A beautiful rainy rustic wedding in the Douro Valley

A beautiful rainy rustic wedding in the Douro Valley

“Christie was a wonderful part of our wedding day. She was great to communicate with and clicked in instantly with the tempo of how we wanted our wedding day to run. We had great feed back from our wedding guests, people commented on how polite she was and how well she integrated with everyone. We are also really pleased with the photos. Christie managed to use different ares of the wedding venue, rainbows and umbrellas to capture some amazing pictures. Would highly recommend booking Christie in to capture your special day.”

Devon & Robert

A beautiful, rustic wedding in the Douro Valley through the eyes of a professional wedding photographer in Portugal

I shot Devon and Robert’s wedding in June of 2019 at a charming little resort, in the middle of nature. They are originally from New Zealand, living in the UK and decided to celebrate their love in one of the most beautiful and alternative wedding destinations: the Douro valley in the north of Portugal.

Their families and friends flew all the way from New Zealand to celebrate with them. The wedding took place at this beautiful rustic resort in the Douro Valley called Casa Fontelheira. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and they made all of us feel so welcome!

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Rainy day on your wedding? No problem, let’s create some magic!

When you plan your destination wedding, it can be quite stressful. One of the things that are impossible to control when you set your wedding date is the weather: Everybody wishes to have a big, warm sun shining on their wedding day!

Well, this wedding was the perfect example on how to absolutely rock your wedding day and have the time of your life even with rain. Hopefully, since I live in Porto and I am used to such unpredictable weather conditions, I was fully prepared.

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When you are a wedding photographer, your main job is to find great photo opportunities everywhere and be able to create stunning images under any conditions. Just because that magical golden hour photoshoot cannot happen, it doesn’t mean that you cannot create amazing and memorable images for your couple: Rainy weather is still a perfect opportunity for unique and moody shots that you can’t find at any wedding!

I can still remember the smell of the flowers’ freshness spread all around the place and in addition to the smell of the rain, the atmosphere was simply wonderful.

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Capturing the magic: family love and pure happiness

What followed after, was one of the most beautiful scenes I have experienced as a wedding photographer so far: I was so moved when I captured that moment! I want you to stop for a second and take a closer look: The father’s jacket is soaked wet as he holds the umbrella to protect the bride (his daughter) from the rain.

They are both smiling so much because they don’t care about everything being perfect or going according to the plan, they are just happy to have their beautiful family gathered in a lovely rural venue in the North of Portugal. In this photo there is love and pure affection, truth and nature, all blend perfectly together with some rain drops. I am just in love with that moment and how it turned out. And not to mention just how GORGEOUS this family was.

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father and daughter wedding moment photography

This photo sequence reminds me why I love shooting weddings (or working with photography in general) SO MUCH. It is about blending the moment, the emotions and the technique, forgetting about yourself, walking backwards with the fear of falling into a puddle 🤭 and do whatever it takes to capture it because this exact moment WILL NEVER REPEAT ITSELF!

It’s just unique and amazing and so rewarding.

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civil ceremony wedding photography

I felt so happy that before taking off from Porto I remembered to bring my transparent umbrella with me just in case. We used it during the quick couple photo shoot and it was such an appropriate prop for that fantastic rainy day!

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Devon wanted to take a photo with all the baby guests of the wedding. That was the best we could do before they all started crying at the same time!

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Thank you so much for trusting me Devon and Robert! I had the best time working with you and your amazing families.
I wish you a lifetime of cool adventures and rainbows!

Love in the time of COVID-19?

Love in the time of COVID-19?

Part I: A dream, postponed

HIT PAUSE 

The world as we know it is on pause mode. We are all grieving something right now: our health, our job, our canceled dreams and trips, our financial future. I am a wedding photographer and this article is about canceled/postponed weddings. If your wedding was postponed or if you are a wedding photographer yourself, keep reading!

A “postponed dream”: this season’s weddings have been described as such. It has affected couples, families and businesses. (Disclaimer: it has affected everyone. This article is focusing on these groups of people).

The “good” thing is that it’s global. You are not the only one suffering the consequences. The bad thing is that it’s global. Thus, pretty serious.

