Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Jean Jacques Fabien of Fotoshoot Productions Co Ltd, based in beautiful Curepipe, Mauritius! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I have been into photography since 1994. I started with the usual family pictures, landscape and small events. Meanwhile, I rubbed shoulders with confirmed and professional local photographers. In 2001, I purchased my first digital camera and spent a lot of time shooting products and food but still as a passionate enthusiast amateur photographer. In 2005, things went a stage above when I purchased my first DSLR and committed myself into Art photography. I shot a lot of scenic as well as abstract and did some local expositions. It was in 2009 that I started shooting Weddings. It began with close friends, friends, then friends of friends and spread around. I created my company, Fotoshoot Productions in 2011 while things were getting more serious. I also started at that period to shoot for hotels mainly lifestyle and products (rooms, inside and outside hotels for marketing, setups and products hotels wanted to promote) but also some events and concerts. I developed a personal style using creative framing and angles and attracted attention in my Wedding pictures. I absolutely wanted to be different to other local photographers who would offer traditional Wedding shooting style. The success came little by little from that time and continues to grow every year.
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
Wedding photography was not my first « love ». I actually wanted to grow more into lifestyle and corporate photography. However, being in the field, some friends asked me to shoot their Weddings and the word started to spread around and I got requested more and more. Meanwhile, I was subscribed to several US and UK magazine on photography which would regularly feature Wedding photographers and wedding photos which I found absolutely
stunning. I was drawn by the creative potential of shooting Weddings compared to Lifestyle and corporate shots which were more strict and set. This creative potential brought me to develop my own creative style in Wedding photography and I loved more and more the results. This is how I got involved and specialized into Wedding Photography.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I can honestly say that all parts of a Wedding day is interesting to shoot because each moment has its own potential. I usually start with the preparation of the Bride. I like to shoot creative angles, shadow, shapes, atmosphere and my favorite, shooting the accessories which are the dress, jewelry, rings and shoes. I like shooting the Bride’s heels, I find them very aesthetic and combined with various elements, they make great creative and sometimes abstract pictures. I have also developed some personal shooting technics like using water spray to create mist and bokeh. The Wedding ceremony at the Church can also be wonderful to shoot when the building is old and have a lot of character. It’s then easy to find original and creative angles and elements to include in the frame. My eyes are always watching around to find something interesting. People’s expressions, faces, awkward situations, kids, etc… Then comes the best part of the Wedding which is the photoshooting session. This is where I unleash my creativity. If we have been able to make a provisional visit on the site, it then goes relatively fast. I usually identify the best spots and know in advance what I’m going to do. But if there has not been any visit prior to the Wedding, I improvise on the site and usually find interesting spots and use the environment elements. I also use a drone for some Weddings and it’s an incredible tool to get unique angles, shapes and patches.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
There has been some Weddings where I saw and experienced awkward situations but I think the one which has really left an imprint on me has been the preparation of a Bride at her place with the members of her family totally ignoring her. They were acting as if she was not there. The reason was because the Bride and the Groom were not from the same religion. The Bride had to convert into the religion of her husband and the family of the Bride was totally against this. They decided to get married against the Bride’s family’s will. Since they could not change the Bride’s decision, they decided to ignore her. On top of that, the Bride was young (although adult) and quite inexperienced, a bit disorganized and with a very teen like attitude. This was quite sad having the family watching TV, eating and talking in a way ignoring her while she was being makeup and her hair being done.
What is your favorite venue and why?
In Mauritius, there are a number of beautiful venue. I usually prefer shooting outside. There is a place in Mauritius called Case Noyale. There is a long pier on the sea and the surroundings are stunning with huge Banian trees by the pier, a breath taking view of the iconic Le Morne Mountain, the calm sea, black sand and beautiful rocks being uncovered when the tide is low. I like shooting on that spot because there are several points of view and stunning elements all in one place.
Nikon or Canon?
NIKON. I find it silly this war between the users of these two makes. I think both produce very good cameras and it’s only a matter of preference using one or the other make. Anyway, when you look at a stunning picture, you won’t know if it’s taken with a NIKON or CANON but you’ll know who took it.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
My dream place in Mauritius is the one I mentioned earlier. However, there are some other stunning places. I would actually love to shoot in the Seychelles. This place is awesome and the nature set is breath taking. I would also love to do some Bride and Groom shooting (fashion style) in places like on a mountains, near a volcano (in Reunion Island for instance), on an iconic Bridge, etc…, on cliffs when the waves are rough, etc… I few months ago, I watched a commercial done by Hasselblad cameras. It was done by a Chinese photographer on the Great Wall with an european model. She was shot in various bridal dresses on various sites in China among which were the Gobi desert, some ruins, some medieval castle and manor houses, iconic places. This is my type of dream shot I’m looking forward to do in the future.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
Well, I think that Kate and William would be my favorite. I would actually be the lucky photographer :-). Kate is astunning Bridal model and William has the attitude. This would be a dream to have a Bridal photo session with them. But that’s a dream…
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Well, when I started Wedding photography, I was so sure of myself and thought that my work was stunning. I thought I knew it all. But after the years looking back at my early Wedding pictures, I realize how the angles were sometimes wrong, the edition was awful, the colors were too much and I often was using the wrong lens for specific scenes and when shooting people. Shooting a Wedding is a job of it’s own with its particular codes and specifications. And it’s only through experience that you learn the codes and « rules ». So very important to remain sincere in what we do in our Job but also keep observing, keep getting inspired by situations, people, and other photographer’s work. We cannot grow and become better if we don’t look at what other photographers do, may it be Wedding photographers or Fashion photographers or else. Each of us catches and grasp things from our environment and re-use them into our Work. So it’s important to remain humble, consider others work and try to be different to what the mainstream does. It is also essential to know all the rituals and traditions of different types of Weddings. I’m lucky to live into a multicultural Island where I have been shooting several community Weddings (European, Chinese, Hindu, Muslim, laic…) and I have learned how to respect each community and customs.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
It’s firstly important that the photographer and couple get along straight from the beginning. Hiring a photographer for your Wedding is like choosing your Doctor, Dentist or Hairdresser. It’s a very personal thing. I would say that the photographer himself has to be open, humble, but also knowing his subject on his fingertips because there is nothing worst for a couple to hire a photographer and feel that he is not sure of what he will be doing. I personally get hired a lot from abroad. So the first contact is usually by email. Some Brides, Groom or Couples request a skype or FaceTime session in order to get that feel from me. So, it’s good to ask questions to the photographer to know how he is going to proceed, what tips he has to give for preparation, How he is going to handle preparation of Bride and Groom at the same time, until what time does he stays at the reception, will he be alone or with someone, how will he be doing in terms of transport (Yes), what happens if there is an unforeseen circumstance, when the pictures will be delivered, is there a contract being done? Throughout all these questions (these are only a few), the couple will be able to judge and make their own opinion about the photographer and if he will be competent to cover their event.
Thanks Jean Jacques! For more information about Fotoshoot Productions Co Ltd, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website. Do you have any questions or comments for Jean Jacques? Add them to the comments below!