Nicola & Kevin – the most challenging Bali pre-wedding photos ever
In the following, I am not only going to show you what are probably my favorite Bali pre-wedding photos ever. But I am also going to share with you why these were at the same time the most challenging pre-wedding photos ever.
People often use the word ‘challenging’ as a diplomatic way of saying: problematic | adverse | difficult, etc… But that is not how I mean it. And by the end of this article, you will see why.
But before we get to that let me set the stage and show you some of my personal favorites of this very special Bali pre-wedding photo project:
Are they a bit ‘crazy’ or what?
When Nicola, the bride for the first time contacted me she said that she found my work in an essay about street portraiture which I published a while back. In that essay, I showcase photos of random people whom I photographed on the streets of a major Chinese metropolis
Nicola said she loves such photos and wanted a similar vibe to her Bali pre-wedding photos.
I scratched my head… Why ?
Because my street portraiture photographs were done with an insanely long tele lens. And with the subjects of those photographs being completely unaware that they are being photographed.
Typically, I am between 15 and 30 meters away – sometimes even more.
Such lenses are used by action sports photographers who want to close in on dangerous action sports. Or by paparazzi photographers who take photos of celebrities when they do not want to be photographed.
But for wedding photography a super-tele lens is hardly the right tool. Or was I wrong about that?
It seemed daunting. But hey – what to do? Whatever a client wants I have to deliver – no matter what.
And actually … how hard can it be?
More uncommon requests…
In my 15-year career as a Bali wedding photographer all couples wanted to have Bali’s beautiful natural environment as the backdrop for their photographs. And indeed, Bali’s tropical environment and its captivating culture & architecture are a great setting for photographs.
But that was not what Nicola and Kevin had in mind.
They requested hip neighborhoods with graffiti walls, Balinese village life and photos at a Balinese wet market. To make matters yet more challenging they explicitly requested no photos at the beach.
And as if this was not enough of unusual requests, they also mentioned they would like to have some animals in their pre-wedding photos…
That these two lovelies are unconventional would be an understatement. But so am I…
I guess uncommon requests are rather normal for Nicola, who is an accomplished and award-winning filmmaker.
My first reaction to this bonanza of oddities was: Are these people a bit crazy or what ? I even toyed with the idea to politely decline…
But hey, I am not a quitter. I love challenges. So I gladly accepted this assignment.
Fortunately, I had over two months time to prepare for this project, and do my location scouting & planning.
So let’s see whether I was up to task in mastering those challenges.
‘Hip neighborhood’ photos with graffiti
When I think of hip, modern neighborhoods for great pre-wedding photos places like modern Asian cities, American or European cities, etc… come to mind. But Bali ? Hip neighborhoods ?
I am glad that Nicola & Kevin asked for that. Because it made me see Bali somewhat differently.
Fortunately, I happen to live in Bali’s hippest neighborhood: Canggu. And as you will see in the following there are some nice graffiti that make for the perfect setting.
Photos with a genuine Bali village flair
This is actually a request from couples that I get more frequently. However, the challenge is that in actuality villages in Bali are less romantic and beautiful than many people think.
What characterizes villages in Bali is heavy traffic, signboards and advertising billboards everywhere, electricity cables, rather unappealing buildings, etc… in short: rather messy environments that do not match the romantic idea that many couples have in mind.
After all, Bali’s villages are not a theme-park guys…
So what I did is: A few days before we took the photos I searched for some traditional Balinese shops where my couple could have a genuine Bali experience and be photographed at the same time. What I set up for them was having a fresh coconut opened / buying funny hats and then some…
These are some of the photos of this part:
The street portraiture photos
These photos were still the most challenging but also the most rewarding ones.
What we did is, Nicole & Kevin went into some hip boutiques and shops and looked at the merchandise on offer there.
I photographed them through the shop window from across the street. That also allowed me to be undetected by the shop attendees, who would not give their consent to doing photos in their shops. And indeed nobody realized that we took those photos.
Here are some of the photos we got:
The pictures with the (cute) animals
This was perhaps the easiest part. Why ?
Because I happen to have a very photogenic dog – my Doberman – Dixie. And my daughter has a young dachshund who happens to be as cute as it gets. For the photos with the Doberman, we choose a small forest / grassland environment.
Whereas for the picture with the little cute Dachshund we did the photos in a café. Here is what we got:
The photos in Bali’s natural beauty:
At some stage when discussing the schedule of the day, Nicola and Kevin warmed up to the idea to also have some of their pre-wedding photographs taken in Bali’s natural and beautiful environment.
So for the last part of this photoshoot I brought my couple to a place far away from the villages and the touristy areas. Unspoiled Balinese nature as …. rice fields, coconut forest and more. And as the crowning jewel a super gorgeous sunset.
For this I don’t have many words and rather prefer to let the photos do the talking:
The light on that day was also perfect. And by late afternoon Nicola and Kevin were completely relaxed and … That is when the best photos are to be had.
In the end, this most challenging Bali pre-wedding photos turned out not only my personal favorite photographs but also an extremely rewarding project. Perhaps my most endeared photo projects ever.
Nicola, Kevin I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful challenge you threw at me. Because of you, I not only learned to see Bali in a somewhat different light. But I also ended up with some of the most unique and inspiring photos of my 15 year career as a Bali pre-wedding photographer.
THANK YOU – THANK YOU AND THANK YOU AGAIN !!!
P.S.: If you want to find out about the technical aspects and working with 30-50-year-old vintage lenses please click here.
See more Pre Wedding Sessions:
When Wendy contacted me first over email, she made it clear to me that she was not looking for those typical Bali pre-wedding photos that thousands of other couples had done before….
When Rachel approached me the first thing she did not tell me whether she wanted to have pre-wedding photos or a honeymoon photo session or whether she wanted me to photograph her wedding. All she was certain about was that I had to be her photographer in Bali.