We are Jessy and Björn, working under the name of Hafenliebe Wedding Photography. We're based in Hamburg, Germany and as one can already assume by the name, we document weddings. I, Björn, started out shooting weddings myself about 4 years ago. Jessy, who's a good friend of mine (no, unlike most other wedding photographer couples we're not lovers but friends) joined in the summer of 2013 and in fall of 2013 we decided to be working as Hafenliebe Wedding Photography. Hafenliebe? That’s not an English word, right? It’s not. It’s a mix of two German words. “Hafen”, which means harbour and “Liebe”, which is love. It’s pronounced /ˈhaːfṇliːbə/. It’s our way to pay homage to the city we live in, the way we feel when we’re sitting at the docks, listening to the crashing waves and watching ships pass by for hours. It’s really hard to explain, but you’re invited to hang out with us.
We love to document weddings that are raw and pure and authentic and not some overly posh showoff couples. That's just not us. We share the love for traveling, delicious vegan food and having good times with friends. Besides that Jessy loves books and Björn loves riding around on his fixed gear bike while listening to punk rock.
How did you learn photography?
Both of us learned photography by ourselves. By trial and error, by shooting as much as possible and from networking with other photographers and shooting along with them. Bust mostly it's from shooting a lot and from getting inspired by other photographers and checking what it is that we like about their work and trying to add that to ours.
What year was your "Then" photos taken in?
They were taken in 2013
What did you do to better your photography skills?
Just by shooting as much as possible. Photography is like playing music, you wouldn't get any better in playing your instrument if you only play it once a week for a paid concert. If you really love what you do, you want to do it as often and as much as possible. If you're not totally free of talent, you just can't help but getting better and better at it that way. Besides that we get inspired by other photographers, get critiqued by fellow photographers and as I said before shoot, shoot shoot. Also just by looking at other photographers from all sorts of photography you can get inspiration, you just have to be careful not to copy what you see, but to find out what it is that you like about an image and try to incorporate it in your own shooting style.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a new photographer to help them excel in their craft?
As before, shoot as much as possible, look at photography, talk about photography, read about it, but mostly shoot, shoot, shoot. We found that also networking with other photographers can get you inspired, but the important thing is to not be just networking for the sake of networking, you should be really interested in the other person as well. Too often this exchange remains one-sided and so for one person it's not so much of worth to be staying in touch with you.
We think it's also important to shoot for yourself and not just for your client so you can find your own voice and with time the perfect clients for you will cross your way and you will shoot for yourself, but get paid by them.
What gear do you use?
We're Canon shooters. Working with Canon 5D Mark II's & III's. We like to work with very little gear as both of us are not techy. At weddings you'll mostly find us shooting at 24mm, 35mm and 85mm. Flash when needed, mostly during dancing at night. We're working on Mac's with Lightroom and ASE. Over time we developed our own preset which once started with Portra 800 and Tri-X from VSCO Film Pack 01.
Check out more amazing images from Jessy and Bjorn below.