WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN RUSSIAN. OLGA FILONOVA
This site has already had a series of articles about the experience of foreign wedding photographers, but, of course, these interviews do not fully describe the photographer from the post-Soviet space. That is why in the new interview cycle we will talk with those who are closer to us – with Russian wedding photographers, and find out how they achieved success.
I open this cycle by publishing interviews with a wonderful, friendly and open-to-talk person – professional photographer Olga Filonova.
It all started with an accident – instead of a broken soap box, I was loaned to a friend’s wedding, I liked a couple of pictures from me more than from a hired pro – and then I thought about purchasing such a camera for myself. Honestly, I took flowers and cats for about six months, until a friend (wedding photographer) suggested I take off the wedding. I was very surprised – “me and the weddings?” – but I decided to try it and got involved. It was in early February 2008.
Portrait shooting skills, reportage, subject, sports, extreme, glamorous … You need to be a generalist, clearly know the specifics of wedding photography, the course of the wedding day and possible nuances, be prepared for surprises, love weddings in general and not be a bigot, have communication skills with people , adjustments to work situations. All this can be learned from scratch, even in a year.
What principles did you follow when creating your portfolio?
Personal taste first. I also think that it is worth laying out in the portfolio of those pairs that you want to shoot in the future, the style that interests you. There is such a thing as “portfolio” shooting – and it does not mean that the shooting is successful or not – by no means! It speaks only about how the shooting fits the style of the author and his vision.
How was your individual style formed? What influenced him?
Until now, I can’t understand how people know that I have it =) And everything around me has affected me – life experience, education, social circle, films and books, works of Russian and foreign colleagues. There is always something to strive for, and I don’t try to imitate someone, it’s always interesting to redo what I’ve seen in my own way.
Do the client’s wishes coincide with your artistic taste, and how do you solve this problem?
This is not a problem and can never be. Clients always see my portfolio in advance and at a meeting, and as a rule those couples who like my works, my taste, with whom we immediately become friends, come to me. It happened that clients came who didn’t want my style at all – and in this case it would be much easier to recommend someone from colleagues (after all, many wedding attendants are familiar with each other and are even friends) and not to make a problem out of the situation.
Yes, of course I have a business card site. It is still under development, but even we have tried to make a temporary version concise, with a white background, understandable menu. For me, the most important on the site are ease (downloads), accessibility (menu, contacts, information).
Which marketing method works best for you?
Just recently, I learned his name – word of mouth marketing. I do not give any advertising, I do not hire managers and agents – people come by word of mouth, from friends, from already established clients.
What services are included in your wedding day package?
For the convenience of my customers there are no packages. There is an hourly payment, with the minimum and maximum hours – convenient to calculate, convenient to pay.
How do you collect and store customer information?
I use Google-mack synchronization, calendars, and information about all customers is duplicated in the diary in case of an apocalypse. Since I work officially (Individual Entrepreneur), then also all contracts with clients and payment receipts are carefully filed in a daddy in a flower =)
How many times and when do you consider it necessary to meet the newlyweds before the wedding? Is it important to you?
Usually, one meeting is enough – to look at each other, review the portfolio, ask questions, sign an agreement and make an advance payment – as a rule, it’s up to the meeting to sign papers and book a date. The sooner the meeting happens, the better – in the season, dates are done quickly, and especially restaurants and film sets are also booked in advance. It is important to find a common language before the wedding and answer all your questions.
What is most important to you in communicating with the newlyweds at a wedding?
Understanding, weakness – I always remember that I work for the sake of a wedding, and not a wedding for my sake. A wedding is not a photo session, and it is important to be a friend to a couple, to merge with the guests in something – do not try to pull the blanket over yourself.