We’re so excited to bring you today’s interview from Aurora Meneghello Productions. We met Aurora back in January at a meetup with her group, Locally Grown Weddings. She loves what she does, and it shows in her work. Thank you Aurora for answering all of our questions. Can’t wait to see you again!
(Photo courtesy of Christopher MacKessy)
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I am originally from Italy and moved to Los Angeles over 13 years ago to study filmmaking. I always wanted to tell stories through pictures and soon made a switch from filmmaking to still photography. I studied 4 languages in high school (plus Italian) and photography was to me another language I wanted to master. I spent years studying it carefully, first in Los Angeles and then in San Francisco where I graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute. Once in San Francisco, I fell in love with the city and never left. Now I work here in my own businesses, Aurora Meneghello Productions and Locally Grown Weddings. I am also on the board of governance of BAIA (Business Association Italy America). I love San Francisco’s commitment to community and social and environmental change.
2. How did you get into wedding photography?
I started assisting a great wedding photographer while still in college. I wanted a photo related job working weekends because of my school schedule. In the past I had assisted a famous fashion photographer in LA and a product photographer in SF and neither field had appealed to me. But I was so impressed by all the work and know-how required by wedding photographers! Wedding photography is a highly specialized art and carries a lot of responsibilities. There’s never a chance for a re shoot, so you have to be really really good. And you have to be fast and eclectic: you need to know about natural light, artificial lighting, day, night, action, details, everything. Even though I had already been studying photography for years, I waited 5 years before launching my business, learning more and more. I wanted to make sure I could handle any situation at a wedding and could be trusted with the most amazing event.
3. What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I love photographing the wedding couple! I end up knowing them well by their wedding day and it’s like working with friends. And I am a romantic, so I love working with people in love!
4. What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
I still smile thinking of some speeches by friends and family members. I would recommend to any couple to choose carefully who gets the microphone…
5. What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
Chef Stephanie’s vegan wedding feast last summer blew me away! It was not only incredibly delicious and filling, but great for a long day full of activities. I am proud of working with her in Locally Grown Weddings.
6. What is your favorite venue and why?
I have a weakness for private residences. They make for truly unique and personal weddings and often the place itself is meaningful to a couple and part of their history together.
7. Nikon or Canon?
Since my dad bought me my first camera when I was 7, it’s always been Nikon. I love the quality of Nikon lenses too much to ever change. Go Nikon!
8. What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I would love to travel to Italy and to shoot a wedding there. That would be like a dream come true.
9. If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
John Lennon and Yoko Ono: two of my all-time heroes. That would have been really cool. I hope one day to meet Yoko Ono, she is an amazing woman and a great artist.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
The two biggest mistakes I see new photographers make are jumping into the business too soon (remember this is the most important day of somebody’s life!) and not studying business. Most small businesses fail the first year they open, and half of those that survive fail the following year. Take your time, study your craft, work hard, learn about business and build a company that will last for decades.