How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
I have loved photography since I was a little girl. I remember myself being the photographer on all trips and events, taking a million shots, always documenting. I have thousands of photos I shot as a teenager. But, it was only in 2011 that I purchased my first professional camera, my first DSLR Canon. Only then I started shooting events and lifestyle photography in a professional way.
I started shooting music events, I flew to massive events around the world like Ozora Festival and Boom Festival where thousands of people gather to celebrate life. I found great joy in capturing these special moments and after the event ends, I send these people their photos and their reactions are always priceless!
I never took any photography classes or official courses, I just grabbed a camera and figured out things along the way. My first trip with the camera was to Costa Rica, Santa-Teresa, I was blown away by my new camera! I just walked around the village for hours on end, looking for interesting frames to shoot. As for training, I believe having a mentor is the best way to learn and improve. Luckily, I had three!
IlanMor, an award-winning wedding photographer. I was his second shooter for two years. In every wedding, I learned something new. He taught me how to look for that special moment between the mother and bride, the father and groom, how to change the mood of my photos between the reception and party, and how to look for the artistic part in every moment. He was a great teacher and gave me a lot of inspiration.
KfirZiv, the most creative studio photographer in the world, agreed for me to be his assistant so that I could learn basics of studio lighting etc. On one of the very first photoshoots, he asked me to move a huge octagon flash from one end of the studio to the other side. If you have ever worked in a studio, you know how careful you should be with every step you take! There are always cables around, flashes, apple boxes, stands, and poles everywhere. So, I went on my mission and started dragging that huge octagon. Before I noticed, I accidentally hit one of the flashes standing next to it. And then, like a game of Domino’s, every flash standing in the studio fell. One after the other. I literally wanted to die at that very moment! I didn’t know what to do with myself and was so embarrassed.
MargalleteFrancke taught me everything I know today about maternity and lifestyle photography. When I first arrived in LA, I saw her photos on Facebook and thought to myself, “I must meet this unbelievably talented woman!” I asked her out for coffee one day and we instantly clicked, becoming very good friends. I went to her photoshoots as her assistant and shot videos for her “behind the scene” clips. She shared so many professional secrets and honestly, she is such an amazing person. I just loved hanging out with her!
Describe your style in one sentence.
I am a multi-potentialite lifestyle and adventures photographer. A multi-potentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. That’s how I feel about my photography. I am not only a wedding or maternity photographer, I also shoot festivals like Burning Man, Boom and Tech parties like ‘All Day I Dream” by Lee Burridge. I believe beautiful moments are everywhere and you should just open your eyes and see them!
What’s been your favorite experience as a photographer?
I am a people person. So, the interactions and relationships I build with my clients usually turn into a friendship after the shoot. I had an engagement shoot in LA a few months ago, at Paramount Ranch, we had the most amazing time together! A few days after the couple got their photos, they got me a necklace with a small camera pendant. It really moved me, I almost cried!
What do you love most about photographing engagements? Why do you photograph engagements in particular?
I love photographing engagements because the couples are usually very playful and relaxed! There’s no pressure, no guests to greet. It’s basically just me and the couple goofing around, changing outfits, smiling, and “fore-heading” a lot. (If you’re asking yourself, “What’s that?” look at the images below.) I always tease couples and joke about how much they like “fore-heading” which is basically when they put their foreheads together, closing their eyes. That usually makes them laugh, relax, and is one of the best poses for engaged couples.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
The photo below was taken at LACMA museum in LA, on a Saturday afternoon. When I schedule with my couples to shoot I ask them where they are from and then I search for unique places near them. When this specific couple told me they live near West Hollywood, I knew this would be a great opportunity to do a shoot at Lacma. It was very challenging to get this shot because the place is always packed with hundreds of people coming to take their Instagram photos! Also, the security does not allow a standing flash in the middle of the art. So, I had to be creative. I put the flash on the floor and sat down, myself to get that special angle. This photo won a competition in Israel and is one of my favorites so far!
As a photographer, what has been your biggest challenge?
I work with people, kids, babies, and sometimes we all have our off days. I can be scheduled to photograph a one-year-old baby and he may not stop crying the entire shoot. I feel that I have to do my very best to get at least a few good shots, even though he is grumpy and will not smile. I will jump and smile and try everything. But, sometimes even all of that doesn’t help, and you must reschedule.
What piece of advice would you give people doing different photo shoots to ensure that they get photos they love forever? (This can include tips about preparation, choosing a photographer, or anything else.)
Do your research, check Instagram and Pinterest. Save photos of photographers that you like and then try to find a photographer that matches your style. Talk with the photographer on the phone, meet with him/her and feel if your vibe clicks. See if you have the same ideas, if they’re professional, if they speak with confidence if they give you the feeling that you can trust them. In the end- a photographer is also a director, a producer, and an editor. Check their website, if they don’t have many examples, they may just be starting. Which is fine and could be a cheaper choice! There are very good starting photographers, but know what you are working with. As for preparations, the photographer is supposed to give you very specific instructions depending on the kind of shoot you are going to do.
For maternity, I give a lot of instructions as to what kind of clothes the hubby should bring and ask the mommy not to wear any tight clothes that later leave marks on the belly. I have my own studio wardrobe and prefer photographing mommy’s to be with my dresses. That, my editing, my compositions, and angels are what make my photos unique, special and different from all the other photographers! For family photo shoots I always recommend bringing Lollipops and the kid’s favorite puppet or blanket to calm them if they get upset. I give a lot of attention to children’s safety, but most of all I want everybody to enjoy the photoshoot. It’s a fun experience that brings the entire family together!
For engagement photoshoots, I recommend a few outfits for the soon to be bride and groom. I love big flowing skirts and dresses for the bride, so I also bring my own skirts for them! I’m always surprised by how creative the hubby’s can get also. And when I do engagement photoshoots, I always like doing a few silhouette shots at sunset, it’s always so perfect!
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
I think this app gathers a lot of information for people looking for good photographers and other vendors! It brings together all tips and trends and gives loads of inspiration. I love it!
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
I would be a news broadcaster and have a show on humanitarian issues from around the world. But, I love photographing. I was born to photograph and it’s my passion. My slogan in life is “follow your dream and live your passion” because I think that once you do what you were meant to do, you will be happy.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
A wedding day is only one day of your life. The happiness of finding your soulmate and spending a lifetime with them is true joy, that should be celebrated forever.
Thank you for reading- and don’t forget to “Follow Your Dream and Live Your Passion”. – Mika Gurovich