Candid Wedding Photographer: Lauren

It’s #MangoMonday and I’m excited to introduce you to our candid wedding photographer, Lauren. She is smart, talented and super fun to hang around with! Her constant curiosity for the “whys” and “hows” lead her to study science at McMaster University, earning a bachelor of Life Sciences. She spent five years extracting stem cells from umbilical-cord blood before deciding to dive into photography. Lauren worked towards becoming a visionary image-maker at the Humber Creative Photography program. In the studio, she’s one of the team’s talented proofers and album designers. When it comes to wedding photography, it’s all about the process for Lauren. She enjoys the planning and meticulous prep work required to plan wedding shoots, but also strives to find genuine moments to capture. Over time, she’s found that a rock-solid process helps capture both staged and spontaneous moments. Lauren loves making her couples feel relaxed while keeping things fun.

What or who got you started in photography?

I have been interested in the arts from an early age. As a child, I would occupy my time by making films, taking photos, cutting collages, finding rocks to paint, or pressing flowers, for example – just taking something and making it permanent. Having taken a media arts class in high school, I started thinking about photos more critically and found it rewarding to construct an image that I had envisioned in my head. Three years ago, I decided to make the leap to photography full time by quitting by day job and going back to school.

What photographer/artist are you most greatly influenced/inspired by in your work and why?

Inspiration can be found from anywhere. I find I’m inspired by all sorts of things: nature, music, architecture, experiences, people I meet, places I go. It’s always changing. I often find inspiration from films – Wong Kar Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’ is a dazzling 90 minutes of composition and colour. I recently watched Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’ and was in awe of the emotion evoked by the images on the screen.

As a candid wedding photographer, what part of the wedding day are you most excited about?

I like the getting ready section of the day. It’s usually just close family and friends around, often in a family home. It’s easy to get a sense of what someone is like when you are in their home: family photos on the wall, magnets from various trips on the fridge. There’s always a lot of laughter and bustling energy. There are so many small details and candid moments to capture. It’s the beginning of the day and you’re able to set up an intention for how the rest of the day will proceed.

What do you like about being a wedding photographer?

Being part of a special time in someone’s life. It can feel like a lot of pressure, but it’s also a great honor to be given the responsibility of trying to capture to essence of the day. You hope that when the bride and groom and their family look back at the photos, they’ll be able to re-experience the emotions and moments from the images you created.

What is your favourite wedding day memory?

Driving around with a bride and groom on a mountain top in Colorado, scouting portrait locations as the sun was showing itself from behind the clouds for the first time all day.

Do you have any pre-wedding-day rituals?

I get my equipment lined up at the door the night before and check it about 5 times before it’s time to leave. This may seem like overkill, but I’d probably forget something if I didn’t. On the morning of, I try to make time for a big breakfast, a lot of water and a cocktail of vitamins.

Do you create personal work often?

I try to create personal work as often as I can but still not often enough. My personal work approach is very different from my work with MANGO, but the two lend themselves to each other. I tend to make images in situations where I have great control and can spend time agonizing over small details. I enjoy character studies and essays on color and light.

Some might describe your style as conceptual, photojournalistic and timeless. Is that a good characterization?

That would be a flattering characterization. My personal work often has a conceptual stance and it would be nice to try to bring some of that to my work at MANGO. When it comes to wedding photography, I try to capture beautiful images that capture a true essence of the people and things I am photographing while being mindful of good design and having a unique perspective.

Do you have any favourite locations in Toronto to shoot?

I like shooting in the financial district when the sun is low and the light is reflecting between the glass buildings. A bride and groom caught in a pocket of light that is bouncing onto pavement makes for a beautiful image.

What do you recommend for couples who are shy in front of the camera?

Try to be in the moment. The goal is to come across as natural as possible in the photos, so I recommend actually laughing out loud to create a natural smile. Connect with your wife or husband to be and create a real moment.

At the Studio, you’re working with printed photo albums. Why is it so important to have printed photos of your wedding day?

Having an object to hold in your hand allows for an active experience rather than passively viewing images on a computer screen. Printed photos are permanent and can be passed down from family members, experienced the same way years later. There’s also an intention set out when selecting photos for a large art piece or creating an album; it has been designed to create a particular experience.

What do you love in life, beyond the lens?

Reminiscing, learning, entertaining and sharing those things with people I love. Also: jokes, forest therapy, podcasts and Shark Week.

What is something you can’t live without?

Humour. I’m able to find it in any situation, and it’s often necessary to break the tension or just to keep sane.

What do you love about being a part of MANGO?

I like being a part of a community of people who strive for greatness. In all aspects of MANGO, we are trying our best. This fosters a culture that perpetuates inspiration and creativity. Every day, I’m learning from the talented people around me and I can only hope that I’m able to contribute.