Today’s photographer interview is with Ivan and Diana from Ivan & Diana Photography based in Uzice, Serbia! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
We are Ivan and Diana, a Serbian-Filipina husband and wife creative team who fell in love at sea, and with a shared love for most things. We have spent the last 8 years photographing, traveling the world, and doing what we do best. We met in San Francisco, fell in love in Sydney and in 2011 we made our dream come true of building a creative nest here in Serbia. We live to work with fun and energetic couples. People who are open inspire us; people who trust us keep us going. Our work keeps us free and young.
Read the full interview after the cut!
We seriously think that we have the best job in the world. We are grateful to capture memories of love, and life, and the most honest of things. Almost every day we meet new people, and every now and then we gain new friends. So we think that our job is truly the best ever. Our photography style is candid, dreamy, cinematic, not-in-your face, and we adore shooting with natural light.
We are able to successfully juggle life and work while raising our little girl. So the volume of images that we see and the emotions that we feel influence us, and who we are sort of influence our work so we call our home and passion for photography both our labor of love.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I am a daughter of a photographer so there was that big influence to get involved in the arts at very young age from my father. I took up Film in University thinking it was my calling. Later in life when I joined cruise ships as a photographer, Ivan was one of my first bosses. Ivan, on the other hand, is a self-taught photographer but he has this immense and driving curiosity to learn that I remember many productive days and nights with him on board ships experimenting on studio and different types of photography during our free time. He is my mentor up to now. And although we have done weddings onboard separately, we had first wanted to shoot family portraits when we first arrived Serbia. However, we ended up receiving more calls for weddings and engagements. Right now, we do lifestyle photography and advertising work as well but we are more in demand shooting weddings.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
Our most favorite part of the wedding day is shooting the creative aspect of wedding photography. We usually begin with a narrative, like that in films. We set the tone and treatment of our storyboard depending on our couples’ personalities, and this is always in collaboration with them. Being a person who studied film, when I envision weddings or any type of shoot, I already have the edited version of the project in my head. Usually we get inspiration from films and music videos. That makes our work easy one way or another. And then we dedicate one day for location hunting. Even that is part of our creative process because that’s when both of us brainstorm on poses, and it’s always an adventure being in a car driving, listening to music and feeling how we would like to capture the wedding in a unique way. And once these images come to life, and our couples come back to us with tight hugs– that’s when we feel very happy and fortunate to be working on real stories of real people. After hundreds of shoots, I still cry in delight when we deliver something good. There are certain love stories we get attached to, and whenever we wrap up a project, we fall in love all over again with what we do.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
There are a few Orthodox Churches that are very strict with people talking or even whispering during wedding ceremonies. My attention was called once by a priest because I was whispering something to Ivan during the most sacred part of the ceremony. Up to this day, Ivan and I could not forget that incident, causing us to grace him with a secret nickname “Mr. Principal.”
What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
There were these specialty rolls that were absolutely amazing that my husband and I enjoyed so much in a hotel in Belgrade; they were little pieces of heaven in my mouth!
What is your favorite venue and why?
We like the thrill of finding spots that’s never been used by other photographers. Our favorite backgrounds are untouched nature and forgotten places. Funny how some of our clients give us the “blank stare” when they arrive in our location, you know that look when they don’t know what’s going on. We like to keep it clean, raw and real by going to places with less obstruction. So our shoot almost always turns out to be an excursion for everyone; we bring our couples to places where they have never been before. They get to be surrounded by fields, mountains, rivers, (there is a steady calmness with elements of water) and we end our shoot a little bit before sunset. With this formula, you just can’t go wrong. If there’s a secret we don’t share, that’s how we are able to find the best location for our clients.
Nikon. There’s no point to argue which one is the best. The best camera is the one that works for you, and the one that doesn’t get in your way.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
Anywhere visually stimulating we would love to go like our favorite places India, Moorea, Sydney and Santorini. Number 1 on our list is India. Why? Because we like experiencing culture and we believe we will pick up so much inspiration from their rich traditions. Some of our best friends from the ships happen to be Indians so we have heard first hand what their wedding rituals are like. And they are unique if not the most unique in this world. India is a world of its own, as Ivan will say. But we have always been fascinated with South America, too. Who’s not up for the vibe of Brazil, Argentina and Chile, right? So to go somewhere new, do what you love while finding new inspiration; that is simply awesome.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I would really love to photograph celebrity couples Audrey Hepburn & Andrea Dotti, and Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale. Both ladies are gifted with eternally distinct beauty and style like no other. I mean, have you seen Gwen’s wedding gown? How do you pull that off? Makes me wonder… And of course, Lili, our daughter whose life we document everyday, it will be so interesting to photograph her on her wedding day. Although in theory, it is not practical. But let’s say, at least we should cover her engagement day.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
They say that everything starts with a vision and curiosity, and everything happens by itself– we believe that. So I say, for everyone starting photography to just do it no matter what it takes. If you dream of becoming a photographer, go get a camera. I didn’t have money for a dlsr at one point, so I got myself a very cheap lomo camera. If you want to learn more about proper post-processing, know your light very well so you don’t need to edit too much. Ivan always tells me to be patient with my shots, to perfect it so we don’t have to edit. People see when photographers over-edit, or overdo it. People can tell when something is fake. If you want to be the best, keep shooting, even with your small mobile camera. That’s why I always flood my Instagram feed (wink) I shoot everyday so many things it’s insane. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Travel, create and look further. I got that from my favorite female photographer Lara Jade. Inspiration is everywhere. We are proud mentors to some young photographers in our area. We try to share what we know, and that’s how artists evolve. At one point, we knew nothing and some of our photographer friends did not hesitate to give us tips, train us and lend us their equipment. The next big thing for us is to organize our own workshops since it is the best stimulus for personal growth. One day in the future, we will make that happen.
Thanks guys! For more information about Ivan & Diana Photography, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide Profile or head straight to their website.
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