The Norwegian Wedding Blog tok kontakt med Xo Andrea, da vi er store beundrere av hennes arbeid, og fotograferingsstil. NWB alltid har vært interessert i fashion og de store utenlandske glansede magasinene som VOGUE, HARPERS BAZAAR, ELLE med flere, og derfor har den 'editorial look'en' til XO Andrea fascinert oss. Etter å ha mannet oss opp, sendte vi avgårde en mail til denne supertalentfulle damen, med håp om å publisere noen av hennes bilder, og gjerne få et intervju. Svaret kom overraskende raskt med følgende tekst: "Thanks for your super sweet email! I would be honored to be featured on your blog with photos and an interview, for sure :)". Når man kommer fra lille Norge, blir man ekstra glad for slike svar. Vi ønsker med dette å vise unike bilder og fotografer med stor personlighet, som vet å sette sine klienter i fokus, og som går ut der og fanger livet og fotograferingen med 'begge hender', og som kan være til inspirasjon for den moderne brud og andre fotografer. Det er med stolthet og glede vi presenterer dette intervjuet med XO Andrea, og illusrert med hennes sofistikerte bilder; og unike kunst.
The Norwegian Wedding Blog contacted Xo Andrea, because we are great admirers of her work and photography style. NWB has always been interested in fashion and the major foreign glossy magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE and many more, therefore, the 'editorial look' of XO Andrea fascinates us. After we 'peptalked' ourselves, we sent off an email to this super talented lady, hoping to post some of her photos, and to hear if she could find the time to give us an interview. The answer came surprisingly quickly, with the following text: Thanks for your super sweet email! I would be honored to be featured on your blog with photos and an interview, for sure :). When you come from little Norway, you become extra happy for such answers like that. The NWB will always display unique images and photographers with a great personality, who knows how to put their clients in focus, and that goes out there and capturing life and photography with 'both hands', and who can be an true inspiration for the modern bride and other fellow photographers. We are so honored to present this interview with the amazing XO Andrea, accompanied by her equally sophisticated and unique work of art.
1. When and how did you 'fall into' the photography business?
It happened totally by chance for me 9 years ago in Germany. I was always very creative and knew from super young age I wanted to do anything art / design related. Back then when I was like 3 years old I already painted my parents walls and furniture with anything I could grab like my mums lipstick ;) When I was 16 I started art courses to prepare for university and I decided to study fashion design. By that time I met my former business partner who was taking photos just for fun. One of his friends got married that year and we offered to take some photos for him. Back then I have never touched a professional camera in my life, he was taking the photos and I assisted. We enjoyed it so much and decided to make it a business. I took care of anything like marketing, brand development, design of homepage & logo etc and after 3 years we decided to take the next step, branch out to Switzerland and I taught myself how to take photos as creatively I found myself not being challenged enough by only doing the other tasks. In 2012 I made my way over the big pond then to NYC to start my 3rd branch.That is basically how I got into the business, pretty unusual but I enjoyed every step and challenge along the way.
2. Photography is a very personal matter, and often unique because of the photographer, and how he or she sees it - what do believe wedding photography should be about?
In my opinion weddings belong to the few events in life that are so special because it brings families & loved ones together and you simply celebrate life & love. Wedding photography should absolutely be about this: The special moments, the little details that occur and you can not plan, the joy and love, just this fabulous idea of bringing everyone together and having an unforgettable time.Of course you can also see a huge part of my own personality in the photos I take but I always strive to show as much personality & beauty of my couples and their loved ones so they have something to cherish forever.
3. Have the process of creating your own unique style, been a lot of compromise, or have you always held on to your beliefs in your art?
To be very honest I AM what you see on my website. Of course getting there is a journey that never ends as you always develop your personality and grow from everything you experience. I always follow my heart and and my „own unique style“ is just what I am about and how I see life & love. It is an extension and expression of myself and my couples know that I do anything to make them beyond happy, they trust me and that is so important.
4. When did you decide to do weddings - and was there ever a question not to shoot weddings?
I started with weddings right away back 9 years ago in Germany. Actually for a very long time I secialized in only weddings and also by now what I shoot is like 80% weddings and 20% fashion and lifestyle for fantastic brands, magazines or customer like QVC or at the Oscars. There was never a question that I would change the field of photography completely or I stop shooting them.
