Trash the Dress

While Matilde Berk has only been a wedding photographer for the past two years, she's already on top of a growing trend. For years, the Lisbon, Portugal-based photographer shot landscapes. It was only after she realized just how much she enjoyed photographing people that she dove into commercial portraiture.

One day, out of the blue, Berk started a creative series about “trashing” wedding dresses. This became her turning point.

“After doing some research, I found the Trash the Dress sessions and immediately got connected with all the creativity involved,” she tells us. “Well, then again, I guess all women get touched by wedding gowns even when they are already married. The next step was planning and photographing personal Trash the Dress projects to build a portfolio around that genre. After showing the results of those projects, the jump to wedding photography was very easy.”

She describes the Trash the Dress sessions this way. “They can be done one week, one month or even one year after the big day and it usually starts with the couple, the wedding dress and a very unique location,” she says. “The idea behind it is to create beautiful and unique imagery often not possible on the wedding day due to the lack of time and a very tight schedule. It's very important to say that the dress does not get trashed. Maybe it gets very dirty but it's nothing that water and a good laundry detergent can't handle.”

Outside of Trash the Dress trend, Berk tell us that the wedding photography industry is all abuzz over photojournalism. “Most of the couples I meet want me there to capture the essence of their wedding day with natural-looking photos and a very realistic approach,” she says. “They want their photographs to be a true representation of their wedding day.”

An example of this happened just recently to Berk herself.

“Serendipity happens when you make a wonderful discovery while looking for something that is not related and that's exactly what happened in this photograph,” she says. “I was taking Angela and Mats wedding shots out on the street and these two guys just passed by us. I noticed the way they were dressed and their hairstyle and thought it would make a nice picture to have them sitting with Mats and Angela. But they seemed to be in a hurry so I didn't say a word.

“Later, we would find them again, sitting by the gates of a well-known palace in Sintra called Regaleira. This time, I asked Mats and Angela to sit by their side so I would snap a photo. And so they did. I politely asked if I could take a photograph of them sitting together and they not only agreed but they also offered to play a piece for the new couple. And that's when they pulled out their cellos and started playing the music Angela used to make her entrance with father on the wedding ceremony. They brought us to tears.

“What a coincidence. How would they know? Above the gate, visitors of Regaleira were clapping and wishing their best to the couple. It was a wonderful, warm moment and a story I will always treasure as a wedding photographer.”

Make sure to head over to Matilde Berk's Flickr page and website to see more.

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