CHAT WITH NIKI STRBIAN

 

Kuten ehkä olette huomanneet, useimpien muotikuvieni takana on lahjakas valokuvaaja Niki Strbian. Saan teiltä lukijoilta usein kysymyksiä liittyen kuviini ja varsinkin työkuviooni Nikin kanssa. Siksi pyysinkin nyt Nikiä vastaamaan muutamiin kysymyksiin, joiden avulla pääsette hieman paremmin tutustumaan häneen ja hänen työhönsä valokuvaajana. Niki on myös ihanasti lupautunut vastaamaan teidän mahdollisiin kysymyksiin, joten jos teillä on jotain mitä haluatte tietää tai kysyä häneltä niin kommentoikaan ja Niki vastaa 🙂

Have you always wanted to be a photographer?

Totally not. In my teens I wanted to be a professional dancer or skier, but I became a volleyball player. In my tweens a wanted to be a journalist, but I became an engineer. In my thirties I wanted to be a mother and I became that but also a photographer. I can’t wait to see what happens in my forties.

What does you normal workday consist of?/Describe your normal workday?

I wake up in winter around 7:30 and in summer around 6. I answer the most urgent emails that arrived during the night, make myself a Keep Cup of latte and drive off to a shoot – a client’s home or a location we choose together with the client. I don’t have a studio so I drive a lot. That’s why I love my Land cruiser. Leaving aside the fact that as a supply chain management enthusiast I just have a thing for Toyota, there is the sheer comfort of driving a big car. It fits both my portable studio and family, it drives in any weather/road conditions and I feel really safe in it.

When I don’t have a business lunch, I buy a Dallas pulla on the way home. I work till the kids arrive from school and then I juggle family/business for a couple more hours. That’s a really hard thing to do, as any parent working from a living room would agree. I handle it sometimes more aaand sometimes less successfully. After 3:30pm it’s family time. After the kids go to bed, I start working on my computer again – editing, answering emails etc.
– and I work usually until 1 or 2 at night. I’ve never slept too much, so it’s ok for me. During summer I often have two shoots per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. I manage to get about 4 free weekends per year + holidays. And I am still deciding if “workoholic” is a compliment or an insult. 😀

Lilia one week old

Lucas two weeks old

Which kinds of photoshoots do you do mainly? Which kinds of photoshoots are your favourite if you have favourites?

About one third of my shoots are newborn babies. Rest are maternity sessions, family sessions, one year old sessions, boudoir and wedding shoots and odd things here and there. And fashion shoots with Metti and with the lifestyle shop Hali – Harmony Living. 🙂 Honestly, the versatility is my favorite part of this whole business. Every day is different, there is no time to get bored. The most challenging part is to put all the puzzle pieces together – location, client’s wishes, light, my inspiration and the never-ending quest to capture the true personalities of my clients.

How did you end up working with Metti in the first place?

Mrs. V of Strictly Style has introduced us and I did a belly and newborn shoot for Metti’s daughter (and now her son, too). I hope you get 15 more kids, Metti, I love working with your family. 😉 And then, naturally, when Metti started blogging, I was happy to be part of the process.

How does your (yours and Metti`s) workday consist of? What do you do when you work together?

We laugh. A lot! And dream and plan our future mega shoots in every free moment. Talk family and business. And somehow in between get the shoots done. 😀 Ok, I guess you want more data. Alright! But know that the process is very organic and evolved into quite a fluid cooperation over time. Consider yourself warned!

So here’s how it’s done. First Metti plans how many outfits we shoot on a given day and she usually has an idea for a location. Either quite an exact idea, as in: Tuomikirkko. Or more rough idea, as in: Something edgy. Something with glass. Something with greenery but not too much green.
If Metti doesn’t have the exact location in mind, we text before the shoot and just brainstorm a place. Like I said, I drive around a lot and sometimes I just see a spot and know it’s a perfect place for a future shoot with Metti. Sometimes the outfit brings the idea. Inspiration really is unpredictable and it really operates very independently from my will. 🙂

At the location we observe the light and the details we want to include in the pictures. We discuss what of the outfit is important for the images. And then we shoot. We are very professional, fast and efficient – think Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. I direct Metti and she directs me. It’s a cooperation in the truest and most beautiful sense of the word. (I love working with Metti, you might have noticed by now.) When we are done with an outfit, we move to the next location and start over.

After getting home, I download the cards, choose the keepers and upload them unedited to an online gallery. Metti marks her favorites, which I edit (lightroom + photoshop). Then I share the images through an online gallery where Metti can download them from.

For your artistic eye, what makes a good picture?

A good image is one that makes you feel something.

Could you give a few tips to a starting photographer that he/she should know to get a good picture?

