Beja is a professional photographer and mother of two. We talk about how she got into photography and the all important balance between pursuing her passion and motherhood. Check out her work here.
How would you describe your style of photography?
If I had to define it, I’d say my style is organic, genuine and connected. I’ve always had an admiration for classical painters, and I’ve spent a lot of time at the MET in New York City. I adore rich, deep, and bold colors; smooth but with texture.
How long have you been taking professional photos and how did your passion start?
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years, working in portrait, documentary, event, and production photography in New York City.
My passion started after graduating from college – I quickly discovered that tourism wasn’t my calling. Along with the uncomfortable realization that followed: what to do instead? I had also just moved to the US, relocating to Brooklyn, NY from Budapest, Hungary. I worked as a nanny for a family, and the dad, Dan Cordle, happened to be the kindest human I’ve ever met and an amazing photographer. He quickly became my mentor, teaching me to shoot and develop my own film. Eventually, I transitioned to digital photography and started freelancing as a professional.
What childcare support do you rely on when working in the field?
I have 2 young children: aged 6 and 3. My first grader is currently in a pod and my youngest is the happiest at Big and Tiny.
The only reason I’ve been able to return to work, and find the energy to pick up my camera again is thanks to Big and Tiny. She is excited to join her friends every morning and literally never wants to leave! Big shout out to all the wonderful teachers – they are the best!
And last but not least, I adore Keltse, the owner and creator of Big and Tiny – she gently reminds me, when I feel a bit lost in this pandemic world, of gratitude.
What are you most proud of professionally?
I feel the proudest and happiest in the moment I deliver the final portraits to my clients. I print and frame my own work, and I need to see their reaction when they open their package! It’s incredibly fulfilling. Having spent so much time with them, and their images, they’ve become friends.
A very close second, is receiving an email from a client, years after working together, telling me how much happiness they get looking at the art on their wall.
How do you confront failure?
It’s hard, but I accept it. I remind myself that giving up is the failure.
We recently got a book for our six year old called ‘A Kids Book About Failure’ by Dr. Laymon Hicks – it’s a good read for grown ups too. A quote from the book became our new mantra: “Failure is not final, it’s a part of the process.” If you don’t try, you won’t fail but you won’t grow either!
Children are not the easiest subjects to photograph! What is your top tip?
My top tip is to surrender and let children be themselves. I believe success in capturing children’s portraits depends on your mindset.
Prepare yourself to surrender and take your ego out of it – especially with younger kids. It is not in their nature to stay still; frozen in their movements. Instead, make a game of taking their photos. Get them to laugh. Be extra silly, they won’t be able to resist. Remember, our children are a reflection of us. If we feel good and at ease, they will too!
More practical tips: plan your shoot around their schedule. Avoid disrupting nap time, and use the time of the day when they are the most energized. Make sure they aren’t hungry (or hangry) and plan something fun afterwards, too. Ice cream is a great motivator. Last but most important: let them wear comfortable clothing, that you won’t mind getting dirty. They are kids, getting dirty means they had fun.
What’s your motto in life?
Always choose kindness.