After almost a year of frequent traveling Croatia - Cyprus and some countries in between, I have finally decided to stay for a month in my hometown Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Even tough my 2015 wedding season is still not finished, I needed to spend a day creatively and amongst gorgeous dresses...
Without any luck, my friend Ivana from I.J.Design had been trying to catch me for the past months to make a shoot of her new collection. No wonder that she managed to organize location, model, makeup and hair in just a few days to make sure I don't fly away again. :)
“With my knees in the sand, I ask for your hand...” -W.V.
The gentle lull of waves washes ashore on the beaches of Cyprus, stirring granules of sand in a silent swish that draws them back out to sea. The rising cliffs of Aphrodite's Rocks shine bright in the afternoon sunlight as gulls launch themselves off into the sky with a flourish of their wings. The two lovers on the beach notice none of this; they are too busy embracing in a flurry of tears and grateful sobbing.
Šarune and Matas have just gotten engaged, and neither could be happier. This happy meeting was arranged by my dear friend Ugne, an engagement planner who took the time to set up a picnic and guitar serenade on the beautiful beaches of Cyprus. Her attention to detail is unrivaled, and Matas could not have been happier with the results. Šarune was aware only that they would be stopping to look at Petra Tou Romini, otherwise known as the birthplace of Aphrodite. It was an incredibly fitting setting for a marriage proposal. Where else would you propose if you had the opportunity to do so in the birthplace of love?
It was a dawning realization that crossed Šarune's face as Matas pulled a custom engagement ring from his pocket; he had used his jewellery-making skills to craft it himself, and the love and care he put into it showed. How could Šarune resist so romantic a proposal? She fell to her knees to eye level with Matas, pressing her forehead to his as tears streamed down her face. The soft melody of delicately-plucked guitar notes played in the background as the two shared this moment together.
I would like to thank Andreas Nicolaou for his time and his guitar skills. The added touch of music to the scene made everything absolutely perfect. Ugne from Let's Be We-Marriage Proposals did a fantastic job with the picnic basket setup. Fresh fruit and wine by the sea helped the two fall deeper in love with each other that day, if that is even possible. Their romance is one that has a clear passion and depth that was so evident that I could hardly contain it in the pictures I took.
As she walked down the aisle, many faces felt tears stream down their cheeks. They had never before seen a more beautiful and graceful bride. Her serene expression gave away no nervousness, save for the gentle flush of her cheeks. The walk through the woods beforehand with her father had been a different story. As she clung to her father's hand, trembling breaths causing her to shake slightly, the only other sound was that of the birds chirping and the echo of waves crashing on the seashore. But she was ready. Upon approaching the last stretch of woodland trail, she leaned over and whispered in her fathers ear and saw a single tear roll down his cheek.
The wedding ceremony for Alice and Daniel took place at Gjorgjić-Mayneri park on island Lopud in southern Croatia amidst the tall pillars and fluttering leaves of the trees. The ceremony was in all ways beautiful, but no element shown more brightly than the loving glow on Alice and Daniel's faces. They simply couldn't take their eyes off each other as they spoke the words that would bind them for life. Then came the fist bump. It was an unexpected moment of hilarity between the two that let everyone know just how at ease they were with one another. It was funny, touching and a sign of the quirky type of love they shared.
The reception and after-party was at Villa on a hillside overlooking the bay. It's a gorgeous stone house with a large pool and spacious balcony, perfect for hosting the wedding party and their guests. Before the festivities got started, Alice and Daniel danced their first couples dance to Henry Mancini's “Moon River” in the silver moonlight drifting over the balcony. They leaned tenderly against one another, eyes closed to the moment. I don't think they were even aware of the guests around them as they slowly circled the dance floor.
I felt a little twinge as I watched them. The way they held each other and laughed with one another made me think of the phrase “two against the world.” They are each other's rock, a steadying hand when the storms of life threaten to wash them both away. When you find someone that understands you the way that no one else can, who accepts the crazy part of you by showing you their own, you know you've found your soulmate. I know that Alice and Daniel will stand by each other for their entire lives. Theirs is a love that will never die, come rain or come shine.
She has a look of innocence about her, soft and untouched, but beneath the angelic exterior lies the fierce spirit of next shining star. Victoria is walking along the sandy shores of Kouriom beach. I struggle to keep the sun out of my eyes as I take shot after shot, each one more beautiful than the next. I am able to use the natural light off of the waves, and the highlights on Victoria's cheeks make her expression simply glow.
I am mainly a wedding photographer, but sometimes I like to extend my reach beyond it. Model shoots are one of my favorite types of photo sessions because there is so much more I can capture in my images. The determination in Victoria's face as she gives this shoot her all is inspiring to say the least. She has such high hopes, such big dreams. She is young and fresh, still a bit shy, but she has a big heart and a spirit that dominates the epic white cliffs and beaten sand of the beach until it dims in the background around her.
I had the honor of working with renowned makeup artist Svitlana Koroleva for this shoot. She does amazing work with models, and Victoria was no exception. Every bit of makeup was perfectly in place and highlighted all of Victoria's already amazing features. After the beach, we took a few shots with the high-peaked sand dunes to really make Victoria's silhouette stand out. She has a perfect dancer's body, so we had her do a few spins until we got the second to last shot.
