Find Your Photographic Style
What is photography? Photography is the science, art, and practice of creating durable images for recording, recorded light. We record light and it stays with us forever. You know, videography and photography is slightly different. I tried to do, when the cameras started, when Canon brought video in my camera I said okay, I'll do video at the same time. I will capture video and then put it into print. Most probably I did this when I went to Kmart and I did a demonstration. Then I said no, I'm not a videographer. It's a different business. I can't be a videographer and a photographer at the same time. So my business is only photography. I don't sell video. It's another person's product. So we concentrate on photography, I capture a moment. A beautiful moment. It can be a candid moment, it can be a happy moment, but what I say always is my style is fashion meets wedding. I bring the bride into being a model. And that's the girl I attract, I attract a girl who has a bit of dream to be a m...
odel for me for a day. And that's what I do. What is photography? Call it vision, imagination, or seeing. It's what, for me I say it's simple. For me, photography is seeing with my eyes. Not your eyes, or your eyes, the way I see it. See, I look at you. I see that corner. I see the way you, and I capture that. Click. That's my vision. And I present it to you. And every one of us has a different vision. We, if we are creative, we can imagine things. We can create images. Also, through photography we preserve history. The last five, six years I'm sorry to say, everyone is saying now, there's not much history. There's a lot more photos taken, but it's all on the iPhone. You know, every now and then I look at my iPhone, when was this picture? It my, I don't even remember because it's there, and accidentally you can also lose it. Whereas a picture, I have pictures from my grandparents. I never met my grandfather, he was dead during the war, he was in Greece, a different country. The only record I have of my grandfather, my father's father, is a picture. A family picture. Two of his brothers, my father's brothers, were killed during the war. In Greece. I've never met my uncles. I've never met three or four uncles who never were with my father, because they all went to different countries. But there's a picture. And I look at myself and I look at the picture. And I say, even my kids, this is my family. They are the same people, but I've never met them. That one black-and-white picture is what has kept us, I know my family tree. That's where I go. So uh, capture a moment of someone or something through the frame of my camera. My camera is what, yeah. I go behind my camera, and that's what I frame the world into my camera. That's what I frame, and that's what my client likes and buys. And it's gonna be the same with you, if you, you have these crazy ideas about wedding and thing, you achieve that, she's gonna come because you did that. So because there's, I'm so happy that the world is not boring. You know I imagine if we all had the same clothes, if we like the same cake, if we like the same food, how boring it would have been. So it's really important to, to create that. What is photography for Yervant? Okay, I'm going to show you some of my images. This is, at least all these pictures are at least 15 years or older. And let's look at it. This is through a window. In a cafe window I've shot this. This is maybe 15, 16 years old. Does it look? It still looks current. This is the only thing we will go, will go and say this is 1994, is because of the fashion. The fashion, the hairstyle. The picture, those days everyone to hand color it. But I was the first one with digital, so this was my first digital achievement. A bit of color on the face and things. Okay, it's cheesy now, but those days it was different. People say, "Wow, how have you achieved this?" Very cheesy, but it was a seller. Then, we go, all of us used to go to the beach to take a picture, because there's the tradition take a sunset shot. I go to the beach, there's 20 brides, and no space for me to squeeze in. So I go on the other side, there's this blue sky. A boat. A sailboat and the bride. But there's no light, not enough light. So there was the video guy next to me. I said, "Can you shine your video light?" And this came, a video light, I started to use video light for most of my pictures. Because it created that, this is from film so that's why it's not very sharp. It's scanned, but you see the golden light on her, the blue sky and thing, it was beautiful. This one was my first shot with video light and I still enjoy video, using a tungsten light. 