All Photos © Mantas Kubilinskas
With recognition from a plethora of photography publications, an incredible five winning images across four different Junebug Weddings Best of the Best contests, as well as a Rangefinder Grand Prize win, it would be easy to believe Mantas Kubilinskas had found his photography comfort zone. Yet, Mantas finds happiness by continually studying his art, discovering new techniques, and experimenting stylistically. Each of those winning images is so different from the next, whether it be a long shot from dozens of feet above to a super intimate black and white portrait. Still, his work has such a distinctive personality much like his own: something of bold artistry, daring compositions, and an overall jovial charm.
Give us a classic, ‘First Day of School’ introduction of yourself:
Born and raised in Lithuania, I found my way to the US about ten years ago. After working various short-term jobs, I finally decided to pursue my true passion – photography. Currently based in Washington, DC, I specialize in creative photojournalism with an editorial flair. With each wedding, I strive to document the complete essence of the love story from start to finish – to capture the spontaneous and unexpected moments as they unfold throughout the day. I believe that this unique approach is a representation of my character, my past, and my journey to where I am today.
Is there an aspect of wedding photography that you find consistently challenging?
I feel that each wedding is challenging and unique. That’s what inspires me and continues to drive my search for new techniques, skills, and methods. I turn this challenge into an opportunity to capture something in each wedding that perfectly depicts the mood and personality of each couple.
What aspect of your job never ceases to give you butterflies or make you excited?
Simple – people.
Describe an average day for you.
No day for me is average! But typically I have a morning or early afternoon engagement session, then editing of prior sessions or weddings, work on emails and marketing, and end with an evening meeting with clients. One thing I never miss is an evening walk; today is day 170 in my goal to walk each night.
What is your favorite moment or tradition at weddings?
When I am able to capture the first moment of the couple after the ceremony; the first few moments of them as husband and wife. There is an amazing change in their aura and emotion full of happiness, relief, and bliss.
What is your favorite image that you’ve taken? Can you describe how you created it? What is it that makes it different?
The image of the plane shadow over the couple on the paddleboards comes to mind. I laugh when I remember how many different scenarios I received from friends and colleagues suggesting I used drones, Photoshop or other unusual techniques. The story is that I stood on the Key Bridge as I was capturing an engagement session. My plan was to photograph them laying on the boards looking at the sky. Since I was up so high on the bridge, they could not hear my directions and so I just continued to take pictures. I remember at one point everything casting over with a shadow but I never realized what caused it. A few days later as I was working on the session and going through the images, my jaw dropped as I discovered the airplane’s perfect shadow projected in the photo.
In your opinion, what is different about wedding photography in comparison to other forms and categories?
Wedding photography to me is about human emotion. There is no staging involved, like the look in the groom’s eyes when he sees his bride coming down the aisle or a father’s hug to his daughter after their father/daughter dance.
Wedding photography also incorporates at least seven categories of photography. It is challenging yet rewarding, as I have to be knowledgeable in other categories (such as photojournalism, portraits, landscapes) in order to deliver a complete product to my clients.
If you could capture anything else, who/what/where would you love to be able to photograph?
Stars! As challenging as it is to capture human emotion, being able to capture images of stars and galaxies is one of my long-lived dreams.
Have you made any life-long friends within the industry?
What is your favorite thing to do when not working?
As funny as it may sound, outside of work I enjoy learning about photography; learning about new techniques and about the latest equipment. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. Maybe that’s why I don’t see photography as work.
Since I do a fair share of traveling I have come to enjoy outdoors. I do a lot of hiking, kayaking and walking. I find it gives me a great opportunity to learn a new place and also spend time with my thoughts.
What do you feel most grateful for about your career, in its current state?
I am grateful for the success I have been able to achieve in what seems to me such a short period of time. I feel that I have been very blessed with the professional connections and amount of work I continue to obtain each day of my career.
We love learning the history of photographers and the motivation that keeps them going. Thank you to Mantas, who we couldn’t be more proud to have as a member and consistent contest winner. To see more of his award-winning imagery, please head to his Junebug portfolio!