I did all of these shots with the Phottix equipment, by the way. I love it! :)
The very last picture, I believe, epitomizes who Victoria is. There is strength and femininity blended seamlessly together in every feature she possesses, and I can assure you that she is an amazing young woman. That fierce beauty that she has is matched by her equally stunning mind. Don't be fooled by her quiet facade; she is a chatterbox bursting with a vivacious personality. It is easy to see why she will go far in her career – much like myself, her passions is the driving force that will launch her to success, and hopefully, happiness as well.
Even in the photography business, it is a thrill to see an editorial about you in the paper. Photography magazines are an excellent way to get your name out there; it is even better to expose your art to the world in full-color spreads, where high definition lets your audience see even the tiniest of details where twisting of a sheer dress in the wind become sculptures through the lens of your camera.
I had the pleasure of photographing one of my lovely models at the beautiful Akrotiri salt lake in Cyprus at the end of past year; this photo shoot was picked up a year later by the Croatian bridal magazine Nova Vjenčanja.
The editorial team was a joy to work with. I have never worked with a more talented team; although there were a few moments during the shoot where things got tough, they and I powered through. I want to give a special thanks to Crina Barbu, whose make-up jobs are absolutely splendid. Osan Suzana Shirinian, who was our Litous designers assistant, was especially patient throughout the whole process, as was our model Alice Vuap.
Being published by this magazine has not just gained me a bigger audience. It's also provided me with the recognition and appreciation for my work that I and all photographers need. My work is my life, and I put every fibre of my being into each and every photo I produce. I am happy for getting that acknowledgement and validation to thrive me and be inspired to do more. After all, every appreciation and kind word means the world to me.
Greece is unspeakably beautiful. As a destination wedding photographer, my tours have been filled to the brim with breathtaking views in some of the world's most prestigious cities and jaw-dropping countrysides, but Greece is, by far, one of my favorite place to photograph. The glimmering azure seas and white sand beaches, coupled with the rustic metropolises clinging to the hillsides, fill me with wonder and inspiration.
With this photo shoot, my skills as a destination wedding photographer were put to good use as I took shots of this lovely couple, Aggeliki and Argiris. This Greek couple decided to stay in their native country for their holiday in the seaside capital of Chora on the island of Skopelos. I can not say I blame them... Every nook and cranny of this country is delightful, majestic and captivating, and Skopelos is no exception.
First off, I would like to say how beautiful this couple is. Their love is simple and pure. They look into each other's eyes without fear or embarrassment, and they are very open with how they feel about each other. Their level of comfort with one another made this photo session a breeze, and I managed to capture some wonderful shots that let their love shine through in the photos.
The first set of photos were taken at the Panagitsa of Pirgos, a widely-recognized landmark that sits on the coast of the Aegean Sea. The Panagitsa is a lovely white church that has become an attraction to tourists and locals alike, and it has been fondly named Eisodia tis Theotokou (Presentation of Mary) by residents. The Panagitsa has nestled itself into the outer edges of Chora's main port and is the first thing visitors see when they arrive. The brilliant ivory of the Panagitsa and the last of summer's warm rays simply lit up the scenery and cast a nice glow over Aggeliki and Argiris. It was like Heaven was shining down upon their love.
After the church, we moved on to the city streets of Chora, weaving our way through the cluster of houses with brightly painted doors and close-knit doorsteps. The bold blues and cobblestone paths made an eye-catching backdrop as Aggeliki and Argiris exchanged loving kisses and warm embraces. Their smiles are both so genuine. You could see they were truly happy, that they fulfilled one another.
As I took the final shots of them on a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea, I told them how lucky they were to have found each other. I will admit, I was sad to leave them. Their cheerful conversation and complete oneness of heart will forever be in my memory.
I seem to make a habit of staying up all night in Cyprus. Not that there is anything shady going on, mind you; it is all about the photography. :)
Night shoots are by far the most difficult. Getting that perfect shot and timing the lighting of the flash just right can be a pain, but when you do get it, the shot makes for an amazing photo. That is why I was really excited to try out a new piece of equipment, the The Phottix Mitros+ TTL Transceiver Flash. Flashes are super important to photographers in order to properly illuminate subjects and maintain a good light balance, so I was eager to see what the Phottix could do.
As I am a Phottix Pro Photographer for Croatia, I opted to use it in a series of shots in our pool to test out the new equipment. The Phottix Mitros+ is a hot shoe flash that lets you use it either on the camera or, if you need your lighting elsewhere, you can detach it and use the Odin, Phottix’s award-winning TTL flash trigger.
For this shooting, I used Mitros off the camera, placed aproximatelly 45 degrees angle from the model, triggered with Odin for some close up shots. The weather was hot and humid (as usually in Cyprus), so thankfully my handsome model Wilco did not have to freeze to death in the pool. :)
With Phottix's high speed sync feature, I was able to use a higher shutter speed without sacrificing the flash needed for proper lighting. It is very simple to use, even for beginners, and the flash recycle time is absolutely amazing.
