Even tough plenty of people think that being a photographer is extremely easy and simple, everyone from the photography industry are very aware of the traps this job can bring. One of the most often one is working at the venues with very bad, or no light at all. It is easy to arrive at weddings with bunch of additional lighting equipment, but what to do when you are traveling as a destination wedding photographer and the number of your luggage bags (read: equipment) is limited?
There is a piece of equipment I never leave without, no matter where I have to travel and photograph...
“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.
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.
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... :)
“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.