Destination Wedding Photographer: Amanda

It’s #MangoMonday and I’d love to introduce you to our destination wedding photographer, Amanda. With a BA in Fine Arts from Ryerson, Amanda has extensive experience as a photographer, editor, keynote speaker and archivist.  A heavy hitter in Toronto’s arts and photography community, Amanda has curated numerous exhibits across the city. A former editor of Hello! Magazine, Amanda has an eye for creating magazine worthy images. Her work has been featured in the pages of Weddingbells and Wedluxe Magazine. Amanda’s couples love having her document exotic wedding destinations – most recently she worked on the islands of St. Martin, Bahamas, and Anguilla.

How did your interest in photography begin?

I first got interested in photography while taking a fine art class in high school. It gave me unlimited access to a small darkroom and all the free black and white film I wanted! I loved the whole process of film photography and working in the darkroom and it quickly became a new creative outlet for me.

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

My inspiration comes from all over. I am constantly in awe of and inspired by other artists. A few of my favourite photographers are Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, Bill Brandt, Josef Sudek and Andre Kertesz. When I was in University Sally Mann caught my attention and has since been a strong influence. Mann photographs what she loves, whether it be her family or her land. No matter how simple the subject, each photo seems to represent a much deeper and complex theme.                                                                     

As a destination wedding photographer, what is your favourite part of a wedding day?

I find photographing weddings at destinations can be a little different as I really become part of the experience. Most of the time I am traveling with the couple or their guests and getting to know them on a more personal level over several days. (i.e. eating with them, staying at the same hotel or going for an early morning swim with Aunt Sue 🙂 etc). I get a really close and multifaceted experience with the couple and their loved ones. This immersion into the families life makes capturing the candid moments between family and friends one of my favourite parts of the wedding day. Destination weddings really seem to bring everyone together and produce an outpouring of genuine emotions.

What is your favourite wedding day memory?    

There have been so many great memories that it’s hard to pick a favourite. The common element would have to be that they all evoke powerful emotions. For example, I remember one creative session during the magic hour – just at the height of sunset – when the light was slowly dipping below the trees as the bride and groom walked into the sunset holding hands. It was a candid and quiet moment shared by the couple just when the quality and beauty of the light was at its most intense, and I think that the image really captured their love and joy.

What is something you can’t live without and why?

I hate to admit it, but I can’t live without my IPhone. It provides me with instant access to so many thing I need when on the go.

What do you love in life, beyond the lens?

I love my neighbourhood, Kensington Market. I’ve lived here for ten years and I love the people, the unique culture and the independent stores that I enjoy supporting. I love dogs, including all dogs of all sizes at any time :). I also love biking around the city.

Do you have any pre-wedding day rituals?

So my pre-wedding “ritual” is more of an “organizational system”. I remove everything from my bag and meticulously re-pack all the gear I need. It must all fit into one bag no matter what as I like to be portable and want everything available as I travel between locations during the wedding day.

What do you like about being a destination wedding photographer?

Photographing weddings on destinations in part keeps me inspired because of the new environments. I feel grateful to be able to explore these beautiful locations, learn new or unique details about the place, and develop a feel for the unique possibilities that different light conditions offer. At Mango we always travel to a destination wedding early to explore the area, get a feel for it and to find inspiration for our wedding photographs.

What is your photography approach on a wedding day?

On the wedding day I like to take a simple approach by capturing photographs that are true to the moments and people. I want your images to help you remember the day and feeling.

Some might describe your style as natural, clean and elegant. Is that a good characterization?

I would say that’s a good description as I love to shoot in a style that comes naturally. I like to create a story by representing the moments that unfold throughout the day. The clean and elegant feel comes from keeping my eye out for the in-between moments that are already happening and framing them in a simple but evocative way.

Do you have any favourite locations in Toronto to shoot?

My favourite in the city would be the University of Toronto campus. There’s lots of simple tones and a variety of architectural forms and details there that provide visual interest and make a great setting for creative portrait sessions.

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

I tell people that they shouldn’t try to force themselves to create images that are going to match up to expectations that they’ve have for how they’re going to look. They can take their time and enjoy just being with each other because I am going to take a lot of photos and there will be many that are stunning. This helps couples relax and lets me capture those candid in-between moments that will give them beautiful memories for many years after the day.

You’ve photographed numerous destination weddings together with Mango Studios. What is your number one piece of advice for someone planning a destination wedding?

Planning a wedding remotely can be very difficult and stressful with language and time differences. So, start the planning process early and hire a wedding planner that is experienced with the area where you want to get married. Having a photographer who is experienced in destination weddings also helps, and at Mango we are very good at it! 🙂

What’s the cutest thing on planet Earth?

My dog Ziggy!

What do you love about being a part of MANGO?

The team is just amazing. It’s really nice working alongside lots of other creatives who are all enjoying what they do and are great resources. We share experiences and tips with one another (along with lots of coffee and food) so everyone is always improving their practice as a result. It keeps me inspired to work hard and hone my craft.