Photo ideas from renowned wedding photographer Asaf Kliger
Asaf Kliger is one of two resident wedding photographers at Icehotel. Kliger is an award-winning destination wedding photographer who for the last 10 years has been shooting weddings all over the world. From Costa Rica and Colombia to Sri Lanka, South of France & Paris, Russia, Israel, New York, London, Colombia – to Icehotel in Northernmost Sweden.
Learn from his experience and get useful tips from a professional for your big day.
Interview with Asaf Kliger
What is the most crazy thing you’ve been requested?
One couple had an Alice in Wonderland theme to their wedding and wanted all the photos in that style. All the guests were dressed just right for the idea and the pictures came out just beautiful.
How many couples have you shot?
I don’t keep count, but I know it’s somewhere above 400. About 100 of them have been destination weddings including Icehotel.
Pre-wedding and honeymoon photos
A growing trend in the world of weddings is pre-wedding and honeymoon photography. Couples want to spend their wedding day taking care of their guests instead of spending their time posing for photographs with a wedding photographer.
Recently, Forbes Magazine listed ten amazing locations around the world to take pre-wedding photographs, with Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi as one of the destinations; “Here you’ll be taking pre-wedding photos in the first ever hotel of its kind, with the art changing through the seasons, making your session a unique arctic experience.” Read the entire Forbes article here
Meanwhile, other couples choose to have their photos taken at their honeymoon destination, some even opting to bring their wedding dress and tux especially for the occasion. The benefit of this is of course that you get a chance to take your photos a second time round and without the stress surrounding the big day, you can focus entirely on enjoying it as a fun and memorable honeymoon experience.
Tips for getting the perfect wedding photos
The photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day, but for many people who aren’t professional models, it can also be quite stressful. Asaf Kliger has seen his fair share of weddings, so we asked him to share some of his knowledge and tips for couples planning the wedding photography and video.
Wedding photo locations
To pick the best location for the wedding photos, the best way is to research the surroundings of the reception venue and wedding location. Find out what different types of outdoor and indoor environments they offer – what is the history of the place and are there any favorite local spots? This can really add more texture and new ideas to your photos. Asaf says:
“I always give my couples the option of two environments for their wedding photos. At ICEHOTEL for example, we always take the classic photos in and around the hotel itself, but then I discuss with the couple what else they really like about the village and what made them choose this destination for their wedding. Maybe it is the worn, rustic timber of the old houses in the village, or maybe it’s the sense of being in the Arctic, around huskies, reindeer and northern lights.
Asaf’s top outdoor & winter wedding photo ideas for adventurous couples
- Northern lights - This is of course not easy to come by, nor is there any way to guarantee it, but when the stars are aligned it really makes for stunning photos.
- Reindeer sled or husky sledding -These beautiful creatures have lived side by side with the natives of the Arctic for hundreds of years. They can take you to the most remote, private places of Earth.
- Kaamos - In December and early January, the polar night season, the sun doesn’t rise properly above the horizon for weeks above the Arctic Circle. Kaamos is this wonderfully beautiful and rare mid-day dusk, painting the sky in pastel tones of pink, purple and orange.
- Midnight sun - The forgotten cousin of the northern lights, the midnight sun is also a light phenomena that is unique to the locations above the Arctic Circle. The sun doesn’t set between May and July, making for tranquil nights with a warm glow and really something extra for romantic photos.
- The art in Icehotel - Every square meter of the hotel is carefully adorned with sculptures in crystal clear, pure Arctic ice. The designs are individual and change every year, so there is definitely something for every taste.
embrace the unpredictable
As anyone planning a wedding will agree on, the weather is the most difficult to plan for. So the best solution is to embrace that nature is always unpredictable and find ways to make the decisions you can control work in favor for you rather than against you.
If you are planning for outdoor photos, pick accessories that can help you – umbrella, gloves, a beautiful coat, and so on. I can’t stress how important this is, in particular in the Arctic where the cold can be very harsh in winter. There’s no way round it - if you are shivering with cold, it will show in the photos.
no bad weather
There are local vendors and designers selling apparel made for the Arctic but still that are beautiful and fit for a special occasion like a wedding. Asaf also explains that you don’t need a clear day to get the best photos, so trust your photographer to work with the conditions and don’t let clouds, winds or snowfall disappoint you.
The most dramatic weather is always good for fairytale photos – in fact, my favorite weather to shoot in is snowfall, or perhaps contrary to expectation, the darkest and coldest period of the year when we get the Kaamos light – and the northern lights of course. For me as a photographer it’s a dream to photograph weddings in such a diverse and beautiful location where the light, season and the wonderful couples themselves set the agenda.
Getting married at Icehotel – not for everyone
Each year there are about 50 wedding ceremonies at Icehotel, ranking from classic ceremonies in the ice ceremony hall, to themed Viking weddings under the stars, or a remote Sámi-inspired wedding with reindeer. While some couples choose an intimate ceremony with just the two of them, other bring their close friends and family for a long weekend, making time for experiences like dog sledding, snowmobile and river rafting. Asaf has shot weddings all over the world. Which couples is an Icehotel wedding for?
Well, the true beauty of choosing Jukkasjärvi and Icehotel for your wedding is the element of surprise that is greater than any other I’ve experienced. Whereas most other wedding destinations you can anticipate almost exactly what they will look like, Icehotel itself is constantly evolving with new designs every year. Also the nature and weather up in the Arctic Circle always presents new conditions and – used the right way – opportunities. In my opinion there is no safer hands to be in than Icehotel’s. With the skills, experiences and local knowledge of their team they can tailor a really authentic, fairytale wedding when it comes to outdoor and winter weddings.
Tips on choosing your photographer
Kliger’s advice is to pick the photographer that you are most comfortable with and that makes the couple and the guests feel comfortable and relaxed so the photos turn out natural, but also to consider the style of previous weddings that the photographer has shot.
As a couple, it’s really important that you feel a connection with the style of the photos in the portfolio. There are many diffferent types of photographers, and you’ll have the best result if you pick one where you can already picture yourself in his or hers existing photos.
Final words of wisdom
Do & Don’t for a winter or outdoor wedding
- DO – pick the photographer that makes you feel most at ease
- DON'T - dress like you’re in a summer wedding if you’re not. You’ll be cold during the cermony and the shoot and can’t focus fully on the here and now