Elke Van Den Ende has over a decade of photography experience and has an affinity for art, history and design. With an intentional approach from start to finish and a desire to tell a well curated story, she steers away from clichés in her photography. Elke loves to infuse her wedding galleries with travel, culture and a sense of place. Elke Van Den Ende is based in Belgium and photographs weddings all over the world.
Tell us about your business!
Wedding photography was never the plan, but it was definitely meant to be. I’m Elke, I’ve been shooting weddings for about a decade. I travelled from a history degree to photography fervour to artful wedding photography.
What would you like couples to know about you?
I understand the desire to want something else - and to be after that je-ne-sais-quoi. I want to be surprised by photos and to run away from clichés.
Where are you based?
Belgium, Europe. A country marked by easygoing poise and lovers of the good life.
Do you travel for weddings?
Absolutely. I’ve photographed weddings all over the world, from Sweden to India, France to Mexico, Greece to NYC. I’m fluent in English, French and Dutch and I have notions of Italian and German, which comes in handy while shooting destination weddings. I love to infuse my wedding galleries with travel, culture, a sense of place.
How would you describe your style?
Effortlessly editorial. Or documentary chic, if you will. My photos ricochet from editorial elegance to documentary and fun. I’m always on the lookout for a good contradiction - something that screams spontaneous sophistication, or quiet extravagance.
More than just clinically recording what happened, I allow my photos to take risks. To explore the edges of the genre and well beyond. To look for meaning in a visually striking way. My compositions and colours are inspired by classic cinema and decades of photography. Art is never timeless. But it should definitely stand the test of time.
What is your most memorable career moment?
Memorable moments aplenty, none of which to do with grand names or press accolades. Photographing wedding guests running into the sea comes to mind, at a deserted beach in Sweden around sunrise. The wedding party on a tiny Greek island being crashed by a Saudi prince. Being a photographer and a witness at the same time for my best friends. Accidentally starting a second line with a live band in Croatia. Witnessing 250 people dance under the stars in a field of peonies. Ending my first elopement with cocktails and a view of the Manhattan skyline.
What inspires you?
Quickly scribbled love notes. The creative buzz of a city. Old family stories. Rooms with a view. The Mediterranean light falling on your shoulder just so. Graphic design and architecture. The mother of the groom embracing me because she’s grateful for the captured memories. Italian movies. Moments of serendipity. You.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Getting to work with the coolest people on one of the most meaningful days of their lives. Fusing art with personal connection. What a marvelous thing, I’m grateful for it every single wedding. Give me all the ironic romantics, the relaxed sophistication, the unexpected beauty, the iconic moments.
How would you describe your working style?
Calm and attentive. Tuning in to my couples is key. I do my best work when I’m allowed to fold into the day, to really be in the thick of things. Following the energy of the moment and amplifying that in the photos. Finding the small celebrations within the bigger celebration. Roaming freely through events.
I do gently direct when the occasion arises. To create something memorable together. Interesting couple photos. Family photos that will become part of your personal history. I love to take some time for spontaneous portraits. Nothing overwhelming, nothing that gets in the way of your day. Just me casually appearing at your side. I’ve got some good light, I’ve got an idea, wanna play? To which ‘no’ is a perfectly acceptable answer, and ‘yes’ will result in gloriousness.
Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?
Mostly digital, but I sprinkle in some film and polaroids.
Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?
Destination weddings are generally customised based on plans of my couples.
What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?
Preventing photos from turning into digital dust. I love working with my couples to design custom frames and unique art books.
Where would you love to travel to for work?
Japan, Morocco, Bali, Namibia, Cuba, Portugal, Brasil. The world has many beautiful places and I have greedy eyes. But anywhere that means something to you will thrill me, honestly. I love a destination with a good story. A wedding at the modernistic villa from your favorite movie? I’m in. Travelling back to the tiny town your grandfather grew up in? Let’s go.
Who is your dream client?
Art loving couples who want fantastic photos, but you know, casual. My clients like to go their own way.
What is your advice to couples getting married?
You will never disappoint yourself in planning an intentional, meaningful celebration. Don’t succumb to the pressures of uninspired convention. Find the right people to surround you with and let their creativity run wild.