Toronto Wedding Photographer Mango Studios

Toronto Wedding Photographer: Mango Studios

Here at Kimberfire diamonds are our passion, and there is nothing more beautiful than seeing a diamond become part of an engagement or wedding ring. It is so rewarding to be able to play a role in our clients’ engagement and wedding day. Jewelry is just one of many aspects of the wedding industry and, through our blog, we enjoy meeting and learning about other companies in our industry. Our interviews also provide valuable information and tips from the experts to help you make the most of your big day.

Recently I had the opportunity to interview the team at Mango Studios, a Toronto wedding photography studio with offices in downtown Toronto and Miami, USA. Mango Studios is a tight knit team of award winning photographers and artists, with over a decade of wedding experience. They also photographed our CEO Jonathan Goldberg’s wedding last year and he was blown away by their impressive work.

Could you please give us a brief overview of Mango Studios and your services?

Mango’s goal is to produce beautiful and timeless photography for its clients. We aim to do this through a collaborative effort of creative artists and individuals who band together to leverage their own unique abilities to create better work together.

At Mango, we believe in teamwork, supporting and encouraging new ideas, and striving to be and do better every day. We all come from different backgrounds and have our own unique set of skills and creative frameworks. Together, we share an enormous wealth of knowledge and passion for photography. We are curators and creators of the most beautiful, timeless images. We are there to capture the most special moments in your life so you can cherish those photos forever. We have photographers who specialize in all areas of photography – from portrait and event photographers to interior and product photographers. We also offer a wide range of in-house design and custom framing services.

How did Mango Studios get started, and how long have you been in business?

Mo and Nancy first met in 2004 and have been inseparable ever since. Pairing Nancy’s visual talent with Mo’s business acumen, they decided to conquer the world together. They wrote down the letters of their own names and realized Mo And Nancy GOvindji shaped MANGO, and the rest is history. Mango has been capturing weddings and events for over 12 years!

What kinds of packages does Mango Studios offer?

We’ve got something for everyone. All of our packages have been created to offer the best options for your special day. Our packages start from six hours of photography all the way up to twelve, but everything can be fully customized to suit each individual client. We also offer time with photographers à la carte, meaning they can be easily added to packages. For the couple that wants to be taken care of from start to finish, we offer packages that include fine art albums, engagement sessions, and photo booths.

How did previous education and/or work experience help shape the Mango business model?

The entire team has a diverse background in both education and work experience, from the university educated to the self-taught photographer. We look for special people with a passion for the arts, who love people, and remain calm under pressure – all attributes necessary to shoot a busy wedding day. There is a degree of competitiveness to the team, and, as iron sharpens iron, every team member strives to do better in every shoot. We take turns designing with each-others’ images and reviewing shoots so that feedback can be circulated, and the quality Mango is known for can be achieved. What’s most important is that every member of our team is highly trained in-house. As a team, we believe in growing together and toward the best creative style to suit our couples’ needs.

How would you describe the Mango photography style?

Like any creative field, photography is always evolving. We believe a strong relationship between photography and design is the foundation to creating incredible images. This plays a huge part in our photographic style. We accomplish our unique approach of storytelling through this fundamental stage of getting to know you and your unique story. We focus on capturing every detail of your wedding day or event, while being sure to get candid moments and memories that will last forever. Trends come and go but what we’re after is a classic, timeless approach to creating images to withstand those passing trends, and that is how we groom our team.

What tips can you give to a couple who is looking for a wedding photographer?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is a big decision and it’s important to do your research and make sure you can trust your photographer, and be confident and excited about the photos they take. Some important tips are:

  • Find out what happens in case of an emergency and the photographer is no longer available for your day.
  • What do turnaround times look like?
  • Look at a couple of COMPLETE weddings to really get a sense of the work, not just a few photos of their best work.
  • Find out how long have they been in business, and if you know any friends/family/other vendors that have used them. There are plenty of novice part-time photographers that may be in business one year and not the next.

I see your company often travels to shoot destination weddings. What’s your process when shooting abroad?

Our team loves to travel, and each destination wedding brings with it a new and exciting experience. In terms of locations, we love travelling to new (to us) spots like the mountainsides of Florence, or the Island of Anguilla. We’re happy to say there are some locations now that are becoming old favourites like the One and Only Club in the Bahamas, or the Four Seasons in Hampshire, England. Like any local wedding, every destination wedding is unique and we treat the process of shooting it as such. We do our best to ensure lots of scouting online and in-person before the event day. One of the most important things when visiting a new country is to familiarize yourself with the light there. It can look wildly different from one country to the next and, as a photographer, understanding light is everything.

