Wedding photographer. These two words strike terror into the hearts of many couples-to-be-wed. As someone who had three weddings – crazy talk, I know – two of which had photographers, my personal experience runs the full gambit of emotions. I had one photographer who I adored every picture she delivered and I still flip through my wedding album and smile at the beautiful moments she captured. I also had a horrible wedding photographer for my third wedding that made sure I had a double chin in every shot and did not have a single photo of our kiss. It was upsetting to say the least.
In hopes that you will never have that experience and instead only have an experience full of love and happiness with your photographer I have put together a list of four of the best wedding photographers currently working in Portugal. Yes, it is a short list. However, the styles of these three photographers differ greatly, though their approach is all the same – capture the beauty of your day and create lifelong memories.
Prepare yourself to fall in “wedding” love.
Ana Luísa, or Lu as her friends call her, picked up her first camera at age 11 and has not stop taking pictures since. However, she hesitated for quite a while to take up photography as a profession – out of fear that she may lose her love for it, lucky for all of us she hasn’t! However, her road to professional photography not direct, she majored in Art Conservation and Restoration and has two post-graduate degrees, one in Portuguese Art History and the other in Art Management. This training helps to define Ana’s style which is rooted in some examples of Mannerist and Baroque art. After all of this Ana also obtain her professional photographer credentials and has been shooting anything she can find for over eight years.
Ana knows that each wedding is an emotional investment, which is why she ensures she has a good relationship with each couple she works with. Her favorite weddings are the ones, where at the end, everyone has become friends, laughing together and enjoy the beauty of the day. That closeness is very important for her because she knows that she can only go as far as the couple allows when capturing your day. That is why her approach to each day is cemented in having a good connection with her couples.
Ana and her team’s approach to wedding days tends to be a mix between photo-journalistic and a more curated, fine-arts perspective. Her team is comprised of herself, a second shooter and an assistant – having a second shooter allows Ana to focus on the more artistic shots, which is incredibly important for the overall, final result. Ana does not like to interfere a lot on the day, but she does take immense pleasure in making the couples laugh and have a bit of fun while taking their pictures.
Ana loves the joy of the wedding day. She adore the opportunity to be allowed to share in the happiness of a couple, of two families that become one. She also enjoys giving couples a few minutes of silence and together, away from the bustle of the wedding celebration, when they do the post-ceremony photo shoot.
Come wedding day, Ana believes that capturing emotion is essential. Even if one does a more curated work, the emotion has to be there – in smiles, in tears or in looks. Those small expressions of emotion are what she strives for and what give her the most pleasure!
Ana’s goal with every wedding is to give the couple an account of their day that goes beyond what is obvious. She is humbled by every couple that chooses to work with her and she strives to pay back that privilege in wonderful photos!
The team at Espaço Branco is led by Pedro Afonso, lead photographer, and Helena Carriço, producer, and includes Sara Ferreira, second photographer, João Oliveira, photo assistant, Bruno Jorge, retoucher, and Nuno Gama, designer. That is to say, when you work with Espaço Branco, you know you will have a great team working to document your wedding day down to every detail.
Ever since he was little Pedro was surrounded by cameras, with his father ensuring that all of his childhood was captured on film. However, it wasn’t until university when Pedro discovered that his degree in sociology was not fulfilling him, that he turned to cameras. After nearly 10 years of freelance photography Pedro decided there was a need to create a space for a photography studio to enlarge his vision and share his skills with the world. And so Epaço Branco was born!
For Pedro and his team the most important thing for them is meeting the couple in person. Though he knows his work and the work of this team speaks for itself, he also knows that on an important day like a wedding, a strong connection built on trust is what will help them capture those beautiful, small moments that occur throughout the day. Before talk budget or anything like that Pedro ensures that the couple understands how they work, what motivates their team and “gets” what they are doing.
