It makes sense that Nathalia Allen has utilized the name “A Million Minds” for her online presence. After all, the Toronto-based portrait photographer has developed the skills to capture what’s inside her subjects, no matter who they are. It also makes sense that Allen started on film — though she now shoots on a Canon 5D Mark III, her images are filled with warmth and humanity.
Ultimately, she possesses the sort of portfolio that’s packed with the sort of uplifting energy that elevates portraiture as an artform. We caught up with Allen to discuss her process, her equipment and her dreams for the future.
Are you purely a photographer or do you have other creative pursuits?
I studied fine arts, then ventured into film photography. My mentor pushed me into graphic design which just heightened my skill set and lead me to learn how to meld my visual art with digital media.
Why did you choose photography over other creative mediums?
I actually still do graphic design, but photography is my passion. Being able to connect with complete strangers and help them see themselves in a different light has been the best part about practising photography.
What inspired this particular project?
Char and I decided we wanted to shoot a vintage inspired project, and I agreed for Char to freestyle her looks. I knew I wanted to shoot with a bit of greenery and a muted location. Our directions meshed very well, leading us to create a beautiful ’90s-inspired shoot.
What camera did you shoot on?
Shot with a Canon 5D Mark III.
How does your gear help you be a better photographer?
Three years ago, I saved enough money to buy my Mark III. I was so excited to own a full-frame camera. My early work was shot with a Crop Sensor 50D and I am still proud of those pieces until this day. It’s not all about the gear, it’s the eye that matters most.
Do you have a favourite style of photography?
Portrait photography, for sure. It’s been the most uplifting experience to see how happy people feel when they see how amazing they look when we work together. I try my best to help my subject feel confident and comfortable through simple communication and reassurance.
If you could go anywhere to shoot, where would it be and why?
It would probably be Kenya or somewhere in Africa that has Tribal communities. I want to capture the beauty in the headdresses and jewelry and get the chance to connect in a completely different space than I’m used to.
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