In our search for the world’s most talented wedding photographers, sometimes we stumble across one that stops us. Completely. We can pull apart the elements that make a great wedding photographer – emotive captures, creative composition and artistic use of light and shade. But every now and again an artist makes that list completely irrelevant. Their work transcends criteria. Everything about their frames force you to feel, not think. There’s an inimitable magic, a poetry, and magnetism to their captures.
Petter Karlstrøm, our newest discovery from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, has a talent that is truly rare in the wedding world. His portraits reveal an honest beauty, his reception shots are intricate and draw your eye to poetic details you’d otherwise miss. His fashion frames bring fabrics alive with movement and fluidity.
It’s near impossible to find a photographer whose fashion shots are just as beautiful as their emotive candids, and as finessed as their lifestyle imagery. Petter’s unique background in fashion and advertising, merged with weddings weaves together technique, emotion and aesthetics, creating most beautiful, nostalgic love stories.
Eager to learn more about the method behind the magic, we caught up with Petter to chat about the personal influence and importance of shooting fashionable wedding photography…
“I want to capture not just a moment, but a feeling that you get… that sometimes you don’t even know you have. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. It’s about finding the big moments in the small moments and making them come to life.”
You’ve got a strong background in fashion and advertising photography. When did the spark ignite to move into weddings?
Working in the advertising industry is awesome. I love being on set, love being a part of a big production, getting the shots and being stoked with the team… but as my journey through photography evolved, all my work has become much more personal, and that’s why I love weddings. It’s real.
Years ago, I moved into a studio space with a bunch of surf and wedding photographers. I saw their weddings from start to end, and I knew that this is something that I would love to do. I thought maybe I could put my spin on it. With fashion, it wasn’t about the model it was about the character and story. Weddings have this. It is a challenge that I really thrive on – working on the unexpected and shooting weddings has been one of my greatest experiences… and especially sitting back looking through the images afterwards. I think it gives me that fulfilment that advertising and fashion doesn’t.
“For me, movement is what makes a makes a good shot. Movement often comes with believability. It creates a feeling, creates a story… it goes somewhere.”
What do you think the key is to creating emotive and beautiful wedding frames that also have that fashionable edge?
For me, movement is what makes a makes a good shot. Movement often comes with believability. It creates a feeling, creates a story… it goes somewhere. I also think it’s not shooting something you have already shot before. “Okay, that works, I’ll do that again.” I don’t believe in that. My approach lays in the hands of the couples I’m working with and their personality. If I can get that across, it’s a good shot.
Why photography? What is it that stirs your soul about the artform?
Photography gives me a feeling, tells me a story. For me, photography is much more than point and shoot, it’s pulling the subject and the people into a small frame, and giving you a glimpse into a world. I want to capture not just a moment, but a feeling that you get that sometimes that you don’t even know you have. I love the story, the journey. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. It’s about finding the big moments in the small moments and making them come to life. Stories like the Brooklyn Gang by Bruce Davidson have always been a great inspiration for me.
What truly stirs my soul is finding character in imagery that has life, I never want to be bored with my work. I am always looking to challenge, to enjoy, and to love every shoot I do. I want to bring life to every frame I get. That makes me proud and makes me love every aspect of photography.
How do you feel your experience in fashion and advertising shapes the way you approach photographing weddings?
I think my experience as a fashion photographer is exactly what shapes my approach to shooting a wedding. Over the years of working with so many different people and on different jobs, I bring every experience into any work I do. Shooting weddings has made me a much better fashion photographer, and vice versa. I used to say, “I’m a fashion photographer”. I don’t like that expression anymore. These days I say, “I’m a photographer”.
A moment behind an image you’ll never forget…
I think photographing my good friend Katie Angus’s wedding overseas was unreal. We work together a lot and being able to shoot her wedding was super special.
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