Davina Palik and Daniel Kudish seem like they’re too fun to be seriously phenomenal photographers, and too young to have the distinguished careers that they have, but they are and they do. Setting trends in wedding photography, this upbeat award-winning couple delights discerning couples from around the world and impresses editors and photo curators everywhere. We’re thrilled to promote their work in our World’s Best Wedding Photographers Hotlist and to share a little bit about them here today.
Blair: How did the two of you meet and start working together?
Daniel: In 2007, Davina was working for a magazine and we got the same assignment. She was writing for the project and I was shooting it. I had already graduated from photography school and I was assisting a photographer who had been in the business for 25 years. I shot seven weddings for him and I just wasn’t impressed with his style, so I started looking for other opportunities and began promoting myself in Montreal.
Davina: During that time I realized that even though I have always loved writing, it didn’t feel like it was the right career path for me. When I met Daniel I was impressed with his drive and I thought owning a photography business was pretty sexy. So, I started shooting with him and we’ve been together ever since.
Blair: It’s pretty amazing how you’ve been able to create a life for yourself as destination photographers. How do you attract couples who are planning destination weddings?
Davina and Daniel: Since day one it has been our goal to travel for weddings and our destination weddings have gotten a lot of attention in the media. We’ve won some important awards, and we’ve had some nice speaking engagements but it is really working really hard that makes us stand out in the crowd. We’re never done learning, and we’re always trying new things.
Blair: What are your favorite destinations locations?
Davina and Daniel: We recently shot a wedding in Bhutan, and that was definitely a highlight. Some other favorites have been Guatemala, Panama, Bali, and we always love shooting in Mexico (where we got married!).
Blair: Where do you want to shoot next?
Davina and Daniel: We actually have a "travel weddings" bucket list going on. The top three places on that list are India, Greece, and Italy (we have a wedding there next spring!). Iceland is high up there too!
Blair: I understand you got married recently, and I think the photo of the two of you below by Erin Chrisman sums the joy you felt in a way that words can’t. What did you love most about your own wedding?
Davina and Daniel: We got married in Puerto Vallarta at an amazing place called Casa China Blanca on the outskirts of the city. We did put a lot of thought into all the details, but the part that stands out most for us is being with the people we love and the speeches they gave. We both balled our eyes out like babies, and it was the happiest day of our lives because everyone we loved was there for us. We think that it is happy families, lots of hugs, and supportive interactions that make a wedding special. The photo that Erin took at the end of our ceremony, as we danced down the aisle straight to the dance floor perfectly captured the happiness that we felt during that entire wedding weekend. When we look at it, we remember how we felt in that moment: pure joy. We think every bride and groom deserves to feel that way on their wedding day!
Blair: What really gets to you at other people’s weddings - makes you laugh or makes you cry?
Davina and Daniel: We are both a sucker for dads who cry. That will always make both of us cry! We always love hearing what a couple's friends and families have to say about them. It is also our favorite time to capture great expressions that are truly natural.
Blair: Do you have a tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer?
Davina and Daniel: The most important thing, in our opinion, is trust. If you want to look like a fashion model, hire a photographer whose work reflects that, and trust him/her to make you look great, because that's what they do best. In our case, couples are looking for their memories to be captured in an artful way - and they trust us to do so.
Bottom line is: find a photographer whose work you love and whose vision you trust. You will never regret your investment. The peace of mind on the wedding day and the resulting photographs will be priceless.
Blair: Is there one thing you'd like every bride and groom to know before their wedding?
Davina and Daniel: This is a big one. We wish every bride and groom would live in the moment of their wedding day. Let every little insignificant detail go, and take the time to look at your friends and family, at each other. Take in their words, take in their laughter. They are all there for you, to celebrate your relationship. They believe in you as a couple, and they are there to prove it. This is such a beautiful thing! Weddings where couples take it all in and take the time to enjoy each other will always be our favorites as the photos will reflect that. Laughter and tears make the best photos and memories... not centerpieces or flowers, or any of the other many of the things that can distract brides on their wedding day.
Blair: How has being a wedding photographer made you stronger photographers over all?
Davina and Daniel: When you're a wedding photographer, you are a portrait photographer, a photojournalist, a still life photographer, a food photographer, and even a fine art photographer if you want to be. It keeps us on our toes and working hard; just as any photographer should be.
Blair: Do you have a favorite image you've taken lately?
Davina and Daniel: We took the photo below in La Antigua, Guatemala, during a day-after session. It was Davina's idea, and Daniel executed it (with permission!). It was a true team effort. A lot of perfecting was needed, and it took us 20min to get this shot just right. We've never pushed a couple so much, but they were really great and they couldn't have trusted us more.
Blair: What is the best possible/your favorite reaction from a client when you deliver their images?
Davina and Daniel: Tears, the more the better. We are both easy criers, so we really identify with tears! If they say they we brought them right back to that day and captured all the happiness they felt. That is our number one goal and achieving it for our lovely couples is what our job is all about.
Blair: What makes you give yourself a mental high five?
Davina and Daniel: Actually, if we get through an entire wedding day WITHOUT giving ourselves a high five! If we were to stop and feel awesome about a shot we took, it would mean that we weren't working hard enough. We like to work our butts off and only admire our hard work when we get to our computers later that night. The book On Being a Photographer comes to mind... at one point David Hurn and Bill Jay discuss the stubbornness that a true photographer has. They say something about never being satisfied and never feeling like you really "got" the shot. You'll work it until you can no longer, and then only discover what you got later. We totally identify with this!
Blair: For the camera buffs in our audience, what's your favorite camera? lens?
Davina and Daniel: We shoot Nikon, and have been using the D700 since it came out a few years ago. We love it. It's light, quick, and never fails on us (except when the shutter goes because we shoot so much!). The 35mm (f2) from Nikon is our go-to lens. It's perfect for documenting, and we find it is closest to the way the human eyes sees.
Blair: What albums do you currently offer and why?
Davina and Daniel: We've been offering Renaissance albums since day 1. The craftsmanship, style, and customer service are everything we could ever ask for. To present our work in a way that complements it is so important, and Renaissance albums are just perfect for that. We are huge fans of their Galleria album - a matted, fine art book. It feels like an art gallery in a book.
Thank you so much Davina and Daniel! We hope you have a fabulous time traveling this year and we can’t to see all your new images as they unfold.
To learn more about Davina + Daniel and their photography, be sure to visit their website, blog and Junebug Member Brochure.
And for more interviews with the incredible members of our World’s Best Wedding Photographers Hotlist, don't miss our Photographer Spotlight Archive!