It’s #MangoMonday again and I can’t wait to introduce you our candid wedding photographer, Tyler! Honestly, I can’t believe how many talented people we have here at the Studio, it really blows my mind! Not only do we learn a great deal from each other, but we also keep each other inspired. Tyler has experienced the Mango spirit first hand, for he is a wedding industry veteran, widely sought-after photographer and MANGO’s Creative Director. Tyler is known for his great sense of humour and his signature super-ninja-stealth mode style of coverage. Tyler is so much fun and easy to be around on a wedding day. As a husband, father of two adorable sons and cat (Sparks), he knows the importance of documenting life’s most important moments. Tyler has created striking images for Oliver & Bonacini, Garrison Bespoke, Soho House Toronto, Momofuku, and many professional athletes. His work is often admired in Toronto Life, Style Me Pretty, The Knot, Weddingbells, and Wedluxe Magazine. Tyler loves to travel and has photographed couples all over Canada, the US, and Caribbean. Some of his favourite spots are in California, NY, Mexico, sunny Miami and the Bahamas.
When did your interest in photography begin?
I was a camera enthusiast looking for ways to develop my craft, and went on a humanitarian trip where I brought my camera to document the whole experience. I fell in love with telling people’s stories, and when I got home all I wanted to do was document people, their adventures, and everything that connected us to each other. A little while later, I got married, and found that telling stories about love and being a part of someone else’s wedding day was food for my soul.
What photographer/artist are you most greatly inspired by in your work and why?
Currently, I’m really digging Norman Jean Roy. He’s a younger photographer that still shoots film for his fashion and editorial work. He’s a master of the one-light setup for portraits, and his images have a real cinematic feel to them. I was recently gifted a book called “Traffik” where Norman is raising awareness about human trafficking and documenting these women in Cambodia who are rehabilitating from the sex trade. Super heavy read, but among many things it drives home a solid point – there’s a lot of power in a single image.
As a candid wedding photographer, what is your favourite part of a wedding day?
I still love the hustle, bustle, and anxiety of the morning prep. There’s so much going on, and you really have to be on your toes to make sure everything is covered. I imagine the prep or maybe the family portrait section is as close as I’ll get to being a war photographer. Mmmmmmm, chaos.
Do you have any pre-wedding day rituals?
I spend as much time with my family as possible, and watch my wife iron my dress clothes – because, an iron in my hands is a death sentence to fabric everywhere. Also, a good coffee is super important – I don’t subscribe to the “coffee snob” label but some people just need to take their aeropress everywhere – even on flights, where I can hand grind my favourite beans and … ok too far.
Some might describe your style as cinematic, photo journalistic and authentic. Do you agree with that description?
That’s exactly what we’re going for! I’ve also been told that there’s a hint of ‘whimsy’ in there. We strive to capture those moments in-between, the good stuff that can sometimes get missed. We’re “professional people-watchers”, and a lot of the time I feel like our photos reflect an organic connection that we have with people.
At the Studio, you’re responsible for training and educating up and coming photographers on wedding photography. Has it influenced the way you shoot?
Ya, it’s funny – I thought for sure I would’ve become super jaded to the wedding industry by now, but being a part of each photographer’s journey here at the studio is constantly refreshing. Ultimately, our clients gravitate to how Mango sees the day, and each of our photographers have subtle differences in their visual style that I’ve absorbed over time. I think that’s the best part of this team atmosphere – by osmosis, we’re all propelled forward.
What is your photography approach on a wedding day?
Our approach is pretty organic. Nothing forced, but finessed. We’re honoured to be a part of our couples biggest day, and in everything we do we try and reflect that. We try to weave ourselves into the fabric of each family without becoming obtrusive, and pride ourselves in capturing those beautiful “moments in-between” that often get left out in a portrait driven industry.
Do you have favourite locations in Toronto to shoot?
Without sounding too creepy, I love shooting in our couples homes. Okay, that was creepy. To elaborate – I find that each home is so unique, and regardless of where it is there’s a tangible connection between each person and all the history represented in each home. I’ve taken photos in grandparent’s homes, and it’s like you’ve been transported through time and get to experience decades of each couples relationships with their family within a matter of hours. I love that.
What do you recommend to couples who are camera shy?
No need to rush. We do our best to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible, and we’re pretty sensitive to each person’s needs. Sometimes, it takes 15 minutes of just hearing the camera shutter go off before we feel the need to take the first portrait. Our photographers are good at gauging the situation and what’s needed to get the best pictures possible.
What do you think of the wedding photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
I think we’re in transition. There’s so much noise in the industry, and I feel that every photographer is just struggling to be heard right now. At Mango, our team is multi-disciplined and we’ve worked hard to cultivate an atmosphere where people can constantly grow and refine their craft. We’ve been in the industry for a long time now, and seen lots of trends come and go, and our couples don’t want to be just another Saturday, or another couple in a magazine. They want their story to be told in a unique, timeless, and relevant way that transcends the style or trend of the year.
What is your favourite wedding day memory?
It’s tough to think of just one, but there’s one that stands out to this day. The groom, patiently waiting for his bride at the altar (which happened to be in a park in downtown Toronto) while gripping an old 80’s stereo, blasting old love songs. The bride, walking down the aisle (which happened to be a sidewalk down Queen St.) with her Dad in tow and all her friends and family forming a path leading up to her husband-to-be. Seeing a ceremony stripped down like that, with so much emotion laser focussed on the couple – was truly special. I’ll never forget seeing that guy holding a ghetto-blaster with his bride walking towards him, and tears streaming down his face.
What is the number one challenge during the wedding day?
If I had to pick one thing, it would be finding quality light. With quality light, it can be the difference between an image being good or great. A great image is comprised of many things, one of the most important being ‘light’. After thousands of hard fought hours this concept of “finding light” just clicked for me. And … Once, I had a bride demand to know why I wasn’t present during her ceremony. After showing her some photos, she realized I was there, only I was in super-ninja-stealth mode. For the first time in my wedding photography career, my 6’3″ 225lb (ish) frame went completely unnoticed. It was a good day.
What do you love in life, beyond the lens?
My wife (Sharon) and boys (Nolan and Miles), my Fender Strat, my golf clubs, ‘good’ coffee, and this tiny bag of cherry blasters I’m devouring while answering these questions. Seriously though – I’m not allowed near your sweets table.
What is something you can’t live without and why?
It’s my wife and boys, hands down. They’re my whole world, and I love them to pieces. Ok, my wife and boys, but also my Aeropress. Travelling without quality Ethiopian coffee beans, an Aeropress, and hand grinder is bad news bears.
What do you love about being a part of MANGO Studios team?
There’s no shortage of new things to learn. The Mango team keeps each other pretty sharp, and I’ve benefitted from that on a personal and technical level.