Danilo & Sharon: How to Stop Seeking Perfection in Photography

“The grass is always greener on the other side”

Actually, the grass is greener where you increase the saturation in Photoshop.
It’s easy to be awesome and create breathtaking photos when you live in Bali, Iceland, or New Zealand, right? Wrong! You can create epic photography work anywhere, if you are open to experimenting, finding new angles or techniques, and focus on the emotion, moment and story you want to portray through your shot. Even lack of expensive equipment is not a good enough reason to give up, stop hustling and lose hope in matching the bigger sharks from your market. Don’t believe us? – check out what Oleg Opriscomanages to create with his old, 50$ film camera. However, this article is not about Oleg, it’s about a heartwarming photographer couple from Serbia, that many of you know from the Instagram Takeover they did on our account earlier in June. Today we’re interviewing Danilo & Sharon. We challenged them to share some of the unspoken struggles, motivations and trends that the photo industry promotes. Here’s their story..

“We have been born and raised in Serbia, an east-european country that had never provided us with opportunities to shoot at some high-end venues, or gave us breathtaking views we could shoot at. But, when God gives you lemons… Make a story out of it!

Growing up together in this non-photogenic environment was a challenge, and probably the best life-school we could get. We learned to appreciate stories and emotions, without the glitter and sparks to blind us. At first, we found this lack of photogenicity of our surroundings the worst thing to happen to us, but here we are now – writing about this as it was the best thing ever!

Looking at works of our colleagues has been tough in the beginning: “Why don’t we have an opportunity to shoot at these locations, with these dresses, flowers and views?” or “We’d be way better at what we do if we had the opportunity to shoot here or there” were our every day talks. Better said, our every day EXCUSES. Styled shoots were our favorite types of works, and we’ve been craving to book a destination wedding. Only because we never tried to look beyond the fu*king flowers, but towards the heart and soul of people who gave us this incredible honor.

After all the sweat we put into finding people who would like us to fly somewhere nice, we finally booked a destination wedding. This was our breakthrough. The moment we found ourselves in this gorgeous French countryside, with a wedding to dream about. We were on top of the world! But, there was a very familiar feeling in the air. Anywhere we put these people to stand for a photo, they loved each other the same. Which ever the flowers were on tables, friends and family celebrated the day with the same smiles.

Hard to admit, we’ve had no more excuses. We got what we wanted, but it wasn’t what we thought it would be… A bliss, or a disappointment? A bliss! We never looked at any further wedding the same. The only thing that mattered to us were those people. Those same people who we couldn’t see in the mayhem of trends and epic shots. Shooting weddings in Belgrade, Serbia brought us just the same excitement as shooting anywhere in the world. Photoshoot locations we chose were the ones that fit to the story, and not the ones that we thought looked the best.

Now, don’t get me wrong – we love pretty dresses at lovely locations! And we love to travel and explore new places. God blessed us with this incredible job, and we do our best to pay back to him the best we can. The joy of having the opportunity to witness the happiest moments of people’s lives is our fuel. It pushes us further and reminds us to cherish the small, tiny things that make the big picture. Aesthetics are a big part of this picture. But story is the key.

Thinking about the best way to tell the story brought us to stripping our equipment all the way. Two Canon 6Ds paired with Sigma Art 35 and 50 are still our only choice. Those lenses imitate the human view the best from our perspective. And we want our photographs to look like real-life memories, rather than artistic photography… Plus, it’s always fun to see faces of people when they see our tiny, poor-man’s camera bag. ?

To summarize, we know this was the best way for us to explore life, and if we could rewind it, we’d choose it again. Our seek for perfection stopped years ago. It was beaten by the seek of our self improvement. Our comparison with others disappeared, we compare ourselves only to our past selves… And Paolo Coelho said it all far better than I ever could: “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

– Danilo

We all try so hard to do everything perfect, live the perfect life, go on the perfect vacation, make perfect photos, have the perfect body. And each time we fail to reach perfection, the most subtle magical moments turn into mere “meh” parts of life. It’s easy to get lost and blinded by this capitalist, highly competitive world – but realizing that you’re driven by the wrong motives, stoping and taking a moment to rethink and re-evaluate the things that bring you happiness can be a game changer. Easier said than done, but hey, we believe in YOU!