Spanish Wedding Photography
Q&A With Isabel Benchetrit
- What sparked your interest in photography? I’ve always had a great interest in photography ever since I was a young girl. My uncle worked for a camera company and would bring us the latest in compact cameras every so often. It never really left my side until I finally got my first SLR. My poor family had to sit through so many holiday photographs! There was this one holiday where I was going to volunteer in scientific research in Indonesia, I brought 300 rolls of film with me! I had to buy a rucksack just for the film!!!!! Everybody thought I was crazy but I just wanted to keep taking photographs and I didn’t want to run out of film in the middle of the Indonesian jungle!
- Why did you decide to specialise in wedding photography? Weddings are a happy, emotional and important event in people’s lives. Some dream of their perfect wedding before even having a fiancé. The perfect dress, colours, the flowers, who you would invite, the venue… all the details have been painstakingly decided on. And to be a part of that dream come true and most importantly, being the one to make those moments so memorable by capturing them and freezing them in time in a professional manner, is truly special. This is why I love and decided to specialise in wedding photography.
- Describe your style and approach? I like to be as unobtrusive as possible and I like the photographs to look as natural as possible. It’s all about making my couples feel comfortable in front of the camera. This is the best way to get natural looking photographs. Each couple is different and react differently in front of the camera. For me it is very important to get a good understand of what each couple would like out of their wedding photographs and to get a sense of their personality. Sometimes I will guide the couple constantly throughout the photo shoot, talking them through different actions and other times I will just let the couple take over.
- How do you remain unobtrusive during the wedding day? Long lenses is the answer here. Thanks to my extensive range of lenses I have the perfect tool for each moment. Long lenses or zoom lenses mean I don’t have to be so close to people. I can keep my distance and even hide a bit so that I can pass unnoticed. This also means that I am able to photograph people smiling and laughing naturally instead of giving me a posed look. One of my favourite compliments is “oh I didn’t even realise you were taking photographs at that moment!”
- What do you love about your job? I love how every day is so different. Every bride, every groom, even the venue is decorated in a different way so no matter how many weddings I do in the same venue it is always different. Every wedding gives me the opportunity to try different angles or techniques and it brings with it a new set of challenges. I am able to be creative in so many different ways.
- How do you cope when the weather isn’t ideal? I started my wedding photography business in the north west of England. It rained a lot! I learnt to always bring large umbrellas with me (which funnily enough never ended using them as it always stopped raining when I wanted to use them!) The beauty of photography is that you are showing only a small part of what is happening around you. It can work to your advantage and with a little bit of creativity you can make indoor photographs look like they were taken outside. But team work is the most important factor here. If there are clouds covering the sun and it looks like there will be no sunset but the photographs were scheduled to be taken at sunset, the flexibility of being able to do the photos earlier than planned for or even later than planned for in some cases is very important. Bad weather doesn’t necessarily mean bad photos either. Moody skies can help create some stunning images. I’m still waiting to capture an image with the bride and groom in the foreground and a bolt of lightning far in the background. What a powerful image that would be!
- Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives Natural, creative, professional, sensitive, captivating and beautiful.
- What keeps you inspired? Knowing that my job makes people happy. The actual day of the wedding happens so fast and most couples don’t remember most of it due to nerves or just so much happening at the same time, you don’t get a chance to take it all in. Your photographs become your memories and seeing people smile, laugh and even cry when they get to see their album or view their photos is the best part of my job.
- What do you enjoy about living and working in on the Coast? I grew up on the coast, then went to the UK for university and started my business in photography. The Costa del Sol was always there in the back of my head. So eventually I decided to return. This is my home, it’s where I grew up and where I love to be. You can’t beat the weather here, the food and of course the people. We have such a huge diversity of cultures and languages on the coast and that is something that I really do enjoy.
- A tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? First always view the photographs of a full wedding taken by your chosen photographer. It’s very easy for someone to choose their best photos from different weddings and only show you those. It’s not a true representation of their work and you could end up disappointed. You want to see how the whole day was photographed. You also want to make sure that you like your photographer as a person and get along with them, after all you will be spending your whole wedding day with them.
- One thing you’d like every bride and groom to know before their wedding? Make sure you have a good breakfast and drink plenty of water on the day of your wedding! It gets very hot here and you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to drink water. I have had a bride nearly collapse from heat exhaustion. Please make sure you drink plenty of water.
- Favourite image you’ve taken lately? This is not easy to answer, there are so many. But I am currently in love with an image taken at one of my favourite venues. It’s an image of a bride down a terracotta coloured hall, stood by a window. The image has such a feel of Spain to it and the elegance and simplicity of the image makes it stand out.
- What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer? I love receiving the thank you cards and emails after a wedding and after the couple have received their images. It certainly makes all the work involved wedding photography worth it. I like to show my couples the images as I’m taking them on the back of the camera. It makes them feel confident that they are going to love their images. I usually get “oh wow I love this” or “that’s really good”, I have also been told how they think I’m “the best” as I let them view the photographs as I take them. But my favourite experience and the one that stood out was when I had just finished photographing the bride on her own and showed her the photographs. I paused at my favourite one and she loved it so much she burst into tears!
- Tell us about one or two weddings that were truly special. I have been fortunate enough to photograph so many beautiful weddings and each has been special in a different way that selecting just one or two is really difficult. There have been weddings where I have cried during the speeches, without really knowing the couple their families. I have to say it’s at those moments that I’m so glad I can hide behind my camera! I’ve had weddings I wish would never end because they are just so much fun and the bride and groom had such great energy during their photographs that I wish we could have carried on for longer.
- Has photographing weddings changed the way you see life? If so, how? Photography in general has changed the way I see life. Photography isn’t just my work it is my life. If I’m not photographing weddings or portraits for clients I’m out doing photography for myself. I don’t put the camera down just because I don’t have a job today, I go out and I carry out my own photography projects. I’m always looking at the light and how I’d use it to my advantage for different images.