Photographer Q&A: DINA CHMUT
To say the last 10 years for Dina Chmut have been busy is definitely an understatement. Besides the time that goes into being a full-time wife and mom to two kids, Dina Chmut has distinguished herself as a successful artist and as a wedding photographer. Residing near Portland, Oregon, inspiration for any artist seems easy to pull from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Although she started with no schooling or photography education, her reputation for capturing emotion through a lens rose, it was not long before Dina Chmut was a name easily recognized in the industry. With experience in all events joyful and not, Dina has captured thousands of smiles and embraces, has worked in various countries and climates and is currently on an upward trajectory making remarkable art along the way.
“I will do everything in my knowledge and power to produce memorable photos for my clients to cherish years down the road.” -Dina Chmut
EVERYONE KNOWS YOU AS THE “WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY GURU” IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN AS?
While I would agree that my strength lies in photographing weddings, and it’s what I love shooting most, I have been fortunate enough to work with all types of people and events, including holiday events, high school seniors, family portraits, funerals, you name it!
YOU HAVE BEEN PRACTICING PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR OVER 6 YEARS NOW, WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THIS WOULD BE YOUR CAREER PATH?
I would classify myself as a creative person from a very young age, although I never really wanted to specifically be a wedding photographer…that just was kind of a happy accidental career.. haha! I was artistic and loved to be around people, so when I was a teenager. I picked up a camera and discovered that I really had a passion for this thing in my hands. I started to research lighting, posing, and really just learning my camera inside and out. I would get so excited whenever I got the shot that I saw in my head come out on the LCD screen! I truly loved photography, so I started to volunteer at events, and practice on anyone that would let me. In 2009, I shot my very first wedding and the experience was the most exhausting yet thrilling thing I had attempted with my camera. After seeing my photos, my family and friends were super supportive and it made me want to work even harder, and learn more. With each new event I photographed, everything made more sense, my confidence grew, and I started to really see development in my photos. I left my hospital job and decided to pursue this career full-time.
YOUR PHOTOS ARE INCREDIBLE, WHAT IS IT THAT INSPIRES YOU WHEN YOU WORK?
I definitely am inspired by beautiful light, real raw emotions, and by my amazing clients. Good lighting is the essence of a lovely picture but nothing moves me more then when I capture tears of joy, uncontrollable laughter, all of the true real emotions. When I work, it’s often you will see me hunting and creating a contrast of light to dark, highlighting aspects, and really illuminating my subjects. Some of my favorite photos are maybe not the most stylistic, but are rather the ones that make my clients reaction with emotion. When I see brides filled with tears and thanking me for their wedding album, it’s an indescribable feeling, and truly an inspiration.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
You should ask my clients! But in any event, I listen intently to what the desires of my clients are. I am professional at all times and adapt to situations easily, I want my clients to feel open in front of me and my camera, and really just be themselves. I understand that a camera can often be a very intimidating tool, so I try to make my clients feel comfortable, understood, and important. You can put me in pretty much any situation, and I won’t falter under pressure- I actually love a good challenge! I will do everything in my knowledge and power to produce memorable photos for my clients to cherish years down the road.
YOU TALK ABOUT YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU?
I have been fortunate enough to travel a bit of the world in my career and have been bit by the travel bug hardcore; I hope to definitely continue expanding my horizon of experiences! I think Ireland is next on my list, and the dream is to one day shoot in Greece, Egypt, and Switzerland. But, more importantly, my mission for each event I shoot, is to capture the unique story my clients’ lives tell. Weather it’s an engagement shoot, or a wedding day, I want to be there not to simply take photographs of a wedding, but to create the unique and beautiful still fragment of a memory.
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