Asking the Wedding Photographers: A Conversation on Light, Love and Weddings in Greece!
One thing we learned early on our journey as a wedding planner in Greece is that you are as good as your team. No matter the styling, the effort on the little details, and the time we spent in our studio when the team is not right then the result will reflect that. We believe that the strength of the team is each member, and even though we are a team of two day-to-day, the people we are working with for each wedding day are parts of an extended vendor’s team that will make each wedding unique. In preparation for the new wedding season starting really soon, we thought to give you a glimpse of the wonderful photographers who will accompany us and our couples on their wedding day. We’re happy to welcome everyone on our blog in a beautiful conversation all about personalities, aspirations, weddings, Greece, and the fun things in between, celebrating creativity! We sent everyone questions about their life, photography style, and wedding business and we combined them in a rich conversation the sheds light on each photographer’s personality, a conversation that resembles a lot the one we would have with them if we all could meet up for cocktails! But before the fun, shall we meet everyone?
Meet the Experts
Achilleas Colaclides: Achillea’s goal is to capture the whole emotional pallet of a wedding rather than just deliver good-looking shots. There are so many big-little-things that happen fast and then are gone forever. These are the moments that count for him. The moments he loves to capture & deliver at the end of the day!
Vasilis Kouroupis: Vasilis’s wedding photographer naturally flowing imagery and easy-going temperament, are some of the reasons he always manages to grow beautiful relationships and become his couples’ trusted companion throughout the experience of their weddings in Greece. His warm photographs not only capture but elicit sentiments. He is a keen observer of beauty at its finest, and when he is not catching a flight to photograph a destination wedding he searches for inspiration in classic flicks, city lights, and the simple joys of life.
Magdalene Kourti: Magdalene’s contemporary and emotional storytelling creates her poly prismatic galleries! An award-winning visual artist and wedding photographer since 2009 she loves observing people! Her discrete approach to documenting events and her genuine love for Greece give her style its unique flair!
Jacobo Pachon: Ready for an adventure at any given time, you could imagine Greece wedding photographer Jacobo Pachón film camera in hand wandering around always trying to find beauty to capture. Celebrated for his editorial imagery and breathtaking portraits, he’s a shout-after destination wedding photographer in Europe and Greece with a knack for sophisticated and elegant portraiture.
Spanish to the bone, he began his journey paying attention to every detail, capturing the serene glow of romantic wedding days and the colorful moments of life’s important celebrations!
Sofia Petridena: Sofia believes that every person has a sparkle of creativity within them. When personality, passion, and inspiration are added, that’s when art is born! Art has always been in her life, in various aspects. Through photography, she found something that sparks her creativity! Her goal is when someone looks at her photographs, to feel something, timeless, romantic, real, and beautiful because beauty is the essence of life.
Jodie Southgate: Jodie is a professional photographer from London, with over 10 years of experience working in Fashion and Lifestyle. Now living in Greece, she specializes in Wedding Photography, capturing authentic moments throughout the day, with an aesthetic focused on natural light and compositions!
And since now you know who everyone is, let’s get to the fun part – cocktails, weddings and all!
On ideal locations for a Destination Wedding in Greece
For us, Greece is an unexplored treasure in terms of destinations and flavors. “I maintain an unconditional love for the wonderful island of Spetses” says Jacob and we couldn’t agree more with him.
Achilleas is all about the greek islands! “Greece has 117 habitable islands! Choosing just one is simply impossible!”.
For Vasilis, Symi is on his immediate to-visit list, but Kithira is his absolute favorite destination for a wedding or vacation!
As for Magdalene “I adore Greece and feel blessed to be Greek however if I have to choose my favorite location in Greece is where you can find the combination of raw beauty and high-end services as the group of islands of Cyclades: Amorgos, Anafi, Naxos, Sifnos, Antiparos, Santorini!”.
