EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.










June 14, 2013

Reykjavik, Iceland: Mandy + Alex – Part I

The past seven years have been, honestly, a dream come true.  I have been so extremely blessed to photograph hundreds of couples on some of the happiest days of their lives.  I’ve witness babies being born, mom’s meeting them for the first time.  I’ve done portraits, new borns, events, news journalism.  Blessed am I to have traveled all over the United States, and more importantly, to be trust to come along across the United States to photograph some one.  To photograph a couple.  A family.  A union of two becoming one.

I just never could have predicted my life today.

I am just so so so incredibly thankful to the Good Lord for revealing this passion and this itch of people, travel, creating, and loving on others.  It’s all been combined in a way I never that I never thought would be.  I didn’t plan on becoming a professional photographer.  It sort of just happened.  And I praise Him for leading me to it.

And to think I’d be shooting in Iceland someday was just ludicrous.

At the beginning of 2013, I received an email. I had just woken up, eyes heavy, throat groggy.  I rolled over and grabbed my iPhone and opened the world.  Took a peek at the news and then tapped on my Mail app.  Among the new e-mails was one entitled, “Pre-Wedding Photography in Iceland.”

My eyes sort of came out of their sockets.  Especially as I continued to read and got the impression that this email wasn’t a hoax.  These people real.

These people… Alex and Mandy from Singapore.

Alex and Mandy found me online.  They originally saw images from another Singaporean couple I’d photographed last year.  One thing led to another and they came across the engagement session of Makenzie and Alex (ironic).  They say they way I captured Mak and Alex and those gorgeous Colorado mountains sealed the deal for them and gave them peace that I was the one to capture their love and their love for nature.  Particularly in Iceland.

Why Iceland? Mandy is geography major.  She’s got this love for all things natural.  She doesn’t wear an ounce of makeup.  She appreciates textures.  And colors.  And little tiny flowers budding out of a patch of dirt.  She is beside herself when standing in the presence of mountains.  Her love and appreciation for the world around her… both things large and small… is contagious.

And I think that’s how she snagged Alex. :-)

Because you see, in my opinion, these two are a two peas in a pod.  Alex loves that side of her.  He encourages adventure.  Travel.  Hiking.  Sight-seeing.  He collects rocks for her.  Little tiny flowers budding out of a patch of dirt.  He too, is in aw of the world around him.  And of this girl.

They’re silly together.  They’re playful.  They’re curious.  They’re kind.  Oh, so kind.  And just so loving towards one another.  They remind of two kids who grew up together riding bikes and playing in the dirt and eventually fell in love.  (They actually met in college, but ya know, I like to think they went to the same pre-school and were reunited years later. ;-)

So, combine that love for nature, rocks, mountains, travel, adventure (and hotdogs), and you get the ultimate destination: Iceland.

Meet: Alex and Mandy from Singapore.  In Iceland.

We met for day one of our first shoot in the capital city of Reykjavik.  We’d already met the night before this shoot for whale and horse and Iceland Gull beer.  Yum.  Actually, not so much the horse, but the whale and beer – YES.  We’d planned to start our three day shooting extravaganza with an urban shoot.  The next day would take us on a tour along the southern coast.

Beginning at Iceland’s iconic symbol, the Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church, we set off for a city tour I will never forget.

Here we go.  Venture with me through Iceland in this three day post…

The majestic Mt. Esja is the backdrop of Reykjavik.  It’s actually not a single mountain, but often referred to that way.  It’s a volcanic mountain range, made from basalt and tuff-stone.

So in many of the Asian cultures, you’ll learn about “fantasy pre-wedding photography” shoots that occur typically in a studio.  The couples wear very extravagant clothes (think Renasiannce dresses) and display these images at their wedding banquet.   Sorta like an extreme version of our engagement and/or bridal portraits though with the groom.  Here’s an article from CNN about Chinese pre-wedding photography.

Mandy and Alex said that, yes, these are typically done in a studio, but the more non-traditional couples do them as destination shoots.  For Alex and Mandy, it was Iceland.  So here begins the portion of our shoot in not her actual wedding dress, but a white dress, and Alex’s wedding suit.  You’ll see these outfits throughout the next few posts.

There’s that gorgeous Mt. Esja.

Here’s where things really start to pick up… :-)

I was watching that sun behind them, just waiting for the second it came out from behind the cloud.

And when it did, we ran towards it.  And also towards Reykjavik’s second icon: the Sun Voyager (Sólfar), appropriately named for the way the sun shines on this beauty.

 Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. The sculpture is located by Sæbraut, by the sea in the centre of Reykjavík.

And it was so good. These are by far, my favorite images from our time together.


From the Sun Voyager, we made our way to Reykjavik’s theater (think Sydney Opera House) called the Harpa.  Built in 2011, this giant building is heated by Iceland’s natural geothermal resources.  According to Mandy, the heat is free!

The Harpa is situated in a solitary spot with a clear view of the enormous sea and the mountains surrounding Reykjavik.

Our last stop of the evening, and by evening I mean about midnight (the sun sets so late that far north!) was at one of Reykjavi’s famous hotdog stands.  The Icelanders love hotdogs.  (And pizza with cream cheese.)  These little guys are really to die for.  They have this funky looking brown sauce on them that is, well, just magical.

Stay tuned for part II which is much more focused on the gorgeous geography of Iceland.



comments so far, leave yours

  1. Sarah Crespo says:

    Simply gorgeous, Rene :)

  2. Sarah Crespo says:

    Simply gorgeous, Rene!

  3. Malerie says:

    My heart is pitter pattering! These images are SPECTACULAR!!!!!

  4. Cara Imhoff says:

    Amazing pictures! You did an awesome job.

  5. Stephanie says:


  6. Jesie McElroy says:

    Incredible! Man, that shot in front of the boat, sunset background, hands held. Remarkable!

  7. Allison says:


  8. Kami says:

    I so do not envy this beautiful couple’s hard to decision to pick which shots to frame. Let’s hope they live in a large house!

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