Lovestills™ Behind the Lenses: Q&A with Adventurous Icelandic Photography Duo :
Lovestills sits down with professional wedding photographer duo Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís to understand the mastery behind capturing Iceland's otherworldly landscapes. Born and raised in Iceland, and absolutely in awe of the raw untouched nature, they know the best photo spots like the back of their hand, and are happy to share their invaluable insights with us.
Q: Hello Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís! Share with us a little about yourselves!
We are both born and raised in Iceland and have lived here our whole lives. We grew up in separate parts of the country. Heiðdís grew up in the capital, Reykjavík while Styrmir grew up out in the countryside of Iceland in various places as he moved around a lot as a kid.
Both of us got into photography at an early age by stealing our parents film cameras and go off shooting shitty pictures. Our interest in photography eventually led us both to the same photography school in Reykjavík where we quickly bonded over our common interests and mutual attraction to each other and have hardly been apart since. After school we went into different directions. Heiðdís started working for a magazine publishing house shooting a bunch of different editorial stuff. Everything from portraits and fashion to food and interior design. While Styrmir started working for a national newspaper in Iceland as a photojournalist with everything that entails. After a few years of doing that we eventually went into wedding photography together.
Q: How did you get into wedding photography?
Our journey into wedding photography started in the summer of 2014 when we least expected it, neither of us had ever had any ideas of getting into this line of work. We went on a couple shoot with friends of ours from Scotland that happen to be very talented destination wedding photographers . During the shoot they told us about their business and their approach to wedding photography. That talk made us see things in a completely new way and we saw a chance to use our mix of photojournalism and editorial work to document weddings in a way that made it exciting and fun for us, as well as a good way of working together at our own business. So the next year we booked our first full season of weddings and have never looked back.
Q: Describe your photography aesthetic in three words.
Adventurous, cinematic and emotional.
Q: What or who inspires you?
These days we mostly seek inspiration looking at the works of great cinematographers like Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki and more. But our biggest inspiration through out our careers has been the ever changing dramatic weather in Iceland. The way it creates the most amazing light patterns over the crazy Icelandic landscapes and continually sets the mood and feel of our shoots. It also keeps us on our toes since we never know what to expect when going out on a shoot so we must be ready for anything.
Q: Why Iceland?
This could probably be a topic for a whole other blog post but in short Iceland is an other worldly destination. The dramatic landscapes and the proximity to raw, untouched nature is hard to beat. You have this whole island where the landscapes look like they sprung from pages of some fairy tale mixed with all kinds of weather that push the drama to new heights. This is definitely not the wedding destination for those that don’t want to step too far out of their comfort zone but if you are the adventurous type and are ready for this magical island to swipe you of your feet and take you on an adventure of a lifetime, plowing through snow, getting soaked under thundering waterfalls, climbing volcanoes, hiking on and under glaciers, romantic walks at sunset on a volcanic black sand beach with icebergs to name but a few things. If any of these sound good to you and you are willing to take on the unpredictable weather this might just be the destination for you.
Q: Favorite photo spots in Iceland?
It’s very hard to pick favorites among so many amazing locations. It usually surprises travelers when they get here that the whole island is beautiful, it’s not just the few select locations you see everywhere online. You can find beautiful and different scenery where ever you go in Iceland.
We tend to be drawn to the more remote and wild places of Iceland. We have shot a few weddings in the West Fjords on the north west side of the country which we loved. The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is also a regular favorite of ours, we shoot there a dozen times each year but it just keeps on inspiring us with it’s varied landscapes and special kind of mood.
Q: Share your top 3 tips for couples interested in heading over to Iceland for their pre-wedding shoot.
The number one challenge in Iceland is the very unpredictable weather. It’s probably unlike anything you have ever experienced before. This far north the temperature is much lower than places like Singapore so people most come prepared for that. The weather also changes very fast so you have to be prepared for sunshine, rain, wind and even snow all in the same day. This is where a local comes in handy to guide you through the weather and know what to expect. Iceland also has these micro climates meaning that even if the weather is bad in one spot It can be totally fine close by, if you know where to look. The weather can also mean trouble when traveling between various parts of the country, especially in the winter time.
Another challenge is picking the locations you want to visit during your wedding day/shoot. With the sheer number of available spots you have to pick and choose, as you can’t possibly visit them all in one day. So it might help getting some guidance to help you fulfill your vision for your the shoot.
Another thing we have noticed when working with couples from Asia is that they sometimes expect to be able to rent dresses and suits for the shoot over here in Iceland. That is not the case and you will have to bring your own clothes with you. You can also expect to hire vendors separately since there are no studios that offer the whole package (outfit, photographer, hair & make up artist, decorations and planning) available in one place. Unless you are doing a whole wedding over here then there are a number of wedding planners at your disposal.
Q: What are some of your highs and lows of being a wedding photographer?
We love our job, documenting people in love. We meet so many different people from all over the world through this and spend a meaningful, happy time with them. Showing them around our favorite place on earth that also happens to be our home. It inspires us every single time and makes us want to continually be better at this.
The lows probably mostly come from running a whole business by ourselves and all that it entails. Being on top of emails, book keeping, marketing while also shooting and editing everything ourselves. This can be a struggle sometimes but working for ourselves also gives us a kind of freedom we really like so we wouldn’t want to change that.
Q: Last but not least, what advice would you give to couples to help them to get the best from their overseas wedding photography experience?
We would recommend picking vendors like photographers, videographers, florists, hair & make up artists etc. that do work that speaks to you and inspire you and then trust them to do the best work they can on your day. It also helps if these artists are local to where you are going as you get invaluable insights into your destination, that not only help you have a better experience during your shoot but during your whole experience in the country. It also ensures that everything you invest into this day stays in that country and helps it thrive and become an even better destination for future generations.
For couples looking for an adventure of a lifetime whilst documenting your prewedding shoot, do visit Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís Photography's website to see more of their beautiful work (all images in this article has been kindly provided by Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís Photography) and get to know them better!