Updated: Feb 7
Well, I've finally caved in and decided to try writing a blog. From what I have been told, I'm decent at writing, but I don't particularly enjoy it so we will see how this goes. I must admit that I'm not even entirely sure what to write about, because anything photography related are stories about the people I meet... which I'm not sure is a very fun topic unless the blog post is about my experience in meeting you or someone you know 😅 But I might as well start at the beginning and go form there...
So... allow me to introduce myself! My name is Lidia, the artist behind the camera! I guess the first thing you'd like to know about me is why I am a photographer, and the road I've taken to get to where I am today. I was born in Romania in 1984, moved to Regina in 1990, grew up here in Regina and have never moved out of here since then. I haven't really even traveled much, and now with this pandemic my longing for travel is overwhelming (one of those "just because I can't do it, I WANT TO" type of things).
I've always had a romantic way of looking at the world. I see things in a dreamy and peaceful way. I see things in places that others pass by, and I really am the "stop and smell the roses" type of gal.
As I grew older, I tried to find ways of expressing this through art, and I wasn't very skilled at drawing or painting, so when I picked up a camera in high school I fell in love with photography and the way I could express what was in my mind and heart for people to visually see.
After high school I had to wait 3 years to get into the photography program at SIAST (now called SaskPolytechnic), as they only let 10 students in the program each year. When I finally got in, I loved every minute of it! I learned so many things! After I graduated from the program, I immediately started working as a casual wedding photographer. That was my specialty area for 11 years, while also photographing families and other groups on the side. During those years digital photography really took off and I had no idea how to handle it! I don't think any professional photographer was really prepared for the hardships it would bring, and the quickly diminishing photo studios proved it!
I started out with selling albums and prints, but as the demand for digital packages grew, I slowly caved in to giving the general public what I thought they wanted.
I slowly kept lowering my prices, offering less personal interaction, and eliminating physical prints and art. After 11 years of feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and devalued, I started to really question is I wanted to do this anymore! I remember loathing the thought of having to go to yet another wedding reception. But after some DEEP soul searching I realized that photography wasn't the problem... WHAT I was photographing was the problem.
Don't get me wrong! I had a lot of fun times too and grew awesome rationships with most of my clients, but although I met many amazing people and had some great memories photographing weddings, I just felt completely depleted of creativity from this. Everything is on such a strict schedule and you are limited to where you can take photos, plus sometimes wedding parties can be a little difficult (especially when they've had a few too many drink), and of course there is the dreaded brizezilla on occasion (which was enough to make me quit on the spot!). It really is amazing how callous people can be when they think of you as the "hired help" instead as an important person who is immortalizing one of the most important days of their life! In addition to that, wedding photography is a lot of pressure and you give a lot of your time and product (aka digital photos) for an incredibly low cost. Photographers are often low-balled on their prices (as if you're not basically selling your soul already!). I had one couple try to negotiate my prices WHILE I photographed their wedding! LOL. I just don't understand why some people view photography in such an unimportant way, considering the fact that photos are something you cherish more than most material things.
These are your cherished memories, something that is more valuable than "stuff".
I certainly do not mean to minimize any wedding photographer, as some love what they do and maybe they are comfortable with their pay, however after I actually sat down and crunched the numbers and the cost of doing business, for myself I just found it to be so draining of my energy, and time, and for the unrealistically low pay I just didn't feel it was worth it for me anymore. Seriously, I discovered I was only paying myself $2/hour!!! I don't blame that on anyone but my lack of business knowledge at that time, but if you do not basically sell everything to the wedding client for under $2000, you will hardly get bookings. And when you have little or no business sense and just want to make money to prove you are worthy of taking people's photos, you pretty much join the race to the bottom! Weddings are expensive so couples want to keep their costs low, I get it - I've been there, but in my opinion since photography is the ONE thing you have left to show for your beautiful day, THAT should be the one thing you don't skimp on! Obviously once I realized all of this, I made a very quick change to my business model and stopped photographing weddings. And I will never look back! Thankfully the last wedding I ever photographed ended up being one of the sweetest couples, with the most respectful and kind wedding party :)
But alas, photography has been devalued because of the digital age where anyone with an iPhone and filters can call themselves a "professional" photographer.
It really grinds the gears of almost every professional photographer out there! It seems that so many of these "photographers" wake up one day and decide "I like photos, I need extra money, I'm going to be a professional photographer! And because I'm just doing this for a bit of extra cash on the side I'm going to offer my services for next to nothing!" Do you see why photography as a profession has been so devalued? Thank goodness you can't do the same thing with a stethoscope and an interest in anatomy, otherwise there would be a lot of people in trouble. Don't get me wrong, a doctor's role is so much different and more important than a photographer (and I am NOT putting their profession on the same level as photography), but I just wanted to make a point here.
So this has effectively turned into more of a rant than the story of my reason for doing what I do. LOL. I am also one of those people who get easily sidetracked! I'm going to end it here and continue with my story in my next post because it's getting close to my bed time, and I'm hungry.
So have a good day and I hope you will be back to learn more about me and my "interesting" life 😊
God bless you!