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:

Vintage Lens pre wedding photos in Bali

Bali’s graffiti art is an ideal backdrop for pre-wedding photos…


Vintage Lens pre wedding photos in Bali

Indeed a summer story from Bali…


Vintage Lens pre wedding photos in Bali

Can you see me now ?


Vintage Lens pre wedding photos in Bali

Looks like you found me

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?

Vintage lens photographer Dominik Vanyi

Extreme closeup with an extreme telephoto lens


Vintage lens photographer Dominik Vanyi

shop till you drop…

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.

Unconventional pre wedding photos

another example of Bali’s great street art used in the context of pre-wedding photography


Unconventional pre wedding photos

and yet more graffiti.


Unconventional pre wedding photos

In the Orchid nursery…

‘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.

Bali pre wedding photos with graffiti

One of my favorite graffiti walls in Bali


Bali pre wedding photos with graffiti

enjoying a cold latte…not a bad way to have pre-wedding photos taken.

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:

pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

Fresh coconuts…


pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

Should we also get some bananas?


pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

Traditional straw hat fashion or what ?


pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

Now, this is what I call ‘Bali Fashion’…


pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

I am not to sure about this one my Dear…


pre wedding photos in a traditional Bali village

What else can we buy here ?

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:

Bali pre wedding photos in street portraiture style

another closeup with a super-telephoto lens.


Bali pre wedding photos in street portraiture style

How about some jewelry ?


Bali pre wedding photos in street portraiture style

Do you think it will fit me ?


Bali pre wedding photos in street portraiture style

We forgot to buy glasses…

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:

Bali pre wedding photos with animals

Should we also get a dog like this honey?


Bali pre wedding photos with animals

Yes, I also want a dog like this.


Bali pre wedding photos with animals

You know what my Dear…


Bali pre wedding photos with animals

I guess we will never know what those three were looking at.


Bali pre wedding photos with animals

Cute-ness overflow…


Bali pre wedding photos with animals

What if it bites ?

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:

Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

fun in the coconut forest.


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Honey, can you grab me a coconut from the tree pleaaaase…


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Can we stay in Bali for a bit longer ?


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

what is the program for the evening ?


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Blissful Bali.


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Genuine joy & laughter captured through a 60-year-old vintage lens…


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

City dwellers discovering the rice plant…


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Can you tell me which way to paradise ?


Bali Vintage Lens Photographer

Come walk with me a bit.

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.

filmlook pre wedding photographer Bali Michelle Pastel

One of those moments…


filmlook pre wedding photographer Bali Michelle Pastel

a posed photograph for a change


filmlook pre wedding photographer Bali Michelle Pastel

what’s that grin about…


filmlook pre wedding photographer Bali Michelle Pastel

Enjoyment captured through a vintage lens


filmlook pre wedding photographer Bali Michelle Pastel

Just fooling around…


VSCO Bali Pre Wedding Photographer Michelle Pastel

Capturing that last light…


VSCO Bali Pre Wedding Photographer Michelle Pastel

while the sun sets


VSCO Bali Pre Wedding Photographer Michelle Pastel

The sun is almost gone my Love.


VSCO Bali Pre Wedding Photographer Michelle Pastel

BALI TOTAL


VSCO Bali Pre Wedding Photographer Michelle Pastel

what a day…in Bali

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 !!!

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P.S.: If you want to find out about the technical aspects and working with 30-50-year-old vintage lenses please click here.

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