Weddings

Destination wedding: Vero & Carlos, Bodegas Tondonia, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Thursday January 29th, 2015 11:00 AM

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Bodegas Tondonia, in Haro, La Rioja, produces some of Spain’s most special wines. Last year, when Falstaff magazine sent me to Restaurante Cellar Can Roca, Tondonia was among the wines they served at lunch afterwards.

Family-run for generations, the beautiful winery breathes history: the century old black and white pictures on the walls; the massive wooden wine vats, the mould growing on the underground tunnels’ walls, the uniquely beautiful glass walled gallery overlooking the courtyard.…

It was Vero’s dream to marry here ever since she visited Haro. When a couple marry a long way from home – they live in Barcelona – it’s really important for the photographer to show the destination. So apart from the obvious shots in front of a big Tondonia sign, I’m always keeping an eye out for details: a barrel in the background or anything else that provides narrative.

This was a small wedding for family and friends with the team from La Vieja Bodega restaurant, in nearby Casalarreina, providing an excellent lunch. Simple, informal and happy in a beautiful winery – a fantastic day.

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Commercial & Wedding: My favourite photos of 2014

Monday December 22nd, 2014 10:05 AM

Commercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

I’ve taken around 50,000 photos this year and I’ve been looking back over some of them trying to work out which ones I like best. To be honest, I keep changing my mind about my favourites perhaps because I can see faults in all of them; things that I’ll try to do better in 2015. That said, all of them are good examples of photos with personality: a fusion of the subjects’ and my own.

The above photo shows Francis Paniego, a two star Michelin chef who’s reached national and international fame with the Portal de Echaurren restaurant but, somehow, still finds himself being having to put up with the attention of his elder brother. The next is of the Roca brothers of the world-famous Cellar de Can Roca and this time I wanted to show Joan, the elder brother, as the responsible one while his younger siblings have all the fun.

The third photo, of Toño Perez in Atrio restaurant, is pure photojournalism: I touched nothing and directed nothing; it’s just him at work in his kitchen.

The next couple of photos are good examples of how I try to add elegance, style and life to group shots. I like the product shots of the cocktails and the plate of vegetables because they challenged me technically. They’re good examples of how I went to the shoot with an idea in my mind and worked out how to light it. And then I had to be quick: the whipped cream in the right-hand cocktail and the steam on the vegetables lasted for only a few seconds.

The wedding shots are all about capturing beautiful, tender, elegant moments in life in a really authentic way. And finally there are some wine shots because I think so often commercial photography fails to transmit the passion of the people who devote their lives to their work.

Happy holidays!!

Food and Portrait Photographer, Catalonia, Spain | www.sturcke.orgFood and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org1405Commercial_Photographer_La_Rioja_Spain_Sturcke_0003Commercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Cocktail Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Food Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWedding and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWedding and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial wine and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWine and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Maite & Aitor, Santo Domingo Cathedral & Hotel Los Agustinos, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Wednesday December 3rd, 2014 08:00 AM

Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Before her wedding in Santo Domingo Cathedral and Hotel Los Agustinos in Haro, La Rioja, Maite had asked me to keep an eye out for her three-year-old niece, Alba.

As a photojournalist, I’m always following the light and the action and there’s a large chunk of spontaneity in the images. But as a professional wedding photographer it’s important to make sure key family members and guests feature in the photos. I always ask couples for a list of key people.

I like it when children are on that list. Alba is only likely to remember the wedding through the photos and hopefully she’ll be able to get the vibe of how fun the day was. I like to take photos for future generations. Maybe Maite and Aitor will have children one day and they too will be able to feel how happy we were on that autumn day in 2014.

Last week I was at a photographic conference in Sevilla and among those talking was the US photojournalist Tyler Wirken. Tyler, widely regarded as among the best wedding photographers in the world, said the following:

“The photos I make on a wedding day are not for the bride and groom. They are for people that don’t yet exist.”

Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Charlotte & Greg, Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, Basque Country

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 04:55 PM

Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org

Wedding photography is all about showing the bride looking fantastic. OK, to some extent the groom too but if you haven’t got photos of the bride at her best, then you know they’ll be problems. But wedding photography is also about showing the people around the bride (and the groom) and the relationships between them.

So I’m always looking for images that incorporate proud parents and supportive friends. Sometimes the family member is the star of the photo. Other times they’re somewhere in the background. But their presence within the composition gives context and narrative and often humour and fun to the photos. And that’s what my photography is all about. There’s a good mix of both here in these photos from Charlotte & Greg’s wedding at Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava in the Basque Country.

Before any wedding I always sit down with the couple and make a list of important family members and friends. Then I memorise their names. It may seem like a small thing but it helps win people over. As with everything in life, the details are important.

Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Black and white photography at La Vieja Bodega restaurant, Casalarreina, La Rioja, Spain

Friday June 13th, 2014 02:26 PM

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Many famous photographers shot many or all of their most evocative images in black and white, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa being among the first two to spring to mind. And not just because they had no other option. Paolo Pellegrin won Photographer of the Year last year with a largely black and white portfolio.

Black and white photography reduces a colourful world to different tones and, in doing so often simplifies a scene. Simple can be better, resulting in more powerful images. Not every photo works better in black and white, far from it, but some certainly do.

The photo above, taken during a wedding at the excellent La Vieja Bodega restaurant, in Casalarreina, near Haro, La Rioja, is a case in point.

I was reminded of this during a two-hour mentoring session this week with the renown British wedding photographer, Jeff Ascough. When I moved to Spain four years ago I always offered my wedding clients the option of black and white photographs. And the offer is still there! If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org