Different Angles: Michaela Dutkova from The Photo Studio
Michaela is the Head of Creative at The Photo Studio in Melbourne, which involves overseeing the photography, makeup, and production departments. Her photographs have been exhibited at Melbourne Art Week and have appeared in Duzenman Atelier and Vogue Australia.
Michaela was kind enough to chat with us about her love for photography and what it’s like to work in one of Australia’s top portrait photography studios.
Do you recall a specific moment that ignited your passion for photography?
I think it was my love for mountains and the desire to capture the power that nature holds.
What was it about the Photo studios’ mission that aligned with your own industry beliefs?
Both The Photo Studio and I are passionate about empowering people and making them feel that they deserve to be seen in a different light. For instance, highlighting an aspect of their personality that doesn’t usually get the spotlight, or revealing something about themselves that cannot be expressed through words. The studio taught me that there is so much to explore about each individual. There is a story and beauty within everyone which can be captured and portrayed in a unique way.
Can you explain the difference between model photography and portrait photography? What is the purpose of each one?
Fashion photography exists to exhibit clothing and styling. It can be super artistic and aesthetically pleasing. Portraits, on the other hand, should explore the depths of a person. For me, portraits serve as a tool to get to know someone. The Photo Studio describes the purpose of their portraits as “helping people to see the beauty in themselves whilst creating wonderful works of art that will be passed down through generations.”
Can you outline some stereotypes about modelling that The Photo Studio works to eliminate?
We fight all the old-school beauty and modelling standards that have been around for unfortunately way too long. Such as only being a certain height, weight, and ‘look’. Ultimately, inclusivity in all genders, ethnicities, sizes, and disabilities is what we are fighting for.
Can you outline a typical day at the Photo Studio in your role?
This is very hard to answer as my days are filled with many different tasks. Sometimes I spend all day shooting or reviewing others’ work. Some days I spend hours fixing or organising studio gear and other days I work on projects - developing strategies to improve our workflow. We are a very busy studio, open Wednesday - Sunday, with up to three photographers shooting simultaneously within the studio space. Because of this, the studio needs to be reset regularly and issues with the lights, backdrops and props need to be attended to.
Can you elaborate on what the postproduction process involves?
The post-production process is ultimately there to fulfil the expectations of our clients by creating products (through retouching and printing) with the photo packages that they have purchased. The first task that occurs post-shoot is uploading the files from the photographer’s SD cards so that they can spend any gaps within their day making selects and editing. This is done by the Studio Manager. The viewing sessions are scheduled a few weeks post-shoot, so the final images/products must be ready by then for our producers to show to our clients.
How would you describe your personal photography style?
At the moment I don’t have too much capacity to think of my own style as most of my focus goes toward overseeing the creative departments within the studio. But I consider myself more of a conceptual photographer. (The focus of conceptual photography is around themes, symbols and abstract ideas that communicate a message - as opposed to documenting reality)
What has been your favourite project/ photograph so far and why?
This is too hard to say. Every day I see a photograph or a project that I want to call my favourite for the moment. I’m very grateful to work with beautiful images every day and as I evolve, my criteria for what is ‘good’ is changing with me. I think that is how it should be.