How do you help the couple and their wedding party feel comfortable in front of a camera?

We totally realize that not everyone feels comfortable and confident being photographed, and that is completely normal. Our job is to make sure that we capture your event perfectly, that your photos turn out amazing and that you have some fun along the way. Doing engagement photos is such a great way for the bride and groom to not only feel comfortable being photographed, but to also really get to know their photographer. We aren’t there to make you look posed, but more so to prompt you so we can get those perfect shots.

Mango Studios works with a team of photographers, artists and designers. How do you decide which team member works on which wedding?

Mango has a consistent photographic style across the board. Our in-house event coordinators meet with our couples to learn more about the details of their big day. Once we get to know our couple, the venue, and all the details of the day, we pair them with the photographer that we believe best suits the couple as well as the overall vibe of the wedding.

Being a huge dog lover myself, please tell me more about Bernie the Boston Terrier, your social director.

Bernie is a lover. If he could greet everyone who came through our doors with kisses, he would. He definitely likes to make his presence known around the studio, especially during lunch time when he can be a little nosey. As our social director, he keeps us sane during our busiest times and shows the whole team love after a long day. His likes: ping pong balls, balloons and bean bag chair naps.  His dislikes: measuring tape and knit sweaters.

How big a part does social media play in your business?

Social media is such a huge part of our business! Long before a couple gets engaged, they often take to social media to search for vendors and get inspired. We are constantly on all social media channels, updating our content to reflect the Mango brand and showcase our work. It’s the great connector of our time. We love to use social media as a tool to connect with other amazing vendors in the wedding industry and couples around the world.

What is the most challenging aspect of working in the wedding photography business?

Truthfully, it’s the work/life balance. Weddings and events can take up most of our Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the busy months of May to October, and that can be a challenge for some. Our team is dedicated to providing our best work with the quickest turnaround times possible, so we’re also hustling Monday to Friday to deliver amazing images to our couples. We foster an environment that’s fun for our team with lots of amazing moments spent together on a regular basis.

What sets Mango Studios apart from the competition?

We’re storytellers first and foremost. Our approach is driven by each couple’s unique story, who they are, and their personal tastes and design interests. It’s driven by what music they listen to, where they eat and the places they travel. Each story is unique, and our approach is timeless and cool with a distinctly cinematic style. As a small boutique of photographers and designers, we treat each member of our team as well as each of our clients like family. From the moment you step into our studio, you will be greeted by a dedicated event coordinator who will walk you through the entire wedding photography process. We want to create an inviting atmosphere and take photos that truly capture our couples as the individuals they are.

Having been a part of so many weddings, what advice can you give to a couple to get the most out of their big day?

It’s going to be the most exciting day of your life, so savour and cherish every moment. Don’t sweat the small stuff; things most likely won’t go as perfectly planned but don’t get bothered by it. It’s going to be a very busy day, but do your best to spend some quality time together as husband and wife if you can. Take a few moments to stop, take a deep breath, and remember how special it is that every person in the room is there to celebrate you and your love!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your company and insights with us.

Thank you, it’s been our pleasure.

If you are interested in learning more about Mango Studios or booking them for a wedding or event, please visit MangoStudios.com.

St. Royal Entertainment performance photos

Toronto Wedding Band: St. Royal Entertainment

At Kimberfire we specialize in diamonds and diamond jewelry, which means we play a part in many people’s marriages. We work with our clients from their engagement and wedding rings, to gifts for the big day. Working within the wedding industry is very special for a business because it means that people trust you enough to be a part of one of the most important days of their lives. We are interested in exploring other businesses that work in the wedding industry and learning how they are successful, as well as providing insider tips that will help anyone who is planning their own wedding.

Recently I spoke with Andrew St. Royal, who is the founder and owner of St. Royal Entertainment, a company that provides musical event entertainment based out of Toronto. I actually had the pleasure of watching his company in action, as they provided the live music and entertainment for our CEO Jonathan Goldberg’s wedding. I was extremely impressed with their talent and professionalism and wanted to learn more about what they do.

Andrew, please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

My education background is in civil engineering. After school I went on a work/travel trip to South Korea and ended up spending 8 years abroad between Korea and Australia. During that period, I was leading and performing in various different bands as a musician. By late 2010 I had developed the idea for St. Royal and returned to Toronto ready to turn my passions into a business.

