FEARLESS CONFERENCE, FEARS, COMPETITION AND THE ROAD TO A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER

I grabbed my first professional camera in early 2010, but I’ve been doing wedding photography since 2012 and I took it seriously after the Fearless Conference in Amsterdam.

Back in July 2013 came the moment that changed me as a photographer and as a man. I met some people who have been inspiring me for the past 2 years and are still doing this every day.

After being lost in my career, I discovered that I have the best business and life partner. I learned that it’s important to break up connections and stay away from people that are harming my spiritual life and my business. I learned to help more people and to surround myself by persons who can help me become a better man. I loved the Quin and Dave Cheung presentation and upon my return home, I realized I had gathered lots of knowledge and a very important question: what can I do to improve my teamwork with my partner Gabriela? 

Time showed me that we can work together in some circumstances, but we should work separately in others. Now we’re photographing weddings separately and I think it was one of the best decision we took to save our life together. I am in love with the Mexicans’ openness, sensibility and sincerity. I am very honored to have met Citlalli RicoSergio Lopez and Kelly Rashka. I learned from Daniel Aguilar that light lives in darkness and his bridal portraits will always be great study material for me. As a dogs lover, I was amazed how human all the animals look in Anna Kuperberg‘s pictures and I learned from Ben and Erin that hard work can take you to the moon and back.

fearless conference amsterdamPhoto: Gerhard Nel

Coming back to Romania, we were once again faced with the daily issues.

What can we do to work no more than 12 hours per wedding? 

Nothing changed in the industry since 2013. The harder we’ve tried to change something in this direction, others doubled their efforts for the same amount of money.

What can we do to earn more money?

 We’ve improved our photography skills and results day by day, but at some point it’s not about photography anymore, it’s about the limits our country has.

What can we do to improve our photography skills? 

There’s a lot to write, but I agree with Ben and Erin. Shooting every day, everywhere and in any condition helped us become better photographers.

A lot of questions and fears overwhelmed me. I did not know where I was at that point; I just knew where I wanted to go. Focusing on moments, trying to get close and to read my client’s needs as I always believed I can deliver something unique, something for them to remember, not just clichés.

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Photo: Twane Ehpargotohp Rassart

What impact did the 2015 Fearless Conference have on me?

I met some awesome speakers, awesome students and also made some awesome friends. In my personal vision, we all need a reset once every 2 years. So, after Amsterdam, our business was in a need of something fresh. New beginnings are always cool! I’m very thrilled! I am proud to be a member of such great community! Candice taught me to wait even more for the moment and for the “little guys”, I learned from Huy that a goal without a plan is just a wish and that I should be even more open to criticism.

Thank you, Sergio, for teaching me to love my clients unconditionally.

Thank you, Michał, Dorotha and Carlo, for showing me what inspirational European work and vision is all about.

Thank you, Anna, for your critique (I know what to do with my website now).

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your technique.

Thank you, Ben and Erin, for showing us that sometimes we need to take hundreds of photos before we capture THE ONE!

Fearless Conference in Romania was one of the best things that the Romanian wedding photography industry could possibly have experienced since its very beginnings. Some of my foreign friends that visited Romania thought that these beginnings were a decade ago. However, in my opinion, quality wedding photography doesn’t really go way back… While in other countries, other photographers are finishing their job, we’re just starting. A Romanian wedding can last anywhere between 16 and 22 hours. A few times, we (me and my partner Gabriela) stayed awake for more than 24 hours, forced to smile every second of our job. It’s not so important and it’s not a complaint. We love and enjoy what we are doing, we love wedding photography!

I heard a rather odd, but true and beautiful metaphor: wedding photographers are always riding big elephants. These elephants are composed of many things: client’s desired, market and industry changes, technological developments and many more.

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Photo: Robyn Navarro

As Huy said (the owner of Fearless Photographers), we have to train the elephant to become better persons. While we train him, others don’t, so the world will always have wild elephants. As far as I’m concerned, I am a man of competition and not because I really wanted, but because the Romanian society forced me.  The environment taught me that I have to fight to be better than others each day of my life. It also taught me how to achieve my goals even when communism claimed the equality between people.

Straight from the first day of school and up to my last day at the University, I was indoctrinated. I was forced to believe that getting high grades and awards will give me more chances to succeed (to have the best job, to have the best house, to have the best wife). My teachers taught me what I needed to achieve in order to become successful, but they never mentioned a word about how to become a better person.

There is a quote in the Romanian culture saying that “the sword won’t cut the bent head“. I was lucky with my parents and with few people that changed my life, they taught me how and when to stay humble. In fact, there’s a big truth and a big lie here. My life in Romania showed me that learning and working every day will give me better chances at a higher social status but, at the same time, it showed me the opposite. I’ve seen a lot of people that never been to school being involved in politics, people that had or have the right to decide my future. Somehow, I think it’s not fair, but life goes on and I have to deal with it whether I enjoy it or not. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not fair to identify a photographer only by the number of awards he’s received. I learned how to make friends without sticking my nose into their business, without caring what pictures they take and without knowing how many awards are hanging on their walls! This is how I came across wonderful people and great photographers. Communities are about networking, not about fame and recognition!

I am looking forward to meet you guys again!

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Photos: Dries Renglé

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Photo: Ioan Stoica photobooth

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