PHOTOGRAPHER ŽELJKA MILIĆ: ‘Dubrovnik is Perfect Wedding Destination‘

Author(s): Olja Ljubišić Photographer(s): , Željka Milić
Željka Milić, wedding photographer situated in Dubrovnik, reveals to Dubrovnik Daily her favourite spots in town for newlyweds’ photo session, best time to take the perfect picture and how she caught bride's dad half naked on camera. 

How long have you photographed weddings for and how did you get into it?

The first wedding I covered was in USA Colorado, while I was an intern for the local newspapers. That was the moment when I got hooked on that feeling of being a part of a day full of love and emotions. It is wonderful when you know that you are making eternal memories for the newlyweds.

So, I could say that the year 2008 was the beginning of my professional career as a wedding photographer.

Would you say your approach is more candid or traditional? Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives.

My approach is definitely candid, natural, emotional, relaxed, fun and documentary.

What makes you different?

I think every photographer has something „of its own“, a style that separates him/her from the others. I am very devoted to my work, and in my first conversation or e-mail, I tend to show that to my clients. I want them to know that I take their day seriously and that I will give all my best to make their memories wonderful and everlasting.

When the wedding day arrives, that is exactly what I do – I want them to feel comfortable with me and in front of my cameras, I want them to know that there are no rules, no wrong moves, wrong poses. They just have to be themselves, happy and in love and my job is to frame that in the best possible way.

I have gone in and around the Old Town a thousand times, and with every new couple, I challenge myself to find something new and different. I chase the light, sunspots on the streets, walls and place my couples there. I tell them, let's get lost in the streets, let's explore, and every time they like that idea.

I push my boundaries and always look for something new. Even when I edit the photos, I see a scene that I haven't seen in the moment of photographing, and I say to myself ‘this is where you are going next time’. I am eager to learn more, something new and to grow as a photographer.

How many weddings and sessions do you typically shoot each year?

Four years ago, I started my solo career, (before I worked in a local photo studio) and every year I am having more weddings and sessions. This year I had 25 weddings and 19 sessions, and I already have a couple bookings for next year.

I am happy with my progress and the number of bookings I have since I am a mother of a beautiful boy, and I want to have time for my family, too. Also, I want my editing time and devotion for every wedding and session to be the same, and not just go through the photos fast without any care.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I am a Canon photographer. I always carry my two bodies 5d Mk2 and 5d Mk3, and my prime lenses on them, Sigma art 35mm 1.4 and Sigma art 85mm 1.4. I used to use zoom lenses, but when I switched to these babies, it changed the whole ‘story’ for me. With prime lenses, your zoom is your legs and you come closer to the couple, catch more details, more emotions.

What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?

Well, I will definitely remember the moment when I covered this Irish wedding. They are always laid back and fun. So, I had to go to the groom's room to take a couple of shots of him and his groomsmen, and at the moment I came in the room, the bride's dad was coming out of the shower just with towel on his, well, business. The shocked face lasted for a second until he started casually posing and I started casually shooting. It was so funny. Needless to say, at that moment the whole wedding party had the joke of the day.

What do you enjoy about living and working in Dubrovnik?

I was born and raised in Split and went to college in Dubrovnik. I thought when I finish my studies I will go back home or live somewhere else. But as the years passed by, the love for the city grew and also I fell in love with, at that time, my boyfriend and future husband. Now, I can't imagine living somewhere else. We have everything here, a peaceful and quiet countryside, a monumental old city and a busy, business centre.

The favourite image you’ve taken lately?

I am so happy with all the photos I've taken during this year. There are ones with tears of happiness, ones with honest laughs, silly ones. Oh, I love all of them!

What is your favourite part of the day for picture taking (when in Dubrovnik)?

Definitely early in the morning when the sun is at its lowest, and late afternoon, during the Golden Hour when it gives that wonderful golden colour.

What part of the year would you recommend for Dubrovnik wedding? 

Since Dubrovnik is top tourist destination, from June till the end of August is really crowded, so to have the town just for us, March, April, May and September are my favourite for the best photos.

What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly when taking photos in Dubrovnik?

Just be yourselves. Don't be scared or panic, because there is no need for that. It is your wedding day, have fun, be in love and enjoy! Leave the rest for the photographer and the other people in charge of the wedding organization.

What are your top 5 locations for wedding photos in Dubrovnik?

The streets above Prijeko Street are my favourite side of the town; the sun is the best there during the Golden Hour. Stradun is also wonderful during the Golden hour, and next to Sponza palace and Rectors Palace. I love to go on Lokrum whenever I get the chance with a couple that has the time to go there, and of course Park Orsula and Srđ for its wonderful view and nature.

What low profile location in Dubrovnik and area you'd recommend?

There are so many low profile locations in and around the Old Town, as well as in the areas around Dubrovnik - countless villas, hotels, venues from Ston to Konavle region. Future couples can have whatever type of wedding they like. It can be in the countryside, by the sea, with the view of the Old Town. The options are numerous. 

Olja Ljubišić