How do you think of your role in the event you are photographing?
I always tell my clients that I will be invisible. I will not ask people to pose or tell them what to do. I will be an observer, capturing candid images of the day as they happen – tell their story with my images.
What do you especially enjoy about your work?
Being a part of my clients’ special day.
My clients and their families come from all over the world to have their weddings in the Greek islands. Some are Greek or of Greek origin; others have no connection to the country other than their love of its beauty.
I love to travel with my work, so destination weddings are always fun. I hope to widen my scope to weddings in more far-flung locations — perhaps India or New York!
How do you prepare for a wedding?
I meet with the couple (in person or by Skype) and find out their ideas about their wedding day, how they imagine it, what their plans are. Learning about the ceremony, the party, the guests, the location, and most importantly the vision of the bride and groom themselves, allows me to begin to envision how it will look. This helps me to be ready and open to seeing the day as it actually happens.
Do you do formal portraits?
Yes, if my clients request them. In that case, they give me a list of the formal shots in advance. This is the only time I guide people as I shoot.
What do you look for in a good photo?
Most of all, spontaneity. Good light. Moments that I find interesting, that catch my eye. The photos on my website are representative of my approach — candid, lively, telling the story of the day and everyone who takes part in it, through small moments.
What other skills do you bring to your work?
Of course, my photographic vision and technical skill are the most important aspects of my work for my clients and me. But in addition to being creative, I am very organized, prompt and disciplined.
For my clients, this means they can count on me to do what I promise, on time, and without their having to remind me — one less thing for the busy couple to worry about. Just as I like to be an unobtrusive observer as I photograph, I like to be a quietly efficient part of the team of people involved in creating a memorable wedding.
I am especially happy that many couples whose weddings I have photographed have later asked me to photograph their childrens’ baptisms. They tell me they could not imagine having any other photographer.
How do you proceed from the wedding day to the final product?
I start by selecting the photos that I want to work with. I may have as many as 1500 shots to start with, and I select and work with 300 to 350.
After I select the photos, I edit them. I deliver them to my clients as high-resolution images on a USB memory stick.
Some couples also want to have a photobook. I design the layout and send the book to be printed for them.
How is a baptism different from a wedding?
A baptism is a very different cup of tea! The whole attention is on the baby. Having my own children, and having had both of them baptized, helps me relate to the child. I can approach the child as with a mother’s hug.
Alexandra Fokaeos is a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA). She lives on Paros, Greece, with her partner and two children. She enjoys playing with her two toddlers and making a mess at the house. She loves travelling and exploring life. She studied photography in London at the University of Westminster.