I wanted to take a moment and explore both perspectives: the photographers and the couples, as they are both dealing with the consequences, in different ways: 

Wedding photographers

I’ve been in conversation with my colleagues around the world and all of them are facing the same issues right now: anxiety, being out of job, still paying taxes for deposits they received for weddings that are probably not happening (or at least not this year), cancelled contracts, refunds, stressed clients…

Couples

Couples were forced to change their wedding plans. For most people, planning their wedding has been a personal or a family investment and a wedding is not something cheap. Nerve-wracking as it is to just pick a date and start organizing everything – from venues, to vendors and guests – under normal circumstances, imagine the chaos and stress that is caused by having to move everything due to a pandemic.

Let me say here that even though I am struggling with the consequences of this myself as a small business owner, I completely understand how stressful and frustrating it must be for the couples: We, photographers, get to shoot several weddings per year but they are only getting married once (in their majority). I completely understand the frustration and they have all the right to feel this way.

Let’s work together
This is a time for many “masks to fall”: Vendors staying silent or “ghosting” their clients or not even thinking of negotiating about providing them with a flexible solution… Clients threatening photographers with bad reviews on the internet if they don’t get a full refund even though their contract states otherwise (this has never happened to me so far by the way)…

“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”

Gabriel Garcia Marques

If you are working in the wedding industry I want you to stop for a minute and think about the phrase above. Business is all about networking. And guess what, word of mouth is part of networking too! Do you really think that ghosting your client or basically telling them “well good luck, I’m keeping your deposit and if you want to book me for next year you have to pay a new one” is actually gonna help your business grow?

Contracts exist to protect both sides. This is not a time for most people to make money. On the contrary everybody’s struggling with minimising the damage or even surviving. So why don’t we all try to see the bigger picture in here?

From the other perspective: Our businesses have costs. So many that it can be pretty scary. If you add to the cost of doing business the heavy taxation system in almost every country, the licences, the insurances, the marketing, the physical consequences of being a wedding photographer, the stress and on top of that putting a price on our artistic identity, the numbers can go really high. Losing weddings during the wedding high season or moving them to the next year is resulting in significant losses or even driving small businesses to shut down. 

Let’s meet half-way? 

This is not a time for “war”. It is also not a time to profit from somebody else’s losses, and definitely not a good time to go completely broke – and that applies to both parties, clients and professionals. Instead, try to sit down, understand each other’s perspective and discuss as civilised human beings using your common sense. 

Possible solutions / Food for thought

  • If you are a photographer and you have the means to do so, allow your clients to transfer over their deposit to a new date. Showing flexibility will only benefit you long-term.

     

  • If you are not available on the new date, discuss and try to find a solution.Maybe a partial refund would be a good way to go. Remember that these are exceptional circumstances where nobody had control over.

     

  • If you are a couple, understand that if you choose to transfer your wedding to a date on which the photographer is not available you might lose part or even all of your deposit as the professional has already paid taxes for it, reserved the date and even refused to book with other clients that might have been more flexible with search of a new date. 

  • For couples: try to speak with all the vendors and see the possibility of transferring over to a new date. Most of the vendors have shown flexibility by allowing the already paid fees to transfer over to the new date with no extra fees.

     

  • If you are moving your wedding to 2021 and you have the possibility, consider getting married on a Friday or Sunday. It is easier for you to book ahead for these days than on a Saturday. Apart from that, most small businesses (in my case, photographers) will have the possibility to recover from the losses of this year if they can book non-conventional days in 2021. Saturdays are always the easiest days to book and if all Saturdays of 2021 are occupied from weddings of 2020 (while we get almost 0 income in 2020), it might take us much longer to recover from this, if we manage to keep working on our businesses. 
    (Check here the pros and cons of getting married on a Friday on The Knot)

“The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good.”

Let’s hope this is over soon so that we can go back to celebrating love and all its glory. Until then, stay safe!

All quotes were taken from Gabriel Garcia Marques’s “Love in the time of cholera”.
All the images are intellectual property of Krystallenia Batziou.

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