Ivelin Iliev is one of the most recognizable wedding photographers in Bulgaria. In 2020, he was ranked among the Top 20 best wedding photographers in the world in the ranking by the international organization FEARLESS. Six of his photos also received individual awards from the same organization. Ivelin himself says that thanks to the wedding photography he “discovered his life’s mission.” He feels a strong influence by the Spanish school in this industry, as he himself has spent a long time on the Iberian Peninsula. Here is what Ivelin Iliev shared in an interview with lifestyle online magazine VIBES:
Being a wedding photographer is hard. From the sidelines, everything looks beautiful and interesting, but it is a responsible job. You meet a lot of new people, you take pictures in different places, you experience the happiness of the newlyweds and their loved ones. But it is responsible because people trust you to capture one of the most important days of their lives. You have to be focused so you don’t miss the most emotional moments and shoot them in the most artistic way.
We have to respect them as individuals and take their feelings into consideration. We need to be psychologists to help them relax and indulge in their emotions. When necessary, I tell jokes: the newlyweds should feel free and secure with their photographer, not feel embarrassed around him or her.
In the beginning, the location of the photos it was of great importance to me, since I was always looking for the perfect composition. After I changed my concept of work, captured moments became the leading power for me. This is why newlyweds who do not hide their emotions are of great importance.
Most photographers pay great attention to the photo shoot. However, a wedding is a wholesome event that needs to be documented equally in order to tell a story consistently. What I believe is a mistake, and I personally avoid doing, is directing and interfering with the events. The photographer is there to reflect the event without drawing attention to him-/herself, to remain almost unnoticed, to look for moments
I haven’t been to an underwater or an airborne wedding yet. But in almost every wedding I have experienced extreme situations. On my way to Berlin, because of a severe storm, the plane hovered for about an hour without being able to land, and then we waited all night for our luggage because of a staff strike. I have been in a car accident during a wedding, but fortunately, not a serious one. At another one, the groom’s father had a car accident, and the IDs were in him. The important thing is to keep composure, and not to disturb the newlyweds unnecessarily.
Canon found me a several years ago in Spain. In the store where I wanted to buy a camera, there was only Canon and so I bought my first EOS 450D. I first fell in love with 5D Mark II, a real machine, a great camera for its time!
Then I replaced it with a 5D Mark III, which was followed a change of the system with a mirrorless one – EOS R, and I really fell in love with EOS R6.
Canon always stands out from other brands, I will not talk about the past, because mirrorless systems are the present. For me, the EOS R system has the most convenient and stable grip, as well as the correct arrangement of the function keys, not to mention the programmable ring in the RF lenses. Here, the left hand becomes part of the work process and gives great speed, which is of great importance in my work. What about the focal system? I often joke that I haven’t picked up the camera yet and the focus is where it needs to be. There is no way not to love Canon!
First, I am honored to be among such talented colleagues, part of the Generation R, and I am glad that we are growing and becoming more and more. Generation R means I’m on the right track in my development and it inspires me to work hard and put my best into it. Success is never late and always comes when you’re ready for it. Being part of Generation R also means great responsibility.
It definitely awakens creativity! I have already shared on several occasions that this year, I found inspiration in EOS R6. The flawless autofocus frees me from thinking about the technical part and allows me to focus on the search for the moment. It gives me certainty that whatever happens in front of me, I will have it captured. Same goes for the image stabilization – it constantly challenges you to experiment and makes you more creative.
I always shoot with Canon EF 85mm and RF 35mm. They are my favorite lenses. These two lenses, with two camera bodies – EOS R and EOS R6 – are always with me. As the saying goes, no matter how well a person lives, one begins to shoot with prime lenses. Jokes aside, these are the focal lengths that perfectly fit my style and way of work, and the qualities they possess suit my requirements. In my work, I can not compromise and risk the trust of my clients, so I only use reliable and quality equipment.
It is a known fact that I am a great lover of black and white photography. These, to me, are photographs with soul and emotion. In them, “colors” are the main thing the viewer sees. Nothing else distracts the attention. Until now, I have not dared to issue an entire wedding in black and white, but I would be extremely happy if I was sought by newlyweds precisely for this.
My dream is to photograph weddings in different parts of the world, to be part of rituals of different cultures and traditions. I also dream of having a lot of free time for my favorite street photography. I also have ideas for a few personal projects, and I hope the pandemic will soon be just history so that I can make them happen.