What is your story and how did you start with photography?
I grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia as a free spirited child, always looking for the next adventure of street explorations and random objects collections. I was surrounded with art history and photography books and my parents took me to fine art galleries for day trips. My dad had a collection of vintage analogue cameras, so I soon started to experiment with the visual form of a film photograph. The first photo adventures I took were in Budapest and Prague. I created documentary photos of people in subways which ended up being a study of sorts on the shared human condition of never-ending commute through life. I developed these black and white images in a makeshift darkroom, and this very project later helped me get into Journalism school.
I graduated with a Master's Degree from Comenius University and became a news reporter for a press agency for about a year. I realized that I was craving visual storytelling through the photography medium, so I seized the opportunity to move to California to study photography at San Francisco Studio School. I now live in Michigan, which is also where I started my photography studio in 2012. I am a bon vivant, adventurer, a lover of fine foods and salsa dancing.
How do you operate under COVID-19?
I adhere to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control. I use PPE such as masks and gloves while working with clients. I maintain social distancing, using no-touch posing methods when possible. I adhere to sanitation protocols and washing/disinfecting hands regularly before and after photographic sessions.
How would you describe your shooting and editing styles?
Before finding my niche in wedding photography, I studied extensively in the classical street photography style, which provides the foundation of my approach: capturing "the moment" and telling visual stories. When photographing weddings, I work in a documentary style, focusing on capturing unposed, candid, authentic moments, the split second, when you forget someone is watching, the uninhibited laugh you share with your partner. It is my mission to make you relaxed in front of the camera and to guide you through the day without feeling constrained and stressed out, and having the time of your life instead! I want you two will be able to enjoy the present moment, deepen your connection and simply celebrate your love.
My editing style is inspired by film, focusing on true colors, accurate skin tones, and warm, glowing, airy tones. I pride myself in producing images that are timeless. I am not a fan of heavy filters or major color changes, because I strive to create airy and warm images for you to view throughout the decades.
If we do a larger wedding, how does that fit with the services you provide?
I am always interested hearing your vision for your wedding day, and if you choose to opt for a larger event, I am comfortable photographing that too! As you correctly noticed in my portfolio, I personally gravitate towards intimate weddings and elopements, but I have been shooting wedding celebrations for the past 8 years and had the opportunity to cover over 200 love stories of all kinds.
If you choose to do an elopement or a micro-wedding, I am here with plenty of ideas, so don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!
We're not used to being photographer and are a bit awkward. What should we do?
You're not alone! A great way to get a feel of my shooting style is to set up a couples session, which is honestly a perfect remedy for stage fright. Later on, it also helps me capture your wedding with sensitivity and insight. When I start taking photos at your session, I focus on observing, rather than dictating the scenes. I’ll give you easy instructions, asking you to move and interact together in ways that allow me to capture candid moments in a flattering way. We might play fun games to capture the real you if you feel like you need to relax a bit more, with directions that include movements and feelings. You'll most likely leave your session feeling like you connected with your partner on a different level and managed to conquer another challenge hand in hand!
How does the booking process work?
Once you decide you'd like to book me for your wedding or elopement day, I will send you a draft of your contract. 50% of the total is due upon signing of the contract and the rest of the payment is due a month before your wedding/elopement. Easy breezy!
If we can join you on one of your scheduled travel shoots, do you charge extra for travel?
If I am already planning to travel to a location posted on my schedule within certain dates, my travel fee will be waived for your shoot and you will pay for your session as if it was done locally!
If you're already booked on our wedding day, do you offer other options?
I recommend exploring the option of a couples session and create some beautiful authentic imagery in gorgeous places together. This is also a great opportunity to explore locations you can't visit on your wedding day. I offer these sessions all over the US and in Michigan, so we can come up with something that feels authentic to your relationship and incorporate locations that are meaningful to you and your partner. All of my travel has been moving towards June/July this summer with the pandemic, but I regularly shoot at Lake Michigan and in California, if you’d like to join me for any of these shoots! For more information, please click here.
Do you shoot alone?
I am comfortable shooting weddings by myself, but I offer packages with the option to add a 2nd photographer. We can discuss details during your consultation.
What do you carry in your gear bag?
Mirrorless Nikon Z6 and Nikon D700s, professional full frame cameras, have been my favorite for the past decade. I usually carry 2-3 bodies to all of my photo shoots for a backup in case something happens to one of my cameras. At your shoot, I might use several lenses with different focal lengths: Sigma 24mm 1.4 (my favorite), Nikon 50mm 1.4, Nikon 60mm 2.8 and Nikon 70-200 mm 2.8 lenses. Recently, I started using a DJI Mavic Pro drone for aerial photography. I also use strobes for off-camera lighting in dimly lit reception spaces, however natural light is where it's at for me.
Do you have liability insurance?
Yes, absolutely and I can provide a certificate of insurance if your venue requests one.
Do you only photograph weddings and elopements?
I also photograph other types of events, families, pregnancy sessions and beautiful landscapes. Please send me an inquiry and we can discuss details.
Will we get all the unedited images?
All the wedding packages include a private online gallery with a selection of the very best photos from your wedding, fully edited (in line with my style) and in high resolution (ready to be printed). I don’t provide raw unedited images captured at your wedding and there are a couple of reasons for that. I believe, that a part of my job as a wedding photographer and storyteller is to deliver the best possible product to my clients. I strive to create a cohesive story from your day, which often involves deleting a lot of repetitive shots and images that are not visually or technically good enough to make the final cut (this is a standard process throughout the industry). My brand has a certain look and feel, and this is partially achieved in post-production, using processing techniques that are unique to my style. From a technical perspective - I shoot in raw .NEF format - these unprocessed files are fairly large and they are not “viewable” without a professional photography software.
How many photos will we get and how long will it take?
The number of photos delivered can vary based on your timeline, number of locations, hours of coverage, etc., so there isn't a set amount of images I deliver at each wedding. Typically it is around 80 photos per hour booked. At your wedding, I will most likely shoot a couple thousand photos and then hand pick the very best for editing. Your images will be presented in a gorgeous gallery and in a custom digital slide show within 4-6 weeks from your wedding.
How far in advance should we book you?
I book weddings up to 2 years in advance, most typically 10 - 12 months before the wedding date, and adventure sessions based on availability around my wedding and travel schedules. I am flexible and happy to accommodate last minute arrangements if I am available. To put it in Kate and Mike's words: "We did an untraditional, very small city hall wedding and decided at the very last minute that we wanted a photographer. Yana made it happen for us!"