Sofia says “My favorite wedding location is where the good light is! However, some islands hold a special place in my heart (and my camera): Corfu, Symi, Chalki, Kastelorizo.”
Jodie says “This is a hard question! Greece has so many beautiful places to choose from and so many places/ islands I am yet to explore also. I have a wedding this season in Hydra which I’m really looking forward to. It’s such a magical island…it’s free from cars so it’s very tranquil and peaceful. Just donkeys, cobbled streets, a beautiful port, and the sea. I’d also love to photograph a wedding in Pelion one day, it’s one of my favorite places. Green forests, mountains, and beautiful beaches. It’s a dream.”
On Why Should Couples Choose Greece as a Wedding Destination
On why a couple should get married in Greece, the hospitality, the kindness, the joy, and the infinite beauty of the country are Jacob’s reasons.
“Google “Greece”, go to pictures and you have your answer” says Vasilis. “Right now I would take the first ship to an island and have breakfast and a dip in the blue waters. There are many beautiful countries but the Mediterranean food, hospitality, the minimal white houses on the islands and our magical light are some of the important reasons to get married in Greece”.
Jodie loves Greece for a wedding. “Couples have an endless list of stunning locations to choose from here. Greece has everything…mountains, sea, forests, colorful quaint villages, bustling lively cities, islands, each with their own character and charm. With 300 days of sunshine also, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the sun shining on your wedding day too. It’s the perfect backdrop for a wedding.”
For Magdalene, Greece should be considered a top wedding destination due to the amazing light, variety in landscapes, and endless seaside, as well as great Mediterranean food, unlimited entertainment available, and warm people! “ It can be a lovely wedding and honeymoon destination” she concludes.
“Why, Greece? Because it is beautiful, with countless choices of locations to organize a wedding, whether it is on an island, in Athens or a mountainous locale” says Achilleas and continues “ But this alone may not be enough to organize a destination wedding in Greece. As a country that bases much of its economy on tourism, the level of professionals and services that have been developed has been particularly high for decades. The majority of people are also very welcoming and friendly!”.
Put most eloquently by Sofia “A summer wedding in the Greek islands will never let you down; warm days and nights, dazzling white light, the shades of blue, bougainvillea blossoms, carefreeness, picturesque alleys, salty hair, and sandals – the timeless Greek chic!”
On film, light and moments
Photographers are artists and we are fascinated talking to them about how they create the images that represent their unique style. “I will choose digital as much as I am fascinated by film photography,” says Vasilis. “However, as far as wedding photography is concerned, digital photography allows me to have exactly the moment I want in the best version of it since I can take as many continuous images as I want in a reportage shot without the restriction of the film itself and its speed”.
For Jacob film is the only answer, as well as Jodie! “I love shooting film, this is how I started. We would develop our own film using a very tricky process with a black-out bag with two armholes! It was very fiddly and all done by feel. You would pop the end off of the film cassette, remove the film, roll it onto a spool and place it into a developing tank. After this, we would have our film negatives and we would spend hours in the darkroom developing our prints. It’s a very rewarding process. So though I don’t have access to a dark room, I still shoot both, but always digital for weddings” she concludes.
“I’d say Yes to both, depending on light conditions,” says Sofia. “However, I believe I’ll always have a film crush; its result is so unique and timeless and makes everything look so beautiful!”
For Achilleas, digital is how he prefers to shoot. “For the way I have chosen to photograph, I think that the digital format is the most appropriate. Digital allows me to experiment more and to “chase” more spontaneous moments that my clients appreciate. Also concerning color processing the possibilities of digital are now incredibly great and you can give the feel you want afterward. The pace and requirements of a modern wedding make digital one way for me, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t shoot on film in my personal time”.
On Inspiration and Idols
In the question what is the photographer that inspired your work the most Jacob says “Ryan McGinley, but if you ask me tomorrow I’d probably mention a different one”.