St. Royal Entertainment provides everything music for special events. We have a huge stable of talented performers, musicians and DJs that perform in many styles and configurations. Our sister company, St. Royal Production provides audiovisual & show production elements like lighting, staging, sound systems, live video and 3D CAD modelling to support the entertainment and event needs.

How many years have you been in business?

St. Royal Entertainment is five and half years old and St. Royal Production is three and a half. The company started as a single 7-piece live band and our first performance was at a friend’s wedding. I was so nervous that night I didn’t sleep at all! Since then we have done over 400 events.

On average, how many events do you perform in a year?

We’ve been growing every year since we started in 2011. We’re doing about 150 events this year and of that about 70% are weddings, and 30% are corporate events, private parties, fundraisers and brand activations.

How would you describe the St. Royals Bands’ musical style?

The St. Royals Bands are well known as Toronto’s Kings of Soul! Their repertoire of Soul, R&B, Funk, Motown, Pop and Top 40 is designed to move people. It’s a great variety that we know both younger and older generations will enjoy dancing to.

What tips would you give to a couple who are starting their search for a wedding band or DJ?

Music is key to a great event so look for good references and try to see bands live. Look out for signs of disorganization or artists who are too laid back about the performance. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event so look for someone you can trust!

What is the most unique wedding you have performed at?

We’ve done some acoustic camp-fire style weddings, weddings for celebrities and athletes and have played at so many venues across Ontario and New York State. Each wedding is unique due to the makeup of the guest list, the music tastes of the clients, and inevitably the flow of energy from ceremony to dance floor always has its nuances. That’s why it’s so important to get the music right.

Have you ever had something go wrong the day of an event, and how did you handle it?

One time in the early days we were performing at a private residence and the fuse blew for the power circuit the band was on! The band was quick to realize, and the horns and drummer started an impromptu acoustic version of some New Orleans brass tunes while we investigated the issue. It turned out the photographer had setup some big lights on the same circuit as the band which overloaded the circuit. Our on-site tech worked it out quickly and we were back on in no time and the party never stopped! Since then we’ve become much better at identifying power needs and we often provide generators for venues via our audiovisual sister company, St. Royal Production.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Being an entrepreneur means you have to do everything. I’ve definitely had to improve my accounting and bookkeeping knowledge over the years but for sure time management is the most challenging aspect of running a dynamic and growing business.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

It feels amazing to receive praise and accolades from clients after a great event. There is so much planning and build up to these events, and weddings in particular. It is so rewarding to hear from our clients that we exceeded their expectations and they have a celebratory memory to last a lifetime.

How do you help motivate a crowd if people aren’t dancing on the dance floor?

Our primary objective once the party has started is to get a crowd moving. Our performers have lots of experience with this and our band’s repertoire is deliberately designed to be multi-generationally friendly. One tip that I always give to our clients is make sure the bar is as close to the dance floor as possible. Some venues have the main bar quite far from the dance floor or in another room. This is a party killer! No matter how good the entertainment is people will naturally gravitate to the bar so move it closer or setup a temporary bar and voila! The party will stay right where you want it.

How much does social media play a part of your business?

Social media is mandatory for any business. We use our social media to promote our showcases and public events, which in turn generates a lot of good awareness for the company. We also actively post live content from our bands on our YouTube channel to let everyone see the full talents of the St. Royal Family.

What sets your company apart from the competition?

Our approach to music design and our client service is the big difference. Our mission is to guide the flow of energy at an event to a peak, usually on the dance floor. We approach music with the objective of using it to steer the movement at an event and to progressively build throughout the evening. Through consultations with our client we aim to plan music and moments to a great degree of detail and to give our clients a true feeling of peace of mind when it comes to the music – so that they can enjoy the moment along with their guests.

Having been a part of so many weddings, what advice can you give to a couple on how to get the most out of their big day?

Make sure you enjoy the moment! The way to do this is by choosing vendors that are worthy of your trust, and then develop that trusting relationship. The couples who build a good team of vendors around them, and who are willing to trust them with the execution end up being able to live in each special moment and authentically enjoy it along with their guests. They will be more present, and they will truly enjoy the celebration, as opposed to worrying about something on their wedding day.

Thank you so much for sharing your business and your experiences with us.

Thank you!