Wilco was very patient and understanding about the whole process. Photo shoots can sometimes take awhile, and this one took a little longer since I was testing brand new equipment. He splashed around in the pool for 5 minutes just to get the second shot right. Thank you, Wilco! You are amazing! :)
Overall, the Phottix Mitros+ TTL Transceiver Flash in a combination with Odin trigger was a huge success. You can see every crystal clear drop of water and every subtle ripple in the photos, and aside from the flash, the set was almost completely dark.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with this flash and would definitely recommend it to every photographer. It is an indispensable piece that should be in every photographer's toolkit.
Make sure you stay tunned for new shootings with Phottix equipment and lots of behind the scene materials! :)
If there is one thing I love about being a destination wedding photographer, it is getting to know my clients. Every couple has a story, ranging from the curious to the sensational to the totally romantic. I like to get a feel for what the couple's history is, as it helps me to get the mood of the photo session right. If they met while walking their dogs in the nearby park, an animal-friendly photo shoot at said park is a must. If they met over their mutual love of football, an engagement photo under the stadium lights and the stars is where it's at. I think you get the picture (no pun intended). :)
For Viktoria and Nick, it was those long walks along the bay that inspired me to have their photo shoot on the Molos promenade in Limassol, Cyprus. The evening hours give off the most beautiful orange-tinged light that casts itself all over the boardwalk. It is like something out of a movie scene to see the two lovebirds meet on the promenade. It reminds me of the first time they met.
Viktoria and Nick met at a barbecue hosted by a mutual friend in Cyprus. Viktoria, who was a native Hungarian living in Cyprus, and who is also a devout vegetarian, reached across the dinner table to get the salt. Nick reached for the salt at the same time, and the two touched hands ever so briefly. Think of all the movie scenes in romantic chick flicks where there is an instant spark, an energy and tension that forms from even the briefest of touches. The couple's eyes meet, and it is love at first sight. It must have happened for Viktoria and Nick, right? Isn't real life always like the movies? :)
Well, not this time... Viktoria got a little chilly after Nick tried to spark conversation by making fun of her vegetarian lifestyle, which didn't work out so well. Smooth move, Nick. ;) However, after seeing each other more and more through their mutual friends and seaside gatherings, a mutual attraction soon grew, and eventually, Nick and Viktoria made their relationship official. I guess he got over his girlfriend's love of leafy greens; love means leaving your life of steak dinners for “greener” pastures.
The two could not be happier. You can see it in their smiles, the firm way they grasp each other's hand as they walk down the promenade. There's no regret in their decision to forge a life together.
And to think, it all started over a shaker of salt... :)
As a destination wedding photographer, I have seen it all. From grandiose weddings streaming with expensive decorations, to the humblest of ceremonies with only a select number of guests, I have experienced every one differently. However, the blossoming love between soulmates Josipa and Josip had a depth which I find hard to describe. You could see the deep feeling they had for one another in every look, every touch, every gesture that they gave to each other.
The ceremony took place in a modest church with no more than 100 guests in attendance. As I took pre-wedding photos of the bride as I was arranging her dress, ensuring every finite detail was perfect, I listened as she spoke lovingly of her husband-to-be. Her blushing cheeks and tear-brimmed eyes shone as she expressed her nervousness at her fiance seeing her in her wedding dress for the first time. With as lovely as she was at that moment, I wished he could have seen her.
And then the moment finally came... As Josipa glided down the aisle in an ethereal vision of lace and light, I could see the tears forming in Josip's eyes as he walked alongside his beautiful bride. They arrived at the altar and embraced with a quiet fierceness that moved some in the audience to tears as well. I was able to capture so many reactions to this sublime romance, but my favorite picture out of them all is when Josipa bowed her head in prayer, veil floating around her still blushing cheeks as everyone said a prayer of blessing for their marriage.
After the ceremony, I was able to capture some truly romantic moments between the newlyweds as they paddled through the nearby lake in a canoe for two. The clear reflections in the lake and the surrounding lily pads made for a beautiful setting, and every shot seemed to have a magic to it.
Their wedding dance was equally enchanting, with sweeping curtain backdrops and a starlit ceiling glimmering above the first dance they would dance as husband and wife.
Many brides and grooms have pulled off their wedding day with style and more than a touch of charm and grace, but Josipa and Josip's wedding will always have a special place in my memory. Theirs is a love that will last through every year of their lives, and as the storms of life wash over them, I know that they will cling fast to each other throughout it all with the bright shining hope of true love.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, being a wedding photographer means that sometimes I end up playing other roles as well, a coordinator being one of them. However, I can not be everywhere at once. This is where a day-of-wedding coordinator comes in.
While I am capturing the precious moments of the bride and groom's big day, the wedding coordinator is orchestrating the smooth flow of events from behind the scenes. The day-of-wedding coordinator is an essential addition to your bridal team.
