We are delighted to feature one of the most incredible southern Spanish-based wedding photographers on today’s blog. The Sunshine Weddings Spain team has worked with Talia for a number of years and it is a partnership we are honoured to have experienced. It was lovely to catch up with Talia recently to learn even more about her unique work and photographic style.
What first drew you to a life in Spain, Talia?
I moved to Spain at the age of 15, and my family drew me here. However, after studying in the UK for many years I decided to come back to establish myself here. If I had to choose a reason for living here, it would be how cosmopolitan our area is and the Mediterranean lifestyle, which matches my Italian heritage more than life in northern Europe.
What inspired you to get into photography – specifically bridal photography?
I’ve always been into photography, art, and design – as well as taking a big interest in people in general (I am actually in the middle of a psychology degree), so all of these things combined have given me the perfect profession: portrait and bridal photography. The mixture of colour, framing, and composition, plus the opportunity to interact with people and families from different backgrounds suits me perfectly. I also do a lot of photography for an animal charity, another one of my passions.
How do you settle couples’ nerves over some of their biggest photography concerns?
The majority of couples who I work with are mostly concerned with getting natural photography for the day and having me blending in. My portfolio, full of spontaneous photos, puts the photography side to rest, and the blending in is settled by an anecdote I love to tell of a couple I photographed: The groom was one of the UK´s leading police detectives, and, after photographing their ceremony, he came over and asked me if all was okay as I’d omitted to photograph the ceremony… of course I’d been there all the time! Now, if a leading detective can’t spot me at his own ceremony, I’d say I can blend in pretty well…
Obviously the pandemic has hit many areas of the destination wedding industry, and fewer weddings were able to take place in 2020, what are your standout memories from the 2019 wedding season?
Oddly, its not the outstanding moments which I’ve been reminiscing about during 2020; it’s the waves of memories of the small moments which get me. Seeing Scott, owner of Sunshine Weddings Spain when I arrive at a venue; greeting the hair and make-up girls; the buzz of the bridal rooms; being part of precious family moments; the nerves of the ceremony; the laughter and hubbub at the cocktail hour; candid chats with the couples; getting a rest at dinner time while I chat with my colleagues; the fun of the music and dance at the end, and the huge hug I always have with the couple as I leave to let them dance the night away.
What are you looking forward to most when it comes to capturing the special days of 2021 and 2022’s newlyweds?
Oh… 2021/2022 will be very special and emotional! I am booked up for a lot of 2021 and 2022 couples who have had to put their weddings forward; some of them I last met in 2018 and 2019. I have been in touch with most of them via social media and accompanied them through the whole nerve wracking process of cancellations and re-bookings, so I can’t wait to put 100% of my effort and love into showing them that all their effort and anxiety will be worth it once they have the most fantastic day. I am sure there will be lots of tears.
Can you run us through what a typical Spanish wedding day looks like for you?
From my perspective, I spend most of my mornings resting and hydrating! Once I start shooting the bride getting ready, it’s likely I won’t be able to have a drink for 5 hours, so it’s important for me to be fit and feeling 100% before I start. When I arrive at the venue, it will be as everyone is getting ready; a whirlwind of brushes, make-up, hairspray… it’s a moment for me to take in the atmosphere and get shooting. Slowly all the building blocks of the day start appearing: the flowers are delivered; the dress is unzipped; the tables are set up, and everything the couple have been planning for months starts to magically materialize. The ceremonies vary from set ups at the venue, to grand churches, from humanist celebrants to traditional priests, but all have one thing in common: the sigh of relief from the couple once it’s over. After that nerve wracking moment, it’s time to relax and have fun. From then on it’s drinks, food, family and friends – and photos. Speeches can be an emotional part, with some tears tamed by a large dose of entertainment, generally coming from the best man. After dinner, it’s time for the first dance, which can be challenging for some couples “with two left feet”, however, by then most guests are merrily singing along and waiting for their turn on the dance floor, or at the free bar!
Tell us a funny wedding story…
Most funny moments happen when they are not expected, and as you can imagine, many unexpected things happen at weddings! But if I had to choose one it was a bride who, in cahoots with her sisters and mum, gave their dad a pair of trousers two sizes too small. The poor man was hysterical, trying to button them up, cursing all the food he’d eaten since arriving in Spain, going bright red while they filmed him and told him he’d have to go in joggers down the aisle. They let him suffer for a good 10 minutes before handing him his actual trousers. He took it well. I think he was used to it, living with a family full of mischievous daughters!
How do you deal with the intense (and amazing) light of Andalusia… not to mention the heat?
After so many years working here, I have somehow managed to tame the light. It would be a lie to say the hard light/shadow contrast does not make my job difficult sometimes, but couples come to this area precisely because of our gorgeous sun, so working with it, rather than hiding from it, is the chosen route. The heat can be relentless in the summertime, but local organisers are well aware of that and plan to have plenty of shady spots for everyone, plus lots of water available.
What questions do you recommend a bridal couple ask a potential photographer when they first meet?
A photographer is one of those suppliers that you have to hire on trust, and trust is something you develop by looking at their previous work, chatting at a meeting and generally confirming that they understand what you want.
What are your favourite locations for bridal photo shoots on the Costa del Sol, taking into account the huge contrast between seascape and countryside, rustic fincas and chic boutique hotels?
Every location has its “magical hour”. Sunsets are amazing by the sea or even on a stormy day, warm afternoon sun is lovely where there are trees and greenery, bright sun makes bright flowers and Mediterranean architecture look incredible, and with nice lighting, fairy lights and candles every venue looks incredible in the evening.
Fabulous words from a fabulous photographer. A huge thank you for your time, Talia, and, of course, the stunning images. We are so looking forward to working with you at many more magical weddings!