Zai Laffitte: A Global Wedding Photography Experience

  • Publication date: 06/15/2024

In the ephemeral realm of wedding photography, where fleeting moments are the currency of memory, Zai Laffitte stands out as a storyteller whose artwork stretches from the sun-kissed shores of Miami to the historic heartlands of Southern Europe. Zai, the visionary behind Zai Laffitte Photography, weaves narratives not just through her lens but with a profound understanding of the human spirit. Her journey is one of passion, driven by an insatiable curiosity about people, their stories, and the intricate dance of light and shadow. “I'm an international wedding photographer based between Miami, Florida, and Southern Europe, mainly Spain and Italy, but working all over the globe. With a background as a writer and photojournalist, my style tends to focus on the moments and feelings,” Zai explains, inviting us into her world where each photograph is a testament to her artistry and empathy.

The Essence of Her Art

Zai's approach to photography is a delicate balance of elegance and authenticity, inspired by the world around her. “I'm inspired by architecture, nature, fashion, and light, but most of all, stories naturally unfold in front of me. I believe my most powerful tool as a photographer is giving people the comfort and space to be themselves as I document their day,” she shares. This inspiration is evident in her work, which transcends traditional wedding photography to capture the essence of each moment. Since embarking on her photographic journey in 2010, Zai has honed a style that is uniquely her own—artful, timeless, and deeply rooted in editorial storytelling. Her photographs are not just images but windows to a moment, each frame carefully crafted to tell a story that will be cherished for generations.

A Connoisseur of Moments

Zai's toolkit is as diverse as her style, featuring a blend of modern digital technology and the timeless charm of film. “I am a Canon shooter — working mainly with an R6 and a 5DMIV. I use a Nikon 35 TI for film. My favorite wedding lenses are a 35 mm 1.4 and an 85 mm 1.4,” she details. This choice of equipment reflects her commitment to capturing the beauty of her subjects in every possible light, a testament to her versatility and dedication to her craft. But beyond the gear, it's Zai's philosophy on post-processing that sets her apart. “I try to keep my photos as true to the colors, lighting, and ambiance as possible,” she states, showcasing her commitment to authenticity while allowing her creative spirit to flourish through film.

The Heart of the Craft

For Zai, photography is more than a profession—it's a privilege to bear witness to the spectrum of human emotion. “There's something really special about experiencing the moments from the outside, as a documented and a storyteller, but also as an insider that is in that time and space as well,” she muses. This duality of perspective allows her to capture the raw, unfiltered essence of each wedding, from the joyful tears of a parent to the tender glances between lovers. Her approach to client relationships is built on a foundation of deep communication and mutual understanding, often delving into discussions about everything from mood boards to the minutiae of wedding planning. “Communicating is everything to me. I ask clients to share their vision with me via mood boards, often receive photos of wedding dress fittings, and have conversations about things like florals, lighting, etc. even if that's considered outside my area. I think talking about all of these things will lead to realistic expectations about the photography, as well as lead to better outcomes that reflect the vision,” Zai affirms, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in achieving a vision that is true to her clients' dreams.

Building a Foundation: The Key to Authentic Photography

Zai Laffitte emphasizes the significance of establishing a connection before the lens cap even comes off. “The moments I share with my clients before the wedding day, before even picking up my camera — those moments are so important,” she notes, highlighting the essence of rapport between photographer and client. This prelude to the shoot is foundational, not just for acclimatizing clients to the camera but for fostering genuine expressions of their personalities. Zai advises, “Getting to know them, creating a friendship and comfort with each other allows them to truly be themselves effortlessly around me.” She advocates for meaningful interactions ahead of the event, whether through a simple phone conversation, an engagement photo session, or a casual coffee meet-up. These preliminary engagements, Zai believes, are crucial for breaking the ice and paving the way for photographs that are as natural as they are beautiful.

Adventures in Love

“I shoot throughout the U.S. during the Spring, Fall, and Winter months, and shoot destination weddings mainly in Europe during the summer,” — she says.

Zai's photographic journey has taken her to some of the world's most romantic locales, with each destination offering a new canvas for her stories. While she has captured love stories across the globe, it is Paris that holds a special place in her heart. “My favorite destination has been Paris. It was not somewhere I even desired to go, because I felt it may be overrated, but once I got to shoot there I understood the romance and draw of this magical city,” she recounts, her experience in Paris a reminder of the surprises that await in the pursuit of art.

Zai Laffitte's work is a celebration of love in all its forms, a harmonious blend of technique and emotion that captures the essence of each couple's journey. Through her lens, every wedding is a symphony of moments, each note resonating with the vibrancy of life itself. In the world of Zai Laffitte Photography, every photograph is not just a memory preserved, but a story told with depth, sensitivity, and an unwavering commitment to authenticity. As we explore the tapestry of narratives she has woven, it becomes clear that Zai is not just capturing moments; she is preserving legacies.

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Natali Grace Levine Editor-in-Chief

Manages The Wezoree's content strategy
Writes and edits articles for the Inspiration Blog