Dmitry Yakunin is a professional wedding destination photographer. Today, Dmitry has got to be one of the most well-traveled photographers in the world, with over 200 000 miles of journey a year. He’s shot for more than 10 years in the professional photography industry and over 5 years of shooting weddings all over the world. He has learned a lot throughout the years and now feels that he wants to share his experiences, knowledge and findings with interested people: either professionals or couples that are planning their destination wedding. So when he approached us asking to be interviewed, we were honored to have him contribute to the inspiration and knowledge of our community. For more information, please check out his website at dmitryyakunin.com
1) Where are you from? How did you get started in photography?
I was born in USSR but later I moved to Czech Republic. I started my career at Prague where I live now. Most of the time I spend there but it goes down as the amount of work increases. I travel more and more and now spend no more than four month a year totally in Prague. From time to time I live in Zurich, Switzerland and in Paphos, Cyprus.
I was beginning as a fashion photographer. I even founded a small fashion photo studio that is called «Amber ». It’s a classic studio for fashion portfolio sessions. But later I realized that wedding photography is much more interesting, because it combines a lot of different types of photography: classic, portrait, landscape and even a little of glamorous. And from that moment till now I am a destination wedding photographer.
2) What do you like to do in your free time?
I go in for sports (very actively). I experienced going out with friends, parties, bars etc. a long time ago. But now I realized the my health is more important, I’m happy to feel that I am healthy and nothing is bothering me, that I am always ready to work.
3) How would you describe your style?
It is just my own style – very diverse and unique. I am one of those photographers who intentionally avoid any contacts with the colleagues. I try to develop my own style by myself with the help of my experience. Every next picture is affected by the previous experience. As far as I was a fashion photographer it affected my style a lot. You may notice in my photos many interesting postures and other details technically corresponding to the style of fashion photography.
Of course when I came to a wedding photography I had to correct my style. In fact wedding photographer is a professional of a highest level and a broad-scoped specialist who can shoot in all possible styles of photography because each couple is waiting for amazing, beautiful, various pictures.
I may definitely say that there are no other photographers who influenced my style. In some degree my style was affected by an artist – famous Russian seascape painter Aivazovsky.
4) What has been your favorite place to photograph a destination wedding?
It is Switzerland. I love Switzerland and think it’s the best place in the world at all points. One of the most beautiful destinations, especially for weddings, is North of Italy.
5) Can you give us the 3-5 tips for destination wedding photographers?
Ok. First of all a destination wedding photographer must be provident, always foresee each possible situation. Travel is always a very serious event. It must be carefully planned. A photographer must control everything to avoid any failures.
Of course to successfully photograph a wedding you must be in good shape, cause you will experience a constant change in climate, surroundings, time zones, frequent flights, a lot of short trips. This all affects our health a lot, and if a photographer isn’t prepared for this physically it will have a bad influence on his work. One more advice is not to be tempted by the attractions of new places, always think about your job and stay a real professional. Next tip is for all the photographers: always keep your equipment in a proper condition. You and your camera must always be ready to photograph when you are at the destination. You must look after your equipment. And the last one, very important advice, is to become friends with a couple. You must try to be one of the closest persons for them. They will open their selves to you and show you real emotions when you will be a real friend for them. This is one of the most difficult tasks for a photographer.
6) What kind of equipment do you bring for destination weddings?
I have a standard set of equipment. I always bring with me too SLR Full Frame cameras, usually with fixfocal lenses. Additionally I use a simple camera flash and a large light panel, like California Sunbounce. I always take with me a Macbook Pro, it allows me to copy there pictures from the camera right after photo sessions. It’s very important, because everything may happen with camera or memory card and the pictures will be lost forever. But pictures from the wedding ceremony are priceless, it is memory. People trusted you to record their memory and you do not have a right to let them down.
7) What is your favorite aspect of shooting destination weddings? What is your least favorite aspect?
Well, the favorite one is adventure! Because you know, spending a lot of time at one place becomes boring. You seek to compensate this feeling with new impressions. And destination wedding photography gives a possibility to see new places, to experience new adventure each time. The least favorite aspect is long flights and being far away from home all the time. By the way, I feel like whole Europe is my home, because each place in EU seems like home for me. When you’re doing something for a long period of time it becomes boring for you. After numerous trips I just became a little bit tired of it.
8) Who are some of your favorite photogs?
There are no such photographers. As I mentioned before I look at the pictures of other photographers very infrequently so that my style didn’t change and wasn’t affected by this.
9) What is the one piece of equipment you wouldn’t be able to live without?
Everything is simple. Without a camera. To tell the truth, it’s possible to make 90% of photographs with only one SLR Full Frame camera and one lens. In my case it’s Canon 50 1.2L. I even know some talented wedding photographers who shot the whole wedding with the help of this camera only. And they have some really unique and beautiful pictures.
10) Where do you draw inspiration from?
It’s not a secret that I am an admirer of the seascape painters, and especially of Aivazovsky – one of the most popular and talented Russian artists. I even attended his house-museum that is situated in Ukraine. I love the sea and beautiful seascapes. Looking at his pictures I feel a desire to reflect the beauty of the sea in photography.