Here are five reasons not to skimp on your coordinator budget:
My morning begins at 6am, when the daylight hours have barely begun to peek over the horizon with pink and golden rays. I drag myself out of bed, eyelids still heavy, and take a quick shot of the sunrise in stunning panorama. I check to make sure the shots are good and then stumble down to breakfast. Even half asleep, I am still a photographer.
The moment I'm fully awake, it is time to get to work. As a destination wedding photographer, my job takes me to the most amazing places. I have been through the hectic haze of London, taking pictures of every police box I see and stopping native Londoners for a fashion photo op. I have been to the coastal Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where crystal waves break on turquoise shores. The shore glows at night with lights peeking from city windows, tall buildings engraved in the cliff side.
Each day is a new adventure, ripe with potential and the chance to take that perfect shot, the one all photographers dream about. It's not all fun and games, though.
When I tell people what I do for a living, I typically get the same response: “Oh, so you take pictures?”
Well, duh. But there's so much more to it than that. Wedding photographers oftentimes are the lynch pin that holds the wedding together. We are not only photographing your special moments; we do a bit of everything.
I have many times found myself playing decorator, coordinator, therapist... I should really start putting these things on my resume. I am also a stylist, entertainer and children-finder. I have had brides and mothers cry on my shoulder, and I have taken more coffee orders than I can count, or drink orders for that matter. The list goes on and on...
But I am not complaining. I love all of it. I love the bustle and energy, the beauty of fresh new love blossoming in front of me as I capture romantic moments, but most of all, I love knowing that I've made the bride's day special. I guess you could say I set the mood. How I do my job sets the tone for how the wedding is going to be. When I do my job well, everybody's happy, which makes me feel rewarded and sets my heart aflutter.
It is not just my work; it is my passion. It is the tidal wave that sweeps me away into an ocean of ideas, and it's also the gentle flow that brings me back to calm waters. My brain is always bursting with anticipation of where my job will bring me next, what exciting new opportunities I will find that day.
It's not just a job. It's my way of life.
“Blessed are those who can hear the music of life.”
Sometimes, as the sun sets and the birds begin to call out their evening song, one cannot help but be beckoned to adventure, to sample the sweet night music that so often floods summer streets, gilding souls and hearts with its ebullience.
Such was the case when I visited merry old England recently as part of my work as a destination photographer—caught up in the hubbub of vibrant London, I decided to seize the night and venture out one evening with a friend of mine for a game of pool. As neither of us was all that familiar with our surroundings, we turned to Google, which led us to the Mau Mau Bar on Portobello Road.
When we arrived, we found that there was no pool table present after all - but there was something even better: Live blues music. Being fans of blues and jazz, we decided to stay, and to grab a glass of good wine and toast to whatever melodies the night may bring. Surrounded by the mystical transcendence of beautiful voices, I let my soul loose in dance, having not a care in the world as the notes lifted me higher. It was the perfect setting for my muse, as it turns out—during a trip to the bar, I bumped into Aleph, one of the musicians who had been playing. Sparks met artistic tinder and before I knew it, my camera was in hand, guided by the intangible vibe that emerges when many imaginative people congregate together.
Aleph, a 35 year old Venezuelan guitarist and musician, was kind enough to agree to an impromptu portrait session, even though he only had 30 minutes to spare between gigs. We hurried outside and I quickly made the most of the vibrant colours on the walls around us, finding them the perfect complement to Aleph's effervescent spirit. Much to my amazement, he was willing to dance on the street and smile his heart out, letting his unique personality beam through the lens like a warm ray of evening sunshine.
While the source of Aleph's radiant glow might have seemed mysterious to many, I had a good idea where it likely came from: His eyes were alight with the passion of a person who is not guided by obligation to material necessity so much as the thrum of God-given gifts. His dreams of being a musician were what led him to London, no doubt in the face of many obstacles and at least some criticism, and today he is so much in demand that his days are packed with gigs - a sight it did my heart good to see.
Being a destination engagement photographer is not all about planning, about carefully-staged shoots set in tranquil gardens and luxurious hotels. On the contrary, often the best gifts come to us photographers amidst the hustle and bustle of life, on busy streets crowded with strangers caught up in the whirlwind around them.
Recently, my work took me far away from sunny Croatia, into the foggy heart of London, one of the largest cities in Europe. Naturally, I could not resist doing some exploring, so on one fine Saturday when the sun broke through the clouds, crowning buildings and shimmering along the Thames, I went out for an adventure.
As on any fine summer day - rare in rainy England - the streets were packed with vivacious people, with tourists, families, young people, and of course, couples. The atmosphere was akin to that of a great carnival, with everyone out to worship the sun and revel in the joyousness of being alive.
I was therefore not surprised to hear lovely music emanating from Piccadilly Square: All Of Me from John Legend danced on the breeze, amplified by the voices of a choir which stood on the steps before a beautiful young woman.
Years spent working as a destination wedding photographer - along with having been born a romantic at heart - has given me a keen eye for love unfolding, so I immediately noticed the nine red roses in her hand. “Ah ha!” I thought; “Someone is about to get engaged.”