If you are interested in learning more about St. Royal Entertainment or booking them for a wedding or event, please visit StRoyalEntertainment.com.

Maven Toronto Wedding Planner Photos

The Maven of Toronto Wedding Planners

At Kimberfire we spend our days helping people find the perfect diamond engagement ring and wedding bands, and during this process the conversation often leads to wedding plans. It’s always interesting to hear about the planning process and the different ways that people choose to celebrate. I decided I wanted to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes and all the work that goes into creating the perfect wedding. I sat down to interview Angela Reshetnyk, owner of Maven Weddings and Events, which specializes in designing, planning and executing weddings and events.

Sara: Angela, tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

Angela: I love my job and my life. I am a creative junkie! I am extremely organized, a multi-tasker and a control freak (although I hate the word freak). I love art, fashion, flowers, and design in all its forms. I am married to my high school sweetheart and the single love of my life. I have a beautiful wee daughter who is the light of my life, and I have 2 adorable Labs (my other lights) named Buster & Sadie. The first wedding I planned was in 2011, so I have been in business for 5 years now (wow?!). I have lost count of how many weddings I have planned at this point.

Sara: How did your education and/or previous job experience prepare you for running a wedding planning business?

Angela: My education and professional experience was in Interior Design, Decorating and Sales, which all go hand in hand with the industry I am in now. However, it was only after planning my own wedding and a few weddings of family & friends that I realized I was pretty darn good at this! From there I took a huge leap of faith and tried doing it for a living… it was scary being in charge of pulling off the biggest day in someone’s life, but after my first ‘official’ wedding I was hooked.

Sara: What types of packages does Maven Weddings and Events offer?

Angela: I don’t offer packages and I get asked this ALL the time. I find it hard to offer package pricing because all of my couples are so different in their needs & wants. Especially now with so many brides being DIY. They want to be involved, they want to make things, they want to shop. Also logistics come into play, the number of guests (50 guests vs 350 guests is a totally different ballgame). So I quote a la carte. After an initial consultation over the phone or in person, I can get a good grasp as to what my bride needs and provide them with a preliminary quote from there.

Sara: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?

Angela: I am a Pinterest girl! I love using Pinterest as a source of inspiration. I don’t copy from it, but it does inspire me. I often create inspiration boards on Pinterest for my couples to give them a visual direction as to where I’d like to go with their wedding and they are always excited to see it. Instagram is also a great source for ideas. These are both amazing resources that most of my clients are already on.

Sara: If someone was holding back from hiring a wedding planner because of the costs, what would you say to them which might change their mind?

Angela: More often than not, I actually help my couples save on costs. Things like using my preferred vendors and being able to shop at industry only locations are just a couple of aspects to consider. I can also help with budget, as a lot of couples tend to allocate either way too much or way too little in certain areas. I can be their voice of reason as to where they will get the most bang for their buck. Most couples don’t have a clue about the costs of flowers, linens, chair rentals, etc. so I encourage my couples to talk to me when they are unsure of something, so I can let them know if it is a good deal or if they could find something elsewhere that is more suitable for their budget. Also, I let them know that their time is worth money. A lot of my clients are already busy before adding the planning of a wedding into the mix. So the time it would take them to source a vendor could be done in a fraction of the time by getting me to do it.

Sara: How do you decide on décor and themes for your weddings?

Angela: I get inspired by my couples! In particular, their love stories – how they met – how he (or she!) proposed, as well as their jobs, hobbies, etc. I ALWAYS suggest adding personal touches to every wedding, it’s what makes your wedding YOU, and not a wedding that could be for anyone else. I’ve done and been to weddings that are absolutely beautiful but have nothing to do with the couple, and I feel like it loses the charm and intimacy that every wedding should have.

Sara: Has something ever gone wrong on the day of a wedding, and how did you handle it?

Angela: YES! I’ve had a Best Man faint during the ceremony and knock out his front teeth! I have had a Groomsman drop the wedding rings down an elevator shaft in an old historical building downtown! I’ve had a sweetheart table catch on fire during a speech because the groom had put his napkin on a candle when he went to thank the person who was giving the speech (and those are just my top 3!). So yes things have and will go wrong, however it is my job to remain calm and FIX IT. If there is ANY way my couple doesn’t need to know that something has gone wrong, then I’d like to keep it that way. My biggest compliment I can get after a wedding is when my couples say “Wow, what a great day, it was so seamless and nothing went wrong! It’s as though we didn’t even need you here?!”. If this is their response, then my job was done right.

