We love catching up with longtime members of the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style family. As one of the world’s most in-demand photographers, Duke Khodaverdian of Duke Images is constantly featured within the pages of our print editions and online – and for good reason. Not only does his wedding photography exude fashion and glamour, but his artistic background and attention to detail truly sets his work apart. Duke shares more with us below:
GO: How did you get started in photography and what compelled you to work within the wedding niche?
A: I grew up in the world of photography; my family owned a film studio when I was young. After my studies, I interned with a respected fashion photographer and knew I would do some form of fashion photography moving forward. For me, weddings always presented an abundance of emotional photographic moments, and I knew I could bring my fashion experience into wedding photography. I was bringing something new to the wedding world when I started 20 years ago – no one was doing fashion-forward wedding photography at the time.
In Wedding photography, we are channeling all different types of photography, which I love. The inner satisfaction and adrenaline rush that I get from creating art out of something that didn’t exist 10 minutes ago is what drives me forward in this industry. It’s the idea that we can start with just a subject, lighting, and location, and 10 minutes to an hour later we’ve created something extraordinary that will last a lifetime for my couple. It’s a great feeling.
GO: How would you describe your photography style?
A: My style is a combination of glamour and fashion editorial with a touch of photojournalism. My focus is to create the most iconic and celebrated photos for my clients. My unique style is also backed by my understanding of lighting techniques, different lenses for every scenario, and a vast knowledge of several poses that should make the couples look their best depending on their look and vibe. I’m always trying to be creative and making sure each client’s images are unique to themselves. I’m never comfortable; I see each wedding as if it were my first and last wedding, always striving to be the best.
GO: Do you pose and instruct couples on what to do during a photo session?
A: I do definitely pose and take leadership when it comes to the wedding day. Clients face so many emotions on their wedding day from excitement, nervousness, and stress, that the last thing they should think about is how to pose, where to stand and what they should do in their photos.
This task should be left to the photographer who has the understanding, in terms of lighting, composition, and speed, in order to generate the best photography and poses for the couple.
GO: What is your opinion on “trendy” poses?
A: My vision changes for every couple and their wedding. If a photographer does the exact same thing for every client – regardless of the fact that each couple will have completely different looking venues, décor, or even attire – then that may not work for every couple. To me, each couple comes with their own physical chemistry and ability to do certain poses. Each couple is unique, so I have to see their interactions before posing them. I will do the standard/trendy shots looking at the camera since the couples and their families value these photos a lot; but I’m a huge fan of abstract poses, and clients hire me for this reason since those tend to be more dramatic and I’m able to capture more intimate moments.
GO: What are your favorite moments to capture during the wedding day?
A: My favorite moment has to be the couple’s first look or the moment when the bride walks down the aisle to meet her future husband. Both those moments hold so much love, emotion, and joy. I also love capturing the couples’ first dance and cake cutting.
GO: How far in advance should a couple reach out to you if they wish to book you for their wedding?
A: 12-18 months in advance.
GO: What advice do you have for couples who are searching for a wedding photographer?
A: They need to make sure the photographer’s work is always consistent, yet different. They should do their research on the photographer by going through the photographer’s social media sites, website, Yelp, and even ask other wedding vendors about them. Also, they need to make sure that the photographer has shot at their venue or a similar kind of venue with the same lighting and architecture. They need to truly study the photographer's style from several points of view such as lighting, poses and artistic style, so after the wedding they don't get surprised by the type of photos they see.
Trusting their photographer is the key to getting the best shots from their wedding day. Once they trust their photographer, the day becomes less stressful. And when they are comfortable with their photographer, they can more easily follow instructions. The best photographers can ride through the stress and chaos of the wedding day and remain positive, energetic, and driven to get the most important and unique images.
GO: Aside from weddings, are there any other types of photography you enjoy?
A: I love photographing when I travel to exotic places. There is something so beautiful about photographing another culture in their natural environment.