For Magdalene, it’s Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, Vivian Maier, Daido Moriyama, Ellen von Unwerth, and Sean Flanigan are the artists that have inspired her work.
“They are many photographers that have inspired me, and although they are all different from each other they have inspired me differently. Peter Lindbergh, Rodney Smith, Slim Aarons are some of them. Wedding-wise, I appreciate the ingenuity and shots of Fer Juaristi (whom I had the pleasure to meet up close in 2018 in Barcelona) while I admire an excellent duo of photographers from America, James x Schulze” says Achilleas.
“Among contemporary photographers, I’d say Jose Villa and Le Secret d’Audrey – their photos radiate the style of a past era and an effortless editorial look that I can’t get enough of” says Sofia, adding “Also, Elliott Erwitt and Rodney Smith, who have something in common that always captivates me in their images: there’s an ingeniousness in their frames and a surreal feeling that somehow convinces the viewer that it is a natural condition!”
On style and point of view
We believe that the style of each photographer is in direct correlation with the style of each couple and this dynamic relationship defines the result for the whole team. We’re fascinated by the differences between the styles and aesthetics of each photographer. “ I soon realized that trying to fit in the same sentence terms like creative wedding photojournalism, fashion-inspired portrait photography, fine art wedding photography was impossible” says Achilleas. “I am inspired by elements that I like from different genres so that I can shape my style. Let’s say I am consistent in photographing emotions, reactions and I will never say no to some portraits with wonderful natural light. So simple!”. We think his words capture perfectly the essence of being creative.
Vasilis defines his photography style as a mix of modern fine art with reportage “because I believe that a couple should not be deprived of either of them on this important day”.
Magdalene is all about wedding photojournalism. It is a more spontaneous, authentic, and story-like style that captures the love and excitement of the day. “Wedding photojournalism requires a discreet, artistic, professional, and elegant approach. These are all traits that my clients have described me with. My aim is that my photographs will always keep memories alive with a timeless quality” she concludes.
For Sofia, it’s all about romance! “If I had to describe it in 3 words, they would be: Bright. Romantic. Natural. Bright, because the light is my greatest inspiration! Romantic because I want my images to be timeless and classy. Natural, because it’s the greatest value in photography… being authentic!”
On Wedding Moments and Emotion
On their favorite wedding moment, Vasilis says “ In symbolic weddings, I am fascinated by those minutes of a couple exchanging vows. In their eyes, you can see the value of love itself and the power it has to create everything I’ll photograph at that moment. The atmosphere suddenly becomes magical and two people become one with their loved ones as witnesses. It’s exciting!”
For Sofia “A groom’s tears of joy upon setting eyes on his bride is always my favorite moment”. “Each moment in every single wedding has a unique vibe; it is something magical in the air that you cannot see but you can certainly feel! If I had to pick one, it would be the couple’s preparations, with its sweet anticipation, as well as shooting in the golden hour, just after the wedding ceremony!” she concludes.
For Achilleas the magic lies at the moment the couple meets for the first time. ‘I think then they realize how really special this day is for them. I know that everyone prepares for months or even years for this day but this moment has something special and unpredictable! Whether this is done at the “first look” or the ceremony with the presence of friends and relatives, everyone’s reactions are simply wonderful and spontaneous!”.
On life decisions and weddings
We were always curious to know how other people decided to work on weddings. Was it a matter of style or a matter of feeling? For Magdalene, it was a matter of pure feeling. “ I always seek to capture emotional moments at the joining of celebration, laughter, passion, and love. Through wedding photography, I find myself in amazing environments, full of excitement. That’s why I focus on documentary weddings. There are a lot of emotions to capture, and I always feel connected to my clients.”
Achilleas says that it was a matter of feeling for him. “ You are not bored with happiness! A couple a few years ago in our first conversation said to me “Achilleas, we know you photograph dozens of weddings a year but we will get married once. In addition to your professionalism, we want you to put LOVE “. I photograph weddings for everything I “offer” and for everything I “receive” emotionally. There is no other event with the whole family and so many close friends gathered in one place. Weddings are important.” We agree with him completely!
