A warm welcome to Andrew Mark Photography as this week's Spotlight Vendor! Could we start by asking you for a description of what you do? I am a fine art film wedding and portrait photographer. I love to learn, teach, and connect. My first loves are Jesus and my family and photography flows within both of those seamlessly. 

How long have you been working in the wedding industry? 6 years now... geez!

What makes your business unique? There's a few things that make what we do here unique. I think the biggest differentiator that makes our business unique is the fact that most of our work is captured on film rather than digital memory cards. When we say "film" we're referring to the rolls of film that your parents used to load into their cameras and take to Blacks to get developed, not video. Everything on our website is captured on film and then scanned using a special film scanner. We don't use too many memory cards around here which is hard for many (especially young couples) to understand sometimes :)

Favourite part of your business? I'd have to say one of my absolute favourite parts of my job is capturing peoples stories on film. I can't say how much the shift from digital to film has changed the way I run my business, create my images and pursue my creative goals and passions. Getting a couple's wedding film back from our lab and seeing their images for the first time ever is the most exhilarating part of my job! I love every aspect of working with film. How it slows the day down and really isolates you creatively with your couple. Ahmazing.

My second and third favourite parts of my business, real quick, is working and connecting with awesome people who are happy and in love. My couples appreciate me and what I do and in return create in a stress free fun environment with them. And lastly, I love being an entrepreneur. Determining when I work and how I create are two things that motivate me everyday. I love to grow, learn, excel, and explore and the best job for that is being an entrepreneur in a field that gives you life. I feel truly blessed to do what I do.

What inspires you? Great question. I follow a lot of phenomenal photographers, film photographers. Many of which have had interviews much like this here. When asked this question many artists like to say things such as: I'm inspired by "everything" - the earth, a painting, a building, or a plate of pasta... I don't find myself quite that creative I guess. Honestly I find my inspiration from three places: 1) From the beautiful work of other photographers who create as I do. Not like plagiarism but rather that of a learning and experiencing what's inspiring them in their own work. 2) My couple and their story. And 3) God. God is the ultimate creative being; through him everything was created. Through my life I aim to create, document, inspire and be inspired by what He has created first. The world, it's people, and their love.

Who is your mentor/hero in the industry? There are many that I look up to in the industry. But I'd say of those I most appreciate the work of Erich McVey. I've never met him personally but from what I've heard he and his wife are great people with inspiring vision. I also find the work of Ginny Au (who works closely with Erich of course) aw inspiring as well.

On your day off...where would we find you?
At this point of my life probably doing renovations and/or landscaping at our new house. I seriously love hard manual labour but it does seem to take forever :) 

When not in the throws of reno's, I'll be taking time with my wife and new little girl. Spending time with friends and family around a campfire, on a hike, or playing games tend to be my go-tos. I love community and relationships. Loads of laughs and tons of fun.

If you weren't a wedding vendor, what would be your dream job? I would be happy doing a great deal of things. I would be a carpenter, graphic designer, teacher, framer, landscaper, pastor/missionary, or even a think tank CEO. Pretty much anything as long as I can set my goals and be creative!

What great wedding trends are you seeing this year? A growing knowledge and appreciation for film would be one that we come across semi-regularly.  Couples who value quality over quantity. Who appreciate a more curated fine art approach to their wedding photos and would rather have 8 hour and 400 photos that they'll love for a lifetime than 12 hours and 2100 photos they'll hopefully enjoy once or twice. For many people a wedding is the one and only time they get professional photos taken of them, people are starting to take that more seriously and investing that little bit extra in a photographer and photographs they'll love to share to their kids!

Do you have any practical advice for couples planning a wedding? Am I allowed to repeat myself here? I'm going to anyway... Although there's a growing trend in valuing quality over quantity when it comes to you wedding photos, it's far from mainstream thinking in the wedding world. I can't tell you how many couples come to us with the highest praise of how much they love our work and then a few days later say the extra $500-$1000 just isn't in their budget and their going with a family friend or their brothers cousin. Investing in your photographer who's work you love is worth the investment. Nobody whose got a photographer they love gets their wedding photos back and says "Man, I regret investing in these memories". And even less will you hear "Man, I'm glad we didn't invest in our wedding photos!" We've heard from so so so many people how they regret not hiring who they wanted within a few months of their wedding day. You only get one chance at your wedding photos and they're one of the view things you'll have at the end of the 12 hours. Put it this way, if you're looking to spend "X" on this photographer or an extra thousand bucks on another photographer who you really love, that's the equivalent of 5 cents a day more for that photographer by the time your at your golden anniversary. Wedding photos aren't just for you and your friends either. They're for your kids and grandkids too! Photos are valuable and forever; they're worth the investment.