MARQ RILEY | Wedding Photographer & Filmmaker in Greece


Photographer, Filmmaker, 



I've done a few things I'm proud of.

Growing up in between the frozen lakes and canals of the Netherlands, my teachers once remarked that I had a great imagination, but couldn't keep focussed on one thing for a long time. How could I, the world buzzing with things to see, hear, taste, do. My interests were never limited to one form of creative expression. I loved creating images, sounds or performances of some kind.

At the Utrecht School of Arts I started exploring the way the creative process manifests itself in different cultures. Equally fascinated by the meticulous choreography and lighting in the productions of avant-garde director Robert Wilson as I was working with community theatre groups for disease prevention and AIDS awareness in Zimbabwe, I eventually graduated as a theatre director in 1997.

Then for a few years I immersed myself in music, organising jazz concerts, helping out at festivals, being a production assistant for Greek artist Eleftheria Arvanitaki, until eventually I was hired as an editor, photographer and videographer at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

From 2005 I became Editor-in-Chief at an advertising agency and later a freelance writer, collaborating with  publications such as The Observer, Fortune magazine, Foreign Affairs and L'Officiel Hommes.

But in 2008 and 2010 with the births of my son Noa and daughter Emilie, I found myself in a whole new state of mind. My priorities became much clearer, and I started to follow my most consistent passions: photography and film. My father had taught me the art of photography with analog Nikon cameras, but the exciting convergence of stills and motion in today's digital cameras meant I was finally able to combine my sound, vision and story.

So today I am an international observer, part photographer, part filmmaker and full-time passenger into other people's lives.  

Why choosing a wedding photographer is such a personal matter

Having planned all the details of your wedding, the next question is who you want to capture those precious memories for you. Just like the selection of a planner, designer and DJ, choosing a wedding photographer is a very personal matter. You want someone whose style matches your vision, and preferably someone who connects with your character. The "market" offers an abundance of photographers catering to all tastes, and picking one can get a little intimidating.

In addition, wedding films have become a fascinating option for capturing your big day. Wedding cinematographers will create a finely edited movie, highlighting the key moments of your wedding. But do you really want four or more people running around with huge cameras, tripods, lights and the likes? Many couples feel they intrude on the wedding's intimacy and curb spontaneity.  I’ve observed this myself, having attended several weddings of friends, seeing the photographers virtually take over proceedings, constantly directing the bride, groom and everyone around. “Look here!” “Give me a smile!” “Don’t step out of the car yet!”.

But I believe a wedding photographer’s job is to document the natural magic of the day, and there had to be friendlier way of capturing what really should be happening on such an important life event. So when I was first asked to shoot a wedding, my approach was to let the couple, their families, friends and guests enjoy their big day as it happened, with very little interference from me. Once they get used to you and forget you are there, that's when the stories are left free to unfold; emotions build up, and the most precious moments emerge in all authenticity.

I think a photojournalistic, low-profile and spontaneous approach has made wedding photography and cinematography exciting. That's why I try to apply the best of my observational, personal and filmmaking skills to make the most of a wedding day's story. Now in my fifth year as a destination wedding photographer and cinematographer, my bookings have covered the Greek islands of Mykonos, Sifnos, Syros, Skiathos, Ikaria, Paros, Naxos, Kimolos and Spetses, as well as mainland Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and France, all through word-of-mouth referrals. I think my couples must be quite happy with their images and films. I try to keep my gear small, blend in as much as possible, and can frequently be found jumping around on the dance floor. In my experience, that's how you get the best material. It’s a passion and a privilege.