I left my secure job to do photography full time. Vladi Balevski, Part II
„In my first years as a photographer I helped my mother out. She was shooting concerts and I fell in love with that as well. I was an exclusive photographer for world famous musicians as Marcus Miller, Vanessa May, Incognito, Mezzoforte and Maxim Vengerov.
Then I started shooting weddings in a time when there was still no “Wedding Photography”. I believe in marriage for life! That’s why back then I decided I wanted to do something that will have value in a-40/50-year time.
This was a time when photography could not make you too much money. That’s why I was still going to work full time and I taking wedding engagements on the weekends. With time I got busier and busier. When I had to be missing from work for 1-2 weeks at a time, I decided it was about time to go into photography full time.
It was a big financial risk! Especially because I had no clue how to do business. But experience teaches you and changes your way of thinking. In this period I still couldn’t cancel engagements and I would do 50 weddings in 6 months. Now I’m not in the corner.
With years and experience I started doing things that weren’t popular among photographers in Bulgaria. I was one of the first to work in a team with another photographer. I was also one of the first who started doing wedding photo sessions in day different from the wedding day. I take 15-20 photo sessions every summer, apart from my engagement during the wedding day. With a few colleagues I started threading on a new path that had not existed before. We created a standard!“
„Which has been your greatest challenge so far?“
„Turning people I work with into a team. Bulgarians by nature are not team players. A former employer of mine used to say: *We’re learning to be bosses. We’re learning to be leaders as we go.* Now, after so many years I know very well what he means.”
„What fear did you have to overcome?“
„The fear that I will not be able to live up to the trust people have given me and the standard I myself have for myself. My fear has always been not to fail in those areas. I’m not a person who easy says *There’s no way that can happen!*. Some things are tough to achieve but nothing is impossible.”
„Tell me about some of your dearest memories with couples.”
“I remember a lovely couple – we were out for coffee and the girl told me how 7 years before that she wrote to me to ask if I could photograph her wedding. I obviously asked her for the date and she replied that she doesn’t have anyone to marry yet but she wants me to photograph their wedding. I said yes. 4 years later she finds him and a year later he asks for her hand. The first thing she did was to call and book me. After our conversation she called her future husband to let him know I agreed. He asked her: “how much” – she told him and he hung up.
In the coffee shop he shared with me: “Your pay is half the wedding budget but I knew that was the only thing that would make her happy. So that’s my present to her.” I was so touched that I decided to give them a free photo session at the sea side. This is one of my most precious memories with couples.“
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February 23, 2016
February 18, 2016