I've been a photographer since I was a kid, as my dad placed a 35mm Rolleiflex in my hands when I was 12. Having a darkroom at home, I spent most of my childhood processing my negs and printing my photos. As my parents wanted me to have a real job (lol), I then did business studies, and graduated from a business school in France - where I'm from - and a MBA in the United-States. I then had a 10 year career as a Marketing manager for Procter&Gamble in Paris. In parallel of my job at P&G, I started shooting wedding for friends. I shot my first wedding in 2009 and took the habit of shooting 15/20 weddings per year since then. It's only in 2014 that I decided to quit the corporate life to become a full-time wedding photographer. I am based in Paris, and mainly operate with American and Asian clients, mostly organizing their destination wedding in Europe. I shoot around 30 weddings and 30 portrait sessions a year.
I have always used photography as a way to escape the real world. From my very first age, I have always been fascinated by the image: photography books, comic books, etc. They helped me to travel through images, and escape my daily life. I am positive that this is still the reason why I'm passionate about photography. I like to embellish daily life, embellish an event, to create lifetime memories. I am very inspired by travel - probably for the same reasons - and that is the reason why I specialize in destination weddings. I barely shoot in Paris, where I live, as I want to escape, go on an adventure with my clients, and create lifetime souvenirs for them. That is this wanderlust that inspires me, and helps my find my place in the photography industry.
I have always shot film as I started with film as a kid. Even though I started shooting my first weddings on digital, I came back to film as I launched my company full-time. Film is so much easier to me than digital as you only need to focus on the core technical parameters of photography, and there is no editing involved. If I should mention the 3 most important elements that I use, I'd say: 1) Light. Film has definitely made me better in reading light. There is only a few number of lights I use to photograph, and I'm very careful in reading light. That's a major difference with when I was a digital photographer. Reading light has made a better photographer, in film and digital, and I try to bring light as an additional character on each of my frame. 2) Overexposure. I mainly shoot Fuji400H, and overexposing it by 1 stop has brought me the best possible results, compared to what I'm looking for. I don't like to overexpose it by more than one stop as highlights can become tricky, but overexposing it by one stop if perfect to me. I usually set up my light meter for ISO 200 and I expose for the shadow, and this is the best recipe to my photographs. 3. Depth of field. I love airy photos shot with a wide depth of field. Shooting the Contax 645, I shoot most of my frames at f/2.0 as that is part of my aesthetic and that's what I love. It only goes down to 2.8 or 5.6 for details or group shots, but shooting at a wide aperture is my favorite.
There are 3 main reasons why I shoot film. 1) I love it and I love the style that brings a medium format film camera. Film is what I have always done and I think the result is timeless. You're not tempted to go with this or that preset, and the colors and grain are the real deal. 2) I love the impact of film on my workflow. Film has just helped me focusing on shooting, and booking clients. I don't spend hours or days editing anymore, and it helps you being more efficient. 3) I'm terrible at editing :) I just hate it and can struggle for hours finding the right white balance. Film has just taken it away for me and I'm always impressed when the scans come back from my lab.
The advice I would give to beginners starting with film, is that you need to have good reasons to start with films, both artistically and business wise. Film cannot just be a trend, and you're trying it to charge 5 figures and travel the world. Film requires patience, a careful learning curve, and especially a sub sequential financial investment. You want to be sure to be in the game on the long-term if you want to go down that route. Once you are, it's pure joy!
I try not be influenced too much by the wedding industry. I think there are so many amazing photographers out there, that's it's easy to be ‘inspired' and finally only copy another fellow photographer. So I try to find my influence in the fashion industry, and mentor photographers such as Mario Testino or Annie Leibovitz, whom I heart the work so much. I always try to propose something fresh to my client, and don't want to be repeating what has been made by other photographers. This is my way of keeping fresh.
I must say I'm a huge fan of backlight shooting with Fujifilm. That's one of the reason why I'm often frustrated to shoot in Paris, because light is just so flat and filtered by the huge buildings. My favorite locations to shoot definitely are: Provence, the French Riviera, Tuscany… and California. I am very proud of a campaign that I've just shot for my girlfriend, who is a bridal designer in Paris, and that I've shot in the Santa Barbara area in California. Light is insane and it gives that amazing softness, and emphasizes every shot. That is definitely one of my favorite photoshoots so far with Fujifilm.