This is the kind of image that captures attention; no doubt it did ours. The composition. The light. The shadow. The drama. It has all the elements that make for top-notch, single-frame storytelling. Is it any wonder, then, why we reached out to Jakub to learn more about him (and his sister, too, it turns out!) and the making of this extraordinary image?
Take us to school, Professor Fabijański!
Please, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jakub Fabijański. I’m a Melbourne based photographer. I was born in Poland but our family immigrated to Australia when I was six years old. In 2011 my sister, Zosia, and I started a wedding photography business called Aparat Photography. Since then we've been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing locations around the world to photograph weddings.
By what artists are you influenced? who inspires you?
My very first inspiration was my father who was also a photographer and now has a very impressive slide collection dating back to the early 70s. Growing up, I’ve admired the work of Steve McCurry, Trent Parke, Ragnar Axelsson, Annie Leibovitz, Jonas Bendiksen… just to name a few. More recently, I’m constantly blown away by how creative the wedding photography industry has become. If it’s not photography, then I am also massively inspired by music, travel, experiencing unique culture and meeting many interesting people along the way.
What is your approach to wedding photography? Is there a particular vision you're trying to realize? how do you prepare?
Prior to all our wedding work, we always have a basic idea of where and how we will take the couple’s portraits. However, the final vision usually comes to us while we’re on location during the shoot. There are so many factors that can affect the final result. Weather, timing, light, and how the couple interacts in front of our cameras, all contribute to the final result.
Now, tell us how this amazing image came together, from conception to completion.
Zosia and I were shooting this wedding together in Queenstown, New Zealand. The sun was about to set behind the mountain so we only had a few minutes to take the pictures. We asked the couple to stand on top of a small rock ledge whilst we frantically ran around them trying to cover as many angles as we could. By the time I took this photo, I was experimenting with the tilt-shift lens. A technique I'll commonly use is to point the lens towards the sun so that it’s just out of frame causing this beautiful flood of light to fill the corner of the picture. The mountain behind the couple was in total shade so there is this illusion of a dark empty void in the background. A moment later the sun was gone and we headed back to the reception.
We keep the editing quite minimal and prefer to get the image to look right in the camera. In this frame, the one thing that was quite distracting was the road in the background, something that was difficult to avoid during the shoot. I removed it with the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom. We apply a heavily modified VSCO preset to all our photos which is based on the original Fuji 400H. I added a little bit of dodging to the couple and a few slight adjustments to the white balance, exposure and contrast. The final polish is running all the photos through a Photoshop action, which adds a touch of sharpening with a high pass filter and some light grain using Exposure 7.