The deconstructed image – episode 1

When I see an interesting photograph I always start deconstructing it in my head – this is how I picked up a lot of skills and especially in the early days of my photography career looking at the Exif data of images on Flickr or reading Joe McNally’s book The moment It Clicks really helped me to develop this skill further.

So I figured to do a series of deconstructed wedding images – this can help aspiring wedding photographers to get some new ideas but also gives a bit of an insight to couples of how we work. Here is the first one – let us know what you think.



So this shot was taken on a pre-wedding shoot in Hoi An in April. It was beautiful afternoon sunlight around 3pm but as you can see in the shot there was no direct sunlight here – the natural light used here is light that bounced of the walls on the other side of the road creating a nice and soft fill light.

I always like to create different layers in my photos so in this case I tried to place the groom about 50cm to 1m from the nicely patterned wooded wall to blur it out slightly and then i place the bride 3 meters in frot of him so I can blur her out in the foreground.


For the EXIF data freaks among you here you go:

Camera: Canon EOS 6D

Lens: Canon 35mm f1.4 L-series

Apperture: f1.4

Exposure time: 1/4000 sec

ISO: 100

no flash

For the post production I basically increased vibrance, clarity and contrast, pumped up the blacks a bit and did some burning on the outer parts of the frame to create the darker mood.

I hope this was interesting and helpful…


Mad Men Series Finale Location (Spoiler alert) | Wedding in Big Sur

Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_008



You’re probably thinking what does Mad Men have to do with wedding photography? Don’t worry I’m not going to attempt to drum up some weird deep connection to the two just because there is a buzz about the series coming to an end. This is simpler than that. I am in many ways similar to Don Draper with my rugged handsomeness, complex inner struggles, and checkered past. No, no, no, that isn’t it either ok ok I’ll get to the point.

I’m huge Mad Men fan and I’ve seen every episode on flights all over the place en route to various shoots. For the finale I was able to be at home, sort of the opposite of Don Draper in the finale. I sat down in front of my TV, dressed in my 3-piece suit with a bottle of scotch and drank in the episode. As Don escaped to a wellness retreat on the stunning coast of Big Sur, California I couldn’t help feel familiar with the location.

It was indeed the exact setting for a beautiful wedding I photographed a few years back at Anderson Canyon. For a wedding photographer and for a bride and groom you couldn’t ask for a better setting, it was breathtaking. For those fans of celebrities this is also the place where Natalie Portman got married.

So yes this blog post is a long-winded way of saying “cool, I’ve shot there”. While Don Draper ends in a Zen moment doing yoga I sprained my ankle that day not far from his yoga aread, but hey I never said I was as cool as Don Draper.


Here are some of my favorites images from that day.


Blog by Justin Mott/Mott Visuals Weddings

Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_007


Emily and Danny's Wedding Story by Mott Visuals Wedding PhotographyBig Sur, CaliforniaJune 2013


Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_004


Mott Visuals Weddings Portfolio_Vietnam Wedding Photography_005



Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_010


Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_006


Anderson Canyon Wedding Venue Big Sur California_002


Emily and Danny's Wedding Story Big Sur California by Mott Visuals Weddings 080



Venue | Anderson Canyon, Big Sur


Photographers | Justin Mott and Stephen Lam/Mott Visuals Weddings

Wedding Planner |


An Interview With Mott Visuals Wedding Photographer Christian Berg



How did you come to Vietnam?


I grew up in Germany and I first came to Vietnam about 12 years ago. It is actually quite funny as we have more and more clients from Germany and many of them are really surprised when they find out that they actually hired a German photographer in Southeast Asia. But back to answer your question – I first came to Vietnam 12 years ago when I studied Southeast Asian Studies back home… I fell in love Vietnam, I stayed longer for internships and freelance work with different media organisations. And eventually I stayed.



Describe your style of photography?


I come from photojournalist / documentary background. So one of the pillars of my style is capturing natural moments, rather then setting up scenes. For me the beauty of photography was always to give my own interpretation of reality. In a sense as a photographer I try to “read between the lines” and try to show things that others might not see, without actually changing the reality. Natural light plays a big role here.

Apart from that I like more complex compositions with different layers of foreground and background.


Why did you join Mott Visuals Weddings?


I think with Mott Visuals, Justin established the strongest brand in Wedding Photography in Asia. I have been following Justin’s work and we also have been friends for a long time. So when he asked me to join Mott Visuals Weddings I did not think twice – I love working together with other photographers as passionate as Justin and Aaron and we constantly push each other to become better shooters. It is a very inspirational environment.



What is your favorite destination for shooting weddings and why?