Everything after that moment happened in a flash of emotion and inspiration: As the lyrics crooned, "'Cause all of me loves all of you", a young man stepped out in front of the choir, and my camera found its way into my hands. Astonishment and tears dawned on the face of the bride-to-be as her handsome prince knelt down before her, professing his devotion for all the world to see. “Yes!” was of course the heartfelt answer to his question, and thunderous applause erupted all around - along with tears of joy dampening the faces of total strangers - as my shutter click-clicked away.
I felt on that day like I captured something too precious to be described in words - the moment love comes to full bloom, the moment it overflows its cup and spills into the souls of all those around it, a wave of joy rippling out through the great sea of humanity. I wished in that moment that every couple could preserve the memory of such beauty, create lasting impressions of something so perfect and so fleeting, so that it might never slip away.
One of the greatest joys of motherhood is the way it makes a person see the world with fresh eyes; so many things that we adults have gotten used to, even taken for granted, are to children the stuff of wonderment, prompting wide innocent smiles and peals of laughter.
In the presence of children, we witness so many “firsts” - first steps, first words, first trips to the park, and we truly begin to see every day as the new beginning it is. Each of these moments is so precious to a mother that it becomes her ultimate goal to capture them all, to make those jewels permanent in the form of photographs, videos, and other keepsakes.
Such was the situation with the beautiful Dutch family shown in the images below. The mother, Manja, had spent some of her happiest years in Cyprus, watching her two children grow up under the benevolent Mediterranean sunshine. The time had come, however, for a change and the family is soon moving back to their home in the Netherlands, where little Vico and Beau Jolie will continue growing up surrounded by their relatives.
While the children are, of course, bundles of excitement about being nearer to the rest of their family, for Manja, saying goodbye to Cyprus also meant closing the door on a blissful chapter in her family's life. As such, she decided it was the perfect time to cross something she had always dreamed of off her “bucket list”: a family photoshoot that would form the perfect lifelong memento of the wonderful years they had spent here.
While I have worked with many lovely people over my career as a destination photographer, I can truly say that Manja's devotion to her shoot was a rare delight for me: she enthusiastically worked with me, spending days planning the shoot, preparing props and accessories, and sending me inspiration until I knew exactly how to pull this shoot together.
When the big day came, there was only one thing left to take care of, something that could not be planned or predicted: striking up enough of a rapport with the children that I could get the shots I wanted. Thankfully, by the end of the shoot, the children and I were giggling away like old friends as I learned ballet jumps from Beau Jolie and football techniques from Vico.
The result was an amazing experience, a blissful day spent among the champagne-hued fields and beside the rippling blue waters of the sea, the brilliant colours of nature perfectly mirroring the blonde hair and blue eyes of the Brouwers. The white clothing and décor added the perfect note of purity, creating the sense of something heavenly as the loving family all clustered together for one of their last days out together on this magical island where time so often seems to stand still.
Find me in London from 5th to 12th of June. Still have some available dates for engagements or couple sessions, portraits, family sessions or private tutoring. Contact me for more info!
Love. Never a tamed, calm thing. Never settling down, never standing still, rushing, moving, like waves rolling over an endless ocean, ever changing and yet remaining in their beautiful consistency.
Love. The power set free when two souls meet each other and decide that it was each other they were waiting for. And then they finally embrace and sparks fly, twirling up into a golden sky, reminding the world that anything is possible. The moment counts, endless seconds filled with the dearest thoughts, the warmest emotions, the purest happiness.
But there is also the future awaiting, bright and shining, a path that may not always be easy, a road that might sometimes get rocky, forcing the wanderers to take a turn, to pause, to sit down for a moment and breathe in and out deeply. And even if the travelers do not know where exactly the road leads, what they do know is that they will be traveling it together, hand in hand, side by side, helping each other to stand tall against all odds.
The past has to be overcome, yet never forgotten. Because it's the past, that helped create the bond which longs for the future. Only true love has the ability to travel through time, to exist simultaneously in the past, the present and the future, only love can bring together all dimensions of this universe, only love can survive, only love counts.
In the end, we are all but ships, floating in time and space, until we find the one, the one whose sails are set the same way, the one who's floating alongside with us. And when the winds are gracious, they might bring two ships like these together and set them on a journey filled with excitement and joy.
This is a story about Carolina and Catalin, a Brazilian - Romanian couple living in a beautiful city of Brasov, Romania.
They met on a cruise boat 13 years ago where they went to work - they never thought they would meet each other, perfect and complete soul mates. Now, they have been married for 7 years, but from my point of view, their love is as powerful as it was the first day.
So what is it that binds two souls together? One of the greatest mysteries of a mankind, a blank space in our so very well explored world, a piece of uncertainty, vague, not graspable, unspeakable, yet uniquely intriguing. It is the glue, that holds the world together, the warm feeling deep on the inside, the soft touch of a lover's hand, two eyes meeting each other, maybe just for one second, a glance bursting with emotion.
Time will always pass by, years, days, hours, seconds fly by, some leaving traces, others not, some being preserved in the memory, some not. Love will always remain. Love would not fade. Because it has no concrete form, because it's ever changing and therefore remaining. The biggest secret, the greatest joy.
