WhiteSmoke Studio

WHITESMOKE EDUCATION

For photographers | Workshops

Thanks for all the questions you have sent us. We appreciate your attention and interest in us and our work. We get lots of questions on a daily basis but we are just not able to answer all of them, so from time to time we will answer FAQs. Keep them coming and we will do our best to answer them. First of all, we would love to organise a workshop in London but are simply unable to do so at the moment, as we are extremely busy with our clients. As for sharing our knowledge with others for free, we would like you to read what our very clever friend David Murray said in 2009:

‘This is something that we all fall short on. We don’t realise the value of what we do. We therefore do not see that which we do well enough to say, “Hey, I have worked hard to get to this point!” “Why would I just want to give it all away to people who have done nothing in the business, and are asking for a free hand?” This is why there are seminars and workshops. When you have been doing what we have been doing for 4, 5, 10 years, you realise that there have been a lot of ups and downs. There have been costly mistakes, and time spent on being more efficient. There is a dollar value to all that time and money!’

So please understand that. We are, however, open to organising one-to-one workshops or in our case two-to-one with anyone who is interested. Drop us a line if you want to: info[at]whitesmokestudio.com

We look forward to hearing from you!


Year in Review

Year in Review

The moment when you’re still enjoying memories of the weddings from 2016 and you suddenly realize it’s 2017 already and winter is round the corner. We’ve already started working on this year’s review. In the meantime, though, feel free to have a look at the one from last year.

2016 brought us lots of joy and satisfaction. In ISPWP’s annual report we landed on the 27th (Michal) and 51st position (Dorota). We realised how many places we visited and how much actually happened. Check out our summary below which is not really ‘Best Of,’ but rather a relaxed stroll through last year’s experiences.

Wales wedding photographer

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AND TRAVEL

We got the chance to photograph a wonderfully intimate wedding in Tuscany, explore the nooks and crannies of the Spanish Granada with our couple, and have the time of our lives under the scorching sun in our beloved Portugal. And this is just a fraction of our travel experience from 2016 which began with an engagement shoot in Paris and ended with Michal taking part in a Magnum Photo workshop in Bangkok. We are still dreaming of photographing a wedding in Lisbon or an engagement shoot in New York. But all the travel we did in 2016 was great fun anyway. We haven’t made it to Island which has recently become the ultimate photo shoot destination. But who knows what 2018 has in store for us. One thing is certain – we can shoot a wedding in Italy, Portugal or other warm location every single week. We think that our love of wine, music and good food is a perfectly valid excuse. We’re not saying there are no great parties in Poland. Actually, most of last year’s awards and distinctions we received came from Polish weddings. This helped us land a few top positions. But what made us even happier was that we ended up in the TOP 20 in ISPWP contests twice in a row. Considering the number of contestants it is no mean feat. None of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for our wonderful clients, their energy, their openness and the trust they put in us. Michal had the chance to talk about all this and other interesting aspects of our job in his interview with Nina Harbuz-Karczmarewicz on the Polish Radio One.

PORTRAITURE

This is not something that pops into your head when you think about WhiteSmoke Studio. A personal photo shoot, a corporate one, or simply portraiture. We absolutely love it and it constitutes 30 per cent of our commissions. It’s high time we thought about a website dedicated to our business clients. The reason we are mentioning it is because we have been using a Phase One DF camera with a CCD sensor in all our commissions since 2016. This ensures totally different plasticity and colour. The enhanced version of our beloved imagery from Leica M9! Of course, we also tap into the little extras we all love, for example mobile power generators or elinchrom rotalux deep octas, among others.
We nearly decided to buy a Leica SL while working on a photo shoot at Hotel Bristol in Warsaw. This time the common sense won. A pleasant side effect of that session was the fact we were included as Hotel Bristol Partners, along with other trademarks such as Tomasz Ossoliński, Decolove, Apart or Bentley.

WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES

Snap Photography Festival was one of last year’s most fascinating experiences for us. It is a unique event organised in Wales by Laura Babb, an incredible photographer. Around 130 photographers from all over the world stay together, party together and participate in workshops and lectures for one week. Glamping in March and a 3-hour-long speech is something one does not easily forget. Especially since we had the pleasure of working side by side with Gabe McClintock, Oli Samson, Petar Jurica or Kevin Mullins. We were also invited to a real wedding at Snap Photography Festival. One thing was sure – there was an abundance of photographers. WhiteSmoke Studio was asked to photograph the parade and cocktails. The whole experience was absolutely amazing and it inspired us to reshape our trademark workshop called ‘Life is a series of pictures.’