“ It is true that emotion plays an important role in my life. I always wanted a job with a social character, and getting in touch with people was always what he had in mind, especially if that would be on the most beautiful day of their lives!” says Vasilis. “Another reason that I choose this profession was my need to travel through my work and not being bound to an office every day. The style was part of the choice, but the feeling always comes first. It keeps motivating me every day!” he concludes.
Jodie is all about weddings “Could there be anything better than capturing one of the happiest days of people’s lives?!” she wonders. “ It’s a wonderful industry to work in and such an exciting day to be a part of. Capturing all the magic to be re-lived over and over again by the couple and their family and friends is very special. For me, it’s the feeling, being part of such a beautiful and happy day, full of excitement, this is really lovely to photograph. The style, the details, and all the creative work that goes into making the day by each vendor are incredible and certainly, the photos have added magic because of everyone involved”.
According to Sofia “Wedding photography might be the most demanding field of photography: there’s a lot of responsibility involved, hard work, time, knowledge, creativity, having to work in real-time that does not allow for mistakes, but I would never change that for anything; there’s nothing more inspiring than a stunningly beautiful bride and a chic, handsome groom, photographing their joy, love, emotion, their smile. However, the style was also a factor as aesthetic is a very important part of my work – sometimes necessary to get the desired results – so I’d say it was both, style and feel!”
But, did you always want to be a wedding photographer?
“To be honest, no!” says Achilleas. “ I wanted to study psychology but eventually I ended up studying Mathematics. I loved photography but the moment I realized that I would like to photograph forever was right after my first wedding. You can not imagine my anxiety that day! The result, seeing it now was a complete DISASTER. The couple was – surprisingly – happy, at least as far as I know. But when I got home I said: “I want to do it again”. And this is what I have been doing since 2014.”
It was a change of career for Sofia “I was working in graphic design for 14 years and photography has always been part of my work; however, I often feel that photography chose me as if I had no other choice as to if it had always been my “home”!”
It was love at first sight for Jodie “I knew as soon as I entered a photography darkroom! I would have been around 16 years old. It’s such a fascinating process and also very relaxing. As I mentioned above, it’s very rewarding to be able to do the whole process yourself. So, it was then that I was hooked”.
“Never thought I would be a photographer” says Magdalene. “Although I was always obsessed with observing compositions around me, I was dedicated to fine arts like painting and video art. However, in my 30’s I did shoot a wedding and realized that I loved it. It was great to become an observer of happiness, and I could adopt my fine art style. Moreover, I was, immediately, recognized as a WPJA member so this was my starting point – straightforward!”
Covid talks and other thoughts
To the Covid-talk, we couldn’t help but ask how did you survive the multiple lockdowns? “During these unprecedented times, I’m always trying to find something positive to focus on and overcome the challenges. And in the end, I always say that there’s something good to be found in everything!” says Sofia.
For Achilleas it was all about “Watching series & movies, reading, organizing my work and my processes, cooking, gaining weight, losing weight and spending time with my loved ones”.
“As a typical Capricorn I did attend tons of online seminars in the fields of marketing, SEO, and art,” says Magdalene and we admire her for her energy!
For Jodie it was “Lots of walks, meditation, yoga, reading, keeping in touch with family and friends. I tried to not be too hard on myself if I ate a whole packet of biscuits to myself in one evening, which happens often. I did a couple of online courses too; one on macramé and another on a photographic process called Cyanotype, so this kept me busy learning some new skills!” Very Interesting!
On free time and relaxing
How do they spend their free time? “I go out for dinner or a drink with friends, I photograph non-wedding material with film, I watch series, I do BBQ, and lately I have started exercising 2-3 times a week which I hope will be a habit I will not stop again!” says Achilleas.