Sara: What tips would you give to a couple who are looking for a wedding planner?

Angela: Find someone you mesh with personality-wise. You will be working closely and frequently with this person for months (and intimately on the day-of!) so you better like them. Look at their personal sense of style, do you like how they are presenting themselves? Look at their website gallery, Facebook albums and Instagram page. Are there actual wedding shots of their work or are they images from Pinterest that we’ve all seen before? I see so many planners posting pics I have seen on social media that is not even theirs. So make sure it’s their work they are showcasing and ask for referrals if you are not sure.

Sara: What are some new and/or continuing trends for wedding décor, themes, venues?

Angela: I’m seeing a lot of pastel colour palettes for 2017. Blush is still leading the pack this year (as it did last year) for my most popular wedding colour. For food trends, Tapas & Food Station weddings, as well as no seating plans are becoming more popular for non-traditional brides who truly want to do something outside the box. Barn weddings are still a favorite but more modern brides are looking for tents – which I love! Rustic weddings are great, but my brides are all doing/trying new things – which makes it fun. For décor the mason jar is officially OUT….whew! But mercury glass in gold/silver/and rose gold pink are still popular with my brides, as it can be both vintage looking and modern at the same time.

Sara: What is the most rewarding aspect of the job?

Angela: I love being a part of the biggest day in a couple’s life. I don’t care if it’s in a big way or small way, I just get such satisfaction in making people happy and making peoples’ dreams come true. It’s the best part – seeing my clients happy – I love it! I love LOVE, so really what other industry should I be working in? I also like seeing the couples’ faces when they see their vision come to life, like when I reveal the reception space to them, or when a bride sees her bouquet for the first time. These are all such special moments for me to witness at each and every wedding.

Sara: How important is social media to your business?

Angela: Very. Between posting on Instagram, liking/sharing/making albums on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, and keeping my website up to date…it’s crazy. But it’s vital with today’s bride. All my brides are online in one way or another, so I have to be as well, no questions asked. The key is staying on top of it all. Not only is social media important for my clients, but it’s vital to network with fellow industry people as well, vendors, colleagues, competitors, etc.

Sara: After being a part of so many wedding, what advice can you give to a couple to get the most out of their big day?

Angela: Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s raining, your aisle runner didn’t make it out, a bridesmaid’s heel broke, a candle isn’t lit, your candy bar labels are incorrectly marked, WHATEVER it is, don’t let it ruin your day! Trust your vendors. You’ve hired them for a reason, let them do the job you hired them for and trust it will get done as they are the experts. Let your wedding planner oversee their work, you should be relaxing and getting ready for your big day. Spend time with your guests, don’t disappear for hours with your photographer, enjoy & be present for cocktail hour to mingle with your friends & family, and dance with them on the dancefloor! If there is ever a day to celebrate the couple that you are, this would be the day!

Sara: Thank you so much for sharing your insight and experiences with us.

Angela: Thank you guys! It was my pleasure.

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to contact Angela, please visit Maven Weddings and Events.

Toronto Wedding Photographer Raph Nogal

Toronto Wedding Photographer Raph Nogal

At Kimberfire our specialty is diamonds and many of our clients come to us looking for an engagement ring. People really put their heart into choosing the right ring and we love being a part of such a special moment in someone’s life. After the engagement the next step is finding wedding bands, and we are dedicated to helping people find their perfect fit. It is truly an honour to be a part of their wedding day, as they exchange rings to make a lifetime commitment.

Another profession which works side by side with couples on one of the most important days of their lives is that of the wedding photographer. I interviewed Toronto based wedding photographer Raph Nogal to get an insider’s look at working in the wedding industry. Raph Nogal is a nationally accredited and award winning professional wedding photographer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and blogs, and he is known for his creative, editorial, and modern photography style.

Sara: How long have you been a photographer for and how did you get started in this business?

Raph: I first picked up the camera in 2007, following my honeymoon in Costa Rica. I became a bit obsessed and found it to be a great creative outlet as I pretty much stopped doing art since attending Cawthra Park’s Regional Arts Program in Visual Arts in 2000. I started my photography business on a part-time basis in late 2009 and have now been a full-time photographer since 2013.

Sara: What is it that drew you to wedding photography?

