Two years ago, when wedding photographer Tu Nguyen and his wife and business partner Thuy had a chance to visit Iceland, they felt the images they walked away with didn't do the breathtaking country justice. Luckily, when a couple of newlyweds-to-be reached out to the Germany-based duo after finding them on Instagram, with the intent to elope to Iceland, the Nguyens realized they had another shot to get it right.
"This is our new take on Iceland," Tu asserts of the resulting photos. "Iceland is the new Italy for weddings, the most hyped wedding location right at the moment. The question was, how should we make this elopement different from the thousands of other wedding photos from Iceland?"
After spending some time with the couple, Tu realized that "taking pictures that did them justice was going to be just as hard as doing Iceland justice, if not harder," he says, describing them as "the most fun, genuine, down-to-earth and amazing couple" they've met. "Shooting many elopements last year, we came to realize that for us, elopements are more about the journey you set together—the story of them as a whole. The big picture and the landscape is just a part of it."
Tu and Thuy invest a lot emotionally in their couples, he admits, and "along the way, being emotionally invested helps us have so much empathy and a realization of differences. We see qualities in others that we also see in ourselves, and that's what allows us to understand some of their emotions, feelings, intentions and needs. And if our emotional bond is strong enough, it creates a harmonious counterbalance that gives their images unique value. We have done weddings this way from the very beginning, but this elopement of Vivi and William just made it clear, one more time, that this is the only way to go."
They managed to deliver heartfelt photos that represented the couple as well as the country, despite the bad luck of poor weather. "June is the month with the least chance of raining and bad weather in Iceland," Tu exclaims, yet somehow they managed to get almost every type of bad conditions during their three days of shooting. "Fortunately a good pair of shoes, warm clothes and a raincoat did their job," the photographer says.
GEAR FOR THE ELOPEMENT
Cameras: Sony a7s II, a7R II and a6500 ("We care less and less about gears these days," Tu says, "but we do love our mirrorless cameras from Sony because they're so small and compact, yet sturdy and rugged, and less distracting so we can focus more on emotion and storytelling.")