#everoursafterhours serves as a learn the “why” behind their work, to get to know photographers and videographers that are the game changers or ones that in their tiny little corner of the earth are just getting it done. i have always, ALWAYS, prided myself on the that community that i have the fortunate experience of knowing and featuring. for the past five years, i have surrounded myself with such a beautifully talented community of wedding photographers and videographers. so i’m just going to build on that this year and give them the spotlight they deserve. i’ll be highlighting photographers almost every week. but obviously if i have the time, i’ll be featuring more but it’s all dependent on the photographers who have the time to answer too. it’ll be up on Sundays and it’ll just be a chance for photographers to kick back after shooting a wedding, grab a coffee, and have a lazy Sunday read.

as the blog retires, i’m glad that i get to feature this guy one more time on here.  talent beyond and i’m glad he’s in his corner working his tail feather off and capturing and producing the most outstanding work out there because of his heart.  i hope you guys love his work as much as i do, so without further ado,

ANTHONY GAUNA

How did you get your start in wedding photography?

When photography made its way into my life back in 2011, I originally had no idea or intentions on becoming a wedding photographer. In fact, at that point in my life I was going through a lot of emotions. I was depressed about where my life was headed and was bitter about love. Growing up with divorced parents and having bad relationship after the next, particularly around that time in my life, I wanted nothing to do with love. Not long after getting into photography, I was asked by a couple to photograph their elopement. I didn’t want to shoot it, but I was intrigued enough to photograph it. I shot if for free because I was so nervous and never attended a wedding before. I didn’t know what to expect. But once they got their photos, they loved them. It gave me this certain feeling inside that made me happy. The fact I kinda liked photographing a wedding weirded me out, but I like making others happy. I like feeling like I have purpose in life. Especially at that point in my life, because I felt completely hopeless and useless. Not long after that, I was getting contacted by couples and started booking weddings. I began to notice that I loved shooting them. I didn’t know it at the time, but now I realize that it’s because I like being surrounded by people truly in love. There’s a dark part of me deep down inside that feels there’s more horrible people in this world than there are good. However, weddings of the couples I decide I want to work with, keep me focused on all the good things in life. I fucking love weddings now and oddly enough, can’t wait for my wedding.

What is unique about your style of shooting?

I don’t care about creating pretty pictures. Granted, I do love to create images that are pretty, but I guess my definition is a bit different. I care about real, raw moments and don’t care about being technical or having the newest and best gear. I just love documenting things the way they are, because to me, those moments are beautiful. I love the way people put themselves together, or the certain way people smile, or laugh… Every person just has their own particular beauty to them. I don’t like to pose people cause I want them to be themselves. One thing I do to help this process, is the way I approach working with my couples. I’m very much myself and personal from when I get an inquiry to well after the wedding. I enjoy creating friendships with everyone. I don’t hold myself back. I’m just unapologetically… me. I cuss a lot and love to drink beer and whiskey. So, I’ll only work with people who are the same way or who take me as I am. I also enjoying hanging out with my couples every now and again. Getting together for dinner or drinks and not talking one bit about the wedding is a blast. Sometimes, if I’m visiting a city where one of my couples live (past or present ones), I’ll see if they want to get together. And sometimes for my out of town couples, I’ll save them travel expenses and crash out on their couch or floor. I used to be a touring musician years ago, so sleeping on random couches or floors I guess takes me back. Lol. I know not much of this involves shooting, but it’s part of my process and something that I feel is unique. At every wedding I photograph, I always get asked how long I’ve known the bride and groom by either the couple’s parents or by friends. Which I think is not only cool as hell, but also shows that they’re definitely comfortable with me and trust me. I genuinely care about my couples and treat them as friends. I just want to get the most of out of life, meet tons of awesome people who like me for who I am, and document their love. I put my all into people I truly care about.

Include one of your images that is your most recent favorite and explain why you love it.

This was probably the most difficult question for me. I kept going back and fourth between photos, but kept coming back to this one of my girlfriend Amanda. It’s not wedding related, but it means a lot to me. This was the first time that I truly felt she trusted me taking photos of her. I know, that sounds bad, but it’s true. She doesn’t really like to have pictures taken of her, but she was relaxed about me photographing her that day. We were out of town that day. We had beautiful light coming through our hotel window and we took advantage of it. The reason I love this photo is because of the side of her face that she’s showing. A year ago, she got hyperthyroidism. I don’t remember all the actual medical details, but she went through a lot physically and emotionally. She had lost quite a bit of her hair, gained weight, and her right eye (the one showing in the picture) started to become bigger than it used to be. I never really noticed it, but she was very self-conscious of it. She’s fine now and back to normal, but this is why I love this photo.

