Greece has gained a special place in my heart. It has become the place I go when I want two things: to have the best time with a bunch of wonderful people and to grow as a photographer.
This is exactly what I did on my second ever visit to this wonderful, sun-kissed country. My first experience came some 3 and a half years ago, when the tiny island of Limnos became my home for 4 months over the summer. Back then I worked as an Action and Portrait Photographer, for CE Photo and it was one of the best times of my life, as I got to live on an island, meet some fantastic people and do the thing I love most, photography! I learned so much and I improved my photography skills tremendously in that time.
2Creative Wedding Photography Workshop Greece
This first experience of Greece played a crucial role in the next decision that I was faced with when I accidentally stumbled upon the advert for the 2Creative Wedding Photography Workshop, organised by two fantastic wedding photographers, Marius Tudor and Marian Sterea, where? You guessed it, in Greece!!
As I was reading through the workshop’s description, a wave of emotions started rushing through my body, from excitement, all the way to nostalgia! I was reading about the opportunity to receive training from two amazing photographers, while spending 10 days at sea on a yacht and shooting on some amazing Greek islands! All I was thinking was how incredible it would be if I actually went!
I started looking at flights and the best option was flying from Liverpool to Bucharest and from there to Athens and back, so a total of 4 flights, which was only £160, half of what flying directly from Manchester to Athens would have cost me. With a bit of luck, I managed to get some time off from work as well, so a couple of days later, my place on the workshop was booked!
I met almost everyone at the airport in Bucharest and less then 2 hours later we were in Athens. We took the bus to the Alimos Marina where our boats were waiting. Having never “lived” on a boat before I wasn’t sure what to expect, I didn’t know how everything worked, but it turns out it is literally like a micro apartment. You’ve got pretty much anything you need, but in a really tight space. Oh, and you need to be extra careful when using the loo, as anything that is flushed down, other than what is meant to end up there, is a disaster waiting to happen! Once it’s blocked, everyone will know! ( everyone at sea, that is!)
Our first day was spent planning, getting to know eachother and buying food and drinks to last us the whole week. This is what £500 worth of food provisions looks like, 4 full carts, which filled up the boot of an estate car!
Finally, two days after our arrival, we were off to our first destination, the island of Poros. It was a 2-3 hour trip and the weather was really nice and the sea was calm. One thing I think was really cool (others who were there might disagree) is that we got to sail in all types of weather conditions, from sunny weather with no wind, to really windy conditions and swelly seas which for me personally was a lot of fun, and even through a thunderstorm on our way back to Athens at the end of the trip.
As this was a wedding photography workshop, we obviously needed a bride and groom to photograph. Enter Irina & Vlad, a real life couple who are actually engaged and who will be married soon. Vlad is a great guy (with a great name!) and he was one of the skippers. He taught us a lot about sailing and made sure everyone knew what their roles were when we were out at sea, or when we were arriving at or leaving different marinas!
Irina, his fiancee, creates wedding dresses and luckily she had a whole collection with her so that gave us the possibility of photographing her in different outfits, which was great!
Another great thing about this workshop was that, unlike other photography workshops where the organisers photograph the models and explain things as they shoot while everyone else tries to take photos around them and they wrestle to get into the best positions, everyone who was on this workshop got their own time with the couple. We all had to do mini photoshoots everyday, ranging from 5 minutes all the way down two 2 minutes, which was a great way to put us under pressure and force us to think on our feet in order to get some great images in a very short time. The highlight was a 2 hour photoshoot each one of us got to do once we arrived on the island of Hydra.
Marius and Marian who organised the workshop were around, watching, making notes, and in the evenings we discussed about the photos, we got feedback and tips on our communication with the models, posing and so on. And another thing which I thought was great was how very different Marius and Marian are as photographers. Marius is a documentary style photographer who is all about capturing genuine moments and interactions between the bride and groom, whereas Marian is a very technical photographer whose style borders fashion photography and he likes to get creative with off camera flash. Personally I have a style which lies somewhere inbetween documentary and fashion, where I love and understand the importance of documenting a wedding just as it unfolds, but also appreciate the value of lightly directing the couple during photoshoots and having those highly technical, posed photos in my portfolio. So for me, getting advice from both of them was extremely useful.
Wedding Photography on Hydra Island in Greece
Moving on, our next destination was the island of Hydra which is literally one of the prettiest places I’ve seen to date. The really small scale of the town, with all the houses concentrated around the bay, there is just something truly special about it. Not to mention the hundreds of cats which are literally everywhere. If you love cats, the sea and absolutely stunning sunsets, this is the place for you!
Hydra is where we spent most of our time on this trip. This is where we each got the chance to have Irina & Vlad for ourselves for two hours and do some amazing photoshoots and this is where I really got to bond with everyone else and find out just how amazing and fun they all are!
I am incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of this workshop and to spend time with such amazing wedding photographers. I feel like I have already become a better photographer and I can’t wait to start applying everything I’ve learned here.
I am also grateful for the chance to see how the simple life that people live on this island can be so beautiful, in a time where most people live their lives through their smartphones’ screens. An island where the only motorised vehicles are the garbage truck and a couple of mopeds, where a couple dozen cats gather each morning in the same exact spot, waiting for the fishing boats that bring fresh fish for the restaurants, because they know they always get a treat, and an island where sunsets are simply magical. I still smile every time I think about all of these little things.
Thanks to everyone who made this experience possible and I can’t wait to be back in November for 2Creative 2.0! I will now leave you with a few more images. Also, keep an eye out as I will soon be posting some of the photoshoots done throughout the workshop.