Raph: It was the fact that as a wedding photographer, you need to be a master of various sub disciplines… you need to be a photo-journalist, a portrait photographer, an event photographer, a fashion photographer, you need to know how to use natural light, studio light, you need to be good with people, with macro work and the list goes on and on. I also love the fact that no wedding is ever the same. There are different dynamics, different weather conditions, different locations, and different family relationships. It keeps things interesting.

Sara: On average, how many weddings do you shoot a year?

Raph: I try to cap myself at 25 weddings per year, but have had 27 last year and again 27 this year.

Sara: How would you describe your photography style?

Raph: It is a fusion of editorial and photo-journalism. I love playing with light and having hard light and deep blacks and high contrast and giving clients some direction to bring out their best, but I also like the natural moments and pure unedited emotion that happens on the wedding day.

Sara: Who or what inspires your work and images?

Raph: Inspiration comes from a lot of places – movies, fashion, music, and my own experiences. Photographer Jerry Ghionis, for example, has played a tremendous role in shaping me as a photographer. I also enjoy the work of Two Mann Studios and get inspiration from the community of Fearless Photographers.

Sara: Do you have any tips for couples who are looking for a wedding photographer?

Raph: Well this may be a bit blunt, but “You get what you pay for”. I have heard all the stories of couples trying to cut prices and hire photographers that don’t have a lot of experience. There is nothing wrong with no experience and we all start somewhere – the problem is when those photographers “practice” on paying clients.

I also encourage all couples to do an engagement session with your photographer. The relationship building and working relationship is so important to put them at ease before the wedding day. Out of all the wedding vendors, you will see your photographer the most – before the wedding, at the wedding, after the wedding, album design, album pick-up. I also suggest that couples get a wedding album. We lost that tangibility of things these days and they have been replaced with awesome gadgets… but there is nothing like photographs on paper. That family heirloom will be cherished for generations.

Sara: How do you help the couple and their wedding party feel comfortable having their photos taken?

Raph: It all starts with trust. The couple has to trust me, or else they will not open up. It has to be fun and it’s up to the photographer to make it fun for the couples. Your personality has to shine though.

Sara: What has been your favorite wedding venue to photograph?

Raph: I don’t really have a favourite. Toronto has so many beautiful venues, each with their own charm – places such as Eglinton Grand, One King West, King Edward Hotel, Distillery District, just to name a few.

Sara: What is your all-time favorite image you have taken?

Raph: This is such a tough question. I really don’t have a favourite. Some images are emotional, some are artistic, so it’s so hard to pick. I guess if I had to pick an image that has had the most impact on me it would be an image I took of a bride kissing her father just after the ceremony. It was an organic moment and I just happened to be there. To me, this image really represents the reason why I’m a photographer. I found out three days after the image was taken, that the bride’s father had passed away. How honoured was I to witness and immortalize that moment for the bride.

Sara: What are the most requested images or scenes the couple wants to have photographed?

Raph: Luckily I don’t get my couples asking me to replicate images they found on Pinterest. My couples are looking for something different, not the stuffy same old poses… different angles, cool lighting, etc, which is exactly what I offer.

Sara: What is the craziest thing you have done to get a perfect shot?

Raph: Probably going waist deep into water, but I’m known to lay down a lot, as well as climb things – just for a different vantage point.

Sara: Have you ever had something go wrong at a wedding and how did you handle it?

Raph: On the way to one wedding I was cut off on the highway and a car side-swiped my car. Luckily I always leave earlier than I need to, so I had enough time to hop into a rental car to get to the wedding while my car got looked after.

Sara: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Raph: Being a wedding photographer is really physically and mentally demanding. You have to be on-point all day. You have to anticipate things, be at the right place at the right time, find the right light, the right angles and make sure everyone is looking their best. It’s usually a 12-14 hour day so afterwards my brain feels like it’s on fire. I’m pretty much useless the following day – which is why I only photograph one wedding per weekend.

Sara: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Raph: To know that I’ve made a little mark on the world, especially in my couples’ history. When I give them images that are different, unique and beautiful I know they will keep and cherish them forever.

Sara: If you hadn’t become a photographer what do you think you would have become?

Raph: I used to be an environmental consultant so, if I hadn’t quit that to pursue my passion, I would likely still be stuck doing something I didn’t enjoy.

Sara: How much does social media play a part in your business?

Raph: These days social media is a must. It is, however, very time consuming and the rules are constantly changing – you just have to keep up.

Sara: Having witnessed so many weddings what advice can you give to a couple on how to get the most out of their big day?

