A picture is worth a thousand words!
Elena Felton was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She was fascinated by photography at a young age. Her parents introduced her to a camera at 10 years old and from that moment, her world changed. Her father was her first client, she took pictures of him whenever he wasn’t paying attention, she also took pictures of her toys, flowers, and relatives. She admired everything about her camera, especially the clicking noise! After graduating from undergrad, she purchased her first camera, a Nikon D3200 which was two years ago, after she turned her passion for photography into a career. Her photos are elegant and vibrant with a touch of soft colors and amazing details. She’s work with clients around the DMV area and recently collaborated with local vendors in Baltimore to host her work. Elena’s is the founder of Belle Imagery Portraits, an up and coming business in the Baltimore area. She is my May Inspirational Woman of the Month!
What inspired you to do photography?
The beauty of people’s stories I capture on camera. I love fashion! I get a lot of my photographic inspiration from fashion magazines. Editorial photography is a passion of mine along with wedding photography. It’s my goal to create my own magazine filled with beautiful images of women.
How many hours does it take for you to do a photo shoot and edits?
Photographing a wedding can be anywhere from 7-12-hours and editing can be a 1-2-week process. For a small portrait shoot, the work is similar but less time consuming, it also depends on how many photos I take.
How was your first photography shoot?
To describe my first wedding photography experience, I would use the words scary, fun, and challenging. One day I got an email asking if I could shoot a wedding. This wedding was in two weeks! The couple at the time was unable to afford a photographer, so her best friend gifted my services. I was elated and very nervous. I had knots in my stomach a week prior to the wedding. I was wondering to myself “Could I pull it off? What if I fail?” The moment I took my first photo those nervous thoughts went away. Taking photos felt natural and I was loving every bit of it. The bride was nervous too, this was a big day for the both of us. She asked one of her bridesmaids if she looked ok, I showed her the photo I took of her and she immediately started to cry. After the wedding was over, the couple thanked me for my services and said they couldn’t wait to see the photos. I drove home feeling good about myself, I knew from that moment anything was possible. After sending them their photos, I patiently waited for the dreaded response that they hated the images. Once I got the notification from the bride, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. She loved her images, I was happy and at ease.
What did you learn during your first year of photography?
The importance of understanding the profession and being business savvy. I’m absorbing the knowledge every day in order to keep my business moving. I realized I need to think like a businesswoman if I want to be successful.
What are your future goals?
* Getting my styled shoot published
* Focusing on my marketing plan
* Planning upcoming styled shoots
What was your toughest shoot and what did you learn from it?
My toughest shoot was my third wedding. It took place in a church with little to no lighting and an unpleasant red carpet. I’ve realized it’s hard to prepare for a shoot, especially if the venue is unfamiliar. But I’ve learned to perfect the craft, this wedding prepared me for events I photographed later in my career.
What’s the best critical advice you received from someone?
KNOW YOUR WORTH AND DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself photographing my ideal weddings and creating editorial portraiture. I’m thinking about opening up a studio boutique. My ultimate goal is to do photography around the world and my first desired place is Paris.
What could you improve on?
I am currently working on developing my image composition. My style is intimate portraiture. I am learning to step back and incorporate more of the scene to a tell bigger story.
What are your biggest challenges as a photographer?
Understanding how to balance my career and personal life. I believe everyone struggles with this challenge. I wear a lot of hats and although I am A-type personality I understand my limits and know when to say NO.
What would your advice be if someone asked you about being a photographer?
- Believe in yourself.
- Jump in and give it your all.
- Find a mentor.
- Second shoot as much as possible.
- Acknowledge your fear but don’t let it control you.
- Accept that you have to blog. J
- Read creative books and listen to Podcast as much as possible.
- Understand that your brand is not just a logo it’s creating an experience.
- Invest in class first. Rent your camera gear starting out.
- Understand you will have challenges and success is not based on financial gain.
I had the pleasure to connect with Elena and do a mini session. This was a fun and personable experience. We went to a local park and enjoyed the scenery. She had props and helped me pose in different styles. She even took photos of my dog Tootsie and I know she enjoyed it too! If you are looking to book a photo shoot, take a moment and view Elena’s website and social media pages.
Community Convo: What inspired you about this blog post? What are your short term and long term goals?
I look forward to hearing from you all!