It’s a busy business for Magdalene and Jacob. “I have no free time being a mother of 3. However, I do teach art when I do not shoot weddings!” says Magdalene. Jacob? “When you have a little girl, the schedule is constantly busy…”
For Vasilis is all about being social. “I see friends, I work out, I drink espresso from a new coffee shop I discovered in Piraeus, I play tennis, we talk with friends, I watch series, I study pictures from other portrait wedding photographers and mostly think.”
“I don’t have free time – I’m a photographer!” says Sofia. “OK, whenever I get some free time, I like to enjoy carefree moments with my family.” Us too!
It’s all about adventure for Jodie “I love to explore new places, that’s one thing I have really missed this last year. I like to get in the car with my fiancé, my camera, and drive somewhere new. I love eating out, going to the beach, hiking in Kaisariani or Mount Parnitha, reading, and having lots of snuggles with my little cat…I probably spend too much time doing that. And I have to catch up with one of my favorite tv programs…a UK tv show called First Dates. It’s the best!”
On drinks and favorite coffee
Are you a coffee or a cocktail person Sofia? “I think this was the hardest question so far… Hmmm, can I please have a coffee with my cocktail?” And Achilleas? “ Here’s my Mai – Tai Recipe and that says all. Add the white rum, curaçao, lime juice, and orgeat into a shaker with crushed ice and shake lightly (about 3 seconds). Pour into a double rocks glass. Float the dark rum over the top. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.” Vasilis is a coffee person. “Espresso person to be exact! I like to look for the best espresso in town in the most beautiful small coffee shops!” And Jacob? “Coffee represents the key to any morning, but tea follows closely behind.” We could not agree more!
On photographs and leisure
What was the last thing you captured Sofia? “A lifestyle newborn photography session at the family’s personal space.” And what about you Jacob? “My little Ariadni!”. And Vasilis? “My girlfriend as we were walking in Athens”. Achilleas? “A tree trunk that had a face-like shape on it as I went grocery shopping on foot and it caught my attention.” And Jodie? “The beautiful snowy day in Athens. It was the heaviest snowfall in 12 years apparently! It was very magical to see the city in this way.”
On time-traveling and weird scenarios
Travel in time; where and when would you land? Vasilis would go way back in time “I’d choose the Stone Age living in caves (maybe with some supplies from the modern world but definitely no digital media) to see life beyond all its familiar forms. If it was difficult for me I would have a button to return immediately, right?”. We will allow it!
Sofia? “Nowhere, I’m a right-here right-now person!” It’s all about fiction with Magdalene “Sci-Fi is my big love so I would land into the future at Tatooine.”
For Jacob, it’s all about a calmer time! “I would like to land at the moment when humanity is at peace. Although I would not dislike at the time that I could use Kodak Kodachrome, a discontinued and unbeatable film!”.
Jodie’s up for an adventure “I think I’d probably pop back all those millions of years ago and check out the dinosaurs. If I could take a peek at them from a safe distance!”
“Nice question with countless options!” says Achilleas. “My answer may not be so impressive but I think I would have traveled about 50-60 years ago. I would like to meet my parents and grandparents when they were young! (I would also write some Beatles songs before them and become a Millionaire!)” Nice one! Maybe share the profits of Yellow Submarine with us?
We loved the opportunity to chat with such a creative bunch of people and share our love of weddings, Greece, and the importance of celebrations! We admire each and everyone for their artistic flair and unique point of view! Part of why we do what we do is that we really love getting to know people that made art the way they get through life. Photography is definitely a challenging but rewarding artistic expression, combine it with weddings and you get memories that last a lifetime and even more! Take a look through every photographer’s website, browse their portfolio and you’ll see how it reflects their lovely personalities and their unique, distinctive way they perceive this extraordinary life!
Are you feeling inspired? Check out our Decor Concepts for a Destination Wedding in Greece!