Bojan and Ivan Zamurovic are brothers and creative partners who hail from Zrenjanin, a small city in northern Serbia. They’ve been professional photographers for a decade and for the last five years have worked solely in stock photography. Both brothers have small children and spend a lot of time with their families when they’re not out creating.
We spoke with Bojan Zamurovic to learn more about the team’s creative process, emerging trends in photography, and advice for people who want to get into the industry.
Hi Bojan! Tell us a little about yourself — when did you first become interested in photography and how did you get to where you are today?
My brother Ivan Zamurovic and I work as a team. We both started using cameras before the digital age. Since the first time we picked up a camera, we always collaborated and worked together. Our father is a photographer, so his passion for photography led us into the same field. A big early milestone for us was the moment our father bought his first digital camera — a Sony Mavica with a floppy drive. From that moment on, we knew that digital photography was our future.
When we were just starting out, we were doing wedding photography. We were inspired by human nature and emotions, mostly in portraits, and our success as wedding photographers was defined by our determination to implement art into wedding photography. That same determination to implement elements of art into everything we do is what influences our style today. The main challenge was — and still is — how to make commercial photography less commercial and more artistic. Stock photography was always a dream job, but only in recent years have we found a way to make a living out of it. We thought if we could make art out of wedding photography, we could do the same with stock photography.
How would you describe your aesthetic and how have you honed it over the years?
I would describe our aesthetic as surreal minimalism. It’s based on still life images with punchy pastel colors. We are trying to create images that have creative ideas or concepts beneath their “first glance” appeal. We push ourselves to put as many art elements into our photos as possible and we try to create stock photos that don’t exist in the market yet. Escaping from the usual content found on stock sites is what drives us to think more and find unusual subjects we can incorporate into popular themes. Every day we do our best to think outside the box. With every new idea, we try to get out of our comfort zone and in order to stand out in the stock industry, one must always evolve and be on top of current trends.
Once you feel safe with the style and look of your current work, then it’s time to experiment with something new. Everyday objects are our favorite photo subjects. We find it very interesting when surreal scenarios include the objects that you would expect to find in more ordinary circumstances.
The realm of conceptual photography opens up a lot of possibilities for expression — can you walk us through your creative process? How do you start putting together an image, from ideation to execution?
We start by creating a mood board containing all the images we gather on social networks and art sites that we find trendy, attractive and contemporary. We analyze each inspiration image in the mood board and note what we like about it.
Next we create a color palette according to our mood board. Then the last thing to prepare for a shoot is to combine our ideas and elements with the mood board’s style.
When we are done with first steps, we make a shopping list before shooting. This list has all props needed, as well as tasks we have to do like painting props, glueing things together, etc. Now that we have composition, colors and lighting for the entire set of images, next comes the actual shoot.
What messages do you try to convey through your work?
Minimalism is a current trend and for us, it’s a good way to bring out a great idea. This style of photography lets us bring the bare essential idea to the surface. This is necessary because today people are overloaded with information and content, so they don’t have enough time on their hands to fully and extensively transfer that information. With that in mind, we strive to create stock images with creative ideas that designers could accentuate or shape to their needs.
How much design and post-production processing do you bring into your photography?
Our editing process is very simple and doesn’t take much time. After capturing images, we import them into Lightroom and usually apply some of our custom-made presets. Then images are exported as JPEGs and opened in Photoshop. Sometimes we only use the healing brush and crop tools, but often we create a completely new composition with layers from different JPEGS.
What has been the most challenging or most rewarding project that you’ve worked on?
Every project that is challenging pushes us out of our comfort zone. As an artist, that’s the most rewarding feeling. From the most challenging projects come some of our best images — like our set of images “paint in water.”
How does photography facilitate communication and understanding, and where do you find creative inspiration?
The internet has the most important role in understanding cultures and facilitating communication, and photography is its ultimate tool.
We find our inspiration all over social networks: Pinterest, Instagram, Behance, Dribbble. It’s important to follow trendsetters, regardless of their field of work. The key element for our inspiration is to look at life from many different perspectives.
What have you seen as the biggest emerging trends recently and what trends do you think we’ll see over the next few years?
The biggest emerging trends would probably be vaporwave, cyberpunk, 90s, and neon. Vivid pink and blue colors are in high demand. Nostalgia could be a good reason for these emerging trends.
The next emerging trend in my opinion is the new “ugly” style of photography. This style has everything opposite of perfect. It resembles amateur photography with poor lighting and pale colors, and composition rules are not met. It’s popular because social networks are filled with perfect images and this “ugly” style still conveys strong ideas within every image, but it lacks the quality that we are used to.
What would be your dream creative project?
We are living our dream with every project. We are very thankful that we can make living out of our creative work. Our dreams are becoming our projects all the time.
What are your biggest challenges as a creative in terms of finding time, energy, inspiration, motivation, and being productive?
As in every creative field, we have our ups and downs as well. Sometimes we have energy and time but still fail to create. Our best advice is to not force yourself, but rather to rest and spend time with your family. Don’t worry about it — your creativity will always come back.
What’s your advice for people who want to get started in the world of stock photography?
We’ve filmed an online course called “How to become a stock photographer.” It’s the world’s first course for all the people who want to become successful stock photographers.
We came up with this idea because in our hometown of 120,000 people, at least 300 of them have approached us and asked us to coach them because they wanted to quit their day jobs and become full time stock photographers. We were approached by various people, from my brother’s housemaid to our friend who is the general manager of one of the largest banks in the town. Everyone wants to live the lifestyle that we live by doing stock photography — with flexible working hours while living anywhere in the world.
This is why we came up with the idea of filming a course — to reveal all of our “secrets” and our methodology, thus enabling other people to fulfill their dreams, just like we did.
Interested in joining our community of photographers and contributing to Noun Project? Submit your work here.
Creative Director for Photos at Noun Project and Photographer