The main thought behind our workshops in 2016 was daring greatly. The partners of our first edition were QT Albums, LooksLikeFilm and Sucre. But we also had two special guests, Joanna Chmura and Slawomir Kasper. The latter represented Leica Camera Poland and gave a short lecture on the history of photography. We invited Joanna Chmura to collaborate with us because Dorota had taken part in her workshop based on Dr Brené Brown’s methodology called THE DARING WAY™ SHOW UP | BE SEEN | LIVE BRAVE. Joanna Chmura is a business coach and one of the two people who run THE DARING WAY™ workshops in Poland. Totally amazed by the ideas in Joanna’s workshop, Dorota decided to ask her to collaborate with us.

MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE

Numero Uno - a 7-day Magnum Photos workshop in Bangkok with two of the most inspiring Magnum photographers. We’re talking about Jacob Aue Sobol and David Alan Harvey here. If you’re not familiar with their work, we suggest you check out their personal sites: www.jacobauesobol.com   www.davidalanharvey.com It was Dorota’s birthday present for Michal. Best surprise ever!
https://youtu.be/YKJeDR-tc5w. We have come to lots of conclusions after Bangkok which we’re going to make use of during our trademark workshop ‘Life is a series of pictures.

Gear Acquisition Syndrome


Yes, this is Michal, a Christmas tree man suffering from G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). We actually both suffer from it as we keep looking for the ultimate equipment. We are pretty sure some of you are very curious about the contents of our bags. If you’ve been following us on facebook and instagram, you will have noticed that in 2016 we took most of our pictures with tiny beauties full of wonderful qualities. We’re talking about Leica Q which is an incredibly well-thought-out camera with a prime 28mm f 1.7 summilux lens, a most precise AF system and FF matrix which keeps surprising us with its colour range, even after a whole season. An ideal camera? Not exactly, although around 70 per cent of the photos in this post were taken with the camera. We still need a 35mm, a 50mm or a telephoto lens from time to time. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Nikon as every new model caused disappointment instead of inspiration.
However, we still think Leica Monochrome and Leica M3 are our best buddies, not to mention Leica Q. Of course, Michal is using Leica M9 and Leica M10.

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - THE DOGS!

Nothing’s changed here. We still have two dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a Border Collie. White and Smok are our companions giving us lots of joy even on the gloomiest day.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram if you wanna see more work .


Wedding Photography Journalist Association Awards, 2017 TRI-2

Wedding Photography Awards

Photo competitions are a mixture of good luck, the jury’s preferences and, of course, the photographer’s choice of photos. Some people claim that you don’t only have to excel at editing, but also be extremely lucky if you want to win a contest. As we all know, jury members are often faced with thousands of images that get sent in every single category. Therefore, we felt rather chuffed when Michal got two awards, the second and the twelfth place in one category, WPJA TRI-2 Creative Portrait of Groom Category, at the Wedding Photography Journalist Association Awards.

Creative Portrait of Groom

One of the images, Kuba’s portrait, was inspired by Tom Ford commercials and fashion generally. On the other hand, there’s a strong reportage story behind the other image. Mateusz broke his arm in a bike accident shortly before his wedding and this image reflects it perfectly well.  ‘Of course, it didn’t just happen by pure chance,’ concluded Mateusz when he heard his portrait had won an award. Yes, we agree. We always are very meticulous in our preparations for a reportage so that we can grasp such details. Thanks a lot, Sylwia and Mateusz! Full entry dedicated to their wedding here: STORY

Here you will find the material from Kuba and Lyndon's wedding. CLICK! Thanks for an amazing cooperation.

 

WPJA TRI-2 Creative Portrait of Groom Category - 12th Place

WPJA TRI-2 Creative Portrait of Groom Category - 2nd Place


Documentary wedding photography

Documentary Wedding Photography, Sylwia and Mateusz

Documentary Wedding Photography

We're having a meeting with our couple at a cafe'. We make ourselves comfortable on the sofa ready for people watching, which can be as fascinating as photographing them. There's no way you cannot get engaged in the microcosm of a cafe' life and what happens between people, all their gestures, bold or surreptitious glances people cast at each other. Cafes are tiny ecosystems with their own rules. They are a perfect reflection of life.

When Sylwia and Mateusz enter we know it's them. They both look beautiful and laid back despite the fact that Mateusz is getting married with his arm in plaster. An accident on the bike just before the wedding would be a major crisis for many, but not for these two. After all, we want emotions and moments. They don't want any session or posing on their wedding. Our heads fill up with a million light bulbs. So the standard question follows: Is it supposed to mean you want natural-looking portraits? 'No! No portraits at all,' is the response.

The worst wedding scenario.. and maybe the best one?

