This week we are honored to showcase the work of Denise Balyoz Photography. I had the pleasure of meeting Denise at Camp Shutter Sisters last fall and was immediately drawn to her kind and warm spirit. I had such a great time at camp with her and only wished that I had the opportunity to get to know her more. So I was thrilled when she said "yes" to my request to be featured in our Behind the Len series.
As you will see from her images below, Denise's images are gorgeous and she truly captures special moments. It is no wonder that her client's describe her work as natural, emotive, and creative. We certainly agree.
Thank you again Denise for your wonderful interview and I hope our paths cross again very soon!
Your Name: Denise Balyoz
Your studio/business name: Denise Balyoz Photography
Location: Windsor, UK
In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? Natural. Emotive. Creative. Candid. Full of life. Real. These are some of the words that my clients have used to describe my photography. I specialize in newborn, child and family portraiture and I see myself as a visual storyteller. My passion is turning images into fine art. In my work, I focus on the expression and emotion in small moments and tiny details.
Are you self-taught or classroom trained? I am 100% self-taught.
How many years have you been a professional photographer? I was a part-time photographer for about three years before jumping in full-time just over a year ago.
Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? In 5 years, I hope to have a premier boutique baby and child studio. Yes, I dream of having a studio with lots of indoor and outdoor space (I so love natural, outdoor images…). I hope to be working in the US (where my family is…) and in the UK (where my home is…). I also hope that I will become and inspiration to other photographers. I hope to teach and share what I have learned in collaboration with other photographers. And finally, I dream about writing a book.
Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? Oh my goodness…I take my inspiration from so many photographers: Sue Bryce, Jerry Ghionis, Skye Hardiwick, Christina Greve, Kimberly Chorney, Carrie Sandoval, Kim Klassen…I could go on…
Favorite location to take photos? Next to large windows in a client’s home or in a field full of tall grass and daisies…
Favorite vacation spot? Somewhere with mountains and a view, lots of natural space and great light.
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? Funny thing is that I have ALWAYS loved photographs. There is something in them that fascinates me. My journey to become a photographer has been an organic one. I think it happened over time as I grew to know (and trust) who I am.
What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? My entire marketing ethos is based on the following tip: Define your client. I mean, really define her...in every detail. Then, form partnerships with businesses that also serve this client.
What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? Do you do windows? LOL…only kidding. Actually, I would have to think about this one. Nothing comes to mind…
Favorite print lab? I use Loxley Colour in Scotland for my print work.
Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Nikon all the way!!
If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? Hands-down the 70-200 VRII. This lens has changed my work.
What brand bag do you carry your camera in? They may be a tad bit boring to look at, but I use Thinktank bags for my gear. They work in all kinds of weather (and trust me, we get some horrible stuff here in the UK) and for international travel.
What gear would we find in your camera bag? I’m so lucky to be able to shoot with the amazing new D4 and the D700. Because I believe good glass is so important, I’ve also invested extensively in a wide range of Nikon lenses. Depending on the shoot, I choose from the following: 70-200 VRII, 105 Macro, 85mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 35 mm 1.4, 24-70mm and 14-24mm. If pushed I would have to say that the 70-200 is my absolute favourite. I also carry a reflector or two, lots of memory cards, a spare battery, baby wipes, a baby muslin, a lipstick, model release forms and extra business cards.
Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light. It’s so much kinder and less intimidating for little ones…The D4 helps me to make this possible.
Are you PC or Mac? Mac.
Your Tips and Tricks
What post processing tools do you use? My post-processing starts in Aperture where I store my library and make minor tweaks in exposure and white balance. I use Photoshop for any client images and for editing faces. I have also invested in RadLab and Portraiture.
Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw.
Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Start now. Define your dreams. Believe in them. Take baby steps. And then be patient. Part of my 40-something self wishes I had started shooting a long, long time ago. However, I know that my career in IT, my travels and all of my life experiences have prepared me to follow my dream today. I have no regrets and I am soooo grateful for everything in my life.
Best advice you would give a new photographer? Hmm…I’ll share the two best pieces of advice that someone gave to me: 1. Join Flickr and start looking at images…lots of images. This will inspire you and will change your work. 2. Set your camera to manual and buy a 50mm lens. (They are not expensive.) Keep this on your camera at a set Aperture (say…3.2) with a set IS0 (say…400). Learn how to meter by adjusting the shutter speed. Once this is familiar and comfortable, start playing with Aperture and Shutter speed in combination. I remember the brain strain I had in the beginning. But it will become second nature…I promise!
What site do you use for your photography and why? I still use Flickr to share my work and to gain inspiration. I use Squarespace as the platform for my website. My blog is Wordpress.
What Else Should We Know?
What was your worst photography experience? ?? This is a tough question. I push myself on every shoot to learn something and to grow. There are some shoots that I love and some that feel more like work. Luckily, there is nothing that was awful!
What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? Hmm…well, if you read my blog or website, you will already know that I’m an American living in the UK and I’m a single mom to an awesome little girl. What you may not know is that I have two different eyes (there is a large brown stripe in one), I eat unashamedly like a horse and I’m very afraid of the ocean. There are monsters in those deep waters!
Tell us something else you’d like us to know: My daughter is 3.5 and has just been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I have been shocked by the outpouring of encouragement and help that I have received from friends and even mere acquaintances. Through the emails, call and Facebook messages, I’ve found some amazing resources to help my daughter. This reminds me, yet again, that all we need to do is ask, manifest and believe in something…and somehow it will show up.
And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks
Three things I can’t live without…If we exclude my family and my camera from the mix, I would have to say my dogs, dark chocolate and a yoga mat.
I wish I had more…quiet time. Now this happens in stolen moments.
The best thing about being a photographer is…finding magic. I’m sure you all know what I mean. Sometimes it just happens…
The most important lesson I ever learned was….Be patient. Do less. I’m a fill-my-days kind of girl. In the last year, I have learned that the most important thing I can do is to do less with my business to make time to take care of me.
My favorite time of day is…early morning. I just adore the feel of the air and the softness of the light. Before the birth of my daughter, I used to be up and in the park for sunrise on foggy mornings.