Finland Wedding Photographer // Helsinki Wedding Photographer // Destination Wedding Photographer //
An interview with Maria Hedengren on Weddingstaff
Now a month later, finally, I had time for the translation. Here it is:
Thank you for accepting to answer our questions.
Maria Hedengren: Thank you for the invitation.
WeddingStaf: When did you start to photograph?
Maria Hedengren: Ever since I was a kid I liked to get my hands on the family camera. If I remember right, on my 14th birthday I received my first film camera, an Olympus point-and-shoot. I couldn’t afford to develop my film all the time, so I used the camera mostly photographing my family: I knew my mother would want to see those imaged developed at some point. Of course, I always used the last 3-4 frames for personal fun. My first DSLR I had in high-school.
WS: Was there someone in your family that influenced you to embrace photographic art?
MH: Absolutely no one. My parents and my 3 siblings are all medical doctors & med students.
WS: When did you start as a wedding photographer?
MH: I discovered wedding photography the year I got married. It captivated me. A year later, in 2008, I photographed my first weddings.
WS: Why did you not choose to work as a photo journalist?
MH: This is the first time I get asked this (:
When I graduated from high school I chose to study architecture. At that point, photography was just a hobby. I was aware that architecture was not 100% what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t think of anything that was captivating me more than architecture. It was a good choice, I wouldn’t choose any different even now. I have learned a lot from architecture: composition, light, concept, tension between the artistic vision and the impact with reality. I discovered wedding photography only years later.
I do not see myself as a photojournalist. A photojournalist photographs the world as it is.
I cannot stand back, I want to participate, I want to influence the world, I want to create.
WS: Did you move to Helsinki for wedding photography or did it all start after you already moved there?
MH: I moved to Helsinki because here is where my husband lives. Quite incidentally, the first weddings I photographed were in Finland. But they were followed by many weddings in Romania and other locations within Europe. It was only last autumn that I started to mention on my site that I am based in Helsinki (:
WS: How did you start to get known as a wedding photographer in Finland? How hard was it?
MH: It was a process, a string of decisions, lots and lots of work, and I also huge favor from God. It isn’t easy to start again from the bottom in a country where almost everything is different.
WS: Do you remember your first photo session?
MH: Absolutly! Wonderful memories! It was an engagement session with Mikael and Anna, a little before their wedding. I can’t remember if I was nervous, I might have been unconscious (: The session went smoothly, but I remember that, towards the end of the session I tried to take some backlit images in the most delicious light, but without any success. It amuses me to remember that.
WS: Do your photo sessions have a pre-established scenario or do you adapt to every situation on the spot?
MH: I wouldn’t say that the session have a scenario because I never start with pre established ideas. The atmosphere, the light, the interaction between the couple can be so volatile than what I might imagine, I believe any prepared scenario might only lead to frustration. I would risk to lose the real moments while waiting on the ones imagined by me.
My sessions however always have a well defined concept based on the personality, reationship and story of every couple. We choose the locations together, because I want them to be meaningful.
WS: Which was your most difficult session so far?
MH: Newborn sessions are by far the most difficult. At the end of the 4-5 hours of a newborn photo shoot I feel just as drained as after a full day wedding. As about weddings, the most stressful was photographing the wedding of another photographer.
WS: Did you begin by working as an assistant for another photographer, or did you have your own weddings from the start?
MH: Initially I was planning on spending the summer of 2008 in Romania and I have tried to find a Romanian photographer who would take me as a apprentice for that season. But in the spring I decided to apply to the Masters of Architecture in Helsinki (which I am still currently studying at Aalto University) and that changed all my plans. So I started alone. That was not easy at all. I participated in a few workshops, which helped a lot, but still I would have liked to start as an assistant.
WS: Do you still participate as a wedding photographer in Romania? How hard is it (transportation, accommodation, logistics, etc)?
MH: I photograph internationally, so yes, I still photograph also in Romania. I enjoy Romanian wedding traditions, weddings are loud and dynamic. My younger sister and brother live in Bucharest so I stay with them when I am there.
Lately however, I visit Romania less and less, there are so many other places that I would like to visit, so many different wedding traditions I would like to experience!
WS: How different are Romanian weddings from the Finnish ones?
MH: In my views, every wedding, in any culture it might be, and wrapped in any kind of traditions, is always the same, always the celebration of the moment when a man and a woman choose to be together for the rest of their lives..
In the same time every single wedding is unique. It is so different than any other, because it reflects the love, the feelings, the emotions of the couple who is getting married.
Looking at customs, yes, Finnish weddings are very different. There is less emphasis on design and decorations and more emphasis on family. Finnish weddings are elegant, simple, and often very intimate.
WS: Describe in a few words Maria Hedengren Phography’s style
MH: Simple, elegant, dreamy and expressive.
WS: What are some Romanian wedding photographers who’s work you follow often?
MH: There are many Romanian photographers I admire. The ones I follow most often are Vlad Gherman and Marius Barbulescu.
WS: If you had only one frame, where would you like to use it? How would it look?
MH: If I had only one frame to take, I know that location wouldn’t be the first element I would think of. I would seek to capture my husband in a moment of happiness.. maybe while he is cooking on a sunny morning, maybe an evening while he is reading in bed, or maybe just a relaxing day at the end of summer.
WS: Any advice for a beginner photographer who wishes to profess himself/herself in wedding photography?
MH: I am convinced that wedding photography begins for all of us as a passion. Later we come to invest more and more in it and spend our energy in developing the business side, because we need to make a living. It is only natural to do that. However, my advice is: no not change your priorities. Continue to work from that place called passion. Because the people who understand and seek quality photography always know how to recognize that passion.
WS: Any advice for us?
MH: I have no advice for you, you are up to great things.
Maria Hedengren Photography is a high-end photography studio focusing on wedding and portrait photography.
Maria works in a modern documentary style.
Maria Hedengren is based in Helsinki, but is available for travel worldwide.
So, my English speaking friends, let me know what you think.