes our craft forward and inspired us to find new angles and point of views. Taking after her Grandfather, a photojournalist in Russia, Ayyyna inevitably fell in love with photography. For her, the most important things in life are people, community, and creativity. As a photographer, Ayyyna is able to live those passions through her work. Her photojournalistic and editorial style allowed her to work with L’Oreal Canada, Hart House, and emerging Canadian fashion talent at Ryerson’s School of Fashion. Ayyyna loves to listen to her couple’s stories and build meaningful connections. Her work has been featured in print magazines and in galleries across Russia and Canada and most recently she was featured in Weddingbells Magazine.
What or who got you started in photography?
My grandfather passed away when I was 1 year old, so unfortunately I didn’t really got to know him. However, we always had his cameras and his printed work scattered around my grandmother’s house and it always fascinated me. It strikes me how a memory of someone lives through their work. I guess this thought really stroke a chord with me, and I grew into loving photography.
What photographer/artist are you most greatly influenced/inspired by in your work and why?
I admire Peter Lindbergh and his female portraits. His women portraits are very feminine and fragile, yet fierce and fearless – love it! I’m also a big cinemaholic, so I’m very inspired by cinematic aspect of photography. Weddings are all about storytelling so it’s a great fit. I also love all things mid-century furniture and art, so if you love them too – hit me up!
As a wedding photographer, what part of the wedding day are you most excited about?
I’m always looking forward to a portrait session with a couple. It tends to be a quiet, relaxed time when a couple can finally start enjoying their day and the company of each other. Out of all the thrill and excitement of the day, a couple’s portrait session is often the only time where the couple is left alone and has a room to breathe. I like taking this time slowly and focusing on their portraits. Most importantly, I’m trying to make them laugh and be themselves. As it shows, laughing shots taken in between the moments are usually the best ones!
What do you like about being a wedding photographer?
I love the idea of photography being a tool that brings people together, from online to offline. We live in such a digital world, and wedding photography is one of those things that connects the two worlds – real and digital. The idea that memories from this very real moments will live on digitally, and hopefully, will be printed and framed is something I’m very passionate about.
What is your favourite wedding day memory?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one – but in general I love seeing your grandma’s and grandpa’s shaking it off on the dancefloor! They always look so young when they dance, do they? It’s adorable.
Do you have any pre-wedding-day rituals?
I make sure I drink plenty of water and get my energy bars at the local market. There’s a thing called photographer’s post-wedding day hangover due to lack of hydration, and it’s very real! So I make sure I have plenty of water on me.
Do you create personal work often?
Photography is my biggest passion and I can’t imagine myself without it. I love taking portraits of my good friends. Luckily, for some mysterious reason they are all super charming and photogenic, so it’s easy. I’m also into fashion and you can find me collaborating on fashion shoots on my days off! It’s a good opportunity to sharpen my skills, learn new tricks and explore the city.
Some might describe your style as clean, editorial and elegant. Is that a good characterization?
Gees, I guess it’s good! I genuinely think that every person is beautiful and it helps me to see beauty in every person I work with. One of my biggest passions is to show how beautiful you are. Because nothing can compare to that empowerment and inspiration the self expression can give – both behind a camera and in front.
Do you have any favourite locations in Toronto to shoot?
I love the city’s vibe and energy. One of my favourite things is when my couples ask for downtown, urban photos. At those moments I go: Wowza! Let’s do it!
What do you recommend for couples who are shy in front of the camera?
I know how awkward it might feel when you’re in front of the lens. All of a sudden you become very self-conscious. To take the edge off, I often encourage my couples to channel their inner superstar. Just ask yourself: What would Beyonce do? In all seriousness, I’m a big believer that your good mood and positive thoughts reflect in your portraits – and there’s no shortage of that during your wedding day, so let your happiness radiate – it’ll show in your wedding pictures!
At the Studio, you’re dealing with content creation and social media. Have you noticed any photographic trends lately and what are they?
No couple is alike, so every wedding is unique. However, I noticed there is a big trend towards smaller scale, intimate weddings. I think it’s great because weddings should be all about you, and people and things you love in your life. Incorporating your personal taste and details that only your close people will “get” is cool. Weddings are meant to be sacred, personal celebrations, and I love it when my couples think so too.
What do you love in life, beyond the lens?
There’s nothing like a well prepared meal paired with a decent bottle of Spanish wine and good friends and family.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Can’t live without iPhone reminders and to-do notifications. Without them my life would get pretty hectic.
What was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt?
My husband makes me laugh all the time, whether intentionally or not. It’s never a dull moment!
What do you love about being a part of MANGO?
I love how supportive and welcoming everyone is. I also love the honesty whether it’s a friendly feedback session or a way of conducting business in general. We always learn from, and inspire each other, pushing to grow and develop, both personally and professionally. I also love all the treats we receive from happy clients. Keep those doughnuts coming! 🙂