The most important thing I learned during my photography career was not to waste time trying to capture moments that are already gone. Did your kid look cute when eating that ice-cream? Before you pull out the phone or camera, that moment is gone. Don’t try to recreate it. Don’t force the events around you to repeat themselves exactly. It’s NOT going to happen. What will happen is that you will feel a number of negative emotions because you didn’t get the shot. And what is infinitely worse is that you didn’t get to live the moment either. A camera/phone always divides you from a reality. You don’t live a moment when you are behind a camera, you observe it.

So I guess my advice is this. In order to get a good picture you have to predict what’s going to happen and be ready to take the shot. That’s half of the work done. The other half is light. Bad light = bad image. There’s been stacks of material written on the subject, but you never stop learning. Like everything else, photography is a journey.

I have contributed to the stacks of materials myself and created a photography course for beginners How to photograph your baby during the 1st year. It’s coming out in the beginning of February and you can sing up here to get the info about the release straight to your inbox.

If you have any specific questions about this or anything else related to my collaboration with Metti, ask in the comments, and I will answer.

How can someone book a photoshoot session with you?

Email [email protected] or call me 0400-358990. We meet up to plan your perfect session and then we have fun with the camera! If you are planning to have a newborn session, it’s best to book when you are still pregnant, but I also sometimes manage to squeeze in some last minute bookings for babies that were already born, so don’t be afraid to call. Bear in mind newborn babies are photographed during the first 2 weeks of their life. But even for family sessions it’s best to book 1-2 months ahead, especially for the rush seasons (May, June, ruska and pre-Xmas). For huomenlahjakuvaus get in touch early enough so we can get the prints done as well and I only shoot 5-6 weddings per year and I select my wedding clients very carefully – get in touch in time.

 

Tässä on muuten myös aivan ihana lahjaidea jouluksi – kuvaustuokio Nikin kanssa! Ikuista sinulle tärkeä hetki tai luo yhdessä rakkaimpiesi kanssa unohtumaton hetki, jonka Niki ikuistaa teille upeaksi muistoksi <3

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12 kommenttia

  1. Anna 20.12.2016

    Niki, I’m a huge fan of your work. Thank you so much for your beautiful pictures!

    Vastaa
    • Niki 21.12.2016

      Thank you, Anna. I am happy that my efforts bring a little happiness to this world. xoxo

      Vastaa
  2. Saara 20.12.2016

    Here is also one huge fan of your work! You and Metti create beautiful images together <3 Metti is a pretty object to photograph 😉

    Vastaa
    • Niki 21.12.2016

      Hi Saara, yes, Metti is a very nice subject to have in front of the camera. And we have so much fun, too! Never a moment wasted with such a witty lady. 😀

      Vastaa
  3. T 20.12.2016

    Hi Niki! I have followed Metti’s blog for a long time and she’s my favourite! 🙂 I love the fashion, but enjoy the baby/children pictures a lot as well! Amazing pictures you have taken! 🙂

    Vastaa
    • Niki 21.12.2016

      Hi! Thank you so much. I enjoy fashion so much, too, but I am equally happy I get to show whole families how they love each other when photographing their lives. xoxoxo

      Vastaa
  4. Janem 20.12.2016

    Siis tää on varmaan oudoin kysymys ikinä eikä ehkä niinkään tarkotettu Nikille vaan sulle.. Mutta siis puhuuko Niki ollenkaan suomea?:D hän on kyllä taitavin kuvaaja suomessa mitä tiedän!

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    • Niki 21.12.2016

      Moi Janem, kiitos kysymyksestäsi. Kyllä, puhun suomea, mutta olen ehkä liian ujo (ja laiska) kirjoittaa suomen kielellä, koska edelleen teen monta virhettä. Mutta puhun miten puhun, kuitenkin minun pitäisi tavalla tai toisella kommunikoida asiakkaiden lasten kanssa. 🙂 And the kids usually love my language mistakes. 😀

      Vastaa
  5. Haidi 20.12.2016

    Hi Niki! I’ve been a fan of your work ever since I saw the first pics you took of Mrs.V 🙂 you really do have a talent and a great visual eye. I was so happy when you started to shopt more with Metti since the outcome is always amazing!

    Vastaa
  6. Niki 21.12.2016

    Hi Haidi, thank you so much for your kind words. I love working both with Metti and Mrs. V and to be terribly cheesy but 100% honest – my clients are so awesome! This job really is a blessing. xoxox

    Vastaa
  7. Hanna 21.12.2016

    Hi Niki! I love your photography. You really manage to catch the feeling/evoke a feelong.

    I have been wondering where you are from? The States? If so, what brought you to Finland? Anyway happy to have you <3.

    Vastaa
  8. Heidi 21.12.2016

    Hei! Upeita valokuvia otat Niki, mieletön tunnelma! Lapsi ja perhekuvat ovat liikuttavan upeita, niin täynnä tunnetta.

    Mikä tuo valokuvakurssi on, toteutetaanko se netin kautta vai pidätkö sen jossain? Minkä hintainen kurssi on?

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