This month’s “vendor of the month” is not only one of the most generous and beautiful ladies we know but she is also a true artist…
Meet the fantastic and incredibly talented Maddy, owner and lead photographer of Maddy Christina Photography.
Read the interview below to learn why she became a photographer, what she loves most about her job, her dream wedding setting and the key advice she would give any couple planning their wedding…
Let’s start at the beginning: tell us a bit more about you, your work and what role you play in someone’s wedding.
I’m Maddy Christina, I’m a wedding photographer, and I live between the French Riviera and The Middle East (Dubai & Saudi Arabia). I started 9 years ago, and it was definitively the best choice of my life. You have several ways to be a wedding photographer. I chose the one where I’m totally involved in the wedding day and the experience around it. That is also why I have a very limited number of weddings per year. I deeply believe that every vendor involved in a wedding, has to be totally and 100% focused on this day and committed to the couple. It’s their day, and nothing else matters. As photographers, we have to be there to help them, make them laugh when they are stressed, show them how professional we are and how they can trust us and relax. It’s so much more than just pushing a button, it’s a long story. A story of 9 years actually!
What made you decide to become a (wedding) photographer?
I always loved writing stories. As a videographer when I was young, a writer with 13 books edited, and now as a photographer. My goal is to catch an emotion and make it eternal. It looks poetic, but it’s so so true. In my personal experience, and after several years next to my couples, I’ve been understanding how important these precious memories are. It’s just one day, you know, but it’s one day you’ll want to share with your friends, family, and kids for the rest of your life. It’s just priceless. And I’m so honored to have their trust in this mission.
What do you love most about your job and is there anything you’d consider your specialty?
I definitively think that being a wedding photographer is not only about photography. It’s also about customer service. You have many good photographers, who are going to come on the big day, shoot, send you a gallery, and that’s it. I don’t want to be like that. Never. I want to have a special link with my clients, I want to share their emotions, feel involved and connected, and that is how you can be completely involved and close to them during the day, without them actually seeing you. Because they accept you next to them, they know you, and they “forget” you. The best way to capture real feelings and emotions as you are a truly integral part of their special day.
Let’s talk about timelines: can you run us through the most important timings of the day (photography wise) and what you would recommend they include in their shot list?
My shooting list is so so long that it’s just not possible to share it all on here. But if I had to breakdown the most important moments, I would say that I always start with the details (flat-lay, accessories, shoes, stationery, etc.). Then the preparation of the bride (and the groom for my second shooter), followed by the ceremony, the cocktail reception, the group pictures, the couple photos, the dinner, and the cake. Every spot has been photographed before guests arrive, the decoration, the details (with and without guests). I focus a lot on details as the couple chooses everything, so I have to capture all of it, and for all the providers who worked on it too!
What would your dream wedding setting be/What setting reflects your style best?
I cannot lie and say that I’m not inspired by the french style and elegance. My perfect wedding would be in one of these incredible venues around the French Riviera, like the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, with an outside ceremony of course, and a loooot of flowers. I think the difference between weddings is a lot about flowers. The arch of the ceremony, the centerpieces, etc. It makes a difference for sure. White, if I had to choose.
I think the best word to describe it would be TIMELESS.
Something I don’t like too much is trends. One day, it’s so cool, in 10 years, it’s outdated. And you no longer dare to show your wedding pictures. No way, it’s just not possible.
Maybe today you’re thinking that it’s really classical, and in 10 or 20 years, it will be just as beautiful. And after all, a marriage is for many years to come!
How would you describe your “ideal” couple?
Most of the time, I work with clients from the US or UK, coming to the French Riviera or to Dubai for their wedding. In the Middle East, I also work with local people, in Saudi, with my friend Christina, an amazing videographer. We created « Christina & Maddy », a female photo-video team for Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, etc. It’s a little bit confusing as her first name is the same as my last name, but we decided to see it as a sign!
So, about my ideal couple, even today, I work with really different kinds of people from everywhere. I think it’s definitively what’s giving me the energy to challenge myself every time, to discover new cultures and traditions, to enjoy every wedding, so different from the previous one!
Any piece of advice you’d like to give any couple out there planning their wedding?
After 9 years, you can imagine I could give a lot of advice! I saw so many things!
