Once your wedding day is said and done, It is your pictures that will tell the story for years to come, so not just any photographer will do. You have to choose one that best suits your personality and style. Today I am excited to share with you an interview I did with Toronto wedding photographer Raph Nogal Photography. I had the pleasure of working with him on numerous weddings and I find his images to be creative, unique and emotional. Pair that with Raph's outgoing and friendly personality and you get images that are truly beautiful.
Read below to enjoy a sampling of his images and learn more about the man behind the lens.
When and how did you get into the wedding industry?
My photography journey started on my honeymoon in Costa Rica in 2007. I had previously been a Fine Art student but eventually moved into the sciences throughout university and so my interest with visual arts was a bit dormant. Costa Rica, however, brought back that love and passion for the arts. I grabbed my camera and became a super-tourist throughout the trip. I took photos of everything.
One evening during sunset I turned my camera on to the “manual” setting. The first few photos didn’t look that great but about 10 minutes with tinkering around, I created an image I was proud of; It was full of drama - I was in love.
Upon my return to Toronto I picked up my dad’s old film camera and a few months later in 2008, I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D40) - and the obsession began.
At every opportunity at my desk job (environmental consulting) I was busy looking through photography blogs, websites and finding photography educational content. As the months went on and I brought my art to the world through Facebook/social media, I started getting requests. Eventually people started asking me to photograph for them and it turned into a small part-time gig. I also joined a staff of concert photographers for an online magazine as well as started photographing live theatre performances.
Eventually the part time grew into another full time job. I carried these two jobs (consulting and photography) simultaneously for 2 years and eventually quit my consulting job to pursue photography full time. Then one day, I was asked to photograph a wedding…
How long have you been photographing weddings?
I photographed my first wedding in 2008. Friends of my wife wanted to give me a shot at weddings. I had no experience and they had no expectations. It worked out. Shortly after their wedding, their friends hired me, and the ball kept rolling. I’m now celebrating my 10th year in business and I’m so thankful for the journey I’ve had so far and so looking forward what the future will bring.
Where are you based out of and where do you meet clients?
I’m based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada but have photographed weddings all over the place within Ontario and worldwide. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing destination weddings in Thailand, United States, Mexico, Honduras and more.
I have a studio in the west end of Toronto, where I meet with with potential clients as well as current clients for image pickups, consultations and album design meetings.
What makes you stand apart from other photographers?
From what I hear from clients, my visual style is something that sets me apart. I love dramatic images with a cinematic feel, the hero-shots. I love vibrant colours, contrast and negative space in images. I also love the realness and rawness of a wedding day. The emotions, the laughter and the tears. Making my clients look their best is a priority but also capturing who they are is even more important.
I also think that my experience is what sets me apart. With over 10 years of photographing weddings I know how to deal with every situation… and often this is outside of “taking pictures” - its about managing expectations, managing people, making things happen for our clients when things are not going right. Ultimately that is why a professional photographer is so important - they pull through when disaster strikes.
Another unique thing about me is my involvement within the photographic industry. I’m one one of two ambassadors of Profoto Canada, which is the world’s top manufacturer of lighting equipment. I’m also an ambassador for other photo-related companies such as MagMod and Spider Holster. I also teach workshops and often do presentations and demos at photography conferences in Canada and United States.
I’m also a 24-time award winner in the most prestigious photography association, WPPI, which stands for Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. These awards are earned based on the images themselves, not votes from friends like other “contests”. These are peer-judged competitions with qualified international judges. I’m very proud of these accomplishments and challenge myself at WPPI, Fearless Photographers, ISPWP and other associations as well. I think the desire to compete and constantly improve and challenge myself is always a good thing.
What's your style?
I would best describe my style as a combination of art-focused editorial with a combination of photojournalism. I think parts of the wedding day lend themselves naturally to be photographed without any input from the photographer - pure photojournalism, while other parts demand the photographer take control and direct the subjects… otherwise we’re just going to stand there and look funny at each other. Saying “ok guys, go be natural” would be extremely silly :)
What do you love most about weddings and what you do?
The organized chaos is what keeps me coming back. I love seeing the stories unfold in front of me on a wedding day. I also love the ability to give something special to my clients. Sometimes it’s that photograph a couple’s glance at each other, which brings back a feeling of the day. Sometimes it’s a photo of a loved one, who a few days/weeks/months/years is no longer with us. The ability to give something like this to my clients is what I love the most about this career. It allows me to be creative, to experiment and also to give.
All images in this post are courtesy of Raph Nogal Photograhy.
To see more of Raph's work please visit https://raphnogal.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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