Before Brjánn Batista Bettencourt (3B Photography) started shooting weddings five years ago, he worked as a photojournalist and editorial photographer. His experiences from working in these fast paced creative environments was important in providing him with creative tools to become a well rounded storyteller. Based in Toronto, Canada, Brjànn's goal is to create a fluid and seamless relationship between capturing impermanent moments along with the mundane beauty of the every-day aesthetic through honest and poignant portraiture.
Tell us about 3B Photography!
I’m Brjánn Batista Bettencourt (3B). Before randomly falling into the world of wedding photography, I worked full time as a photojournalist in Canada’s largest newsrooms before transitioning full time to commercial photography and weddings.
Analog film is a core part of my creative process as it’s my medium of choice to shoot commercial projects and weddings including the use of Super 8 and 16mm motion picture film to create wedding videos.
What would you like couples to know about 3B?
I work alongside my soon to be wife Ryanne Hollies (another talented photographer and creative).
My background as a photojournalist and Ryanne’s background as a curator have allowed us to create a cohesive body of work that explores and blends the core concepts of our past experiences across a broad spectrum.
Where are you based?
I am currently based in Toronto, Canada.
Do you travel for weddings?
Absolutely. We travel all over the world to capture weddings and couples. The main destinations I end up working in are Brooklyn and LA.
How would you describe your style?
Narrative storytelling with nostalgic elements? My work has a through line between all the types of photography I practice so it’s hard to pinpoint a style since my approach and mindset shifts from shoot to shoot. My main goal is to have my creative eye evolve over time but I always want to create images that are impactful on some level. The best way for me to get there is to be emotional invested in the people I work with and the environment I’m surrounded by. The presentation of my work has an equal amount of importance to the photographs themselves so that’s definitely something I’m leaning way more into these days.
What is your most memorable career moment?
Not wedding related - but a tie between photographing Shania Twain or shooting a promo for my favourite band DIIV for their 10 year anniversary concert in Brooklyn NY.
What inspires you?
Music. Skateboarding. My own life. The people I’ve met and coming of age experiences I’ve gone through first hand play a vital role in the influences found in my work. I grew up in the skater counter-culture world, it was a big part of my identity growing up and played a huge role throughout my life and how I approached art and creativity. Combine that with going to an Arts School throughout high school, I was always exposed to various forms of art and expression which really opened my mind to various worlds and perspectives. Throw in a BW film and darkroom printing class throughout those years and combine all those experiences together and eventually you get the person I am today.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I genuinely just enjoy creating images and it’s more of an intuition thing than anything else. My entire family is from Portugal originally and there’s this term in Portuguese culture called Saudade which is an undefined and profound emotion that encompasses melancholy, nostalgia and feeling of longing for people and moments forgotten. It’s hard to describe in words but that emotion has been of my artistic pursuits since my teenage years.
So I guess I’m just chasing that feeling when creating images on wedding days . Hopefully with my choice of light, colour and perspective I can get closer to capturing that innate feeling of nostalgic longing.
How would you describe your working style?
I describe myself as an active observer on wedding days. I think there’s a misconception in the wedding industry that photojournalists sort of hang back and capture quietly but in reality a big part of my career as a Photojournalist was interacting, interviewing and engaging with my surroundings in some way. That approach of shooting has stuck with me for a long time so I’ll essentially hang back and document when moments are unfolding but when it comes time to create something with intention I’m a bit more involved and apart of the experience. I figured I’m already there so I might as well be engaged and live through the experience so the images can have a more intimate perspective from someone who genuinely felt the emotion and nuances of the moment.
Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?
Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?
99% of the time I’m creating custom packages that cater to individual needs. I have a fluid approach to creating packages if couples want that but I also have a few turn-key options for packages for people who want to keep things simple.
What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?
Over the last few years I’ve shifted into more directing roles and have found a passion in motion pictures. I’ve always offered Super 8 to couples but now have taken it one step further and started shooting wedding videos on 16mm motion picture film. I’m excited to blend the cinematic quality of 16mm film with my mindset as a documentary storyteller. Moving images have a completely different vibe and feeling than a photograph and I think I can create something that really allows couples to relive their wedding day experience in a unique and elevated way.
Where would you love to travel to for work?
Ironically I’ve never shot a wedding in my home country of Portugal, so I’d love for the opportunity to knock that off my to-do list.
Who is your dream client?
People who are inspired by music, people who see the beauty in the mundane, anyone who’s a sucker for nostalgia.
What is your advice to couples getting married?
As a photographer my #1 piece of advice is remember that Instagram is a curated lie. When hiring photographers ask to see full galleries to get a real sense of the scope of their body of work across an entire wedding day experience. I’d also strongly recommend meeting your photographer (virtually or ideally in person) to make sure you’re on the same wavelength and vibe with them. It’s a collaboration and if you’re looking to hiring someone strictly from what you see on their curated feed VS meeting them and getting a sense of who they really are, then there might be a major disconnect between the work you saw and the work they create for you.
As someone planning their own wedding - Do you. Allow yourself to have a real experience that transcends trends and wedding industry hype. Remember that what you see on IG isn’t reality - live in the moment and have fun and don’t worry too much about what other people will think. Don’t sweat the small stuff because it really is the small stuff and won’t matter when you relive the memory sometime down the road.