It is no secret that next to a wedding, fashion photography is my big love.
Beautiful models, awesome designer creations, gorgeous locations, lots of creativity - those are the words I can use to describe my latest editorial shooting I have organized during my trip to Cyprus.
I was lucky enough to meet Katerina, beautiful soul in love with smiles and life, and what is more important, fabulous fashion designer and young enterpreneur. Our story started with a simple coffee in Nicosia, resulted in so many ideas and plans.
This is our first fashion editorial, in collaboration with my good friend and photographer Cristian Dascalu and two wonderful models, Karina and Tina. Amazingly talented makeup artist Svitlana Koroleva made them even more beautiful.
Special thanks go to Hasan, who was our light assistant this time and to Sparta Sandals for providing our models amazing handmade leather sandals.
Whole editorial with this amazing team is coming out soon! :)
Carpe Diem spring/summer 2015
Photographers: Martina Hohnjec (Timeless Photography) & Cristian Dascalu
Light assistant: Hasaj Haj
Designer & stylist: Katerina Parpa (Carpe Diem)
Models: Karina Bond / Tina Andres
Makeup artist: Svitlana Koroleva
Hairstyle: Katerina Parpa
Shoes: Sparta Sandals
Accessories: Angeliki Savva (Trendy Accessories)
Video Editor: Filip Hohnjec
One of the greatest powers of the universe is the mysterious gravity which draws kindred souls together; often surprising and inexplicable, this force is a weaver of stories and shaper of lives, pulling those caught up in it in truly unexpected directions.
As a destination wedding and engagement photographer, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to hear about many such chance meetings between kindred souls, but few tales have so delighted me with their humour and candour as that of the meeting of Karen and Martins.
Back in June of 2013, Karen was just about to leave Cyprus, having decided to return to her home country, the Netherlands. It was a bitter-sweet parting; Karen was looking forward to seeing her homeland once more, but she would be sorely missed by her Cypriot co-workers. Rather than lament, however, they decided to throw her an unforgettable party - they wheedled and cajoled her to attend “Lost at Sea” boat party, wanting to have one last fun night out with the vivacious young woman they had come to know and love.
That decision had change the course of her life. At the other side of the boat, she sighted a handsome Latvian man—Martins—and her heart skipped a beat. Soon, the two were flirting the night away, eventually winding up on a beach with Martins' work colleagues, drinking champagne and drawing the eye of all the other party-goers. Even strangers could see at once that these two bright sparks belonged with one another, each burning with the same vivid inner light.
Martins was obviously intent on never letting Karen out of his sight; over the next year and half, he gave up his job to follow her to the Netherlands, then accompanied her on her travels around the world (touring Latvia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia) before the two finally decided to settle down where it all began—in sunny Cyprus, where I was invited to come take their pictures.
In keeping with the tale of Karen and Martins' first meeting, I chose to hold their couples shoot at beautiful Curium Beach—a wild, untouched wonder of nature where windswept cliffs cascade dramatically down toward the sea, their pale faces crowned with gold and green.
The breeze danced beautifully with Karen's hair and scarf, adding a wonderful sense of motion to the images which I happily experimented with for a long while before taking a break to wait for the sun to set. When I paused the session, Martins delighted us all by going to buy some wine at the nearest store, enabling us to spend our break chatting like old friends, musing on life, travelling, and Cyprus as the wind brushed our cheeks and the sun bathed us in its mellow rays.
This shoot was a blissful finale for me, the perfect end to my time in Cyprus. I will always remember that island with great fondness as a place where unique and diverse people come together, sharing stories, life, and love beneath the warm honey of the Mediterranean sun... Then, like birds, many of them fly away home, their hearts rich with memories.
The adage which states life begins when you step out of your comfort zone proved to true both literally and metaphorically for Julie, a vivacious Scottish beautician I met recently through my work as a destination wedding photographer.
Though I am natively a Croatian wedding photographer, I am available worldwide for shoots and have recently spent a long while in Cyprus, so I am no longer used to meeting people as gregarious as Julie; many people in this region of the world are rather quiet and keep to themselves, independently going about their lives. Julie, though, radiates a bubbly life-force that draws everyone to her—so much so that she was well-known and liked by all of her neighbours at the apartment complex she lived in just over a year ago.
Naturally, then, when a handsome single Dutchman by the name of Bart moved in to the said complex, titillated whispers lit up the building as its residents immediately saw a potential match for Julie. Soon, her customers at work were telling her about the charming newcomer to her flat and doing their best to set up a date—which Julie at first flatly refused.
But, the seed was planted—as she went about her day-to-day life, she could not help but start to look for Bart in and around her building, to notice the twinkle in his eye and the warmth of his smile. Something in her heart started to tug at her, telling her to take a chance, to ignore her hesitancy and take a risk on a possibly awkward blind date with a stranger.
Eventually, Julie accepted the invitation to go out for a drink, and when she let herself meet Bart's eyes for the first time, she felt a sense of instant, unmistakeable connection. One date turned into many, and within a few months, the couple realised that the only times their flat truly felt like “home” was when they were together in it. As such, they decided to take their biggest risk yet; despite how new their relationship was, they chose to move in together.
