Camera: 5D MkIII
Photographer: Robert Doisneau, Elliot Erwitt
Hotel: I always go for the different ones
Book: I love books so there are a lot of favourites. But at the moment it's an illustrated book "Monica Belucci" - the same woman photographed by several famous photographers
The first years of my childhood I spent in Berlin. Then my family moved to Austria (skiing 4 month the year isn’t a really bad thing). After my schooldays – I was 18 – I went back to Berlin. This city it still my favourite town and I set my heart on it. The only thing that could separate me from it: my husband. So I live in a small town nearby Dusseldorf now. Shortly before finishing my business administration studies, I consciously decided against an office career and worked towards exactly the opposite: irregularity, creativity, risk and a good deal of spontaneity: my own business.
How did you start out professionally in photography? At the beginning it simply happened to me. After the first inquiries I realised that it takes much more than just the love for photography to be a professional. My knowledge of economics helped me to run a business but I've spent a lot of time day and night to give thoughts to marketing, develop a clientele and my personal goals to produce something special.
How did you develop you style of photography? I think it is a mixture of the classic style I've always preferred in photography - often it seems to be a quieter but very stylish way of perception - and a modern language. I haven't decided to express it in this way, it's just feeling right for me in every moment I accompany a wedding day. The most important thing I ever learned has little to do with technology or photographic rules: creating an atmosphere with pictures.
You work largely in monochrome, what is it about black and white that appeals to you? The reduction to the essential is fascinating. It fits perfectly to my classy style and will never be old-fashioned. Less is more.
What is you typical camera setup for a full day shoot? 5D Mk III and several prime lenses. I can't leave one of them at home. 24L, 35L, 50L, 85L, 135L, my only zoom 16-35mm (for 2-3 images), 3 580 EX II flashes just for the evening.
Do you do much post production? Much more post production on my black and white images than on my colour images. Only few people would guess this.
What is your dream project? Weddings? A wedding in India, Siena (Italy) or Prague. Beside weddings? I love portraits of old men, when you get the feeling that you can read their whole story in their faces. I would love to travel around the world taking portraits of old men.
What was the last workshop you attended and why? My last attended workshop was several years ago. I was interested in working with video light. But I don't use it at wedding days - only for my bridal boudoir shootings. Nowadays I try to build up my very own way and therefore I try to keep the interference as small as possible.
You have a very clear work philosophy, how important was it for you to outline that philosophy? That was the most important thing beside the photography itself. Every little part of my business has to represent my vision and personality: website (www.yvonne-zemke.de), communication, presentation. I'm firmly convinced that you can only represent credible what you are.
Your work is very natural but the lighting is always perfect! How do you achieve such beautiful results without making you subjects look uncomfortable? I'm always looking for good light. This is the main key because I always work with natural light besides at the reception. I think a small technical effort is a great advantage for the couple - who aren't professional models - to feel natural. Also my poses are comfortable for them - the most times.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your photography? Photographic influences? I grew up with the French street scenes of Robert Doisneau. His photo "le baiser de líhÙtel du ville" shows everything that I would like to express with my pictures. Even if it is posed, you can't avoid the atmosphere of the feeling created is real. I should also name Elliot Erwitt.
Do you see your work as documentary or art based? Emotional photojournalism and relaxed portraits, art? Perhaps, but this is not my task to judge that.
What was the best career advice you were ever given? For photography? Always watch your surrounding elements as a photographer you'll learn the most at everyday life.
For business? Stay true to your personality.