Laima Drukneryte is a wedding and family photographer in Lithuania. Previously she shot lifestyle sessions for families but now she uses a documentary approach. You can see more of Laima’s work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram. Here is what she had to say to our contributors:
Leslie: Lovely set of images! I noticed a similar theme in the colors, specifically blue and yellow. I think it’s a nice touch that lends to your strong unique style and voice. Is this on purpose? Are you drawn to certain colors to tell your story?
I love radiant colors. I love blue sky, bright sun, warm weather and warmth in relations. Sometimes I feel like I see life, people, emotions more colorful than they really are. And all that reflects into my photos. This attitude didn’t change or transform in my photos for 8 years, being a professional family and wedding photographer. And for these colors I’m recognized by my clients and followers. I love to come back to my client’s home year after year and see walls with my photographs and my radiant colors. They are telling one-piece story, not a trend of post processing.
Michelle: Your work is really captivating… It’s clear you’ve found your style and your voice. But what do you struggle with? What are you working to improve right now and why?
I’m struggle with living in a small market (Lithuania is a country of 3 million people), long periods of rainy – snowy weather and low light (3200 ISO). I struggle with strong competition of families choosing between documentary photography vs. all daily needs; lawns, private kindergartens and schools, digital toys. I struggle with families’ attitude “live right here right now” vs. wish to invest into future memories – professional photos of the families. This year I’m working on educating marketing on family documentary in my country. Also working on my international portfolio. I do this, because I believe in a value of not posed and not faked photos. Through my working years I’ve experienced stories how fragile and changing families’ lives can be. That is why it’s important to document peaceful and joyful periods of life in pictures.
Erika: We see lots of quirky, humorous moments in the collection of family images you sent us (which I absolutely love). Do you find that you are drawn to the same types of moments in your wedding imagery? And have you found the transition from lifestyle to documentary a challenge with regard to booking clients? And if so has it posed more of a challenge for your wedding work or your family work?
I do not let myself be so humorous in wedding imagery as I am in family documentary. Weddings have strict schedules, makes people stressed and are less natural, less relaxed. In weddings lot of time I work as a psychologist first and after that as a creative photographer.
I was doing family lifestyle photography same amount of years as weddings. For so many years moms were bringing all family members for “unposed photoshoot” and I was entertaining all of them by singing, playing, telling jokes, acting stupid to get all this “unposed photos”. And all this time in my mind I was telling myself “Laima, stop it!!!” And I stopped. When I found documentary approach. At last I feel the most myself and comfortable with my work. My loyal clients have some worries about family documentary (home space, picture privacy, how children will treat), but I convince them easily.
Carrie: Beautiful work! My favorites are the one inside the trampoline (the colors are so rich) and also the one of the boy and the side of the house with the window & reflection of clouds & amazing shadow! Aside from your subjects, what draws you in and stops you to pick up your camera during a session? Do you find yourself drawn to light, lines, settings, or do you find yourself more subject-driven?
Thank you! I do not love boringness in photography. I find myself drawn to choreography and dynamics of shoot. Most of my shooting time I can guess future – when all elements (light / lines / people) will come in one frame. Also I’m always ready for odd things that children can make and what reactions these moments will cause. These moments are miracles and I can’t guess none of these.
Actually in family sessions the biggest challenge I have is my subjects (children). Most of the time they are too close to me to shoot! 🙂
Chrystal: Oh my goodness that image with the baby carrier is one of the best I’ve ever seen. So much feeling. And it’s hilarious! Do you have any advice on how photographers can get more of those moments? Sometimes I think it takes a special, more willing client to get the most honest images. What do you think?
Thanks! My advice is be close and be invisible the same time. And bring unconditional love to each family session. Family documentary is not about showing how great you are. It’s about how great your subjects are. When you will be adoring your client on your shoot, you always will get reward – honest images.
Lisa: You have a great variety of moments: funny, quiet, loud, capturing details and also very interesting compositions. What inspires you to create the images in the way you do?
Childhood by itself. I can see childhood as a most positive period of person’s life. Because at that time child has less reproach and more hopes for life. In childhood daily life happens right here right now: moods, emotions, relationships, brilliant ideas, freedom. All this dynamics exists in each every family. It’s mine, as a photographer’s choice, to select particular moments, to tell family story. So I chose positive ones.
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