Their choice was immediately blessed—that New Year's, Julie was overjoyed to discover the greatest of surprises: She was expecting a baby! In a whirlwind of holiday celebration, she and Bart got engaged, and are now planning a wedding for a next year.
The little decorative box I photographed Julie's ring on perfectly captures what has unfolded for this couple: “Every once in a while... right in the middle of ordinary life... love gives you a fairytale.” As you can see from the pictures, their life has started to unfold like something from a storybook; in March, they moved into a beautiful big house surrounded by a palm-strewn garden, a little patch of paradise all their own. Inside, however, there were many signs that Julie and Bart have held onto their down-to-earth candour and sense of humour; I found an adorable “wedding fund” piggy bank, surrounded by seemingly endless congratulations cards from their friends and family, as well as a quirky plaque.
After capturing these mementos, I took the couple to the beautiful Ayios Georgios Alamanou rocks (near Governor's Beach in Cyprus). This beautiful beach has long been a place for lovers to walk, hand-in-hand, as the sun sets, finding hidden nooks among the many sea caves and tiny islets where they might quietly whisper their secrets, dreams, hopes, and fears, their voices blending into the soothing murmur of the waves.
I shot Julie and Bart against the beach's famous stones, which rise as pure and white as dove's wings from the inky black sands below and overlook the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean sea. This uncluttered yet dramatic landscape draws the eye out to the endless blue horizon, creating a thrilling sense of the unknown and making one contemplate the majesty of the future—the perfect aura to surround this couple, whose fairytale has truly only just begun.
The wind softly caresses her hair, the sun kisses her skin, nature recognizes her as her child and embraces her. Never has her beauty been so strong and present, never have her eyes shown that special spark of freedom and happiness, a wild child, a wild love.
For me as a photographer, it is my ultimate goal to unite both nature's and fashion's beauty, to create a perfect ensemble of a free spirited wearing a breathtaking dress that makes her one with mother nature and at the same time makes her stand out and shows her inner beautiful energy. She is a strong individual, she knows what she wants and she knows her strength. But at the same time there is this undeniable softness in her soul, the elegance in her movement that is reflected by the lightness of the fabric flowing down her body, moving in the wind, dancing to the distant sound of a melody only she can hear. The sound of freedom, the sound of passion, a sound that takes your mind to some far away place where everything is possible and where there are no rules to follow. She is the bride, she is personified passion and love, she is the object of her husband's desire but also she is the unique individual living her dreams, fighting for her passions, caring for her loved ones.
Beauty does not have to be complex all the time, look at the simple but stunning beauty that lies in the lively flowing of a river, in the calm presence of a mountain lake, in the impressive strength of an old tree, held upright by roots that go so much deeper than anyone would ever imagine. Beauty often lies in the simple things. A gentle breeze moving the branches, a small bird singing its song.
The Akrotiri Salt lake in Cyprus inspired me to create this setting as a mixture of fairy tale, love story and adventure. You can find the 'behind the scenes' and some extra material here.
My bride is a woman who knows it does not take a loud and screaming styling to make perfectly stage her beauty. She surrounds herself with elegance and simplicity, which also shows in the simple but all the more beautiful shape and flow of her dress. She becomes one with nature, finds back to her own roots only to grow even stronger. Her strength and her softness combine and create her own unique aura, feminine, beautiful, pure grace. And she is standing there, her eyes fixed on the horizon, awaiting new adventures...
While fanfare provides its own sort of rapture, as a photographer I delight in capturing something far more rare: True intimacy.
Having frequently acted as a destination wedding photographer, I am used to boisterous Mediterranean celebrations, but during my recent two-month stay in Cyprus, I was treated to a rare display of relaxed, low-key closeness full of little moments of enchantment.
I was invited to shoot the wedding of a beautiful Polish girl named Aleksandra and her dashing Lebanese groom, Ghassan, on location there in Nicosia. To my surprise, I found that the only guests were to be their witnesses, Celine and Charbel. This might seem unusual and informal at first glance, but as it turns out, these four friends (all professional architects living in Lebanon) functioned like a little family of their own, with Celine and Charbel celebrating their own union in tandem with the happy couple: The six month anniversary of their Paris wedding.
The quirky chemistry of the four friends was most evident in their choice of attire: The men's unusul blue suits (with brown leather ties) were the perfect complement to Aleksandra's home-made bouquet (comprised of both real flowers and cut paper), with its bold blue accents, while the green leaves in said bouquet balanced her unusual choice of shoes. I loved the extra kick of colour her green heels added to her ensemble, breaking up the miles of white that usually goes with being a bride. Celine added the final note of aesthetic harmony, with her blue heels and cute peach dress adding a bit of warmth to offset all the cool tones worn by the others. Getting to see the vibrance of their originality reminded me that the greatest joy of being a destination wedding photographer is not solely about the new places you see—it is very much about the diverse and unique people you meet.
