How did you come to Vietnam?
I grew up in Germany and I first came to Vietnam about 12 years ago. It is actually quite funny as we have more and more clients from Germany and many of them are really surprised when they find out that they actually hired a German photographer in Southeast Asia. But back to answer your question – I first came to Vietnam 12 years ago when I studied Southeast Asian Studies back home… I fell in love Vietnam, I stayed longer for internships and freelance work with different media organisations. And eventually I stayed.
Describe your style of photography?I come from photojournalist / documentary background. So one of the pillars of my style is capturing natural moments, rather then setting up scenes. For me the beauty of photography was always to give my own interpretation of reality. In a sense as a photographer I try to “read between the lines” and try to show things that others might not see, without actually changing the reality. Natural light plays a big role here.
Apart from that I like more complex compositions with different layers of foreground and background.
Why did you join Mott Visuals Weddings?
I think with Mott Visuals, Justin established the strongest brand in Wedding Photography in Asia. I have been following Justin’s work and we also have been friends for a long time. So when he asked me to join Mott Visuals Weddings I did not think twice – I love working together with other photographers as passionate as Justin and Aaron and we constantly push each other to become better shooters. It is a very inspirational environment.
What is your favorite destination for shooting weddings and why?
That is a tough question because there are some many beautiful destinations in Southeast Asia. But I think my favourite is still Danang / Hoi An in Vietnam – the central coast has beautiful wedding venues such as the Intercontinental Danang Peninsula Hotel, where there are always new shooting opportunities to discover – and if the couple likes another portrait session the ancient city of Hoi An is simply amazing in the late afternoon light.
If you had to show a potential client only one picture from your portfolio what would it be and why?
This shot – i think it perfectly captures the joy a wedding can bring to the couple.
Do you speak Vietnamese and have you had to use your language skills on a shoot?
I speak pretty fluent Vietnamese – and yes I had to use it on many shoots . Mainly on editorial assignments, but also on Wedding shoots with Vietnamese clients – for example it might be that bride and groom speak great English but maybe their parents don’t – so speaking Vietnamese definitely helps breaking the ice…
How is your style different from local photographers?
I would not so much distinguish between local and foreign photographers, but rather say my style is different from traditional wedding photographers – I have seen weddings where the photograher basically chases the couple around the whole day – do this, do that, repeat, repeat again… this can be really annoying for everyone involved. Of course for the portrait shots i do there are a few staged shots involved, but apart from that it is really more about storytelling and actually capturing the moment..
Can you share some of the memorable moments that you’ve had while shooting?
There are lots of memorable moments for sure, but one that is still in my mind is a wedding I shot a few years back in Mui Ne – it was supposed to be a beach wedding but the weather turned terrible – however the couple, Uyen & Kha, really kept up the great spirit and it was a great party and very memorable for everyone – the photo above is actually from that wedding.
What piece of advice would you give to potential bride and grooms about choosing their wedding photographer?
I think first of all you should look at their portfolio – check out the weddings they have done before and find a photographer whose style you really like. Secondly you should make sure that the photographer has shot already many weddings and does not use your wedding to practice – wedding photography is not easy and you want to have someone on the day who really knows how to get the best shots. Also have a look at the pricing – are you quoted and all inclusive price (including travel, lodging etc) or are there additional costs? how many images are included in the deliverables etc…
What piece of advice would you give to a bride and groom on how to make better photos on their big day?
Have a Skype call with your photographer a few weeks ahead of the wedding to go over details – he also might be able to give a few timing suggestions (e..g when is the best light for photos etc..) – set aside a bit time for portraits just of you and your significant other (usually even half an hour with the right light can lead to amazing results) – and share ideas with the photographer about images you like…