A Photoshoot with Nikola Ancevski in Santorini, Greece

Like many parents who usually stand behind the lens, I don't necessarily want to be missing from every family photograph. Of course, there are always cheap options like using a tripod and timer or settling for cellphone selfies, but image quality is never quite good enough for me. Seems to me, if you really want to document your family adventures in a professional and enduring way, you need a dedicated travel photographer for at least an hour on every holiday – and that's what we decided to do when we booked Nikola Ancevski in Santorini, Greece.

About Nikola

Nikola was born in France in 1985 and discovered his passion for photography while travelling in Australia in 2008. While he studied graphic design & IT at school, he swiftly realized the office life wasn't for him and began to focus on photography as a means to finance a life on the road. Travel brought him to Santorini in 2016, where he met his wife and settled down to raise his daughter Tokio. He's been shooting professionally for many years, specializing in reportage and portrait photography. Check his website gallery for recent examples of his work in Santorini, Bethlehem, Morocco, Taiwan and Singapore. 

Previous Experiences with Professional Photographers

If you follow our Instagram account, you'll already know Nikola is far from the first professional photographer we've worked with. In fact, we've invested a lot of money in the past hiring photographers in England, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. 

Although we’ve learnt a lot from every shoot, the first session in Davao, Philippines was the most enlightening - and led me to write "9 Tips For Your First Family Photo Shoot" to highlight some rookie mistakes we had made in the future. A few months later, the tips paid off on a rainy afternoon in Cebu, which inspired me to write "Six Great Reasons to Choose Philippines For Family Photos". While Saudi Arabia was probably the most challenging environment for family photography, we still came away with some lovely images - and wrote "7 Great Ways to Capture Great Family Pictures in Saudi Arabia" to show various ways, including professional shoots, to nail a great capture. By the time we got to Egypt, budget considerations were thrown completely out of the window; flamboyant makeup artists transformed my wife into an Egyptian princess. Read "A Tale of Two Cities: Professional Hair & Makeup and Photography in Egypt" if you want to follow in our footsteps. 

Why Santorini in 2020?

When the coronavirus crisis led to the cancellation of everyone's summer holidays in 2020, including our own five-country hop through Eastern Europe and a photo shoot in Bratslavia, we wondered both what to do with our lives and what would become of our Instagram feed. After all, staying indoors listening to government propaganda isn't that photographically inspiring. Thankfully, our sister in law Mim (conveniently a professional photographer) came to the rescue with a Norfolk family shoot. Two days after that, we used an Easyjet voucher to fly to Santorini to really save the summer - and that's when we booked up with Nikola.

Nikola's Photography Experiences in Santorini

Nikola offers a variety of different photography experiences in Santorini: 15-minute mini-shoots, 30-minute photoshoots, a one-hour photo-tour, half-day documentary style shoots and a videography option. As you know, nothing was normal in the world during summer 2020 and Santorini was no exception. Hardly anyone was there in July 2020 and those working in the tourist industry weren't getting a lot of bookings. Therefore, although we booked a short photoshoot, Nikola kindly gave us more than an hour of his time in the afternoon for couple's photography, and another fifteen minutes the following morning for some family shots. For this reason, we'd recommend booking him for at least one-hour. Although it's a little more expensive than a mini shoot (€80), one hour (€280) will provide more than enough time to get a variety of epic shots in myriad locations. Of course, 3 hours (€680) would be an even better idea for a truly thorough approach. 

Seven Reasons to Book Nikola in Santorini

For the first time ever on Instagram, we’ve just posted eight pictures in a row by the same photographer: Nikola Ancevski. If that isn’t enough to convince you, read seven additional reasons you should book him for a shoot in Santorini - he really is that good!

1. He’s affordable

Nikola has pricing suitable for all budgets. A 15-minute mini shoot costs just €80. Alternatively, splash out on a one-hour photo-tour (€280) or go for an extravagant half-day documentary package (€680). His prices are very fair and, remember, the more you spend the better photographs you’ll get - a rushed photoshoot isn’t the same as a relaxed, well thought out one. Check his website for up to date prices.

2. He can arrange amazing hair & makeup

A good makeup artist can make all the difference to your overall look. Just tell him your budget and he’ll try to find someone to style your hair or give you a polished makeup look.

3. He cares about how you look 

Probably his biggest strength, he truly cares about capturing you at your best. He’ll tell you not to bend over, adjust your posture, walk more confidently etc. He has an array of tried and tested poses in his mind, which he’ll figure out the best ones to use on the day. He takes a lot of photographs to ensure the best shots aren’t ruined by one of you blinking or touching your face.

4. He knows how to create a bit of chemistry

Perhaps helped by his French background, Nikola works hard to get his subjects to interact with each other as if they’re in the honeymoon phase. During our shoot, an old Greek couple watched us dance and smooch in front of a church and asked us when we were getting married. They were shocked when we told them we had been married for 17 years already. Now that’s chemistry!

5. He delivers

While he might take a few days to deliver your pictures, when they arrive you’ll be more than happy with the short wait. You’ll get a certain number of images as part of your package and you can purchase more images from the gallery if you want to.

6. He’s friendly

Although it’s obvious he’s a bit of a local legend, Nikola is super friendly and puts you at ease from the first minute of the shoot. He works equally well with couples, families and people on their own.

7. He knows the spots

After four years of shooting experience in Santorini, Nikola knows the backstreets of Oia like the back of his own hand. With access to a few private areas, he’ll capture shots you simply can’t get on your own. If it’s peak season and super crowded in Oia, he offers alternative locations in Santorini where you’ll avoid the hassle and still get epic images.

Santorini Photoshoot Tips

Book your photoshoot an hour or two after sunrise or around 4 to 6pm in the afternoon unless you’re in Santorini during the wintertime (mid-October to April). During the summer months, it’s usually very hot during the day and you’ll quickly get fed up of posing under relentlessly sunny skies. Also, it can be quite windy in Santorini year-round, so style your hair accordingly (hair up or hairspray/gel) or wear a hat if you want to avoid a windswept look.

Go shopping a few days before your shoot and buy coordinating outfits (linen shirts and dresses are ideal) to improve your look. While heels always look good with a dress and improve your posture, it’s quite challenging to walk on Oia’s uneven pathways so you might want to consider flat shoes or bare feet most of the time.

Check Pinterest and Instagram for romantic and family poses, and show them to your photographer so he/she can try to recreate them.

Consider professional hair and makeup an hour before your shoot if you want a really polished look. Follow in our footsteps and make an appointment at Sofie’s Choice, Oia. Sofie offers hair cuts (€60) and beautiful makeup and hair styling from €100.

Research locations carefully and choose one that suits your style: Oia for all the famous spots (challenging in peak season with crowds everywhere), Katharos Beach for dramatic volcanic backdrops and rocky beaches, Imerovigli for spectacular coastal views and quiet pathways, or Thira for a Greek party vibe.

Video Highlights  

Photography Highlights 


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