Without the organisational logistics of getting a large group of people together, we were all able to savour the experience of the wedding, to take our time and not worry about schedules. As such, after the ceremony, we all took a leisurely stroll through the old part of Nicosia, where the four architects delighted in the marvels there: the grand buildings with their old windows and doors. As we passed in front of a big house covered in flowers, an old lady came out to congratulate the newly married couple in Greek, sharing an offering of fresh home-made lemonade—the perfect toast.
And so the magic of love, friendship, and the warmth of the Cypriot people combined to end the day on a truly golden note. As you can see expressed by the playful candour of the four friends posing together in the outdoor photos, love and happiness do not require spectacle and expense to be genuine, heartfelt, and moving—at their best, they are simply natural.
For every girl on the earth, the most important day in life is her wedding day. It has to be different from all other occasions because that is the moment when all eyes are up to her; she must shine like no one else and look like an angel which God sent for the man she is going to marry.
One of the biggest decisions you are going to make when it comes to your wedding day is your bridal gown. You know what your perfect wedding dress is - you have seen it in your dreams. Why not take that dress to reality by creating your unique design?
But wait... If you are not a designer yourself, you will not be able to design the way you want it to be. In my opinion, it does not mean you need to settle for less than perfection for your wedding dress. You can always hire a top notch wedding dress designer.
Recently I went for a wedding photo shoot in Cyprus. What a beautiful island it is... Because of its spectacular sandy beaches together with the outstandingly beautiful coastal regions, I fell in love with this place. If you have dreamed of getting married on an island, I cannot emphasize enough how perfect this place is for a wedding.
While I was in Cyprus, I had the chance to meet a lovely, fun loving Cyprus wedding dress designer named Lito Constantinou, owner of Litous studio in Nicosia. I went there to take photos for her interview for Moderna Vjenčanja, a popular Croatian bridal website.
Litous is making feminine dresses, using a lot of beautiful lace. She offers a full service couture bridal experience to brides to be with over three hundred affordable designer dresses to choose from. She has a ready collection of wedding dresses, but she is also creating custom and unique designs by order. The most noticeable thing about her is that she is a very dedicated person helping brides look spectacular on their special day.
When it comes to her studio, what I liked the most is that is amazing, big and impressive, full of hanging lanterns which Lito made by herself. When I was in Cyprus, I was quite happy that I will get to capture the most beautiful shop on the earth.
While many people out there are mostly familiar with hiring a wedding photographer, most of them don’t consider hiring a photographer to capture their love or engagement. The reason is that they might think that kind of photos are a little cheesy and unnecessary. An engagement would not be complete if there are no photos taken during the event. Moreover, you can use these photos on your wedding invitations and treasure for life.
When looking to hire an engagement photographer, in my opinion, you can choose either a photographer or an artist. Confused? Don’t be. You see, art has many different definitions, but the one which I relate mostly to is that art is a process of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the emotions or senses. It does not matter if it is a kid holding a point and shoot camera or me holding a DSLR. What matters is that each person that looks through a lens sees something different. Every photographer is an artist because we express ourselves through a push of a button.
You must be wondering how one can determine if you want a photographer or an artist? With portfolios all over the web, a couple does not have to look far to find an artist. You will be able to tell by looking at images… You will be able to identify whether these photos look like they were on the list or these photos scream of an expression from an artist.
When it comes to me, I have been taking photos since I was a teenager and over the time I evolved as an artist whose style is perfect for engagements and weddings; simple, lifestyle, fresh and soft. As the saying goes, if you are passionate about something, you can not go wrong. Same applies to me! I am really considering myself blessed as I am doing the best job in the world which I am totally passionate about. Photography allows me to travel all around the world and I have an opportunity to meet most amazing people and couples in love. Because of their love, I get to grow more and more, not only as a photographer and an artist, but also as a person.
This couple shooting took place in beautiful picturesque city Limassol in Cyprus. It is a great example of how beauty and harmony fits perfectly together on this island of love.
Good photographer will look for moments, but also set a scene. I like my photos to feel natural and candid, yet done with some direction and styling so you are not left wondering what you need to do. I direct you to interact, to draw real emotion out of you, get real looks towards each other and then I am documenting real love. If you are planning an engagement in an island or near a beach, I can be your best bet as you will get to capture your every moment in your special island paradise.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
From the moment I had picked camera for the first time, photography brought me so much joy, taught me many great things, led me to some amazing places and gave me an opportunity to meet wonderful people.
I am honored when people tell me how much they love my work, but I feel even more thrilled when I get recognition from photographers.
Out of 110 928 submitted work to Shoot & Share photography contest, my photo has made it to the top 10% of ALL photos and I am a proud Finalist in the 2015 Shoot and Share Photo Contest! :)
I have a privilege to reside in Limassol, Cyprus for two monhts. During my time on this wonderful island, I have visited Xristakis Taverna, a place where I witnessed a truly beautiful story.
Xristakis Taverna, like all traditional Cypriot taverns, is decorated with antique ornaments in a unique, but attractive manner. The ceiling is filled with remarkable vintage settings that are shaped to give the impression that you are just in the right place. With traditional lanterns hanging by a variety of metallic and fruit shape ornaments, the ceiling is simply attractive.