We chatted with this wedding photographer Antonio Amboade who specialises in the Costa da Morte about how he loves his work and his experience in this sector.
The wedding photographer Antonio Amboade is a professional who won us over as soon as we met him. Although he studied and worked as a veterinarian, photography has been his passion since he can remember. So, one day, he left everything to devote himself to it fully. And judging from his work, he could not have made a better decision.
Although most of the reports are made in the Galician area of Costa da Morte, Antonio and his team, who form Namorei, are available to travel wherever there is an interesting project. So much so, that one of his next projects is in the US.
To choose the best wedding photographer, you need to know his work perfectly and check his passion. Therefore, we wanted to deepen the trajectory of this wedding photographer in Galicia with this exciting interview about his experience and style.
What is Namorei? How did it arise and why did you opt for this name?
Namorei is “to fall in love” in Galician. As the main team is formed by Conchi and me in the social photography section, we believe that a name that does not personalise everything in one of us is better. And when finding a name … what better than a word from our mother tongue, it’s perfect for a job that we are in love with … and also, deep down, we dedicate ourselves to photographing love.
Tell us a little about your career, how did you make the decision to be a photographer? Have you always been clear or was it something that came up later?
As a good Galician, my answer to this question is … it depends. If you refer to a professional photographer, I’ve been one for 5 years, now, the decision to be a photographer was made much earlier. 30 years ago, I signed up for a photography course out of curiosity, while I was studying Veterinary in Lugo, where I met Conchi, the other half of the team, the woman who accompanies me in life and in Namorei.
The fact is that I liked photography so much that if I achieved the objective that I had previously raised in each day of study in the library for veterinary subjects, the prize was a photographic technique book.
I finished the race and I dedicated myself to the large animal clinic, but photography was always present. It was my main hobby and although I earned so much with vetting, I devoted almost all my free time to taking pictures and retouching them. The rural clinic work is nice, but very hard, the stress was too much and I no longer enjoyed it like I used to. So, I decided to leave the clinic in the hands of my colleagues and I took a sabbatical year, in which I started several projects always related to photography and surfing, my other hobby.
When I realized I was doing editorial portrait for writers, I won several photography awards and, together with the writer Manuel Guisande, we made an exhibition of photos “In your line” from which a book was later published that was used as a base for a play.
We exhibited in Coruña (and other Galician populations), Monterrey in Mexico and even in Dubai under the Spanish brand. While I was involved in all this, there was the opportunity to cover three wedding reports to friends and we both enjoyed it so much that we decided to leave our previous jobs and dedicate ourselves to social photography. And from that, we created Namorei, the brand under which we offer our services as reporting photographers.
You live in A Coruña, in Galicia, one of the most beautiful regions of Spain due to its incredible landscapes. What do you love most about the weddings there? Why would you say they are special?
I would highlight two different aspects:
- The environment. The bride and groom place great importance on everything that surrounds their big day. Original decorations, cheerful and full of color, spectacular country houses, forests and quiet beaches even in the middle of summer. We also have sea and mountains that are close to each other, so we’re able to combine them in a single session.
- The food. Galicia is the best place in the world to eat. There will be others that are similar, but I’m confident that none are better.
You are specialized in the Costa da Morte but you are also open to travel abroad. Any interesting projects in sight?
Of course, it’s logical that most of our work takes place where we live, but we’re very open to travelling. If someone calls us to feature new things that we haven’t done before, we love to be there. In the last year, we’ve done reports in Toledo and Segovia, and right now we have a post-race pending in a national park in Washington.
How do you think the world of photography has changed since the arrival of digital and computer programs such as Photoshop, which allow us to do touch-ups of all kinds? How does it affect the photographer’s work?
With the addition of digital photography, everything has changed. The way to deal with a wedding report is totally different. Before, in analog, the photos had to be prepared to ensure that they were technically correct. And there came a time when almost all photographers adjusted to fixed parameters in each situation that they learned by heart, so creativity was nil.
Right now the limit is set by the imagination of each person. And even with a mobile or a compact camera you can get great photos. However, a good team helps to achieve even better photos, simply because they allow a quick response to much greater changes. Within a wedding, situations can change in seconds, and if you don’t have the equipment to adjust those changes immediately, the image is lost forever.
Regarding the retouching, I always do it myself, and my way of work is trying to convey the exact way that the couple lived out their day.
According to your experience, would you say that creativity is a gift or are there strategies to acquire it?