I think one of the most important ones is that it’s YOUR wedding. Not your mother’s, not your friends’, not your family’s. I think it’s something you have to remember every step of the way. If you want to focus on a crazy dress, feel free. If the photographer is most important to you and you’re going to spend 1 million dollars, feel free. Your wedding.
Keep in mind what really matters, and maybe it’s not the same for you as it is for someone else. It’s okay. Be conscious, if you don’t want to spend lots of money on something, then you cannot expect something elaborate. If you’re okay with that, it’s perfect!
You are both the only persons that matter.
I’m so glad to see that more and more, the photographer is one of the first providers the couple cares about. It seems that the people now realize the importance of the legacy, and that’s definitively a good thing!
Can you run us through a typical wedding day for you?
We are always two photographers. My second shooter and I always brief each other before the day. We always arrive in advance, to start slowly, prepare, turn around, take some set-up preparation pictures, talk with the people, etc.
Then, I focus on the flat lay, the details, and the preparations. Meanwhile, my second shooter is with the groom. It’s so important for me to have memories of both sides!
Most of the time, we stay until the cake cutting, and I want to also capture a part of the party, all the speeches, surprises, first dance, etc. Once it’s done, the party continues until the end of the night, but we already have everything we need by then.
No doubt: photography is an investment. Can you tell us why you think couples should never compromise when it comes to their wedding photos?
It’s a really personal decision. After 9 years, I’m not going to try and convince someone who absolutely doesn’t care about photography, to invest a lot in it.
I think the main challenge is to actually find the best mix between budget and expectations. About the quality of the pictures of course, but also the customer service, the safety around the pictures, the experience, etc. You cannot ask someone you paid 1,000 dollars to come with 2 photographers, to organize several video calls with you before the wedding, to have a second camera « just in case », and to have an incredible security backup for your pictures.
I’m not going to say that more money = more quality, but it makes sense that the experience, a team, all the material, the backup, etc. have a price, for the photographer too. And therefore influence the final price.
So, it’s all about the expectations the couple has and the value they give to those memories.
Don’t think about tomorrow. See it as your legacy, in 40 years, when you will share your pictures with the kids of your kids. It’s priceless. But that’s my personal point of view.
Do you provide any additional services (engagement shoots, albums, etc.) and what’s your editing/delivery timeline like?
I actually LOVE engagement sessions, day-after-wedding sessions, boudoir sessions, etc. It’s one of the best ways to get to know each other and to be comfortable together during the big day. And for me, the wedding is not only ONE day, it’s to be engaged, to be newlyweds, etc. It’s an entire experience and of course, we can capture all of it.
I also love albums. For me, my pictures are alive when they are printed. And it’s all about the legacy. You don’t show your kids a USB key. You give them your wedding album.
We actually deliver really fast. As we are specializing in weddings, we are going to focus on it during the week after. When I shoot only digital, I can deliver during the week after the wedding. When I shoot with my film camera (an old one with rolls, but the result is incredible), I need 2 weeks to send it to the lab and to receive the scans.
Do you have any favorite UAE wedding venues?
Good question. Honestly, I think I haven’t seen enough, for now, to be totally objective. I would say the Four Seasons in Jumeirah, and the One & Only The Palm, but I have so much more to discover!
What would you love to see more within the UAE wedding industry (trends, etc.)?
Actually, step by step, I see more sobriety, more French style (really ironic!). What’s a pity, is that people think that less is cheaper. But actually, elegance is really expensive.
I think in the UAE we are really focusing on the WOW effect, and me, as a big fan of details, I would love to see more of that, finishings and special touches, more attention to the small things.
How can interested couples reach you?
Most of the time, I work with planners, and I highly recommend all the couples, even with a small budget, to work with someone. It’s easier for them, but also for all the providers on the wedding day.
Of course, you can reach me by email, Instagram, or through my website!
Reach Maddy at Maddy Christina Photography:
+971 52 633 2035 | +336 52 67 77 79 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Life is too short. I see that every day. I think it’s important to focus on what really matters. And to think about the future.
On your wedding day, you have to be comfortable with all your providers. If there is one you don’t like or you don’t trust, you’re going to be stressed for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that this feeling is just as important as the product and the outcome itself. And enjoy!