That is a tough question because there are some many beautiful destinations in Southeast Asia.

But I think my favourite is still Danang / Hoi An in Vietnam – the central coast has beautiful wedding venues such as the Intercontinental Danang Peninsula Hotel, where there are always new shooting opportunities to discover – and if the couple likes another portrait session the ancient city of Hoi An is simply amazing in the late afternoon light.



If you had to show a potential client only one picture from your portfolio what would it be and why?


this shot – i think it perfectly captures the joy a wedding can bring to the couple –


Chris Berg interview _ Favourite Client photo



Do you speak Vietnamese and have you had to use your language skills on a shoot?


I speak pretty fluent Vietnamese – and yes I had to use it on many shoots . Mainly on editorial assignments, but also on Wedding shoots with Vietnamese clients – for example it might be that bride and groom speak great English but maybe their parents don’t – so speaking Vietnamese definitely helps breaking the ice…


How is your style different from local photographers?


I would not so much distinguish between local and foreign photographers, but rather say my style is different from traditional wedding photographers – I have seen weddings where the photograher basically chases the couple around the whole day – do this, do that, repeat, repeat again… this can be really annoying for everyone involved. Of course for the portrait shots i do there are a few staged shots involved, but apart from that it is really more about storytelling and actually capturing the moment..


Can you share some of the memorable moments that you’ve had while shooting?


There are lots of memorable moments for sure, but one that is still in my mind is a wedding I shot a few years back in Mui Ne – it was supposed to be a beach wedding but the weather turned terrible – however the couple, Uyen & Kha, really kept up the great spirit and it was a great party and very memorable for everyone – the photo above is actually from that wedding.


What piece of advice would you give to potential bride and grooms about choosing their wedding photographer?


I think first of all you should look at their portfolio – check out the weddings they have done before and find a photographer whose style you really like. Secondly you should make sure that the photographer has shot already many weddings and does not use your wedding to practice – wedding photography is not easy and you want to have someone on the day who really knows how to get the best shots. Also have a look at the pricing – are you quoted and all inclusive price (including travel, lodging etc) or are there additional costs? how many images are included in the deliverables etc…


What piece of advice would you give to a bride and groom on how to make better photos on their big day?


Have a Skype call with your photographer a few weeks ahead of the wedding to go over details – he also might be able to give a few timing suggestions (e..g when is the best light for photos etc..) – set aside a bit time for portraits just of you and your significant other (usually even half an hour with the right light can lead to amazing results) – and share ideas with the photographer about images you like…



JustinMott-Photo Face-off-TV Banner_4


Every career has a reality TV show nowadays, from chefs to pawn brokers, but what about photographers? When I was asked to be the resident photographer on History Asia’s first home grown reality show about photography, Photo Face-Off, I jumped at the chance.

The show is regional only, filming in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia. It was described to me as Iron Chef meets Amazing Race. The show has essentially made photography a sport and being a competitive dude I love this idea.

I was confident and maybe a little cocky about my skills because I shoot all kinds of professional photography. I’ve shot over 100 assignments for the New York Times all over Asia, and I also run a successful wedding photography and commercial photographybusiness. I’m use to working under pressure and working quickly.

I was a little worried that my looks might hinder my chances at being selected. The producers had only seen my old biography pictures where I had a full head of hair and was decently fat. The updated version of myself was larger and lets say less hair present. I was later told the Advertising Agency was disappointed that my looks didn’t match my picture; you have to love that Asian honesty.


I slammed an afternoon whiskey at my office to loosen up the nerves and had my friend interview me for my audition video.

I’m a goofy dude and that showed, and the next thing you know a tall fat American photographer was put on TV.

The show pits me up against amateur photographers all over the region and is based on the Canon PhotoMarathon, a popular yearly photography contest in most major cities throughout Southeast Asia.

Through the course of an episode I go head to head against the amateur local photographer in 3 different challenges and we use everything from the top of the line DSLR’s to compact cameras. The playing field is leveled by time restrictions and extreme circumstances like having to get a macro shot of bees without wearing protective gloves. I don’t always win and the show humbled me quite a bit.



MOTT History Channel Profile from Mott Visuals on Vimeo.

The show is part entertainment and part education and it caters to any level of interest in photography. After the show was finished, I got to travel to all the Canon PhotoMarathon events in the Southeast Asia and talk about photography. It’s amazing how many people come to these events — there were thousands. I was enthralled about the passion for photography in Southeast Asia; people are so hungry to learn.

Season 1 was a huge success for the network and Season 2 was just given the go ahead. We start filming in Singapore at the end of this month and I can’t wait to compete.