NHN: Tell us about you, your art, and your artistic journey.
Mafer Montezuma: I’m Mafer Montezuma, I’ve been a photographer for as long as I can remember. Thanks to my mom, I’ve always had a camera by my side. I majored in business and worked in marketing in the fashion industry, so I have always had art, creativity and design in my life. After my kids (now 20 and 16) were born, I brought my camera everywhere. I wanted to keep all their moments alive for me and for them. Parents loved what I did and started asking me to photograph their kids. I wanted to live off my passion, to love what I do every day, so that’s when I decided to become a portrait photographer. I took lots of classes to learn more in depth about photography, the art, and the business. I practiced a lot with families, and when I thought I was ready, I made it official.
NHN: How would you describe your photography style?
MM: My style is magical, joyful, authentic, light, unique, and full of wonder.
NHN: Recent artistic accomplishments?
MM: Although I have had a lot of success and grown my client base in the last few years, these numbers are not how I measure my accomplishments. For me, I feel accomplished and know I have done my job every time a client is thrilled to review their gallery, falls in love with every image, prints them as wall art/photo albums, or recommends me to their friends. It’s moments like these that my heart is full, and I know I’m doing the right thing.
NHN: Most rewarding project? Most challenging?
MM: I value every single session I create, but lately I’ve enjoyed two types of sessions: high school seniors and newborn sessions. For senior sessions, it is so much fun to work together with the student to create a completely customizable experience, that way their pictures show a reflection of who they really are. My other favorite type of session is newborn babies, more specifically at the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, where I am their official photographer. Those hospital rooms are filled with so many emotions. The parents are exhausted but extremely happy, and siblings are very curious and excited. I end up leaving the hospital with both my heart and SD card full.
For me, every session is challenging in its own way since every client is so unique and I want to exceed their expectations. It is a big responsibility because I want to tell everyone’s story, whether it is a family, newborn, headshots, branding, high school seniors or extended family sessions. They all have a different story, and I’m so honored they have chosen me to tell it. To personalize their experience, I ask lots of questions and communicate with them before the session. This way, I can know them better and capture the authenticity of this moment of their lives.
NHN: Walk us through a day/week in your life creating art. What does your process look like?
MM: Every day of my life is different, especially according to the seasons. September through November is a very busy season; all the weekends are filled with sessions, and I edit them during the week. I also have a high schooler who is homeschooled and is pretty independent, but I save some time every day if she needs me.
NHN: Who or what inspires your art?
MM: Both light and nature inspire me. I love creating magic out of simple settings, but definitely people and their stories are my biggest source of inspiration.
NHN: Passions besides art?
MM: When I’m not shooting or editing, I love to spend time with my family. We love to go on adventures to the beach, or to the mountains, as well as exploring local trails with our dogs.
NHN: Any new projects in the works? If so, what are they?
MM: Short term, I have sessions scheduled this fall in beautiful locations around Lake Nona. I’m always finding cool places to shoot, where there is beautiful lighting, gorgeous nature, and close accessibility for families. Many moms appreciate that they don’t have to travel too far to get to the location.
Long term, I have a big project in the works. It’s still in the first stages of development, but I am very excited about it, and I know many families and clients will be as well. That’s all I can say for now!
NHN: Where can people find you and your art?
MM: My website is https://www.mafermontezuma.com/ and my Instagram and Facebook handles are @mafermontezumaphotography.