Joel + Justyna are wedding, fashion and editorial photographers documenting celebrations and projects around the world. In order to give their couples the attention they deserve, the duo limits how many events they capture per year, offering a boutique service to their clients. Based in Canada, Joel + Justyna travel extensively to capture weddings globally.
Tell us about your business!
We spend every day together with a business goal in mind for making sure our couples experience a truly joyous wedding day so that we can deliver timeless, emotionally charged images. We've traveled with our couples to all the corners of the globe to help shape memories of incredible celebrations.
What would you like couples to know about you?
Our philosophy has always been, 'a wedding day isn't a photoshoot', even though that might sound counter-intuitive. For us, a couple's enjoyment and presence for each other, family, and guests comes first. Through that simple mantra, great photos will follow. We photograph weddings on a number of different cameras and mediums – both film and digital. We take it as a true honour to be a bride and groom's eyes throughout the day - to serve as the documentarian of such an important and beautiful day.
Where are you based?
We are presently living in Canada.
Do you travel for weddings?
How would you describe your style?
'An unobtrusive guest with a camera'. We love finding unstaged, unposed moments that make the viewer feel like they were there. That requires a certain amount of blending in with our atmosphere. We use a gentle guiding hand for portraits, but 99% of the time, we’re that guest with camera(s).
What is your most memorable career moment?
Being able to plan and photograph (and be the only witnesses) to Justyna’s brothers elopement in Denmark during the pandemic. It was beyond surreal and special to be able to help design the day and create photos; truly a guest with a camera.
What inspires you?
Our couples and how they celebrate love! It may sound like a predictable reply, but it's true! When we arrive on a wedding day, and there’s this wild and beautiful whirlwind of emotions, and we have to see everything right away - something we do well after much experience - we get caught up in their love, how they’re celebrating, their nearest and dearest friends and family. That really informs us about how the photos will look as a complete collection.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Anonymously documenting someone’s memories - that those memories will be printed and hanging on a wall in the homes of great-grandchildren. We've seen these photos already, all of us. The old wedding photos in the hallway. How you study the faces to find some similarity with your own. To see if you recognize anyone else, to see what people wore. To see how happy (or stoic) they look. These pictures will outlast us all and will always - always - get better with time. There’s no fame in it for us. There’s no legacy, apart from the work itself. It’s a beautiful thing to be in the present but very much a part of the future too. That's what motivates us every time we have a camera in hand at a wedding.
How would you describe your working style?
Unobtrusive. We’d cringe at the thought of making a 'scene', or taking over a room, or directing too assertively. There’s small gently guidance during portraits (that everyone needs), but there’s enough beauty on a real day that doesn’t require a demanding artist (for example 'Hug your bridesmaids! Mom, kiss your daughter! Hold it! Wait! I have to get another camera!'). No, no, no, this is not us. We’re unobtrusive documentarians, there to help not hinder. We've been complimented many times before the same sentiment, 'It was like you were there, but weren't!'. To us, that is perfect and exactly what we hope to achieve with our working style.
Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?
Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?
Yes we do – we have hourly or full day, and only take on one wedding per weekend.
What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?
Full day coverage with rehearsal and welcome dinner. If we can spend a few days with our couples and their friends and family, that makes the photos so much more intimate. Through this, we’re able to get to gain trust, build a little rapport, and capture even more lovely photographs of the whole celebration!
Where would you love to travel to for work?
We would love to document a wedding in Grasse, Rome, Montana / Wyoming, Japan and Kenya.
Who is your dream client?
Anyone who lives in a Slim Aarons universe – nostalgia, beautiful places, and chic happy people ready to celebrate to fullest!
What is your advice to couples getting married?
Be present. The day goes by so fast, and once its starts, it’s a runaway train. From the moment you wake up on your wedding day, commit to love, enjoyment and fun, exclusively. Forget everything else. And be sure to create some time for just for the two of you! It is your day after all!