Michael Stonis

Elena Jasic

Michael Stonis
Elena Jasic

Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Croatia. I briefly lived in Serbia before moving to the states at age 10.

How did you get into photography?
Ever since I've known of myself I've had a camera in my hand. My mom taught me basic rules of composition at a young age. From then on, my interest became more serious. It was something I did every day. I always pushed myself further and further. I spent countless hours doing research to better my skills. It wasn't until I was gifted my first DSLR in 2006 that I was really able to take things to the next level. With every new photo I felt like I've out done the previous.

Was photography you first choice for a profession?
I considered other options while I was younger, because I never thought photography was something that would be a career option. My mother owned her own hair salon in Croatia, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. She ended up talking me out of that. During my last two years of High School it really sunk in that this could be something real. At this point I knew that there was absolutely nothing else I would want to spend the rest of my life doing. With much encouragement and support from my teachers I applied to MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). I got accepted and was granted a $30,000 dollar scholarship. I declined the offer, and decided I was going to do it on my own. To this day, I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

How would you describe your work?
My work is very simple and clean with a touch of darkness.

Who are your influences?
The very talented artists I've surrounded myself with.

What do you look for when choosing your creative team (make up artist, hair stylist and wardrobe)?
The most important thing to me is that the people I'm working with are as motivated and ambitious as I am and absolutely love what they do and are accepting of new ideas and experiments.

Do you work with the same team normally?
Yes, I often work with the same group of people. They are each insanely talented at their crafts and we all have a similar vision for the end product. I'm always open to working with new individuals and trying out new things.

What do you look for in your models?
I look for a model that has very natural smooth movements. I always look for good skin, and great bone structure. A dose of sex appeal is definitely needed as well.

How do you normally approach a shoot once you have the idea in mind?
Once an idea is born, the first person I contact is the make up artist. I elaborate on my idea, and listen to what she has to say from her perspective. From then on, we find a model that will fit the look and feel for what we are going for. From then on, a hair stylist and wardrobe stylist are brought in.

What has been your most memorable shoot to date? 
They are all special to me. They are my children. So I can't call out any particular ones

Have you had any disasters?
I've been very lucky to not have any disasters happen to date. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

What's your camera setup like?
I'm currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 1Ds Mark II, 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8. I use all Elinchrom lighting with Pocket Wizards and a few large modifiers.

Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?
I hope to keep gaining exposure and to continue living comfortably off of what I love to do. My career goals are very realistic, but only time will tell. Check back with me in 5 years!

Any advice to up and coming photographer trying to make it into the industry?
Keep an open mind. Never stop learning and advancing. Stay true to your style, and network like crazy! Make sure your presence is known and that you are always producing new work. Stay humble and always shoot to outshoot your last image.
Thanks Elena!