It turns out that design is not the only passion we share with Sylwia and Mateusz, who are both architects, but also the love for black and white, pure emotions and classic reportage. This is ideal! When we need to work within clearly set boundaries, for example no posing, our adrenaline rush is even stronger. There is no place for tricks anymore. There is light pressure and a million questions. What if nothing happens during the wedding and they're going to just sit there and talk for 8 hours? It may be boring. Predictable. Or just common.

Keep Moving, Keep Shooting

And here comes the cafe and the best part about it: a million looks, gestures and smiles. The atmosphere, the mood, the climate. And this is what we can focus on. And here we come! #KeepMovingKeepShooting!

The wedding was awesome. Emotions were bubbling. And Sylwia and Mateusz just rocked! Congratulations once again! And big thanks for your trust. We made a fantastic team!

Here are a few words from the Bride and Groom, Sylwia and Mateusz:

Shall we say something about ourselves? We are a couple of architects. We appreciate beauty, we focus on details and we catch moments. When thinking about about our wedding, we did not have a perfect ceremony or ideal moments in mind. We wanted it to be natural. We wanted to be present in every single moment. And we knew that our choice of wedding photographers was going to be crucial since we would always go back to our wedding day through their eyes. Dorota and Michal were simply fantastic. They managed to perfectly capture all the emotions which accompanied us on the day, ranging from stress and tears to laughter, joy and affection. They both emanate brilliant energy that rubs off on everyone around. Thanks to their way of working with people we did not feel any stress during the session at all.
‘There is nothing in the world that would not have the decisive moment,’ wrote Cardinal de Retz in the 17th century. There were many moments on our wedding day that made up the most beautiful day of our lives.
Thank you again! You are fantastic!
All the best, Sylwia & Mateusz

 


When a photographer hires another photographer, Magda and Kamil

When a photographer hires a photographer

Imagine an exam you're totally unprepared for. Or even worse - a public speech in front of thousands of strangers. Let's dig deeper - your presentation doesn't work and your notes are gone. Your anxiety levels are getting higher and higher, you're sweating like a pig and your mind goes blank. Do you know the feeling? You have two options: either give up or act upon it. What are you going to do?

Stress makes us tick

Adrenaline rush makes you think on your feet. Take a deep breath and #KeepMovingKeepShooting!, which simply means move your body and start a creating process! Do not freeze! Move your legs, move your brain, start from little details and bigger things will follow. It goes without saying that before every public performance, workshop, session or reportage we do have butterflies in our stomachs but this means we're ready to work.

The most stressful, but most motivating job is when our client happens to be a photographer

Especially when it's a wedding photographer. Trust, cooperation and understanding of what it means to work together, perception of light, more artistic freedom, no limits, more time devoted to a portrait session and so on and so forth. That’s what we get when we work for other artists.

Kamil, a Polish wedding photographer and the owner of FlatRock Studio and his wife, Magda, are artists themselves. We share the same values and expectations and that is why our cooperation proved to be plain sailing. We were able to focus on the emotions between the bride and the groom and managed to capture the mood of the day. We even got an award for Magda and Kamil's wedding! Thank you guys for such an amazingly breathtaking cooperation.

What we love the most is working with people who value cooperation with personal storytellers with an artistic twist. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you match the description.


engagement session in Italy

Justyna and Robert, Engagement Session in Italy

Engagement Session in Italy

What’s the recipe for a successful engagement photo session in Italy ?

To cut a long story short, have fun and trust your photographer.
If you prefer a long story, click here to read more.

ITALIAN LOVE STORY

Do you know the feeling when it is hot in the air, but not unbearably hot? When the heat is mingling with the sea breeze? When laughter coming from a nearby restaurant is mixing with the screams of gulls flying over your head? It was one of those days.
The plan was very simple. A wedding in the middle of the week and an engagement photo shoot the day before the wedding day. Crazy? Not necessarily. To tell you the truth, the plan was simply perfect.

We always look for things we have in common with our couples. Somewhere at the intersection of our and their lives where we can get to know each other better. The moment we met Justyna and Robert we knew straightaway that this was a perfect match. Justyna and Robert loved wine, running and photography. Just like us!
The engagement session got the couple in the perfect mood for the next day and the rest of their stay in Portovenere. We were not only able to get to know each other much better and spend some time together, but also find out what they liked, what made them feel good or what made them laugh. This knowledge was quite vital considering the fact that there were only 6 people at the wedding, including us.

From the very beginning of the photo shoot Justyna and Robert totally forgot about us. They interpreted our ideas with ease and spontaneity. It should always be like that. The photographer’s vision should mingle naturally with the personality and temperament of the people photographed. And what made a perfect backdrop for Justyna and Robert's story was the charm of Portovenere and the warm evening light.

