Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Michael from Michael Amici Wedding Photography, based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I got my start in photography while studying in Rome as a college student. My sister gave me a little point & shoot camera, the Canon Elph, and it shot APX film in panorama mode. I loved it! It was small & discreet & with it I explored Rome’s ancient streets, looking for those unexpected & fleeting moments.
See the full interview and more photos after the cut!
After graduating, I started work as a photojournalist with the Hearst Corporation in Texas. In covering the news beat for The Laredo Morning Times, I was called on to photograph politicians, sporting events, hard news & feature photography, many times on the same day, always on dead line to make it to the presses by 10 pm. It was here that I learned one of the best lessons about photography: f/8 & be there, or in layman’s terms, be ready with your camera, and ready to photograph anything. I truly had no idea what to expect before walking out the door to work & turning on my police scanner. I just knew I had to make a picture that I would be proud of & that would be worthy of printing 50,000 times on the front page. It was a responsibility I took very seriously.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I was asked to shoot an acquaintances wedding after moving to San Miguel, a popular destination wedding spot in central Mexico. I had never shot a wedding, but the bride had seen my work for the newspaper and was convinced that I would be a great wedding photographer. I am glad somebody thought so, because I was so nervous before shooting that wedding and wasn’t sure exactly what to do. What I did know was that I was going to be ready, looking for those unexpected moments, those spontaneous moments that say it all. That worked! Now, as I have shot more weddings I have learned how to direct and help out brides & grooms who may not feel completely comfortable in front of the camera; a way of helping the bride feel relaxed & confident. I have found that when my subjects feel good about themselves, they radiate that happiness to the camera, immortalizing it in a way.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I really enjoy the portrait session. It typically starts early on the wedding day, with the buzz and emotion of the ceremony just hours away. Again, it is here that the bride and groom are glowing with excitement and anticipation, making for some very emotional portraits. I also like the contrast of a bride or bride & groom in very untraditional places, and i love walking through cities and finding these quirky settings to photograph them in. A big part of what I do is make people feel comfortable. It’s not normal to walk around downtown in your wedding dress hailing a taxi, or dropping into a bar for a drink, but I have fun with that contrast and love those images.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Luckily, I haven’t run into any Bridezillas in the 100+ weddings I have photographed. I do remember a certain bride who had a few too many tequilas before the portrait session and had her make-up streaming down her face. I slowly caked out of the room saying “I’ll come back a bit later for these portraits.” It was here that I also called upon another lesson learned at the newspaper: work quickly, because nothing will happen twice. If you don’t get it the first time, you didn’t get it. SO luckily I had planned for several hours of portraits around the hacienda. Instead, she used 1.5 hours to sober up and I was able to have a pleasant 30 minute portrait session after her disco nap.
Another awkward moment happened a few years ago in front of the altar. I have seen quite a few photographers/videographers act very obnoxious in front of the altar, almost elbowing the priest out of the way to get a shot. I dislike this approach very much, as I recognize that the ceremony is for everyone to enjoy and my presence up front is distracting. So, I use telephoto lenses and when I do go up front, I duck down and move quickly. Well one time, my boot heel hit a rose petal as I was crossing the isle causing it to move a bit quicker than the rest of me. Luckily, I recovered with just a nicely stretched hamstring and no rose petal stains.
What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
I just had a delicious beet/goat cheese salad at one of the last weddings I was at. Funny thing is I don’t like beets, but I loved this salad!
What is your favorite venue and why?
I really like Villa Santa Monica in San Miguel. It has retained the original old school charm that was so prevalent here in the 18th century. It’s a smaller venue, only fitting 125 people, so that also contributes to the coziness and charm of it.
Nikon or Canon?
Nikon. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, a camera is just a box for exposing film. And any one of today’s top cameras and lenses are incredible pieces of documentary machinery. My D-8oo shoots full frame 36 Megapixel files and HD video at 30 frames per second! But again, it’s not the camera, but the light and the moment. Photo means light, and Graphy means to write with. To write with light.
I just started shooting Nikon because that was the first camera I got. When the digital conversion happened, all my old Nikor & Nikon lenses fit seamlessly on the digital SLR’s, & those were some of the best lenses made for 35mm format.. Not so with Canon lenses & digital SLR’s
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I would love to go to India and shoot a wedding. The intensity of the celebration, the devotion and faith of the people, the contrasts and explosions of color all would make for some incredible imagery.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I’d love to shoot some top model couple like Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie. Working with professionals like that, who are in their element and in love would make for some beautiful shots. Posing and modeling for the camera is hard work, and many times can make the difference between an OK shot and an amazing shot. Getting to photograph that wedding would have been amazing, because they are natural models, beaming on their wedding day.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
I would say that as a wedding photographer getting started, you need to know how to direct and pose your subjects. It’s a tough job and hard to learn without hands on experience in dealing with people. Another lesson is that as a wedding photographer, you are part psychiatrist to the bride, talking her down through nervous situations and stressful minutes. Remember, you are by her side for most of the wedding and she has to be able to trust you and show you herself.
Thank you Michael! For more about Michael Amici Wedding Photography, visit his WeddingPhotoLove Profile or head straight to his website.
Do you have questions or comments for Michael? Add them to the comments below!