What or who inspired you to take up photography as a profession?

I come from a photographic background as my father is photographer Gino Galea. This environment inspired my enthusiasm for artistic imaging and photography. In fact, from a young age, I used to assist my dad during weddings and other photographic assignments. I was lucky enough to have my personal mentor.

And why, specifically, wedding photography?

I found myself taking to wedding photography while assisting my father. When I tried my hand at it and started receiving positive feedback, I felt motivated to specialise in this genre. Wedding photography is very rewarding as a couple’s reaction when they see photos of their special day is priceless.

What technical challenges does wedding photography present?

The challenge of a modern photographer lies in the ability to capture artistic portraitures in the least time possible. The time factor is crucial. This should obviously go parallel with the current trend of discreet, candid photography which showcases the mood and fun atmosphere during a wedding.

Normally, the newlyweds are not professional models so the photographer must be able to identify the strong points of the bride and groom to enhance the final photos.

Time management, speed, creativity and being in control of the situation are the key elements to ensure a successful outcome.

Does shooting weddings come with added responsibility?

Training, discipline, leadership and the appropriate equipment are the all important factors. You also need to have the support and cooperation of the newlyweds.

As a wedding photographer, my responsibility is to capture the couple’s special day – you have to keep in mind that you are capturing a unique event which will be remembered through photography and videography.

Of course, a wedding is a complex situation – there are various pressures and you must be equipped and prepared for any technical failures and other incidents that might crop up. But whatever happens, you have to ensure that the newlyweds have the wedding album of their dreams.

When shooting weddings, do you combine your own style with the couple’s tastes?

Yes – this is why I believe that the photographer and couple need to discuss their specific requirements in order to ensure that the newlyweds are completely satisfied with the end result. Some couples tend to be more formal, while others prefer more casual shots. I always explain to my clients the importance of finding the right balance between formal photos and candid, fun shots of coments that the couple would not even remember occurring at their wedding.

How intense and emotional is the experience of shooting a wedding?

You have to be able to make the newlyweds feel at ease. That is the main advantage of doing a pre-wedding shoot at an earlier stage. In these situations I’ve learnt that I should identify the couple’s strong points in order to ensure that both the bride and groom’s self-esteem comes through. Cracking a joke here and there can do miracles.

How important are wedding photos in a couple’s life?

A wedding is a big step in anyone’s life. Couples spend months and even years preparing for their big day, so a photographer just cannot go wrong. This is why couples must choose their photographer carefully based on criteria such as experience, reputation and the appropriate budget.

On the other hand a word of advice to the emerging wedding photographers. Digital equipment is a considerable boost for obtaining technically and reasonably good results – however, for a professional commission you also need experience. Prior to taking on a professional assignment, a photographer must be well-prepared in all aspects of photography.

For more of Alison Galea Valletta’s portfolio, visit www.photoartist.com.mt.

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