 

Do we only do wedding and engagement photo sessions? No, we have a much wider range of sessions to offer: couple sessions, friend and family sessions, portraits and lifestyle photography. We also do commercial and corporate photography. We even photograph architecture!

If you are interested in having a photo shoot with us, drop us a line!


London wedding photographer

ISPWP Awards, Summer 2017 Contest

ISPWP AWARDS, Summer 2017 Contest

Another piece of great news!

We have both received three awards in the latest ISPWP (The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers) Summer 2017 Contest. Congratulations to all the winners! We’re so chuffed and proud to have won the awards! It is a fabulous feeling to be among all the great and inspirational names!

A big thank you to all the couples who have shared the best moments of their lives with us. A very special thank you goes to two couples in particular, Justyna and Robert & Jakub and Lyndon, without whom the awarded photos wouldn't have been taken in the first place.

Italian Masters of Wedding Photography

But this is not everything. Dorota is going to hone her judging skills again! This time, she's going to be a jury member for the German and Italian Masters of Wedding Photography. It is a fantastic opportunity for her to see what other wedding photographers are up to and get inspired.


Cambridge Cottage At Kew Gardens Wedding

Harriet & Sanj, Cambridge Cottage, Kew Gardens Wedding

Kew Gardens Wedding

We travel a lot and are used to shooting in many locations and environments. It is, however, the melting pot of London that we find the most inspiring. This is why we keep returning there and it seems that nowadays it is much easier to spot us in Islington’s nooks and crannies or cobbled streets of Borough Market than in our home country.

Right after the first email from Harriet, we just knew we would hit it off. It came as no surprise that Harriet and Sanj's great day was what we would always like a wedding and the story told through our photos to be. Life through the lens. Small gestures, family, emotions throughout the ceremony – it is so natural and so instant. Harriet & Sanj’s wedding had it all.

London Wedding Photographer

The night before the wedding Harriet was staying at Kew Gardens Hotel together with her mum and sister while Sanj was getting ready at home accompanied by his son and best man.

On the wedding day some guests went to a nearby pub where the groom was settling his nerves while others went straight to Cambridge Cottage At Kew Gardens where all the ceremonies of the day were taking place, namely the wedding ceremony, the Indian garland ceremony, the wedding breakfast and, last but not least, the wedding reception.

Harriet and Sanj's wedding day was brimming with moving ceremonies filled with love and emotions, yet they managed to carve out some time for a bride-and-groom photo shoot at the iconic Kew Gardens. Harriet’s vintage glamour styling with just a hint of pin-up was simply dazzling.

Harriet & Sanj, thank you so much for your trust and the wonderful weekend.

Here are a few words from the bride and groom:

"WOW the photos on the blog are just fabulous - so many faves in there!
It's so nice seeing the ones of the boys getting ready, and Sanj said the same about my side. Ahhhh. It's rather serendipitous as we are both off work together today. So we are in bed with mugs of tea looking at the photos over and over again:0)

You guys are so talented, I know how hard you worked on the day/evening! We had a wonderful session with the photos on slideshow on Apple TV....ahhh so many lovely moments, we love all of them!!! The one with the guys walking to the venue and the 'KING' from 'Parking' on the ground - funny! There are so many faves-one in black and white which I think was from the other camera...after the dinner with Sanj and me standing in B&W - it looks like it could have been from 50 years ago! Dorota all those lovely ones you took when we were getting ready - you really captured the moments.”
H&S xx


Award winning London Wedding Photographers

FEARLESS AWARDS: COLLECTION 38

Fearless Awards COLLECTION 38

Good news!

Dorota has been given an award in Fearless Awards COLLECTION 38 contest. Over 8,000 pictures were submitted by more than 500 photographers from all over the world. And only 90 pictures were awarded. WOW! We must say we're both happy and proud!

Congratulations to all the winners. Many thanks Huy Nguyen, Susana Barbera (Spain), Joshua D'hondt (Belgium), and Christelle Rall (South Africa) for this amazing curation.

Here's Dorota's awarded photo:

 

And here's her award in a previous contest:

Michal got one Honorable Mention too! Have a look:

A big thank you to all the couples that have shared the best moments of their lives with us.

Fearless Photographers is an international organisation of thousands of wedding photographers. We had the pleasure of being speakers at the 2015 Fearless Conference in Bucharest, Romania, along with Ben and Erin Chrisman, Todd Laffler, Anna Kuperberg, Candice Cusic, Sergio, Carlo Carletti & Huy Nguyen.

Fearless is a family of photographers rather than another photographers' association. We regularly meet at conferences, we give each other support and share experiences.

Dorota has had a chance to act as a judge herself at Fearless Awards contests twice. So, we know it's no mean feat to be a Fearless curator. You need to plough through thousands of pictures to find real gems.