Game Changer: Jose Villa

Every wedding photographer has one special image that has defined their careers and Lisa set out to ask a selection of those who have most influenced her to nominate their stand out shots for her monthly column in Professional Photo Magazine.


Next up in the Game Changer series is a moment that would be pivotal for anyone’s career – a celebrity wedding. Only a handful of us will ever experience such a thing, and one that’s hard to prepare for. Many will say that it’s the luck of the draw – and whilst there’s certainly an element of ‘right place, right time’ with these things, unless you’re Brooklyn Beckham, no-one can brush aside the years of graft and craft put in before one of these moments that catapult you into the limelight.

Santa Barbara based fine-art wedding photographer Jose Villa has been named one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine, and one of the most influential photographers of the decade by PDN. His work has been featured in all the powerhouse publications – Vogue, Harper’s Bizarre, Martha Stewart Weddings, to name but a few. And yet still, nerves can get to even the best of us when the enormity of these pivotal moments hit us. Jose tells us about the moment he captured this shot of Priyanka Chopra at her wedding to Nick Jonas in 2018.

What Jose Said…

“I was commissioned to shoot Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s wedding in December of 2018, just a few weeks before the actual event in India. It turned out to be a whirlwind of a week, with five solid days of celebrations.

This Image of Priyanka was captured as she was walking down to the Indian ceremony on day five. Exhausted and mentally drained, the adrenaline of the week was still running on overdrive. We were running late and I knew that if I asked Priyanka to stop for a photo she might not want to give me the time of day and I was nervous to ask. But I finally got the guts to ask her to stop and look at me. 

I managed to take three photos and then she walked away from my camera. One was out of focus, the other had a terrible crop as I fumbled to get the right angle and the last one was the winner. I looked at the back of my Canon 5D Mark IV and literally almost cried knowing I had gotten the shot I was envisioning. I will never forget that moment of anxiety. But it was so worth the wait and the asking.”