black wedding dresses great, but has never seen one at a wedding
A smile never goes out of style!
“The chemistry has to be right”
Tony Gigov started his career in the advertising industry. With experience in design, film and photography, today his passion is wedding photography. The transition to his current career was smooth. His favourite locations for wedding photography are the south of France, Italy and Monaco. And he loves taking photos of international couples who get married in Austria.
To document a wedding he clicks the shutter about 2,800 times. The result is a large-format photo book that you can flick through as if you were watching a film.
Is wedding photography a separate genre?
I do think that it has developed into its own genre over recent years, and photographers now specialize in it. Even only 10 years ago, wedding photography was mostly just staged photos before or after the marriage ceremony. Now it’s about documenting the couple’s day. To make sure the story is complete, I’m involved in the preparations, in the details, when they’re putting on their jewellery, when they’re tying their bow ties. I record the ceremony, the emotions of the bride and groom as well as their guests, in the same way as I do their first dance or cutting the cake.
We may never want to hear it about our own wedding, but aren’t all weddings actually quite similar?
Every wedding is unique, but there are moments that are the same. I know roughly when the mother of the bride will start crying. When the other guests will have tears in their eyes. But when the father walks into the church with the bride, you simply can’t help crying. I myself have to hold back a tear – I know that at some point it’ll be my turn because I have such a beautiful daughter (Editor’s note: she is five years old)
. Genuine emotions are what make a beautiful wedding. And it’s that atmosphere that I capture.
How do you do it?
By not disturbing people. I observe them from a distance – I’m not an event photographer who needs you to strike a pose. 50 to 80 guests is the ideal number for photos. Also I have my own photo taken once or twice a year to remind me what it feels like to be in front of the camera.
What are the worst faux pas at a wedding?
When everyone’s trying to record the wedding on their phones, rather than simply concentrating on the moment. When the mother of the groom tries to be on a group photo at the same time as trying to take a photo herself, it results in rather unusual photos.
What’s not photogenic?
Honest emotions are always photogenic. A smile never goes out of style.
As a photographer, how do you bridge expectations with reality?
I paint a picture with my camera and try to still people’s fears of the camera, tell them what they could do better. I do “micro directing” because a small movement in front of the camera makes a big difference.
Do you recommend that people do test shots the way they do rehearsal dinners and hair trials?
I meet the engaged couple several times before the wedding. Try to find out what their interests are, how they met. I find it important that the bride and groom and the photographer know each other well and that the chemistry is right. I’m also happy to recommend that my couples do an engagement shoot. It’s like a dress rehearsal and often makes the couples more relaxed in front of the camera. They know that they can rely on me and are then much more relaxed on their big day.
Who did the photography at your own wedding?
Wedding photography as it exists today wasn’t around back then and it didn’t interest us. Which is why we didn’t have any photographers. Having said that, now we’re thinking about getting married again, with our children, family, our best friends and our dream photographer.