Emin Kuliyev is an established New York wedding photographer and a long-time ISPWP member. He also has the distinction of winning the Photographer of the Quarter prize in the ISPWP Spring 2010 Photo Contest. We’re pleased to shine the ISPWP Spotlight on Emin and showcase some of his iconic wedding images.
Emin Kuliyev Bio:
Emin Kuliyev is an award-winning wedding photojournalist based in New York City who has been documenting weddings for over seven years. Emin’s photos have been published in Brides New York, Digital Photo, Phot’ Art International, Popular Photography, and After Capture.
AGWPJA – Photographer of the year – 2008
WPJA – Top Photographer for 2009
ISPWP – Photographer of the Quarter – Spring 2010
How did you get your start and why did you chose wedding photography as a career?
I’m a native of Azerbaijan and I lived in Baku and Moscow before moving to New York in 2000. The main reason why I choose wedding photography as a career is self employment, I don’t have a boss.
The second reason is that all my knowledge and skills merge together in the wedding photography field. I have 15 years of experience with Photoshop, and I worked for 9 years in a store as a sales rep so I have a good communication skills. I have a good reaction speed to help me catch the right moments, and I have studied in graphic design which helps a lot with a color understanding and composition. So for me I feel it’s a perfect fit.
How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?
I have a few rules (this secret formula is based on my 7 years extensive experience in the wedding business):
1. Never give up
2. Look at the world through a positive prism.
Tell us about some of the more unique weddings you’ve shot.
I shot a fun Halloween wedding (in 2008) where everybody was in Halloween costumes.
What are some of your favorite local venues?
My favorite venue is the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. Such a beautiful luxurious hotel.
What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?
Look at the two last weddings from the photographers that you interview. Make sure you see at least 100 pictures from each wedding. That’s the only way to really see how a photographers shoots an entire wedding.
What’s your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?
Getting ready – because it’s easy to catch unexpected emotions.
What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?
Any and all kinds – because I shoot only 10 weddings in a year and usually I have to choose my couple. If I feel we can work together I will sign the wedding agreement.
What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?
-Get enough sleep the night before your wedding day
-Be positive and open for creative ideas from your wedding photographer
-Your photography is the only thing you will have after your wedding to remember the day
How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?
You have only one wedding in your life (at least I hope so!). This is the main reason to hire an experienced professional wedding photographer for your day. Don’t trust the most important day in your life to someone who is still learning.
What do you find is the biggest challenge in wedding photography?
The biggest problem in wedding photography is cliché images. Most of the wedding photographers simply copy each other. This is why couples don’t spend a lot of time to find a real pro wedding photographer who has a truly artistic eye. Most of the wedding photographers do it as a business not as an art. There are many reasons for this situation: Not everybody can shoot unique wedding images and many people go into the wedding industry only to get some money. I would advise couples to take the time to find artists who share their vision.
Do you do “destination weddings?” If so, what are your favorite destinations?
Yes I do Destination weddings. My favorite location is the Caribbean.
What do you do for fun when you’re not shooting weddings?
I have 3 kids so I spend all my free time with my family.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Lifestyle – What people really feel (it is visible in my images).
What do you offer to clients that is unique? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
I have only unique images (nothing else is as important to me as the quality of the images).
What (or who) inspires you?
My source of inspiration is my wedding photography workshops. Over the last 2 years I have taught a lot of wedding photographers around the world and I always learn so much when I’m teaching others. Here are some links to the behind the scenes at my workshops.
What plans do you have for your business for the next year?
Be at the same physical shape (my main goal).
Thanks for the interview Emin! If anyone has questions for Emin, go ahead and leave them in the comments below.