Vanessa Mathieu Pineda photographs weddings in Cabo, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, and other breathtaking destinations both in Mexico and beyond. She enjoys observing beautiful interactions and catching on camera those unexpected moments of connection. For Vanessa, candid shots are where the magic's at. She expertly balances light and framing with an eye for genuine elegance and detail. We recently sat down with Vanessa to explore her journey and the artistic vision behind her work.
Can you tell us how you first discovered your passion for wedding photography? What inspired you to pursue it professionally?
My passion started at a very young age when my dad got me my first camera. I started taking a million pictures of my dog. As I grew older, I would take my camera to every event I attended. Photography has been a way for me to treasure memories and remember friends, places, situations, and feelings. I would also take it to every trip and always got inspired by nature and architecture. I’ve always been known as the girl with the camera, but never imagined doing it professionally. I went and studied something very different, but it wasn’t until covid hit and that everyone’s life was paused that I started thinking about all the things I loved but that I had pushed aside for my studies.
I’m an ocean lover and I always wanted to live by the sea. I moved all the way from a little city in Canada to a beautiful sunshine state in Mexico. A close family member encouraged me to pursue photography professionally as she knew it made my soul spark. I got really inspired when I came across a frame of two lovers effortlessly gazing at each other and you could see how in love they were. At that moment I wished I could capture something like this with my camera. I then started second shooting with an amazing wedding photographer in Cabos. I’ve always been a romantic dreamer and so wedding photography just felt like the perfect pairing. Looking back at my journey I feel so incredibly grateful I have aligned all the things I love in my life, and I feel so blessed to have such amazing clients, this wouldn’t be the same without them, they make my work so extremely special.
How would you describe your working style?
I really enjoy observing interactions and capturing unstaged moments that happen naturally throughout the day. I really love candid shots and so my eyes are always peeled for the unexpected moments. I get inspired by the ocean, textures, nature, and historical art. Not to mention I have a big love for fashion. I find it is such a beautiful mode of expression that reflects into my photographs. With my keen eye for honest details, I am always looking for a frame that showcases a timeless and effortless essence of the moment.
How do you work with each couple to ensure that their images reflect their individuality and capture their love story in a genuine way?
I slightly direct my couples into poses and encourage them to interact with each other and try to forget about the camera. Being in the moment, embracing the day and each other is truly the best way for a photographer to get at the essence of their love. I love when there’s movement and always try to keep it light and fun.
There are so many elements that go into making a great wedding photo. From your perspective, what are some of the most important elements that make an image truly stand out?
Yes, absolutely, there are so many elements. Light being one of the most important, which I can’t emphasize enough! It is so important to consider light throughout your entire day from the «getting ready» portion of the day all the way to the reception. Paying attention to small details, which we can sometimes forget about, is also essential. Being relaxed is definitely another very important detail. I know it can be stressful to be followed by a camera, but loosening up is essential: we want to avoid any stiffness in order to best capture someone’s essence! Finally, decoration and location definitely help in making a photo stand out!
As a destination wedding photographer, you've had the opportunity to shoot in many different locations. Can you share some of your favorite destinations, and are there any places you're hoping to shoot at in the future?
I’ve absolutely loved shooting in Italy and I hope I’ll get the chance to go back! I also love shooting here in Mexico and I have a few dream locations that I hope to shoot one day of course. I would love to shoot weddings around Europe, in the Maldives and in South Africa. Definitely a big dream of mine.
Finally, what advice would you give to couples who are searching for the perfect wedding photographer?
Follow your heart. You will know when you find the right wedding photographer for you. Look for a wedding photographer whose style you love and make sure to connect with them and discuss details of your day, because they will be capturing one of the most important days of your life and helping you create beautiful memories.