I’ve styled this page as series of Questions & Answers.
What type of photography do you do?
I’m a wedding, portrait and event photographer based in Cresskill, New Jersey. Cresskill is a suburb about ten miles from New York City. I’ve been photographing weddings since 2002, mostly in NJ, NY, CT and PA, and occasionally farther away. I also do personal photography and offer a small selection of art prints in my Shop.
What is the origin of your name?
I’m originally from Dalmatia on Croatia’s coast — where the Dalmatian dog originates. My name is derived from the word zlato, which means gold. When I was little, I lived in Stockholm, Sweden for a few years before moving to New Jersey at the start of first grade.
When did you start in photography?
I’ve always been a visual person. Before photography, my greatest passion was drawing. My love of photography started in high school as I photographed for the school newspaper and yearbook. I spent many hours developing film and creating black & white prints in my home darkroom. I still love black & white photography, although I do it digitally now. Check out my portfolio of black & white wedding photography at this link.
Did you study photography in school?
I attended New York University for a year and took a portrait class with a photographer in Manhattan. I then transferred to the University of Chicago where I majored in philosophy, and also took classes in photography, aesthetics and the history of art. I then attended Cornell Law School where I earned a J.D. degree. While at Cornell, I photographed various events and had a solo exhibit of my art photography. After law school, I worked as a lawyer but continued photographing for fun.
How did you start photographing weddings?
In 2001, I was inspired by the work of Denis Reggie. He is the photographer who, more than any other, transformed wedding photography with a more natural style known as wedding photojournalism. Denis is known for his extraordinary list of notable clients, including Oprah Winfrey, Vera Wang, Kenneth Cole, Mariah Carey, James Taylor, Don Henley, Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell, Rudolph Giuliani, John Kerry, Paula Abdul, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mario Cuomo, among many others. In 2002, I traveled to Denis Reggie’s studio in Atlanta for a 4-day workshop on digital wedding photography. After the workshop I began photographing weddings part-time. In 2004, I left law practice and have been photographing full-time since then.
What makes your photography different?
I value authentic moments and authentic emotions above all. For me, the magic of photography is how it draws from reality and transports us to a time, place and feeling — more vividly than our memories do. Our memories of events sometimes even merge with our photos of those events. As a result, authentic documentary photos hold a special value for me. While I value portraits very much, I put extra effort into the unposed photos.
What is your style?
Authentic, artistic, inspired. I strive for all three:
Authentic: I love photos that authentically represent the way things looked and felt, without being over-stylized. Wedding photography has had many trends that came and went. When I look at wedding photos of past generations, I see that the photos that captured real moments tend to look timeless and beautiful, while photos that were over-stylized with effects tend to look dated. I hope you’ll see in my photos a natural style: creative, but not forced. I feel that photography works best when it is “the art of real moments” so I generally practice wedding photojournalism (link). When shooting, I’m genuinely unobtrusive, not directorial. I have a low-key, quiet personality that fits in easily at a wedding or other event. I try to be an attentive observer — capturing real moments as they happen.
Artistic: I also love photography that is consciously artistic and not necessarily a dry representation of reality. The rules of photojournalism (no Photoshop, etc.) don’t apply in wedding photography. So there is room for artistic interpretation and for emphasis on beauty, aesthetics and style over just plain factual storytelling.
Inspired: I’m inspired by my subjects being themselves. I’m also inspired by various arts, including photography, painting, movies, music, fashion and architecture.
Do you ever direct your subjects?
Yes, when doing portraits I am in a different “mode” than when doing photojournalism. Portraits generally involve some direction, or at least collaboration with subjects. But even when giving direction I try to maintain an awareness of the spontaneous and unplanned. My direction often has to do with moving the subjects within the setting and the lighting. Direction may also relate to efficiency, style and meaning. I try to avoid anything that looks cheesy or awkward. Although portraits make up a small portion of wedding photos, they’re important for family historical purposes. I’ve written a page about portraits at weddings — with many examples (link).
While unscripted, undirected photojournalism and directed portraits are very different approaches to photography, they are both part of the long tradition of documentary photography. Matthew Brady‘s portrait of Lincoln or Steve McCurry‘s Afghan Girl are famous examples of directed portraits that also serve as documentary photography.
Do you have reviews online?
Yes! Please see reviews by previous clients at these two links:
Once you have been a client, please follow up and leave a review on these sites. The above links should take your directly to my page on those sites. Thank you for your reviews! Client reviews helped me earn this distinction:
Do you do photography full-time?
Yes. While photography keeps me very busy, I’m also a husband and a dad. My wife and I have two sons.
Do you photograph anything other than weddings and portraits?
Yes, I photograph various special events, including bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, birthdays, corporate events and charity events. Since 2013, I’ve photographed many openings and events at Milk Gallery in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The gallery has exhibited the work of noted photographers in photojournalism, art and fashion, and attracted many celebrity guests. My page titled Art, Fashion & Celebrity (link) shows some of this photography. As mentioned above, I also do personal photography.
Why do you have several Instagrams?
My sense is that it’s better to show each type of work in its own account. So I have accounts dedicated to Weddings, Portraits and Events. This way people can follow the account or accounts that most interest them. Or visit this page to see posts from all three accounts: Latest on Instagram (link).
Do you teach photography?
I occasionally offer personal photography lessons (link). In 2011-2013, I helped author and fashion designer Carolyne Roehm transition to digital photography. Ms. Roehm is the author of more than ten books on topics such as gardening, interior decorating, flower arranging and party planning.
Any advice on cameras?
I currently use Canon cameras. I’ve also used Sony. Fujifilm, Nikon, Leica, Olympus and Pentax cameras. The cameras in smartphones have gotten so good that they meet most people’s photography needs. But for specialized work, dedicated cameras with interchangeable lenses still offer an advantage. Tell me what you’ll be photographing and I’d be happy to offer some photo gear suggestions! If you buy photo gear based on my recommendation, please use my Affiliate Link to Cameras and Photo Gear on Amazon … or buy at a dealer who is local to you!
Follow Me On
Weddings Instagram: @ZlatkoBatistich
Portraits Instagram: @ZlatkoPortraits
Events Instagram: @ZlatkoEvents
Facebook: Zlatko Batistich Photography
Pinterest: Zlatko Batistich
LinkedIn: Zlatko Batistich