ART TALKs Todays talk with Monika Kubiak, MMK Photography
Her love for photography started early. Already as a child, she photographed her family members, friends, and pets. What Monika enjoys most about photography is finding the light within others and connecting in a meaningful way.
Monika is based in Stuttgart, Germany, and specializes in portrait photography. Portraits are very special as they reveal the person’s character, mood and charisma. They are a masterful collaboration of the subject and photographer.
Last year has been so very different from those we used to live before the COVID crisis. Time full of contrasts, silence and the unexpected. It has changed the perception of many things in life and has slowed down the rhythm. We all have learnt from this time of finding ourselves again and dealing with anxiety of the interruption of the modern world routine. Global stock markets have changed radically during this time, travel stories can be now found next to the science fiction books. The owners of businesses that require direct contact with clients are struggling.
One of the modern times luxury item is a photography and now that social events have declined to a minimum, the photographers are one of the first ones to notice the impact. Weddings postponed for COVID, sports photographers with no events to work for and even in-studio portrait photographers have experienced the change in their business as their clients have limited their social contacts and closed their wallets for better days. As the world gets used to greeting with nods and toe taps instead of hugs and handshakes, people spending more time at home, photographers need to adapt as well to the requirements of the new world.
Portrait photography in COVID times
Monika Kubiak from MMK Photography in Stuttgart, Germany is specialised in personal branding, and portrait and family photography. She has seen the sharp change in her business and says when there is a decline in business, there are two options there. Either you can sit at home and complete Netflix or you invest in your business, so it is primed for success when the world returns to the normal again. She has chosen the latter and speaks about the time she has been able to find what is reflected in her photography – her personalized and genuinely people focused artwork.
Monika has sparkling energy and a non-stop creativity that she uses to create unique pictures using natural light. The restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic made it difficult to plan any photoshoots at all as social distancing even outdoors had to be observed, masks had to be worn even in some public spaces such as parks, which does not make it attractive for getting a great picture. Studio photoshoots were out of question and she observed that so many photographers tried their best at teaching online photography classes and announcing their activity on Facebook or online marketing companies. Monika, however, chose the other way round. While stuck at home and without possibilities to develop further her business, she opted for dedicating more time to developing her knowledge instead. She did a lot of online training, built her potential client list online. Monika worked on expanding her portfolio online. The lockdown gave her the opportunity to try out new ideas and sharpen her skills.
Her recent photography series of young musicians is incredibly well done, reflecting the confidence of her models but also the mood of the current situation. In this art photograph series Monika has done colour and black and white photographs, in each one of them capturing the personality of each of the models.
INVESTMENT IN KNOWLEDGE
Photography just like other close contact businesses will slowly but continuously re-start the activity and people are eager to get back to the normal life. Monika feels her business has just stopped for a while to give a possibility to learn and use this time efficiently. She is convinced about the fact that people are interested in highly skilled photographers just the same way as before the crisis.
Clients who appreciate high quality photography are still willing to pay for it and those looking for the cheapest photographer in town haven ́t moved away either. The problem to survive these times might have been complicated for the wedding photographers even though it is again the same question – whether it has been time for reflexing the professional skills and enriching them or even add other skills or stay still and wait for the situation to pass hoping it will all be fine.
As Monika observes, building good relationship with clients seems more important than ever. Since most services have moved online and people have no possibility of walking into the photographer’s studio and meet personally, making the first impression online has become vital for the business.
A good photographer captures the moment, but an excellent one reflects the personality and mood of the model, which means establishing a good contact and gaining trust from the client is essential for a quality work therefore mostly Monika receives new commissions for work out of the recommendations of her existing clients. That can be improved by being more visible online and giving the opportunity of the first step in trust – knowing who the photographer and the work is makes a perfect introduction. When people see the actual works of the chosen photographer – they already know what the result will be.
Monika ́s clients comment that when they look for a photographer, they all first ask for recommendations from their colleagues and friends and then they look online.
The adaptability in these challenging times has led many business owners to find their way back and Monika is no exception - she is very active online and her portfolio can be found at www.mmk-photo.com
Photos: Monika Kubiak (2021)