Based in Los Angeles, Duke Khodaverdian of Duke Images has an enviable photography career that includes capturing luxury weddings and fashion editorial moments around the world. Get to know this incredible photographer and what has fueled his passion for luxury wedding photography throughout the year.
GO: How did you get started in photography and what compelled you to work within the wedding niche?
A: After I went to a photography school, I worked as an assistant for several fashion and portrait photographers so I could gain hands on experience from working with professionals in all different fields of photography. One of these photographers happened to be a wedding photographer whom I worked for a period of 1 year. I learned a lot from him, not just in terms of learning the technical aspects of wedding photography/lighting but also how to be creative when you are dealing with a tight timeline.
It was also a new era when photojournalism and documentary style wedding photography was becoming popular. I loved how you could create an everlasting image from a bride and groom who have never been in front of a professional camera and create art from something that didn't exist 10 minutes ago. It’s something you don’t see when you photograph a model at a fashion shoot or a professional athlete.
GO: How would you describe your photography style?
A: My style has evolved over the last 15+ years of meticulously studying and absorbing my couples’ reactions to their photos. It is a mix of glamour at its best with an editorial twist and a touch of romance.
GO: Do you pose and instruct couples on what to do during a photo session?
A: Yes, always. A bride and groom on their wedding day can be so emotional, distracted and even stressed at times. I always direct them on where to do their first look, what lighting works best for them, and then give them important directions on all my poses and expressions, so they get the best photos.
GO: What is your opinion on “trendy” poses? (ex: The bride and groom facing the camera straight-on and holding hands?)
A: For me the best photos, whether you call it trendy or not, are ones that will always stay current and timeless. I'd like to think that my photos will be as significant to couples 10 years from their wedding as they did on their wedding day. With that being said, I have a set of standard poses that work best for most my couples; they range from simplicity to natural to very sexy and glamorous poses. Example: Holding hands and looking at the camera, to holding each other and looking at each other. Dipping shots are a big favorite of mine, walking together is also very trendy, and they usually love these photos since they come out very natural and candid. I love silhouettes during sunset hour, or sometimes I create a strong backlit situation and make that a silhouette photo as well.
GO: What are your favorite moments to capture during the wedding day?
A: First look between the bride and groom is so emotional, a dipping photo after a first look, bride walking down the aisle with the groom watching her, when they read vows to each other, first kiss after being announced husband and wife, confetti toss after their first kiss, sunset silhouettes, grand entrance, first dance, father daughter dance, and lastly sparklers, fireworks or petal toss for the finale of the wedding night!
GO: How far in advance should a couple reach out to you if they wish to book you for their wedding?
A: Anywhere between 9 months to 16 months for prime dates.
GO: What advice do you have for couples who are searching for a wedding photographer?
A: Get to know their work before even meeting them, read and search them out on their website, and especially social media. Follow their everyday posts on Instagram or Facebook and see how consistent they are and how they handle and carry themselves during a wedding. Make sure you like their style for yourself and your theme of the wedding – not what people tell you about them. Once you are sure, then take the time to either meet with them or have a skype or facetime meeting and ask them things related to your wedding day as far as themes, timeline, and location and get their expertise, so you know they are knowledgeable enough with different ideas.
GO: Aside from weddings, are there any other types of photography you enjoy?
A: I love travel and food photography. Some of my favorite moments were when I visited India to shoot a wedding, and I was able to drive through their old cities and bazaars and take photos of their culture and historic monuments.