1994, and the bride loved it. Go to bar, in a cafe, they sit there enjoying their coffee, a nice light coming into the window take the picture. You see this is what happens when you start to be casual. Street photography. This is a graffiti wall, there was ugly signs there. I'm a Photoshop person now. I remove all the graffiti, light reflecting from the wall and that was it. Cigar bar was so trend in Melbourne. This bride, she was a polished woman, she had a leather dress, cool bride, and she said she want a picture done in a cigar bar. So this is a dark room. So video light there, she is holding the cigar in one had, how gorgeous is that? How timeless is that? This is my first studio. Nearly 20 years. And it's still current, you know? It's, cigar became so popular after that. Again another sample of, I did the first one, I did this one on the beach. Go on the street, find anything we like, have fun. See, they're all having fun. Then I have Photoshop, what can I do? Grab the glasses off there and put it on all the bridal party. They loved it, you know? But this was new, everything was, they have never seen. This one album book me so many weddings because it was so much fun in there. Again, would I do it again? No. But I did it then. And made a lot of changes. It even won album of the year in Australia. I blocked the traffic. I blocked the traffic. These people were going, "Beep beep beep," I said don't worry, no one drives over a bride. (audience laughs) So I took the shot. You know, I started to enjoy my photography. It was not anymore boring gardens, or boring, it was fun, you know? Let's have fun guys, let's drink, let's enjoy. You know, this was a department store. I went on the higher level, shoot down. This was such a popular portrait, I had a huge one in my studio. So always I had some, this was in Russia. It's raining. The bride is there. There's a limousine there. Quick, quick a shot. This was the moment the church lights came on. I had only one second, she wanted to go away. I had one second, I said, don't leave your umbrella. She did this, and I didn't ask her to pose like this. This scored 100 at WPPI, if you see the original picture it's like an art in my house, so I have it. This was a very sad day for me. My father passed away, and this was one day after he passed away, I have a wedding, how can I not shoot the wedding? So I was sad but I had to do the wedding and I had fun with them, you know. I, for a minute, I said, dad can wait. He was waiting, nowhere to go, I took the shots. I never told them that I, you know. Many people bring sadness about photography, it's not all sadness, it's her best day. How can I say my father passed away and I'm gonna be a bit-- I took the shots. I had fun, and she was Greek and my father was born in Greece so when I heard the Greek music during the reception I get a bit emotional, that time, but I didn't show it. I still took the pictures. So she had great pictures. This was a cover of WPPI book, and that was my worst day. Beautiful bar, it's a very, I go to bars which have ugly furniture, but they've mixed everything, it's colorful and you can get so many beautiful pictures in there. Natural light there. Jewish wedding, you know, how many times I go to a Jewish wedding and this moment happens. Everyone has a purpose, look. The man is thinking something, this man, so this is so photojournalistic. And then the groom is here. I won a big award with this one, showed it to the bride and groom. I said, I won an award, so I've made a big spread of this page in your album. The bride said, "Yervant I don't want this." "Why darling, I've won an award with it?" She said, "Yervant, why am I gonna have "all these people that I don't know in my album?" I said, "But they were your guests." "Yeah, that's my grandfather's guest, "my father's guest, my husband is here, I can't see him." So I said, "A little one?" She didn't even buy a little one. (audience laughs) So sometimes what we take as a great picture it doesn't work the same with the bride. But I still am proud of that picture. A beautiful bride. Then I saw this faded texture in the background, the wall had wallpaper, so I superimposed that wallpaper to create that picture. I always experimented. This was way behind, this was maybe 20, 25 years. It was the, I watched the movie Titanic. (audience laughs) I watched one night and then I said I'll create that mood with the ride on the car shot, so this was experiments with digital photography. Yeah, it's cheesy, but then it was so cool, you know. It was, I love to capture moments. I didn't pose them like this. This was, the groomsmen were all on the ground doing nothing, and the groom lifted the dress up and said, "This is mine." I took the shot. And this was a big award winner. So because when they are on the streets they are to do everything. And you need to be there to shoot. You see I always put them in the right light and then let it happen. Like the first one where they're posing, I will never use that picture, the second one is when the action. Here, this is one of my favorite veil shots. I shot two weddings of the same bride, she divorced and I shot, then she booked me again. (audience laughs) And she's still a great friend. Um, you see the veil? It was moving, it was all over the place. Just keep, let it happen, this happens only on the streets. If there's wind it's gonna happen. And 20 years old. This is her first wedding. This was the moment, I found the wind. I asked the girls, the bridesmaids, and because now I'm digital there's a bit of toning around it, and I started to become, I started to discover digital. You do all the, my first