5. What do you love about weddings?
I love shooting weddings just because of the event itself and because it is such a huge challenge - every time. I love challenges :) I love my couples, most of them become my friends or we stay in touch and they send me cards when they are having their first child. That personal contact and the feeling of creating something families can cherish forever is more woth than anything else. Could it be any better? Definitely not :)
6. What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
My favourite moment is clearly the evening, after dinner, when everyone is just letting loose, partying, enjoying the time with others. Ceremonies are always super emotional and amazing, too, but the moment when the bride & groom just hit the dancefloor with everyone is pure joy!
7. Which moment do you think is the most important to capture during a weddingday?
Well, I truly believe that there are a lot of very important moments and not just one. I never just take photos for like 1 or 2 hours but love being with the couple for the whole thing, from getting ready till party. And my advice also would be invest a little more, have your photographer not just for ceremony & portraits but for the whole day. You will not regret that decision, you gonna have those photos forever.
8. Do you ever get emotional shooting a wedding?
Ha, yeah for sure!!! Happens all the time: Goose bumps, tears in my eyes, a big smile on my face ... every time :)
9. What is your strength being you and with your background - the way you see it?
I think my strength are 2 things: First my personality. I am a very open person, always do my best to be very friendly and make everyone feel at ease. I try to connect with the people in front of my camera and don‘t see it as a „job“. I am quite easy going and get along with everyone as I just love life and all types of different people and personalities. My second strength is the mix of being a business women & an artist. I understand how important it is to have structure and see the bigger picture but also bring my talent from all different areas of design & art and mix it with my photography.
10. What makes your heart skip a beat - both professionally and private?
Love in general. My family, my friends, all acts of kindness and dedication. Being a witness of that on wedding days makes me so happy and value my loved ones even more. And fashion ... yes ;) I am an fashion addict I have to confess. Well, when you look at my photos you most likely can see that I appreciate pretty things like shoes, dresses or even interiors :) I read VOGUE magazine since I am 13 years old and am impressed by inner and outer beauty of all kinds.
11. What is your ambition and your goals for XO ANDREA?
This is very simple: Make others happy with my talents & challenge myself as an artist and person every day. Just being wonderful and leave a mark:)
12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
That is a good question :) Well, as I always listen to my heart and am also very spontaneous I see myself still traveling the world, being a better artist & person, still challenging myself constantly. I love my life so much at the moment and learned more that I could have imagined during the last years, that is what makes me happy :)
13. Will you ever host a workshop?
Anything is possible ;) But if I plan to do so it would be an 'over-the-top-amazing' event which is not only about photography, but also about meeting people and having a fabulous time together.
14. In Scandinavia we envy the natural light an nature, from warmer and exotic sides of the world during weddings. What do you as a photographer see as beauty and 'frameworthy' in Norway, and Scandinavia, shooting weddings here?
OMG Norway & Scandinavia has one of the most beautiful countrysides I have ever seen! Sure, there are no palmtrees or tropical beaches but the rough and untouched nature, the ocean, the architecture ... that is so special. One thing we always forget is that after living in one place for some time we struggle to see it‘s beauty. I always see every country & location with a fresh eye, concentrating on the beautiful things and forgetting about anything that might not be there.
15. If you could choose a fantasy celebrity wedding - who would it be?
Wow, well I would choose a wedding of a real female Icon like Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot. I know I am a bit late for that but I just adore interesting, beautiful & strong women.
16. Who makes you laugh?
A lot of people and things! :D I love laughing and am a very happy and positive girl. After spending a day with my girlfriends or family there is always a high chance that I have sore muscles in my stomach on the next day. Even this makes me laugh just thinking about it! Life is to short not to laugh all the time and enjoy each moment ;)
17. What do you take away from the weddings you shoot?
I am always so impressed by the families & my couples what unbelievable personalities they are, great hosts, so friendly and welcoming. And I usually miss my own family very much when I witness the love between others, reminds me always what is imortant in life!
18. Who is your inspiration in life - professionally and private?
I have a few people that inspired me. First: My mum & dad. They made me who I am and I am a mix of their personalities & values. My mum is a strong and very caring women who wants to make everyone happy. She always had a job and taught me how important it is to be independent as a women. My dad selflessly worked his life to take care of us. He is such a hard worker and inspired me to be dedicated and keep up the work even when it gets hard or you don‘t have a good day or anything. He built the house my mum, dad, sister & I used to live in all together and made sure we have everything we need and more.Then my grandfather, the father of my mum. He lived with us till I was 14, he had his own business (a small shop in our village) and though he did not have an easy life he was such a loving & impressing person, the one who walks into the room and you are completely taken by his aura. Definitely a big part of my life!
