For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mike Caringi, owner of 5ive15ifteen photo company. My passion for weddings started a young age when I worked as a banquet server. (Fun fact: I can actually french serve ANYTHING with a fork and spoon… even spaghetti!) When I turned 17, I joined the 515 team and had the opportunity to take my love for weddings and photography to the next level. To me, it has always been about merging passion with art to capture a real moment in someone’s life. I like to believe that it is the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our couples who will truly benefit from the heart we put into our work.
Our story begins in 2001; a time when puffy shoulders and big hair were (thankfully) becoming things of the past. Couples were becoming disinterested with formal, posed photos. Natural was in. The more candid, the better. Suddenly, thanks to Carrie Bradshaw and Manolo Blahnik, shoes were a big deal. As brides would proudly hand over their heels to be photographed, we quickly realized that the objects surrounding us when we tie the knot need their time in the spotlight too.
And so, the 5ive15ifteen signature vision was born; one that took classic portrait photography and married it with an editorial and photojournalist approach. We created our aesthetic using medium format film cameras. The images were crisp, colours vibrant and the depth of field was ever so present. With only 15 shots per roll, we were able to slow down and be thoughtful about each picture. I always loved when the proofs would come back from the lab; it felt like Christmas morning because you finally got to see what you captured weeks prior.
Fast-forward to the mid 2000s and we were faced with a huge decision: film or digital? In 2006, we were one of the few studios in the city still shooting on film. Why did it take us so long to make the switch? Well, to be honest, we weren’t fully satisfied with what was being produced by the early digital cameras. We found digital prints to be flat and dull—there was something missing. For a studio that has always been about crisp, clean, timeless imagery and natural skin tones, digital lacked that ethereal quality that was—at the time—only achieved by shooting on film.
Eventually, digital cameras caught up to speed and some 13 years later we can finally say that we love working with digital just as much as we loved working with film! Switching to digital has allowed us to become more creative; we’re not afraid to try something new and we can shoot in practically any lighting situation without worry. While beautiful, natural light is still our preference, we can now take advantage of ambient light when shooting in dark reception spaces. Not to mention, we’re able to be super stealthy and quiet during those silent moments of a ceremony when you can hear a pin drop!
Working with my team is one of my favourite things about my job. These incredibly talented, passionate, and hardworking individuals are what make this company so wonderful and successful. Awards and accolades are nice, but if it wasn’t for these super fun, caring, reliable and crazy-talented people, 5ive15ifteen would not be the studio it is today. I’ve had the opportunity to mentor many of our shooters; helping them hone their craft and develop a style that meshes beautifully within our brand. In turn, they push me to be better at what I do. Together we are constantly learning and improving our skills in order to provide our clients with the best possible service and images.
With nearly 20 years of experience under our belt (some of us have a little more, ahem), we are so fortunate to have been entrusted by hundreds of couples with the title of ‘Official Wedding Photographer.’ Our experience has allowed us to build lasting relationships with not only our clients but also other industry professionals across the GTA, Canada and all over the globe. We’ve seen trends come and go, but one thing that never goes out of style is a beautiful moment captured forever. To this day, nothing brings us greater joy than to hear these simple words: “Thank you so much—I love our photos!”