PROFILE

Félicia Sisco

A newly married couple leave a church and are showered in confetti in Corsica. Taken by Canon Ambassador Félicia Sisco on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
People throw rice and flower petals over a happy couple to celebrate at a traditional wedding in Corsica. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens at 1/640 sec, f/3.2 and ISO400. © Félicia Sisco

With a wealth of experience in photographing weddings, Félicia Sisco has perfected her style to focus on life, emotion and light.

French wedding and fashion photographer Félicia's agenda is simple: to create lasting memories that accurately, yet beautifully, reflect a couple's big day. Ambient, full of light and above all natural, Félicia's style has stood the test of time – she's clocked up an impressive four decades in the industry. "I just shoot every couple as they are," Felicia responds when asked what makes her brand different. "My photography is as unique as they are. It's their story, and every love story is unique. I ask them to be natural and be themselves, and I do that too. I'm just myself. My photography is not unique, it's simple and well lit, and that's the true meaning of wedding photography – light and love."

Canon Ambassador Félicia Sisco.

Location: Corsica and Paris, France

Specialist areas: Weddings, portraits, fashion

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Born and raised on the French island of Corsica, Félicia first flirted with the art of photography aged just eight. Her obliging sisters were more than happy to volunteer as models. "Becoming a photographer became my dream, but it was very difficult because at that point photography was pretty much exclusively for men and I hadn't studied photography at all," she says. "So over the next few years I took it upon myself to learn. I took portraits of everyone around me, printing them myself in the black-and-white film lab at school."

A black-and-white image of a female model posing in a large black hat. Taken by Canon Ambassador Félicia Sisco on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
"This photo was taken during a bridal fashion campaign for Victoire Vermeulen," Félicia says. "It was captured between scenes, and I was inspired by this new black hat." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM lens at 1/8000 sec, f/2.5 and ISO400. © Félicia Sisco

During a summer break between her first and second year at university (where she was studying to become a translator), Félicia took a job at a photography shop. "I started in that shop thinking I would just be selling the films, but on my first day they asked me to shoot a wedding," she remembers. "Then, a little while later, I had to do the studio portraits, but at that time this was normal, even with no professional experience." The temporary summer job turned permanent and two years later Félicia took the leap and started her own studio. "I had no say over what I shot back then," she continues. "Being a photographer then meant being able to shoot everything, so I had to work on improving my skills for every genre."

Félicia, who now has a QEP (Qualified European Photographer) certification from the Federation of European Photographers, eventually settled into her niche: photographing bridal fashion for magazines and bridal stylists, which became a gateway for photographing real weddings. Today she splits her time between one base in Corsica and another in Paris, while also journeying to other parts of the world at the invitation of her international clients.

Two bridesmaids help a bride put on her dress before a wedding in Amalfi, Italy. Taken by Canon Ambassador Félicia Sisco on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Bridesmaids help the bride to prepare before a wedding in Amalfi, Italy. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/100 sec, f/2.5 and ISO2500. © Félicia Sisco

"My customers already know my work when they choose me, they don't want posing, they want natural," she says. "I shoot a few formal pictures of the couple posing, but the majority are taken just as they are. For the ceremony it's very important that I anticipate every moment. I don't want 'stolen pictures'. I want to actually live the moments, to be able to capture them with good light and the emotion that I feel with them."

Along with capturing imagery, Félicia has captured the imaginations and propelled the ambitions of legions of wannabe professionals while running wedding photography workshops for over 25 years.

A model standing in the desert twirls the net skirts of her white wedding dress. Taken by Canon Ambassador Félicia Sisco on a Canon EOS R.
Bridal fashion for Victoire Vermeulen's 2020 campaign in Morocco. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM lens at 1/8000 sec, f/4 and ISO200. © Félicia Sisco

How does photographing a wedding with a digital camera compare to the days of film?

"For a wedding, before digital I would use a maximum of 10 films, each with 36 shots. Now it's 10 times that number and workflow and retouching can become a problem. So the better you shoot, the less time you spend in post."


How do you divide your time at a wedding?

"I spend three hours before the ceremony photographing the bride getting ready, and 30 minutes with the groom. Then I'll be with them all day, for between 10 and 12 hours, capturing intense and beautiful moments, finishing up with the first dance and cutting the cake."


What's been the most valuable lesson you've learned during your career?

"That it's okay to go your own way. When I started I knew I didn't want to do poses, I didn't want to follow a particular style, I just wanted to be myself. That was the best decision I ever made, because if you copy someone else's style, you're stuck, and obliged to copy it again and again."


What is the wedding genre missing right now?

"All the pictures are the same. You see different styles but they all have the same look. These photographers are all missing the most important element. They should respect the fact that every couple is different, and not be closed in to a style of their own."


So how can a photographer really excel in this competitive industry?

"Shoot for the clients, not for awards. I don't want to hear 'you're an artist', I just want to hear that my pictures bring back the emotion of the day. Their memories are more important than my career."

Instagram: @feliciasisco

Website: www.feliciasisco.com

One thing I know
Félicia Sisco

"Obviously you have to know the technical side of photography, all the 'rules' and everything, but when it comes to shooting a wedding, forget those rules and concentrate on capturing the emotion. Move around everyone and everything to find the best light. Personally, I prefer prime lenses because it means you have to physically move towards the subject instead of being passive. Primes also give you a better aperture; they create more illumination, which is ideal as I prefer natural and ambient light. But the true secret is be curious and enjoy the day!"

Félicia Sisco's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Félicia Sisco's kitbag.

Cameras

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

A full-frame body that provides uncompromising image quality and thoroughly professional performance. "I need to know I can shoot high quality images from ISO640 to 1250 inside for the bridal prep, right up to ISO4000 for the church," says Félicia.

Canon EOS R

A pioneering full-frame mirrorless camera that sets new standards, with a full-frame 30.3 megapixel sensor and silent shooting.

Lenses

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

A high-performance macro lens that's also great for portraits. "I take pictures of the details, such as the bride getting ready and the location, with this or the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, solely lit with ambient light," says Félicia.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Professional L-series, f/1.2 aperture USM lens for low light and fine creative control over focusing and depth of field. "For the speeches I only shoot in ambient light, and use this and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM," says Félicia. "They're perfect for capturing emotion."

Accessories

Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT

A powerful and portable flash with radio triggering."I always pack this, but usually only use it during the ceremony if the backlight is too strong as they enter the church," explains Félicia. "For the party shots, I sometimes create special effects, using a very short exposure time and high ISO."

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