Why some ideas for photoshoot in Iceland are just not worth exploring
In my previous articles I showed you some of the most amazing, picturesque locations recommended for an unforgettable elopement photo session in Iceland. You can read about them here: Vik, Reykiavik. Each comes with a set of great pictures to give you an idea of how your shots can be like.
So now, when you read this title, you may think that it sounds like I try to discourage you from chasing the perfect wedding shots.
And in a way… I am. Why?
First reason is “Safety first”, that is not just a slogan. More than anything, your safety is my top priority. I’ve lived in Iceland and worked as photographer here long enough to know from experience – Iceland is unpredictable. Roadblocks, strong winds, heavy snow are not that uncommon and can happen very suddenly.
Secondly, the social media images of perfect shots are just one part of the reality. And you need to know, realistically, what to expect while being a model for your own wedding session.
Let’s explore some of the most popular locations to see them from the other side.
Reynisfjara – Black beach
This is, by far, one of the most amazing photo locations in Iceland. White dress, contrasting with the depth of black sand or rocks… imagination runs wild here.
This beach kills people every year. Even though there are numerous, well placed, warning signs around it. Why?
Because someone stood too close to the waves, wanting to take a picture.
Because someone turned their back on smooth ocean just to be surprised with rogue wave coming from around the rocks.
Because someone went up on the rock formations, slippery and wet from the waves, and lost balance.
Because someone decided to swim or surf or dive in the ocean, which is prohibited here.
Ice lagoon – Jökulsárlón
This location is one of my favorites. The vision of mountains made of ice, raising just from under one’s feet is so tempting… it’s so hard to believe this place is actually amongst the top most dangerous locations in Iceland.
Jökulsárlón ice lagoon is not your average frozen lake. The beauty of this place is that the ice never looks the same. It is because of the constant movement. Ice mountains drift and swirl around, creating one-of-its-kind views. Beautiful, but deadly to anyone who happens to fall into any of the cracks in the ice, that can constantly freeze and trap someone underneath.
One rule here – never go on that ice. It is deceptive. We can work around that, making sure pictures feature the landscape. But. Never. On. Ice. For one, it is dangerous, and secondly – if you get caught a local police will surely intervene. Take a look at the pictures by a local guide who captured this very irresponsible behavior.
If that is not enough, how about if I tell you that even professional divers decline to help in case of emergencies, if something happens there? In 2016 a car fell into the lagoon. No people were inside – thankfully. But this vehicle remained in the lagoon until local professional divers decided that it is safe for them to actually take it out. You can read about this incident in the Iceland Magazine.
If this is so dangerous, then why do we see pictures taken in Reynisfjara or Jökulsárlón Ice lagoon?
It is all about the right season and the right weather conditions.
In season, so May to August (max September) it is much safer to explore Reynisfjara black beach or Jökulsárlón Ice lagoon.
If we schedule a wedding photoshoot that would include any of these locations – we can achieve good effect. With the right weather conditions, with the right clothing, with a proper respect for the forces of nature it is possible to take amazing pictures there. But it demands flexibility on both client and photographer side.
If, on the day of scheduled photoshoot it’s not possible to safely pursue the pictures, I am here to suggest great alternative locations that are safe. Vik Beach, for example, also beautiful, but with an entirely different conditions than Reynisfjara. Being careful still applies here, btw. Or perhaps an ice cave in Reykjavik? Let me know your ideas and together we can explore or extend your Icelandic elopement photoshoot locations.