Andre and Suzanne Axford-Bryars run Belle Momenti Photography, based in Hertfordshire, UK. As destination photographers they travel the world photographing weddings and events, so we decided to get the lowdown on what they do, and how they do it.
Tell us how and why you decided to become a photographer:
Having spent the best part of 15 years travelling around the globe in my previous career in telecoms, I would spend much of my spare time photographing cities in the early hours before meetings or conferences. Then in 2006 I met my wife, who had a similar experience but in the medical communications industry. We both felt it was time to start a new life and career together and so we established Belle Momenti Photography as a specialist Destination Wedding photography business. Our initial focus was on Italy, then we added France and more recently Cyprus to our list of destination locations.
How would you describe your photography style and approach?
Our preferred style is natural & reportage. As a husband & wife team we love weddings and see capturing the beautiful and precious moments of the day as our challenge to present the happiness that should represent everyone’s memories of the special day.
What cameras (and equipment) do you use?
I use Nikon D800 and D700 bodies with 50mm prime and a 24mm-105mm lens. Suzanne uses a Canon 5D MkII and 40D with 50mm prime and a 24mm-105mm lens.
What software do you use for editing, and what process do you use to prepare photos for the albums?
We use Adobe Creative Lightroom and Photoshop for all processing and workflow. We also occasionally use Portraiture. Once a couple have selected the images they wish to include in their album, we then use a template to create a draft layout of the album. This is then sent to the clients for approval or amendment and then once signed off the album is submitted to Photo Productions.
How do you prepare for a particular wedding shoot?
Whether it is a new or an existing venue, we always do a site visit the week prior to the wedding day to check lighting around the time of the ceremony/reception. Just so that we can have a plan b from a weather perspective. With all our clients we insist on a Pre-Wed photoshoot so that they get to see how we work, we see how they are together and we can pass on some top tips for the big day. This way we get the very best out of the couple and they are much more relaxed when we are around.
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your business?
Having clients come in for their viewing and being blown away with the photographs we have captured.
What would be your dream location for a photoshoot?
We have already achieved this with our own wedding in The Bahamas. We have been very fortunate to get to photograph in some amazing venues and countries over the years. This said we would love to photograph a wedding in New York, USA.
What’s the funniest, or most unusual thing that’s happened during a photoshoot, and/or what was the most memorable photoshoot?
The funniest moment is probably when a Vicar repeatedly got the groom’s name wrong during the ceremony.
The most ‘awkward’ moment has to be when organising a major group shot of 90 people on a large sweeping staircase, and asking all the pregnant ladies to hold back so that we could get them onto the stairs last. One by one I said ‘Okay you’re pregnant please stand there”. Next one, and the next one, until the fourth lady looked completely shocked and angry and explained that she was not pregnant. (In my defence she did look as pregnant as the others!)
Do you have any tips for a couple looking for a wedding photographer?
First and foremost, I’d tell them not to initially look at pricing/costs for the photographer. Look at their work, meet with them and view as many albums from start to finish as you can. This is the most important day of their lives and it is essential that they have a rapport with the photographers and are happy that they will get on with their family & friends. Then negotiate. We turn away as many wedding clients as we take on. Why? Because we love weddings, it’s not a job for us and so we limit the number we do each year to 25. The vast majority of our previous clients are now friends, whether in the UK or overseas, and this is an important reflection of the way we do business.
Some images from Belle Momenti:
More about Belle Momenti Photography:
“With over 15 years’ photographic experience, event-management skills and extensive global travel, we pride ourselves in offering a highly-professional, courteous service to all of our customers.
Being extremely passionate about the art of photography, creating beautiful imagery and travel, it is our love of these elements that we bring together to capture elegant, timeless images with a contemporary, stylised feel for you to cherish forever. Relaxed and friendly is our mantra: we work together as a seamless husband-and-wife team with one aim – for our clients to enjoy an individualised, fun photography experience whilst we capture high-quality images that everyone will love. It may be the smallest of glances, a look of pure happiness or a special expression towards a loved one, which captures the emotion of the moment that can make a photograph. This is what we look for when we have the camera in our hands.
As Destination Wedding Photographers we travel the world to capture your magical day. We have had the honour of photographing over 150 Destination weddings in Italy, France, Cyprus and The Bahamas.
We have each been awarded our LRPS Distinctions by the prestigious Royal Photographic Society and look to push our photography even further in the future.”
Belle Momenti Photography, 9 Churchyard, Hitchin, Herts SG16 6FJ – www.bellemomenti.com