digital album was all everything, you know, curly pages, flowers in everything. And I experimented. Then I started to learn what's best. One of the oldest espresso bar in Melbourne, this is original Italian bar, nothing has changed. It's a favorite place if you visit Melbourne, I took them out for a dance, this has been such a big client-getter for me. In Paris I'm doing the shoot, It's after 9/11 so there's machine guns everywhere, security, there's a tank behind us. I know some places you're not allowed to take, I, rules are made but I break also the rules. (audience laughs) So in our country they're very hard, Anglo-Saxon countries, there's a rule by a bureaucracy and that's it. But in France I don't know, so there was this soldier coming towards me, I said to the girl, "Hold on, he's walking towards us, we have a second." He walked out, I said, "That's it, we're done, "he's going to arrest us or he's gonna--" And the man came, the soldier, he's gonna take his gun out, he took a camera, a phone, and he said, "Excuse me monsieur, can you take "my picture with the bride?" (audience laughs) So, oh all right then. You see I, this is a beautiful street shot in Melbourne, it's a beautiful old fashioned store. It's a very unique store, it's got all these metals and things. This picture is still on my wall because every client loves. This one was a bit HDR effect on, but because you don't see the face of the bride it was quite a romantic picture. And it's still there because it works. People see something different. And it's more going to the art than normal bridal photography. This one, I was in a boring winery. All is concrete and green, and boring sky because at a winery if there's no blue sky it's gonna be gray sky, you know? And I thought, maybe I'll go on top of the building and shoot down. The bridesmaids were not even wearing the same outfits, they were all different. But they had these umbrellas. I said, "Hold the umbrellas, cover your face, "bride, dance in the middle." She was dancing, take shots, and I got the right shot, this is not superimposed, nothing like that. The bride was dancing in the middle and I was lighting for the moment, and then I exaggerated it just to make something different. Even that went on the WPPI magazine cover, because it was different. And the bride bought a big portrait of that. So, because it's different. And 15 years, 20 years, but still current. Then I started from traditional method album, into digital album. Those days there were not even digital albums when I started digital, because they were all method albums. So what I used to do is design a spread, that's 11 by 14, and have an 11 by 14 opening and push this in there. So that's how I started, then I started to be more creative, and there were album makers who were helping me to achieve what I want, because I wanted my pictures to look like a magazine, not a photo album. A photo album is not trendy. Although some people like to use the mats, I prefer to show my pictures the way I do. Years ago they were a little bit busy, but now they're more classier, more simple. The simpler you go, the better it is. So I learned also from experience, you know this was a new product, and I learned, so I produce. Now pages like this always have been fun. You know, just one groom, and "Come on darling, dance" And when I start dancing, they also. "Come on!" (imitates camera clicking) Sometimes I forget I have to take the picture, and that's it. So that's uh, that's what my past is. I always critique my past work, which is good because I'm learning, and I'm getting better. If I believe that I'm on the top, there's something wrong with me. Because when you go up the ladder, you stop there, the only way up is down. So I always walk down the steps and walk up the steps. I want to stay in the middle so I'm never on top and I'm safe. So don't have this big head if people love you. Because that love will be disappearing if you become arrogant. The future of photography, better than ever. Now I think we have so many good tools, so many more photographers out there, the ladies are out there, thank God you're here with us. So, it's better. But not all of us are gonna survive, only the passionate. You know if your mom told you that you're a great photographer because she saw a couple of pictures of yours, it doesn't make you a photographer. Photographer is not only clicking. Some people say, "I'm a PJ photographer" because they don't have a clue what to do, so they call themselves PJ photographer. Photography is about light. If you can't see light, you're not a photographer. It's so important to learn how to see the light. I, most of my pictures I don't use light. I use available light, anything, anything that's available I will use it. So I'll go through that, so it's better than ever. There's more pictures captured now, in the last 10 years, than in the history of our humanity. So there's so many pictures. This was the first selfie. Officially no selfie. So that was, was most probably one of the earliest selfies done. And this is me. Because my sister and brother were sick and tired of being photographed, so I used to do selfies. So if