Basque Country

Wedding at Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Wedding at Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

With its unique architecture and stunning setting Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego (Alava) is a fabulous place both to get married and to photograph a wedding. I’ve shot weddings there on many occasions and it’s always a place I look forward to returning to. Laura and Aitor’s wedding was particularly exciting because it coincided with an eclipse of the moon! Proof, perhaps, that a god does exist!!

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English-speaking Wedding Photographer Spain: Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Álava, Spain

English-speaking Wedding Photographer Spain: Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Álava, Spain

Yesterday I showed images from Linda & Nate’s wedding at Hotel Marqués de Riscal to a film maker who’d seen me at work. 

“Ah,” he said, “Now I understand why you spent so much time on the ground.”

It’s true! I spend a large chunk of my time at a wedding crouching close to the floor.

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Wedding photographer Logroño, La Rioja, Spain - Marta & Mateo

Wedding photographer Logroño, La Rioja, Spain - Marta & Mateo

Looking over these photos from Marta & Mateo’s wedding in Logroño (La Rioja) last autumn, I’m struck by the fact that they, and most of their guests, hardly stopped smiling and laughing.

The wedding itself took place in the city’s Santa María La Redonda cathedral - known locally as La Redonda - and the reception afterwards was at the always inspiring Hotel Marqués de Riscal, in Elciego (Basque Country).

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San Sebastian wedding photography: Lianna & Salvador

San Sebastian wedding photography: Lianna & Salvador

Some weddings are intensely private affairs conducted in front of a select few people - I shot one this year where only the couple, the judge and me were present. Others, meanwhile, take place in full public view. Lianna and Salvador’s wedding in San Sebastian was certainly in the latter camp - it was right on Zurriola beach in the height of summer.

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Wedding photography at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Wedding photography at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Frank Gehry’s spellbinding design attracts couples from all over the world to get married at Hotel Marqués de Riscal in the relatively small Basque village of Elciego, known until recently more for its wine than architecture.

With destination wedding photography, it’s important not only to show the personality of the couple but also of the location. So whereas with local weddings I’m always looking to show the relationship between the place and the couple, with destination weddings I’m looking to explain to viewers why Emma and Gareth chose this location above any other in the world to celebrate their marriage.

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Basque Country professional photography: Basque Cooking at Bodegas Valdemar, Oyón, Alava

Basque Country professional photography: Basque Cooking at Bodegas Valdemar, Oyón, Alava

Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui and Juan Mari Arzak are legendary Basque Country chefs that helped raise the region’s gastronomic profile to the stratosphere. In recent years they’ve been followed by a younger generation including Andoni Luis Aduriz and Elena Arzak. But who will be next?

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Same-sex wedding at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Same-sex wedding at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Chen and Tony’s same sex wedding at Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Spain’s Basque Country was, simply put, a blast! So much thought and planning went in that on one level you thought nothing could go wrong. 

However, Chen’s family are from Malaysia while Tony’s from Ontario in Canada. And they had never met before! So that meant there was a special impossible-to-predict element that had everyone on tenterhooks in the days running up the the marriage.

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Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

It’s human nature to prefer to buy something from someone you know rather than a complete stranger. That’s why Barceló, owners of Viña Mayor and Palacio wine brands, asked me to photograph the grape harvest in its Ribero del Duero, Toro and Rioja vineyards.

The brief was to capture images that show emotion, passion and sacrifice, amongst other things. They wanted to show something of the daily lives of those who work in the vineyards and the wineries.

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Begoña & Javier: Engagement photography in Portugalete, Bilbao, Basque Country

Begoña & Javier: Engagement photography in Portugalete, Bilbao, Basque Country

I like to arrange engagement photography sessions somewhere that’s special for the couple, not for me. Beautiful locations help to make beautiful photos, but I really won’t suggest a session in a cornfield unless at least one of the couple happens to be a farmer. Or at the Guggenheim museum unless they’re modern architects.

For me, engagement photography has to be about both the relationship between the couple and also with the location. Otherwise it makes no sense.

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Wedding photography in San Sebastian: Spring photos on La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain

Wedding photography in San Sebastian: Spring photos on La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain

Street photography is an important way for me to keep my eye in as we head into the season of wedding photography in San Sebastian and La Concha beach is a brilliant place to do it. Though it wasn’t exactly beach weather, there’re always activities going on along this famous strip of sand… dog walking, surfing and some intrepid bathing.

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Commercial photography in Bilbao: Portraits of designer Alvaro Sordo at Restaurante Mina, Bilbao

Commercial photography in Bilbao: Portraits of designer Alvaro Sordo at Restaurante Mina, Bilbao

The brief for this commercial photography in Bilbao assignment immediately had me hooked! Alvaro Sordo is a top interior designer based in Galdakao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, just outside Bilbao. However, instead of asking me to produce images of commercial interiors and family homes he’s worked on, he wanted portraits that showed his professional approach with his clients. Portraits that transmit his philosophy of close working relationships, collaboration, communication, his personal integrity and sensitivity. Like me Alvaro knows that an excellent client relationship leads to fantastic results.

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Basque Country wedding photography: Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava

Basque Country wedding photography: Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava

Wedding photography is all about showing the bride looking fantastic. OK, to some extent the groom too but if you haven’t got photos of the bride at her best, then you know they’ll be problems. But wedding photography is also about showing the people around the bride (and the groom) and the relationships between them.

So I’m always looking for images that incorporate proud parents and supportive friends. Sometimes the family member is the star of the photo

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Wedding Photography, Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Spain - Group Photos

Wedding Photography, Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Spain - Group Photos

Generally speaking couples hire me because they love the spontaneity and emotion that lies at the heart of my wedding photography. My main objective at any wedding is capture those special, poignant moments that pop up all the time.

But normally even couples looking for super-natural photos also want some group shots. I’m of course happy to do posed photos and aim to give them a twist and bit of elegance.

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Wedding Photography Basque Country - Hotel Marqués de Riscal Elciego, Alava

Wedding Photography Basque Country - Hotel Marqués de Riscal Elciego, Alava

I’m often asked to recommend cameras and whether one model is better than another because it has a bigger zoom lens. And I reply that, generally speaking, the best way to zoom into a scene is by using your legs. It's also the cheapest option.

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Professional photographer San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - Photojournalism for Get Lost Magazine

Professional photographer San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - Photojournalism for Get Lost Magazine

I was last in San Sebastián seven years ago and, being the height of summer, the beach was choc-a-bloc. Standing room only, almost. I was back again last week putting together a piece and set of photos for Get Lost, an Australian travel magazine.

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