Vanda Szabo, a 38 year young mum of a little toddler Erik is a photographer and a pandemic-born entrepreneur. She’s a boss lady and is our first interviewee for this new series on the blog called #TrulySoulfullyCurates. Read along to know her more.
I first met Vanda when I moved into my new flat recently. She’s been such a welcoming neighbour and now a good friend. We’ve been honoured to work on two projects with her on two different occasions and working with her has been like a dream. Definitely doing more projects in the near future.
GET TO KNOW VANDA SZABO
Born in Hungary, Vanda first moved to the UK some 11 years ago. She came on a weeklong holiday to London with her sister, but fell in love with this country instantly. ‘It felt like home’, were her words. Then once she moved to the UK she met her fiancé Szabi.
Before having Erik and back in Hungary she was a trained Beauty Therapist, Massage Therapist and Beautician Teacher. For the first few months after she moved to London, she worked as a mobile therapist with London Serenity for around 2 years. She wanted a career change. She then pursued her career in dentistry for 7-8 years until she had her baby. Before turning into a photographer, her last profession was a practice manager in an oral surgery.
Some of her hobbies include majorly exploring the outdoors, cycling, mountain biking, baking, reading besides a river or on the hammock during summers, etc. She has also been fervently practicing yoga every single day. That is some dedication, I must say.
I had the opportunity of interviewing Vanda personally. Spending time with little Erik during the interview was the highlight of my day, that day.
When and how did your love for photography turn into a career?
I used to go with Szabi mountain biking and bike racing. It was then that I started capturing people outdoors, the bikers in action and then I knew photography was my calling. It started as a passion to shoot people outdoors. After having Erik, I wanted to spend his most important formative years with him and hence wanted a flexible career. So, I decided to pursue photography as a career.
What genre of photography do you capture?
I love capturing people in their natural element. I love the authenticity of candid photos and I prefer capturing moments. My style would be capturing real people, real emotions, relationships in an authentic way.
How would you describe your photography style?
Relaxed and natural with some moody edits.
Did you professionally learn photography or self-taught?
I would consider myself largely self-taught but I did take up photography courses at the Harrow College for the basics. I am also part of a photography community called Cole’s Classroom since June 2020. There various Facebook community, photography tutorials, courses about all aspects of photography, and mentors have taught me so much about business and other photography technicalities.
In December 2020, I joined the Female Entrepreneur Association by Carrie Green. It has helped me with the business side of things and has also taught me how to change my mindset and in turn follow my dreams.
What does photography mean to you? What do you like most about being a photographer?
As I mentioned, I love capturing people in their true element. I prefer shooting people interacting naturally, not in a set or stiff condition. A studio setting is a big no for me. For me photography, is about capturing the very moment when a little girl looks at her mum with a gleam in her eyes. There is that natural connection with real people.
My aim is to create photography that brings out the true personality of the person I’m shooting and when they look at the pictures they say, ‘Wow! Is this really me in the picture? I love the shot!!’
I want mums to have an opportunity to be photographed with their kids in a very natural and authentic setting, very candidly.
The ability to capture every emotion or moment in a very natural and authentic way.
How would prepare for a shoot?
I normally send clients a welcome guide and a preparation guide. It mainly gives them the guidance on what to wear and also for them to know what to expect or how long will it take for the post production and many more aspects. So that they aren’t too stressed about the shoot. But besides that, I still prefer it to be organic and natural.
My motto is ‘Less is More’.
What type of cameras do you shoot with and why? Some info about your photography gear, camera, lenses?
I use a Nikon DSLR at the moment and shall update my gear hopefully soon. My priority is to concentrate on what to photograph, the angle; capturing emotions or relationships or personality. It doesn’t really matter what gear you use.
Your favourite photo editing software? What kind of tools do you use for post processing?
Mainly Lightroom Classic and Photoshop.
What photo editing tips and tricks do you have to share with our readers interested in making their photos pop?
Always make sure to keep the skin tones natural. Do not add too many filters. Do not crop pictures at any joint, whether knees or elbows, etc.; always above or below. When photographing a person, make sure the eye is focused.
A Black & White photo has a very nice different emotion to it.
What are your plans for the future as a photographer?
Whenever I meditate, I always dream of having an art gallery with all my photos and people buying my work off for a nice good sum and I even know what style of dress I’ll be wearing at that event. *Laughs*
In the near future, I’m looking to expand my photography skills towards brand and product photography, that is something that excites me. It is a known fact that visual communications are vital for any business to flourish and grow. Once you’ve put your whole heart into building your dream business, you have to make it stand out from the crowd. If your true personality shines through your business using visually captivating photographs as a medium, it creates an immediate positive emotional connection that ultimately resonates with your potential client.
I would definitely like to have an ecommerce shop on my website offering different types of wall-art. I would also like to create a community to teach mums to take better photos of their kids, maybe also have workshops/courses for that.
What is your proudest moment as a photographer until date?
During the lockdown, I participated in a photography challenge by the London Institute of Photography on the topic ‘Everyday Moments’. I won it. I could say that is the proudest moment for me as a photographer until today.
Advice for someone who wants to make 2021 their year as an entrepreneur. Advice for budding photographers.
Change your mindset and only focus on the positive that life has to offer. Believe in yourself and know that anything is possible to achieve if you put your heart into it. I always remind myself that there is always someone ahead of me but there is always someone behind me who I can be an inspiration to. Never compare yourself to others and just give it a go. I understand all this can sometimes be overwhelming but remember that you are unique as there is no other person like you.
How do you advertise your business as an entrepreneur?
Finding Facebook groups, word of mouth, Instagram, Harrow or London groups online, etc. all those avenues are great to advertise your business as an entrepreneur.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
When you’re starting out, you can use your family as models to build a good portfolio. Post an ad on Facebook for model calls. Creating a good photography portfolio is very important.
Future photography plans?
I want to work on a project to photograph children with special needs, children with a disability of any form or type and show them in a mainstream medium. I would like to capture them with their families and I am sure it would be rewarding emotionally to see those families happy.
Where are you based? Do you work locally or nationally?
Currently based in North West London. Mostly locally for now but I’m open for any opportunity nationally too.
How can people contact you to work with you for a shoot?
Facebook page: Vanda Szabo Photography
What are the various services you offer as a photographer?
More about this on my website. Variety really; from capturing people for personal branding and product photography, to families, portraits, new-born photography, maternity shoots, sports, pets, etc.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
I love most of the shots I take of my son Erik. He is a very photogenic baby and my favourite model to photograph ever.
What makes a good picture stand out from the average?
I believe when you photograph any person candidly and not posed, that for me is the best kind of picture and it definitely stands out from the average.
What is the most difficult part of being a photographer for you?
For now, my only limit is I have to work around my son’s schedule. That gives me limited time or I need to find the time but I make it happen somehow. I am very dedicated to my work and the clients who have worked with me before can give a testimony of my professionalism.
What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
When people love my work and have good things to say about my work. That is absolutely rewarding and liberating.
I would like to say that there is something very magical about Vanda’s work. She definitely is someone who works with her heart and soul. Her photography and work speak volumes of that. I highly recommend letting her shoot you at least once and you’ll definitely be going for more.
Stay tuned for our next post of #TrulySoulfullyCurates. Follow the blog by subscribing below for new exciting blog posts.
Also read some of our other blog posts here.
Signing off, see you soon xx