(Oh and btw I am sitting on a plane to NYC while I am answering these questions and I have tears in my eyes writing this, this is how important those people are to me)
Second: I get inspired by strong & independent women like Coco Chanel, Diane von Fürstenberg and many more. I just love reading their stories and learn from what they manifested in their lifes!
19. How important is marketing in photography?
I think it is very important. We live in the 21st century and if no one can find your website or facebook page you won‘t be able to work ;) Marketing should be ethical and reflect what you do, but it is beyond important for my brand, so that I can spend my day with what I love.
20. The website and the design tell a lot about the photographer we think. Your website and design have a clean and fashionforward design - why is that important to you, if so?
You are very right, the clean simple fashion forward feel is what I hope others see also in my website design. It shows my personality and also what my photography style is about. I have to say I am a perfectionist and anything you can see - website, facebook page, business cards etc is designed with my background of fashion & design in mind.
21. Will you be shooting a wedding in Scandinavia and Europe?
Oh absolutely! I am traveling all the time and spend at the moment 50% of my time in New York and the US and the other 50% in Europe and other places. I love traveling and getting inspired by all kind of locations. And my couples get married all around the world, just fantastic :)
22. Your images looks like the one we see in fashion magazines - how important is
that for you?
Very important! I LOVE reading magazines. I am such a fan of having this nicely printed, glossy cover magazine in my hands and flipping pages. I even collect magazines and still have VOGUE‘s from 10 years ago :) I want my couples to have the same experience when they see their photos, like straight out of a magazine.
23. What motivates you in your work?
People & beauty. As simple as that. I want to create something that will be around forever and makes people happy with the WOW effect. When I see the results I get super super excited, always. Like a little kid in front of the christmas tree! Oh I definitely see the world as my market. I travel anywhere my couples wanna get marrried and there is nothing better than that! Of course I shot a lot of weddings in Germany, Switzerland and also NYC because I lived in those places and my companies are based there but 50% of my weddings are at beautiful destinations from snowy mountains to tropical beaches.
24. What do you want your couples to take away from their weddingphotos and the
experience - and how to you get them at ease?
I want my couples to take away photos that excite them to share with all their loved ones. I want them to have a hard time chosing photos to decorate their walls at home because there are so many favourites, that they sit together in 50 years and flip through their wedding album and still have tears in their eyes. I want them to remember not the girl with the camera in their face, but the friend that spend one of the most important days in their life with them and really cares about each and every moment and about them. It is very simple how my clients feel at ease in front of my camera: We are more like friends that having a good time, than I am someone they hired to take photos. I have deep respect for every one of them and just want them to have the best time.
25. Describe your style in 3 words?
I think my tagline expresses my style quite well: Love, Fashion, Fabulousness
26. What is the most beautiful destination you've shot a wedding?
I personally love not to shoot weddings all the time at just one location and so during the years there have been quite some that took my breath away - all totally different but oh so beautiful. One very special wedding was a intimate wedding at Jumby Bay, a private Island in the Caribbean. I also love New York City‘s design hotels like the Mondrian or Crosby Street Hotel. Santorini was another highlight last year.
27. When did you decide to do couture weddings or were there ever a question not to shoot your distinctive style?
This came all very naturally. With developing my personal style I attracted more and more couples who were creative as well, into arts, music or fashion or simply appreciative of great design or beautiful things. This interests and wanting to have a wedding that is beautifully styled or where the gown is breathtaking, you see the red soles peek under the dress etc just go hand in hand.
28. Do you see the world as your market, or are you focusing on specific parts of the world?
Oh I definitely see the world as my market. I travel anywhere my couples wanna get marrried and there is nothing better than that! Of course I shot a lot of weddings in Germany, Switzerland and also NYC because I lived in those places and my companies are based there but 50% of my weddings are at beautiful destinations from snowy mountains to tropical beaches.
29. Who is your style icon of all time?
Easy one :) Coco Chanel! I admire her for what she did for fashion, how she incorporated details and her own experiences in designs and helped to make women more independent and beautiful. She was so ahead of her time and had no fear. Though my own personal fashion style is more kinda glamour-rock she is the one - and always will be.
THANK YOU - TUSEN TAKK