you see Pentax there, it's reversed because it's in a mirror. And this is a Rollei camera here, if you see it. I'm posing in front of it. So I've been doing selfie for many years. Because this was my passion. My father gave me a Rollei, how, this is how young I was. So I didn't care about guns, I didn't care about toy guns, I mean, I didn't care about, I wanted a camera. That was it. I didn't care about anything else. And this is selfie today. So many out there, in your, when you put all what's on the clouds and everything it's like things you can't see even what it is. And this is how many it's gonna be in 2020. And what do you see here? Nothing. Because it's gonna disappear, so printing is so important. We need to print so it will preserve history. So printing is beautiful, I do a lot of Asian weddings. People coming from Hong Kong, Singapore, to Melbourne, to get an Australian, a European-style wedding. This is one of my favorites, because first, Asians respect the photographer as an artist, they pay good money, and, and then, they come during the week, so it's not my weekend. So I do about 20 Asian weddings now, it's booked for next year. So it's getting really popular. And it's fun because all you do is photography. There's no traditions, there's no church, there's no this, there's no that. All I do is go out there, they will change their outfit and shoot. So this is such a great opportunity for all of us. China is so big, and they love U.S.A., they love Europe, and they're going all over the world to be captured. And some of the Chinese photographers are great in doing this. So it's a great business opportunity for all of us. As an artist, I visualize the final image as I shoot. It is important to present it the way I saw it. So this was, I took them to a bar in a country town, you see. And they were all there, I'm shooting from the street. Cars are all going past me. But when I saw that, what does that remind you of? The Last Supper? And that's what I saw. I took the picture. You know, and I didn't pose them, I didn't put them were they are. They were having drinks, they were having drinks and out of 10, 20 pictures it happened. You know I cropped it that way, and before the bride even thinks what I was doing, the picture was out there for her. You know again, a shoot from the shop, and I told her to shake her head, and look what I achieved, you know? It's quite an aggressive picture but I want to be different, I want to try. The quality you're seeing here is not, it's not great, but we need to have an individual style. It is our signature, so when I have my brides having fun, and capturing, that's my style. I love coffee shops because I drink coffee, I love coffee or my other drinks. And that way if I take them there I buy them drink, they are relaxed, and I capture beautiful moments. Capture beautiful moments. And that's an option. In Australia we have enough time to take our bride and groom after the service to a location. We've educated our clients. Our clients, many years ago, five o'clock church, six o'clock reception. We said, "Guys, if you want good pictures "why are you doing that?" Now we get in Australia one hour, now they give us, sorry, one o'clock church, then we have about five, six hours. Sometimes they give us a lot more. Yeah, that's a bit exaggerated, but if they give us one or two hours for a location shoot, then you can achieve beautiful shots, and that's what we've achieved. We've educated our clients to, "I'm gonna do amazing coverage, give me a couple of hours." Now I don't even have to say it because our brides do it now. So you need to introduce tradition. Okay, the old guys say, "No, it can't be done." In the U.S.A. or in Germany, or wherever you are does this, but who made the rules? Another photographer? Another wedding coordinator? You'll be part of educating them. Say that, "Look, I'll make great pictures." The advantage of this location shoot, I shoot so many pictures. The more pictures you have, the bigger sales you're gonna have. Uh, I shoot about 5,000 images. Some of them a lot of repetition, because I want to, years ago when I was doing photography there was the video guy, mine was one shot, mine was one shot, the other one was, the video was multi-shot. They were looking for the perfect moment. For the perfect moment. And the video had it, but I didn't have it. Now I take a lot more extra, so I know that I've got great shots. 1,000 shots I give to the client, finally, and there it's gonna be very hard for them to eliminate. It's very important a relationship building. So this is a video just recently shot, just before Dani's wedding. How I relate, just this is a small part of the wedding that I filmed, I had it filmed, and you see how I interact with the clients. (romantic orchestral music) (singing in foreign language) Okay, you see the way the bride and groom were having fun and I was capturing. I captured thousands of pictures in just one section, and when you show so many varieties they want to buy everything. So without pushing. The music you've just heard is a good friend of mine from L.A. He's on iTunes so if you want to buy his music, he's amazing.