What do you struggle with the most? Business or shooting wise.

I think for me, it’s being able to find work and life balance to some extent. It gets hard trying to find the time to work on personal projects, which is really what I want to be doing if I’m not busy with weddings. I’m someone who always has to be doing something creative. It’s my outlet. I feel that being self-employed is a great thing and a terrible thing. I’m the one person that the people I can’t say ‘no’ to rely on. Although it might change soon, I’ve been the only one with a car for the past few years. So, I’m responsible for giving my girlfriend rides to and from work and school as well as giving her son rides to and from either school or where ever else he needs to go. My girlfriend and her ex have shared custody, but I also wind up having to pick up the slack of baby daddy because he isn’t a very reliable person. Being self employed is great because I get to make my own schedule, but I’m a morning person and someone that has to stick to a routine. And when I’m not able to stick to my morning routine I fall apart, because my mind can’t function for work or editing at night. Especially, after an exhausting day of keeping up with everyone else. I love them both very much, so it’s always worth the hard work, time, and energy. I have to give props to photographers who are also parents and are able to tackle life and their work to it fullest. Cause that’s definitely what I struggle with most.

Where do you see wedding photography heading next? Where you would like to see it go?

I love seeing that wedding photography has become more of an art form. There are a ton of amazing wedding photographers out there documenting an amazing day, beautifully. I also love that we are now living in a digital age. It makes life so much more easier. However, I also think that it is a terrible thing. I would love to see more people enforcing unplugged weddings. I use the word enforcing because even the weddings I’ve shot where the couple asked everyone to put their phones away, the guests still did it. I feel it’s very disrespectful. Not towards me the photographer, but to the couple. Family and friends aren’t in the moment with the couple. They’re too busy making sure they have a crappy picture to share on Facebook or Instagram. I could go on and on about camera phones, but I’ll stop there. Another thing I would love to see, is couples caring a little more about prints or albums more than the digital files. I find it sad that people are no longer finding value in tangible prints. I print up every photo I take of my girlfriend or stepson. Even our camera phone pictures. I even give my couples a few free prints because I want to help them kickstart their prints. I just can’t can’t wrap my head around why anyone would find it more enjoyable to look through photos on a computer screen, phone, or through social media. I think it’s lame. It just doesn’t give you the same feeling as holding prints in your hand.

If you could send one message to the wedding photography world, what would it be?

Don’t give a fuck. Don’t worry about what other photographers are doing or how they’re shooting or where they’re shooting. Try to pretend that social media doesn’t exist. Be inspired by your life and let that be your guide. If you’re always comparing your work to others, you’ll never find your voice or your style. Stop worrying and just shoot what inspires you. Stop worrying about all the new gear that comes out, because that won’t make you a better photographer. Work with what you have and fuckin’ rock the fuck out of it! Above all, don’t back down. Don’t stop doing what you love. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with others. I believe in creating a community with photographers. We’re not competitors. We’re in this together. We’re artists. We’re creatives. And our work is our individual voice.

What drives you as a person and as a wedding photographer?

Life. It’s crazy. It’s fucked up. It’s beautiful. It’s just a rollercoaster of emotions for me. My girlfriend likes to describe me as being similar to Robbie Hart from the Wedding Singer. I’m moved by the people in my life that care about me and that I care about. Being a wedding photographer gives me purpose and keeps me moving forward. I’m not good at many things, but photography is one thing I feel I’m pretty decent at. It allows me to soak up this crazy thing called life.

What makes you throw confetti at the end of the day?

When my girlfriend and I find a night in our busy lives to just relax and spend time with each other to enjoy the simple things in life. It varies from time to time what we do, but it usually involves us staying home, making and eating nachos piled high, and drinking an assortment of alcoholic beverages while blaring jams from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Nights like that make me confetti throw! And if we get to sleep in the day after, it makes me confetti throw even more!

you most definitely want to find yourself moseying around ANTHONY GAUNA’S SITE and HIS BLOG.  so head on over immediately.  below is just a tiny glimpse of what this immense talent and heart can do.