“Please groom, hug the bride. Tilt your head a little bit to the right. Smile. Look at her. Come parents of the bride. Dad, kiss the bride. Let’s go again. A photo of you with the newlyweds now.”
A couple of months later, here are your wedding photos that will be displayed on your in-laws wall, probably for the rest of your married life.
When it comes to wedding photography, families in Greece have come to expect photos with a specific set-up and pose, but things are slowly changing thanks to young, fearless photographers (literally) like Elena Haralabaki.
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A Greek photojournalistic wedding photographer
An Athens-based, multi-award winning photojournalistic wedding photographer, Ms Haralabaki, was recently recognised with the Fearless Award, as one of the world’s best wedding photographers.
“It seems simple to press a button and take a photo but in reality, it’s not. A photo is the result of many years of hard work as well as the photographer’s experiences and emotions,” Ms Haralabaki told Neos Kosmos.
Her love affair with the art of photography started from her teenage years.
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“I always had a camera in my bag. I used to photograph my friends, my teachers, my family and random people, when they were unaware that I was taking their photos. I felt like I wanted to freeze moments in time and safe keep them forever”
This photojournalistic style, to show a story with minimal interfering or set up, is what Ms Haralabaki specialises in.
“To me a wedding is as unique as the couple is. I want to capture their special moments in their actuality without them noticing my presence. Things can’t be perfect in a wedding and that’s ok. Neither the groom nor the bride are models,” Ms Haralabaki said, commenting that we need to come to terms with our flaws and the spontaneity of life.
“I never instruct the couples when I take photos. I don’t talk to them. Their genuine expressions is what I am after. To achieve this, I had to climb on tables, on ladders, behind other guests and in spots where people don’t notice me,” she said.
Living in photography in the age of social media
Photography is undeniably an art form that requires a blend of technical skills with passion, flexibility, creativity and patience.
How hard is it to make a living in photography in the age of social media?
“It’s possible as long as you are passionate, retain your style even if it’s not one that everyone approves of and keep learning and evolving,” Ms Haralabaki said, explaining that a good photographer is one who can consistently produce good photographs.
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“I love my job as it gives me the opportunity to travel, meet new people and have fun. There are certainly negatives but I choose to focus on the positives and become better every day,” she said, recalling a Greek wedding where the bride was two hours late, the priest left and the wedding had to be cancelled.
“A wedding is part of life. It’s not a photo shoot in the studio and it’s not going to be repeated. As of that we should let the day flow without worrying about posing. A nosy photographer is the last person you want to remember from your wedding day,” Ms Haralabaki said.
Ms Haralabaki will be one of the main speakers in the Fearless Conference that will take place for the first time in Greece, from 24-26 March, 2020. To learn more visit: http://bit.ly/FearlessConferenceGreece
See more of Elena’s work here: https://www.elenaharalabaki.com