Pedro believes that happiness is the secret to any great wedding photography. And that is the element of that Pedro tries to capture in every wedding, the happiness that radiates from the bride and groom, but also from the family and friends that have gathered to pay witness. Pedro adores wedding because he knows that life is driven by the people you meet and the connections you make with them. And to be part of such an important day is an honor and a chance to make new friends and capture more moments of happiness.
This husband and wife team are known for their contemporary and authentic approach to photography. Both studied photography after leaving school, Luis in Portugal where he is from and Kerry in South Africa where she is originally from. They met while working overseas for a cruise line company. Photography has always been an important part of their lives, both before they met and since then. They describe themselves as creative souls who don’t fit easily into the corporate 9 to 5 world, so it made sense for them to start their own photography business and work at their own rhythm.
Kerry and Luis work by the philosohpy that they are there to document a wedding day in all its messy glory. Weddings are emotional events and they want to capture everything as honestly and authentically as possible. Things hardly ever run according to the schedule and the beauty of a wedding day lies in the unexpected moments – the things that don’t go according to plan – like the uncle that drinks a bit too much and kills it on the dance floor. These are the moments that they still laugh about from their wedding day, and these are the moments that make each wedding unique! Because of this, these are the moments that they want to capture for their couples.
They describe their as unconventional and a bit quirky, so they tend to attract couples on the same wavelength. These are couples who don’t take themselves too seriously and who aren’t overly concerned with the bridesmaids dresses matching the table napkins.
The most important thing they want brides and grooms to know is something they learned from their own wedding and years working in the wedding industry, that it all comes down to feeling comfortable with the people you are working with.
A wedding day is (hopefully) an once in a life time event, so there is a lot of pressure on the couple to get everything right. If you meet your service providers, whether the photographers or celebrant or dj, and don’t feel like you are on the same wavelength, then its better to keep looking rather than settle with someone you are not 100% sure about. This applies particularly with regards to photographers. Kerry and Luis know that they are going to be with you for most of the day, from getting dressed in the morning to the drunken shenanigans on the dance floor at night. If you don’t feel like you have connection with them or whoever your photographers are, it makes it more difficult for you to be “yourselves” with them around. The consequence is that the photos won’t be as great as they could have been. Kerry and Luis like to say that their style of photography relies a lot on this kind of trust, it is something that makes all the difference to them on a wedding day so they always stress the importance of this to any couple they meet.
This former engineer turned photographer is an inspiring story for all of us that proves dreams do come true. Lourenço’s interest in photography started in his youth and has been growing ever since. He has always been a creative type, however, that was always at odds with his engineering studies. In Lourenço’s words, photography saved him from an uninspiring office life.
Lourenço took his first photography course during high school, but once he had the basics down, he always preferred to learn on his own. Trial and error was the way he honed his skills and over the years developed his own style. A style that plays with light and shadows, and is intimate while also playful.
Lourenço’s approach to a wedding day is firmly based on his belief that the couple needs to be themselves on the big day. For that, Lourenço knows that they need to be comfortable with him and his camera. His favorite way of creating this comfort is with an engagement session, out and about on the streets, usually of his home city, Lisbon. It is an opportunity for him and the couple have fun together and for the couple to get comfortable with having a camera pointed at them. That way, on the wedding day, he will no longer be a stranger, but instead a friend. All of this helps him capture that intimate feeling to the images he seeks.
What Lourenço enjoys most about weddings is the the people. Through weddings, Lourenço comes in contact with all sorts of people. Though just for one day, he receives a glimpse into their lives, and for that day feels like he is almost a part of the family and it is his wonderful responsibility to capture all of the emotions, stories, and moment of the day.
The element of the wedding that Lourenço finds most important to capture on the day is the atmosphere. He loves the way it changes throughout the day – it starts with excitement and a bit of apprehension that gains intensity up until the ceremony, then people relax and gradually get into a party mood. He adores the challenge of conveying those feelings in pictures.