In the Spotlight : Jose Villa

José needs little introduction, not only because his lovely light-filled work has garnered a gigantic following, but also because it speaks so clearly of his whole schtick. Actually, he’s really schtick-free . . . maybe that’s why I’m just one of his many devotees. He’s gentle, genuine, laiiiid-back as only a Californian can be, and flat-out ridiculously gifted. Enjoy an inside peek on him below, and definitely run out and pick up his new book Fine Art Wedding Photography : How to Capture Images with Style for the Modern Bride. (yep, that’s our friend Tec on the cover!)

A few things about you and your inherent “you-ness”….
JV: Ive been shooting weddings for 8 years, and my passion for weddings and beauty comes from having an amazingly sweet and big Mexican family, growing up on a horse ranch, and seeing the beauty in organic, simple life is what speaks to me.
If you could shoot a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be?
JV: Oh this is a tough one.. I want to shoot in so many locations.. a year ago I would have said Cuba. In January I shot a Cuba wedding . . . so today Im going to say a wedding in Peru would make me so happy. Im putting  the positive energy out there for one, come on Peru.. let’s do this!
What’s the one thing you wish you could say outright to every bride or couple, but you feel like you can’t, out of propriety?
JV: Don’t cheap out on the photographer of your dreams, you will regret it, I promise.. and do yourself a favor and book a wedding planner with an eye and not just one that knows timelines and vendors.
What’s your take on the controversial “First Peek”, where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony?
JV: I’m not a big fan of the “first peek” or “first look”. It’s so set up, even if you try your best to make it look natural, not very organic. Yes of course the couple will show their genuine love for each other in their wedding attire when they see each other. I love when the couple sees each other as they walk down the aisle at their ceremony. Nothing can re-create the emotions from the couple and the family. You can’t get more genuine emotion and love than that.

Three words (or a phrase) that epitomize your style?
JV: Organic, timeless, emotional, soft, fine art
One of your top favorite images from 2010?
JV: I love this image of Jenny, she was so calm and collected as she placed the veil over her face to walk down the aisle.. it has such softness and simple beauty.

What’s one (fun/weird/crazy) thing we wouldn’t know about you?
JV: For a photography school project (10 years ago, I was 18 years old) I wanted to shoot images of real people crossing the US Mexican border. This included human traffickers and drug smuggling across the border, but this idea didn’t fly with my parents. I still want to do this one day.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?
JV: Creating images that will last in the family heirloom for hundreds of years, capturing genuine moments of family that will never be recreated again.

No wedding is complete without . . .
JV: A loving family and some great style.. oh how about a good band?!


  1. charlotte

    Jose is incredible and these images are just simply stunning…thank you for sharing this interview! I purchased his book and it took me 2 days to read from start to finish…can’t wait to read it again and again and again!

  2. Leigh

    I love what he says about hiring a planner with an “eye”, not just a timeline maker! So so true!

  3. Monica Dart

    Great interview. A truly stunningly precious man – I met him in London last year. warm, gentle, inspiring and incredibly gifted. He know’s i’m saving like crazy so I can fly him over to South Africa to shoot my wedding one day!

  4. Melanie

    I’ve only known Jose Villa recently and in such a short amount of time, have fallen head over heels in LOVE with his work. only recently, since WPPI, where I heard him speak did I really get to know the artist behind the lens. you can never get a more genuine, honest and might I add, lovable and loves-to-make-others-laugh type of person – and that’s who you want as your photographer. =)

  5. Ross

    wow, these are amazing. Such great pix and a lovely looking couple too. Fantastic