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Meet Belinda Philleo of Photography by Belinda Philleo in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Belinda Philleo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Belinda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
“You have a good eye, but your photos could really use some work,” This was the response when I showed a hobbyist photographer friend a few of my photo “creations” in late 2009. For whatever reason, what he said intrigued me rather than offended me. At that point in time I knew very little about photography. I believed that amazing photos meant fancy gear and mad Photoshop skills. The concepts of aperture and shutter speed were foreign to me. So I prodded for more information, “what do you mean? What can I do better?”

Soon enough I bought a DSLR, gradually learned how to manually control the settings to create images purposefully, rather than just snap them, and I fell in love with the art. I tagged along on a few nature hikes with my photography loving friends, but quickly discovered I was not very excited about photographing nature. I yearned to photograph people! And so, began my career as a portrait photographer. I started asking friends and family if I could photograph them and I built a modest portfolio. The next thing I knew, I was registering to become a legal business and soaking up everything I could about the photography industry and how to provide something great for my portrait and wedding clients! I imagine it was similar to how Alice felt as she went down the rabbit hole, overwhelmed and in awe of the magic unfolding before her.

Weddings were always part of the plan for me. I was inspired by the beautiful details and emotional moments I saw captured by photographers I admired. I reached out to a couple of local photographers and asked if I could shoot with them to learn. I was hooked. I started taking on weddings of my own but jumped on opportunities to shoot under more experienced photographers so I could continue to grow in the art!

Over time, the more weddings I photographed, the more I fell in love with this particular genre of photography. I enjoy the flow of a wedding day: The anticipation during the getting ready portion, the surge of emotion when a father gives way to tears as his little girl says her vows, the magical spark between a couple when they glance at each other like “OMG we did it!” For this reason, I’ve focused heavily on weddings the last couple of years. I still enjoy the occasional portrait session, but my passion lies with documenting the stories of couples in love.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Pressure creates diamonds. The struggle a butterfly goes through to break free from its cocoon is what builds strength in its wings so it can fly.

In other words, challenges are a good thing! And yes, I’ve faced challenges along the way. One of those challenges was learning how to run a business! I had never imagined that I would be a business owner, so when I started I really had to apply myself to studying and learning as much as I could. Asking for advice from other business owners I knew. Making little mistakes along the way and learning from them can sting sometimes, but you just pick yourself up and keep going!

Another challenge was something I think most artists face, and that’s the trap of comparison. It sounds silly to admit, but I think it’s important to note because a lot of people struggle with this! Especially in the digital age, it can be all too easy to get caught up in comparing your work to the highlight reel (or Instagram feed) of others and that can be discouraging if you let it. On occasions where I’ve caught myself doing this, I take a step back from social media and refocus that energy into a new project or a learning opportunity to work on a skill I’ve been wanting to improve. It’s helped me to see that everyone has unique strengths and that’s what makes each of us special at what we do!

Photography by Belinda Philleo – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My photography business focuses on documenting love stories. I want each client to be able to revisit the emotion they felt on their wedding day.

We’re a full-service studio, meaning, in addition to photographing the wedding, I’m also there to help along the way when it comes to giving clients the tools and information they need to make informed choices, from setting up the wedding schedule, all the way through to the process of how to display their artwork and preserve it for generations to enjoy!

My past experience as a bride is something that drives me to take my responsibility as a wedding professional very seriously. I know how important this day is to my couples because I’ve been in their shoes and I want to ensure that my team and I give each couple our very best!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The moments that make me feel proud are when I get feedback from a client and they are just ecstatic about their images and really happy with the experience that they had with my company. That’s really the ultimate goal for me – being able to give my clients photos they love and an unforgettable experience!

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