As a special birthday treat today, I thought I'd share an interview with a good friend of mine, photographer Antonio Sanzari. We met last year while I was looking at photographers for my wedding and he ended up doing the vintage shoot which is now on my website-gorgeous images!
Tony is quite the whirlwind-hates being idle, is always off shooting interesting subjects (weddings in particular) and more recently has become very popular amongst Miami/LA brides and Asian weddings. What sets him apart from others is the attention to detail, not just in his photography, but in the relationship he builds with his clients...
I really love the unique style of your approach to photography. How would you describe your style to those who aren't familiar with your work?
My style is a fusion of fashion and lifestyle heavily influenced by American photographers who keep things more edgy and contemporary than the traditional wedding images. My brides tend to book me for my vision of their day, and leave much of the artistic interpretation to me.
What prompted you to become a wedding photographer?
I have been shooting various subjects for many years, 20 plus in fact, and a few years ago I did a favour for some friends as we always do. I came back and was fired up and really enjoyed it. Many photographer friends don't understand the passion and the draw, but my personality, my love of people and the raw emotions of the day I feel honoured to be a part of. Some weddings, I find myself pausing to hear the vows or the odd speech. That tells me I am really part of their special day, then three seconds later I am back in the zone.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
There are many great photographers out there with similar styles of shooting. What sets us apart from each other is if the bride and groom connect with our work. If they look at my images and can imagine themselves in the photos, then that is just the beginning of the relationship. I have been told my gift is to feel the heartbeat of the wedding and be able to predict what is coming. This helps with the flow of a wedding and capturing those intimate moments. I tend to work longer hours to capture the whole story and offer more of myself to my clients.
You spend a lot of time in Miami shooting weddings there. How do they differ from British weddings?
American weddings tend to have a lot more detail to capture, it is more of a show and certainly the brides I am lucky to shoot with are really into photography. The photos tend to be more photo-journalistic which is the current "it-phrase" for leaving the art to the photographer. Also in America the clients in general value the photographers input more. They spend a fortune on flowers, details, dresses etc. and then want it all captured as I would. British weddings tend to be more formal, want the traditional shots to please the crowd and the market here is happy to settle for low cost options. I know photographer friends who have shot weddings for less than the cost of the cake. Not everyone has thousands to spend on weddings but I do think UK brides are told what they can have rather than asked what they would like. My approach is more the US way and I am lucky enough that brides I book appreciate this approach. On some occasions I will turn work away as I know I will not be able or willing to provide what they want. It is better all round this way, sadly not all photographers think this way.
Every photographer has their own tool kit. What do you like to shoot with?
First off, I started to use one brand and in recent years switched to another. I spend fortunes on my equipment, far too much probably, but it enables me to stretch the boundaries of the art and put myself in situations that are more risque. Often the best shots and most memorable ones come during these times. A famous landscape photographer once said if there are no bad images, then you are not trying hard enough. Using the best lenses and unique technologies means my images have an edge. I love prime lenses-they are fast. I love grain from my film days and I love Nikon, their service, support and equipment is amazing.
What is your favourite part of a wedding to capture?
Now that is not a fair question. The answer should be all of it right? Actually, I love the moment mum or dad see their daughter for the first time in her dress. I also love the private moments I get with the Bride and Groom to shoot my style of fashion lifestyle images that I tend to be booked for. My all time favourites are probably tears, these tend to bring back the emotion and memories of the day which I love the most.
Describe the best wedding you've attended so far...
Each wedding is unique and defining best is often subjective. I have loved the simplicity of some weddings, the beauty of some of the Indian weddings, the relaxed nature of other weddings. My best wedding is actually more of one of my best moments from shooting weddings. I was booked short notice by a bride to shoot the wedding in London and then the party in Italy the next day after a short ceremony. It was all of a blur and what I thought was going to be a straight forward town hall party turned out to be a castle in the hills of Rome where my breath was taken away at every moment. I only wish the wedding would have taken longer as the day was perfect in every way, and in a place I will treasure forever.
If you'd like to see more of Tony's work then check out his website here. He also has a blog which is fab for all the behind the scenes gossip...
Image Credit: Antonio Sanzari