These are not exclusive options. As in other areas of life, there is an innate part and another part that can be learned. I was always a creative person, it’s in my blood, but without hard work to develop it, the results would be much poorer.
And focusing on your work with each couple, from the moment you meet the couple and get to know their tastes, how is your relationship with them and how do you prepare for the big day? Is there any particular method you always follow?
I would say three important things about this:
- We are very sociable, we like to know as much as possible about the people we photograph, so that we can think about how to show their character in the images.
- We are not annoying. It is one thing to be sociable and another to be overbearing.
- We are sincere. If we do not like something, we say it. It is not necessary to be unpleasant or rude to communicate in order to tell someone that we don’t agree with what he suggests.
What technical equipment do you have with you? Do you work alone or do you usually take more people?
We are two teams of 3 people. Two photographers and a videographer are in attendance at each wedding. The pre and post wedding sessions are always done by Conchi and I. Then I am in charge of processing and retouching all the photos and Conchi is in charge of editing and assembling the video.
Couples usually choose the photographer for their personal style, how would you define yours? We imagine that although it has evolved over the years, you always preserve your essence. Tell us about it.
It is a style that strives for a balance between modern and classic, so that when the couple sees the report within 10 or 15 years, they will live those moments again. That’s why I do not like to excessively edit images. Years ago, black and white photos were taken with a single detail in color, photos that nowadays are completely outdated. The same happens today with Instagram filters. They are images of immediate consumption that in a few years will be completely outdated, and a wedding report can not be subject to this. I edit a photo with current styles and also some with fantasy and striking colors, but I try to make the bulk of the report in natural tones, photos that convey authenticity and beauty that is not subject to fashions.
Do you usually advise the bride and groom to have a pre-wedding session so they can “let go” before the wedding and relax for the photos?
It depends on the couple (you see how it “depends” on the genes). If you have never been in front of a professional photographer, I would advise it. You learn a lot, you get confidence and I assure you it is a fun and enjoyable experience. We can 100% guarantee that with us, the sessions are anything but boring.
Tell us a little more about the services you offer as well as weddings and pre weddings for the bride and groom. What are they?
In addition to wedding and pre-wedding, it is very common for the couple to want to do some more reporting, since on the day of the wedding they want to enjoy the day with the guests and not be aware of what the photographer says “to achieve the best photo”. On the day of the wedding, good photos come out without having to force them. The photographer is in the foreground all day long and besides being good, they will be real and transmit much more emotion. That is why the post-wedding is offered, and once we are free of locations and schedules … we can choose the place that the bride and groom are most excited about, from a representative place for them, or spectacular scenery, or in the middle of the city … or go somewhere else and perform it sailing on a yacht, skiing, diving or climbing. The limit is set by the couple. We signed up for this, it’s exactly what led us to wedding photography, which today is a constant challenge that stimulates our creativity.
The other options are things that have been requested by the bride and groom and we have incorporated them into the services we offer, such as a video call that consists of assembling a small video, by asking guests to record a message to the couple. We can set up a small studio with lighting and make portraits for the guests that are delivered in less than 15 days after the wedding.
Have there been any challenges in your career as a wedding photographer that you want to share with us? A difficult couple, a wedding with many guests, a photography venue with complicated lighting or features …
The first time we did a post-wedding in a ski resort, seeing the bride get on the chairlift, with the dress and skis, made me terrified until I saw her get off skiing without any problem. I saw the bride dragged by the chairlift hooked by her dress and we were screaming to stop it. After that we made more and we got used to this setting, so it’s no longer a problem.
Also, a couple once told us that they wanted to dance with all the lights off. When I say all, I mean all…except two red lights from the DJ booth, so it would have been impossible to focus. The solution was to ask them to ignite some flares, and with the equipment that we carried, that light was enough to get some beautiful images.
Difficult couples … until now we have never encountered any real problems. They can sometimes come across as nervous or reluctant to pose in the pre-wedding because it is something new for them, but after the experience and the results of the photos, I always feel a sense of total confidence in our work.
And to finish, how far in advance should couples contact you?
If the day is free, the day before is fine. But we normally advise between a year and a year and a half in advance of the wedding, in order to be sure that there won’t be any problems with the schedule.
If you’re searching for a wedding photographer in Galicia or in the rest of the country, we recommend that you continue to follow Antonio’s work on his website, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much for your time and dedication, Antonio!