Raph: Get to know your photographer – it will help with the whole photo-taking experience. Know that the wedding schedule is a “floating schedule.” Don’t plan for a speech to start at 7:47 pm. It will never happen. Don’t sweat the small stuff, at the end of the day you will get married and it will be a great party. Don’t let small things ruin your day.

Sara: Thank you so much for sharing your work and experiences with us. Hopefully some of your advice will help other people find the perfect wedding photographer for their big day.

Raph: Thank you very much!!

If you are interested in seeing more of Ralph Nogal’s photography or would like to book an appointment with him, please visit RaphNogal.com. And if you are interested in finding the perfect engagement ring, wedding bands, or any other type of high-end jewellery then Kimberfire “A Brilliant Way to Buy a Diamond” is the company you have been looking for. Please visit us at Kimberfire.com.

toronto push pin

Our Favourite Things to Do in Toronto

A Few of Our Favourite Things to Do… in the Heart of Toronto

The city of Toronto has a lot to offer, and that’s why we consider ourselves lucky to call it home. Kimberfire’s head office is located in the heart of Queen Street East. And when we’re not busy working in the mines, we love to venture out to a few key spots to see what else is glittering around the city.

Royal Ontario Museum

Not only is the Royal Ontario Museum educational, its nightlife element is unique in attracting visitors of all ages and interests. ROM Night is every Friday night beginning in October and ending in November.

“The city’s most unique social destination includes eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, live music and unexpected experiences. We switch it up so every event brings new surprises!”

Terroni on Queen West

While this little gem is located in the opposite direction of our office, it is worth taking the time to go the distance to Terroni on Queen West. Best described as a place that is warm and welcoming, featuring an ambient scene and amazing food.

“Terroni’s first location opened in 1992, and is located in the heart of Queen Street West. Terroni is rooted in traditional Italian cuisine, wine, and culture.”

Hugh’s Room

Located near High Park, Hugh’s Room brings back the concept of a dinner club with live entertainment. Hugh’s Room is a performance space for musicians and the like. The scheduling is managed so you can eat and listen to music and be out the door before 10:30pm in most cases. This way we don’t have to stay out too late when a great show is happening on a weeknight, and we can be as bright as our diamonds the very next day.

Fresh Restaurants

With two convenient locations to choose from, both in close proximity to the downtown core, Fresh always keeps me coming back for more. Delicious salads, nutrient-dense bowls, burgers, wraps, and desserts – all vegan! Some of their best menu items include, the buddha bowl, ace of kales salad, sweet potato fries, any and all of their juices and smoothies and, last but not least, their gluten free vanilla bean cupcake. Enough said.

Massey Hall

Noted as one of the best, and described as one of the most historic concert halls in Toronto, Massey Hall has seen a lot of legends, from Stevie Nicks to Norah Jones and everything in between.

Distillery District

Welcome to the home of the largest collection of Victorian-era buildings in North America. From Victorian brick wall buildings, to artisanal coffee roasters, and alternative art galleries, nothing quite matches the Distillery District in Toronto. There is always something to experience, from the nightlife and entertainment, to exploring the sights of the restored buildings.

St. Lawrence Market

There is something about a market that features various eateries, bakeries, fresh fruit and most importantly, wine stands, that draws me in. In my opinion, there is no better way to start off your weekend on a Saturday morning than to visit the St. Lawrence Market.

My favourite stop-in is the ice wine shop, which offers samples. I always stop and marvel at the fruit stand, the plethora of baked goods (of which I buy many …) and the huge fish stand.

The market is a one-stop shop that allows me to restock my fridge and also pick up a quick bite as I browse. From sandwiches to fruits, cafes to baked goods, we love the abundance that the St. Lawrence market has to offer.

Trinity Bellwoods Park

Trinity Bellwoods Park is a connection between Ossington and Queen West, two very popular and trendy neighbourhoods.

From hockey rinks to baseball diamonds, to an off leash dog park, anyone can find their niche here. After a Saturday morning of window-shopping on Queen Street, this park is the ideal place to disengage from the bustling boutiques and enjoy a relaxing picnic, jog, or even join in on a drum circle.

All That Glitters in Toronto

Don’t take our word for it though; get out and experience all that Toronto has to offer for yourself, and help us add to our list of hot spots. While you’re in the neighbourhood, why not stop by our offices and let us distract you with all that glitters?

Please be sure to check out our Pinterest page for more details on these hot spots.

So, what is your favourite thing to do in Toronto?