Donika Del Rio is a talented photographer based in Long Island, New York. Her photography work specializes in Family, Newborn, and Portrait photography. Donika’s work centers on portraying emotions through artistic portraits that play with light and nature. Each captured photo draws you in the artistic interpretations of everyday life or memories. Her work is real, often dream like state that draws on emotions and the imagined world. She is named Top 10 in Children’s photography by Inspire Fine Art Photography Magazine.
In an exclusive interview for NY Elite Magazine Donika Del Rio talks about what inspired her passion of photography, her city Gjakova and her favorite moments. Check out the amazing work of this gifted photographer below.
NY Elite Interview with Photographer Donika Del Rio
NY Elite: Tell us a little about yourself.
Donika Del Rio: I live in Long Island NY with my husband Benjamin and our three year old daughter Esther Star. Originally I come from Kosovo in Eastern Europe. Prior to my daughter’s birth I use to teach and I was alway involved in different areas that included any type of art. During the war in my country in 1999 I lost my father, my house, and all of our printed memories, pictures. After the war was over I was determined to document every moment of our lives which had been given to us for a second time. And that is when my passion for photography was born.
I have many hobbies and passions but photography is something that has brought me healing and currently allows me to stay home with my daughter. Currently I am working toward opening my own daycare. Last year I won top ten children’s photographers after entering my images on Inspire Fine Art Photography Magazine. It’s humbling yet rewarding and it encourages me to get better at my art and work.
NY Elite: What type of photography do you do?
Donika Del Rio: I do Family, Newborn, and Portrait photography.
NY Elite: How would you describe your style?
Donika Del Rio: My style of photography is a blend of natural light and dreamy. I also gear toward fashion and abstract photography.
NY Elite: What is it that interests you most about photography?
Donika Del Rio: What interests me the most about photography is being able to catch a moment and freeze it for others to cherish for life.
NY Elite: Are there any new exciting projects that you are working on or have coming up in the near future?
Donika Del Rio: I have a lot of projects that I want to accomplish using my lens as a photographer. And one of them that I am very excited about is; helping small businesses in my community by featuring their work and themselves and their stories so others are inspired to pursue their dreams. In the past I have done many portraits featuring models of different ages and many of them have ended up being booked for high end agencies or famous retail stores.
NY Elite: Where do you draw your inspiration?
Donika Del Rio: My inspiration is my faith in God and everything he has created around us. The nature it self and the variety of human looks or culture. And one of the places that inspires me the most is New York City.
NY Elite: If you could take your art in any direction where would it lead you? What new thing would you try?
Donika Del Rio: I aspire to use my art to inspire others in many levels, especially young women. With my pictures I want to depict the greatest stories/face’s of restored lives, hopes and dreams of those who once lost them.
NY Elite: What does it take to be successful in your industry?
Donika Del Rio: There are a lot of things that can influence ones taste or drive nowadays but nothing beats originality. And reminding yourself that the only one you are competing out there is you yourself, a better you. And of course constantly improving or taking risks.
NY Elite: What would be some tips you would give to a beginning photographer?
Donika Del Rio: One tip I would give to a photographer who is just beginning is; learn your basics when it comes to your camera and lighting and don’t be afraid to fail because that is how you will learn to get better. And remember photography is what you but not who you are so put a price on your work not yourself.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about a memorable moment you had during your artistic career?
Donika Del Rio: There are so many moments from my career that have crushed me, humbled me or given me a big lesson. And I am thankful for all but the ones I cherish are the ones that my clients share after they look at their images. Quoting one of my clients, T. “My marriage was at a breaking point, but after looking at our couples images our love for each other has sparked into flames”.
NY Elite: How has photography influenced you as a person?
Donika Del Rio: Although photography is what I do and not who I am, it has influenced my outlook on others and life in general in many ways. I grew up in an environment where people judged women, sizes, or skin color. And until you learn otherwise you believe what the environment teaches you. Through my photography eyes I have learned to appreciate different types of skin colors, shapes, and just the beauty of life in general. I am more receptive and more thankful of what I have and what is around me.
NY Elite: Favorite photo you have taken and why?
Donika Del Rio: There are many of my favorite photos but for sure images from documenting my daughters growth have to be one of my favorites. And one of them was capturing her laughter which gave me the tittle of top ten kids photographer among many other amazing photographers.
NY Elite: Can you share a little bit about your city, culture? If one were to visit, what would you recommend? Any favorite places?
Donika Del Rio: The city I was born is called Gjakova. It is a very historic city with amazing hospitable people. What sets the city apart is the food and the culture and the green areas around the city. The city I live now is Shirely and It has some amazing views. I would recommend the national wild life refuge forest, the bay area and the beach. It also has many farms and winery.
NY Elite: What social media can your fans follow you? Where can one order copies/prints of your work?
Donika Del Rio: My fans can follow me on these social media outlets;
All prints/products can be ordered via email or in person
Thank you so much for this opportunity!