“The Quirky” Wedding Photo/Video Duo on Staying Fresh

February 20, 2019

By Greer McNally

The wedding industry is changing faster than ever. Ceremonies in far-flung places are chic, new engagement shoot styles are ever on the rise, tech advancements are revolutionizing kit choice and Instagram is the go-to platform for people looking for photographers.

But ten years ago, when Beatrice de Guigne, one half of French wedding duo The Quirky, was first learning the ropes of the medium in her brother’s photography studio, she could never have foreseen all this. And yet, she and Jeremie Pennequin, her business partner, are now part of a wave of creatives stamping their very definite style on the wedding landscape.

When we sit down to speak, they’ve just arrived back from shooting a wedding in Hawaii. The images from the trip on Instagram make the happy couple—in one shot running down the mountainside against the glow of the Pacific sunset—look like windswept models at the heart of some effortlessly glamorous fashion editorial. They are just regular people, but for one glorious moment they are also the stars of their own lives.

It’s the kind of photography that encapsulates The Quirky style. Incorporating elements of fashion, beauty and street style, there’s no strict formula, just a sense of joy and unreachable allure; you gaze on and wish you’d been invited to every wedding and elopement they photograph.

Working both as a team—with Pennequin filming and de Guigne photographing—and on their own, theirs is a laid-back setup. Last year, they shot almost 20 weddings together. It works, Pennequin says, because they don’t have to talk very much. “I know she’s there and I know what she’ll shoot.” This tacit approach has taken them across the globe, and along the way they’ve had their drone confiscated in Morocco (you’re not allowed to bring them into the country) and discovered that touching a child’s head in Thailand is a big no-no. They joke that they could probably write a comprehensive guide on international wedding photography best practices and decorum.

It’s been a process. “Four years ago, when we launched, we thought a lot about what we wanted [our style] to be,” de Guigne says. “We tried to make it, not really quirky, because our pictures aren’t really that, but something very different from all the other photographers at that time.” Their first step was to offer photography and videography at a time when most people didn’t.

Perhaps it was that drive to stay ahead that saw them switch to using mirrorless gear several years back (they both became Sony ambassadors last year). It was a surprise for de Guigne, a Nikon user, to move away from DSLRs, but silent shooting was too attractive. “As wedding photographers, we want to capture that real romance, that real emotion, and when you are totally silent and totally discreet then you can have those real moments and those real emotions.”

Today, the pair, who finish each other’s sentences, are both joyous and refreshingly honest. It’s easy to understand why brides and grooms seek them out. So, what’s their secret to keeping things fresh? “We don’t book our weddings too early,” they say in unison. These two only like to commit to events eight to ten months before the big day. It keeps them on their toes.

In fact, one of their favorite weddings was booked just three weeks before their clients, a French couple living in Hong Kong, wanted to say I do. “It was the most challenging wedding we’ve ever done, because they never stopped moving. They were like storms,” recalls de Guigne. “But they were the kindest and the craziest people ever, and we had so much fun,” even when the police turned up to arrest the wedding party, and when the bride and groom jumped off a boat into the sea after the ceremony.

It’s that freedom and vitality, present in every frame they share, that makes them love their jobs so much, but staying visible is a challenge. “We’ve been talking recently about the idea of being the purple cow,” Pennequin says with a laugh, referring to Seth Godin’s marketing theory about standing out in a crowded marketplace. “You have to be the one that everyone sees at that first glance but be different at the same time. It’s difficult.”

He’s right, but for now, the pair are not going to worry about it. They are taking a moment to relax and enjoy the slower months in the beginning of the year. Of course, “relaxing” to them means updating the website, running their YouTube channel, and de Guigne fitting in some portrait work, too. All in all, 2019 is off to a flying start for The Quirky.

Greer McNally is a freelance writer and photographer who inherited her love of photography from her dad. She’s talked ex-wives with Don McCullin and cat photos with Rankin.


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