Hello Aneta MAK
Hello Friday readers! It was a pretty standard Monday afternoon when an email from one of my biggest photography hero’s unexpectedly dropped into my inbox. I’ve followed Aneta MAK Photography for such a long time, it was an honour to even be on her radar! Aneta’s photography exudes such effortless style and her couples are, well, just so chic! Specialising in film photography, her photos capture elegance and romance with such softness and beauty, resulting in the kind of timeless photography I know you’ll love. Based in London, Aneta shoots some of the UK’s the most stylish weddings and frequently travels for weddings, portrait and lifestyle sessions for sophisticated clients all over the world.
Meeting over a glass of mulled wine at St Pancras station just before Christmas, I must admit I was a little nervous about meeting this glamorous lady in the red lipstick. I needn’t have been, Aneta’s warmth and friendly personality shone through and we whiled away a couple of hours talking about the beautiful quality of photography, the joys of being creative business owners and of course the latest wedding industry news. It’s without hesitation that I can recommend Aneta for your wedding, not only because her work radiates beauty and softness, but because she does too.
I could say so much about Aneta’s work, but as they say a picture tells a thousand words I’ll leave Aneta and her beautiful, beautiful photographs to tell her story.
Hello Aneta! Tell us about Aneta MAK Photography…
I have always been surrounded by art – my grandfather was an artist and would paint during the summer months. It worked really well – during the summer holidays my parents would ship me out to stay with the grandparents for weeks on end. It meant I got to live in the beautiful countryside and help my grandfather with his painting. It served as a great backdrop to develop an appreciation of the artistic process, and also developed in me a deep love for human portraits. I continued to draw into high school and university, and despite ending up in a finance-related career that had zero artistic outlet, I yearned for an art-filled way of life that would feed the soul and allow me to make a living. A surprise meeting with a phenomenal abstract landscape photographer back in 2006 led me to pick up a camera and it all mushroomed from there. You never stop learning, it’s a beautiful way to live. There is self study, then there are wonderful workshops to learn from the photography greats, there are accidental discoveries and then there are considered methodologies – a never ending learning curve allowing you to explore your art in so many different ways.
What’s your style?
For me, its always been a wonderful mix of the fleeting and the stylised – each wedding or a portrait session is usually a little bit of creative direction, styled still life, photojournalism, and a contemporary and relaxed take on group photographs, all with a touch of fashion-inspired editorial feel. Ultimately, it’s a mix of elegance, timelessness and heartfelt emotion.
As for so many brides, details are incredibly important, I will frequently style the still life elements of weddings – the detail shots are a perfect example of this. The couple portraits are also lightly directed to get the best out of the couple and the background. Most couples have never been professionally photographed and welcome a bit of light advice and direction to make them feel at ease. It is so important to build trust and rapport with the person in front of the camera – if they trust you, the result is just breath-taking – real love and emotion and big genuine smiles. It is the happiest day of your life, and your images should represent that. I am a big smiley person, and I try to get my wonderful couples to relax and have fun with me and each other, be it for their wedding or their engagement / pre-wedding shoots.
I once read somewhere (I wish I could remember who it was!) that an artist’s style is a mix of all of the experiences you have had, all of the books you have read, all of the music and movies you have seen and heard, all of the places you have seen – and this is so true! It’s definitely a combination of technical training and actual living that leads you to discover your own style. For me it’s a mix of new and old – clean minimal contemporary design, typography, the wonderful light of Vermeer and William Heda, Degas and the female form in movement, the colours of Klimt and Tamara de Lempicka, the creativity and skill of Annie Leibovitz, amongst so many others.
It is imperative to find out their vision – I try and identify the style of photography they are after and if its something that I can deliver. We discuss their wedding plans in great detail and I will always advise on the best photographic opportunities – the timeline is one of the most important elements to get right. Frequently, when things overrun (and they often do), photography tends to get squeezed – I try to find those bottlenecks ahead of time and with the couple’s permission, amend it to ensure they still have time for beautiful photographs at every stage of their day. The couple also receives a very extensive Welcome Pack that is full of invaluable tips and advice I have accumulated over the years of shooting in different venues, countries and light conditions.
Ultimately, we all see things differently – everyone offers something so unique – which is a wonderful position to be in as a bride and groom – you literally get to find “the one” photographer that matches your vision!
Trend setter or trend follower? What would you like to see emerging next?
A bit of both – as much as I love trying new things, its equally exciting to try things you have already seen and try and put your own twist on things. I love weddings that combine organic elements with classic structure – understated elegance with hints of colour and fun – I love peonies & signature cocktails – I adore a unique stationery suite – and I love outdoor ceremonies!
What’s your favourite wedding moment?
The ceremony always gets me – I hold back the tears at almost every wedding – its wonderful. And the first dance – its such a happy moment, and a relaxed one too – the day is almost over, its been fantastic and they are now husband and wife – and the wonderful intimate moment between the bride and groom as they dance their first dance is so beautiful. I also love the getting ready part of the day – it really allows me to bond with my bride, and become her confidante on such a busy day.
The trust and the bond you form with your couples is priceless and when it is there, it makes doing a what is a physically and mentally draining 10-12 hours that much easier and rewarding (not to mention the additional 60-80 hours of editing, admin and album design that comes with every wedding). You crave to do the absolute best for them and create something truly special.
What’s your next challenge?
Currently my focus is of course wedding and portrait photography, but there is always personal work and commissions that are out of the ordinary that make you push your boundaries and discover new ways of expression. Us creative are superstitious lot when it comes to discussing new ventures, so you will just have to wait and see what the future holds for new material!
Please do head over to Aneta’s blog to see more of her beautiful work. I promise you will fall absolutely and unequivocally in love.