The reassuring feel of heart-stopping images and the exacting detail of masterful lensing are unsurprisingly evident in Anna Roussos' work volume. Since 2011, Anna Rousos has captured luxury destination weddings across Italy, France, Portugal, and Greece; experienced working with high-octane clientele - the likes of fashion catalyst Peter Dundas, Serie A footballer Wojciech Szczęsny, and the Russian Royals; helmed, creatively directed dozens of photoshoots with uncompromising commitment, and even revised the typology of luxury wedding photography in her prescient, trademark, equal parts decadent and magnetic craft.
Woven through her images, you'll find stories encapsulating the operatic refinement of Lake Como's most stunning villas, French châteaux to exponentially feed your Baroque lust, and a convivial alloy of implicit high fashion and genuine enthusiasm for the real deal. And although stats may keep telling you that creative forces like Anna come with platitudes such as a hush-hush workflow model, the unflappable creator is transparent, humble, and in love with her practice. Today she comes with a cache of wedding photography input that will bridge your divide between posing and non-posing, encourage your wedding style foray, and deliver images you will feel compelled to clap to.
Anna, you've taken your time thinking about the kind of photography you want to put into the world. Should couples do the same to make the most of their wedding photography?
The great American journalist Gloria Steinem once said that dreaming is a form of planning. When a couple begins to envision their wedding images, they structure their ideas:
- What they wish to see.
- How they hope to see themselves in these images.
- What kind of photos they want to remember themselves by in the future
In this sense, yes. The couple needs to understand themselves first, find a photographer who speaks the same language, and work together toward what is tangible and substantial.
But what about couples who know what they want but are apprehensive or bashful before the lens?
Feeling camera-shy is very natural. Even celebrities, who are familiar with the lens, can experience a day when they don't wish to be photographed. However, the photographer's job is to ease them into the experience, guide them through every step of the flow, and help them overcome camera anxiety. A photographer cannot go asking the couple to “simply act natural” or “just be themselves” - this is a real nightmare average photographers haunt couples with. Because that is exactly when people begin to stiffen and have no idea what to do. A master portraitist will employ several approaches, so my best advice here is for couples to choose their wedding photographer wisely.
How about posing for wedding photos? Is this something a couple should learn?
By no means, no. Wedding photography is not like buying property, trying to get a sense of a house's "bones," pretending they live in it. Most couples face difficulty posing, even if they have rehearsed their mannerisms or postures. And that is all right.
You mean learning how to pose is a trap?
I do. You see, this inside feeling sometimes guides us - it is what I call the Subordinate/Supreme Paradox in Portraiture. Because we are so incredibly delighted and have that Goddess state of mind, we believe our photographs will look stunning. Or, because we are so awfully weak in the knees, we feel an image will turn out dreadful. But the exact opposite happens. Feeling awkward during a pose can render a flattering image telling a completely different story, while feeling spectacular may not yield the most inspiring portrait. Posing is all about body language and how it translates on camera. So, before booking your photographer, ensure they will guide you appropriately during the shoot, and once done, trust their vision to capture the best in you.
Is there something you advise couples to discuss with the photographer before the photoshoot?
The most critical element in adoring your images is to love how you look in them. Even the most impeccably shot image, where the light, the composition, and the backdrop look dreamy, won't ever see the light of day (or get posted on your IG feed) if you don't love yourself in it. Long before every shooting, my number one question to my clients is what they don't like about themselves in photos. The answers vary considerably and unpredictably because being insecure with certain aspects of one's appearance is so universal, even if it comes as a surprise. Even a supermodel may not like some of their features, so it is vital that you make your photographer aware. They need to know what you don't find beautiful and what you do.
Speaking of finding beautiful, are there any beauty tips to help brides and grooms look their best in their wedding photos?
A solid 8-hour sleep before the photoshoot is a must. Even the best makeup cannot conceal sleep deprivation, and nobody wants to look tired. Consider not having an all-nighter before your wedding, and go on a simple skincare regime before the shoot. Stay hydrated, avoid heavy meals, moisturize, and SPF.
Ladies should not experiment with their makeup or go heavier than usual (9/10 regret it). Having a Plan B for their hairdos is essential because a windy day can create hair messes and spoil the bride's overall mood and the final result of her photos.
Bearded gents, even those with a 2-day stubble, should keep things streamlined, neat, and planned for.
That said, stress can break what a couple has worked so much for; therefore, a proper state of mind is the best beauty tip. To make sure you own it, choose your photographer and your wedding planner wisely - these two people will be around you all day long and are the ones who can be a great help.
How does a couple reflect their personalities in their wedding photos?
It is crucial to have a long talk with their photographer and discuss their needs and expectations for the photo shoot. Sharing their love story, speaking about themselves, selecting locations that are meaningful to them, and embracing outfits that reflect their characters and their events' aesthetics are all decisive factors. And although in times of relentless pursuing for the perfect look, everyone can feel a little urged to ante up the styling game, resisting the temptation of what can make one look and feel like a completely different person is a winner. Photography-wise, clearly expressing their ambitions, wants, and dislikes to their photographer is something every bride and groom should do. Intentionality is key on both ends.
You mean like making one's wedding photography mood board?
Exactly! Moodboards are a significant step in the process and will generate a solid foundation for a couple's future photoshoot. Whether a couple aims for a supra-decadent shoot or a more fashion-oriented one, it's easy to get carried away. There's so much influence all around, and nobody is one-dimensional, but at the same time, sticking to our guns and our true grander loves makes all the difference. I ask my couples to go online, look for wedding images and couple portraits they relate to, and pin these images on a shared board, urging them to focus on the feel, the color palettes, and the aesthetics that attract them. After receiving the mood board, I can study what they have in mind, and based on what I infer, I will tailor my suggestions and offer them better guidance during the shoot.
Does timing play a role in making the most of wedding images?
Timing may be invisible, but when it is absent, it strikes out miles. The last thing a wedding shoot needs is pressure. Before setting their wedding timelines in stone, couples should consult their photographer. The time of day during each photo shoot is a significant technical parameter. It contributes remarkably to the overall mood of the images (see harsh light versus soft, dusk versus noon). As per the wedding timeline, a couple should always leave some extra time in case of any delay. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed on a wedding day, whether you are before or behind the lens.
Have you defined what makes for great wedding photos, and how can a couple nail these?
Unglamorously so... the photographs that forever stay in the couples' hearts always capture the "real them" and their love in a flattering way. And although both tasks are the photographer's responsibility, the latter also depends a lot on what a couple "gives"to their artist—allowing emotions to surface before the lens can sound intimidating or pose a challenge for many, which is why the photographer has to step in and make them feel comfortable. Taking in the feelings of the day and getting in the right mindset is essential, so it is best to perceive the photo shoot as a thoroughly romantic experience for them. "[you] see it as a date. Be sweet with each other, be playful, talk about how you feel to one another, whisper sweet nothings, compliments, or something saucy, recall some of your romantic histories, and ultimately, make it all about yourselves and your love!!!"