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Meet Bilal Akhtar of Moments by Bilal Studios in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bilal Akhtar.

Bilal, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Before my professional career in photography, which started a year ago, I dabbled in the art here and there. It wasn’t until I decided to drop out of USC (while studying music and business) that I truly started harnessing my talent, or skill, one should say, of photography.

SLR Lounge is an online photography educational site with over 200,000 subscribers. They also run their own wedding studio, called Lin&Jirsa Photography. This was to my surprise because I had no intuition that Lin&Jirsa and SLR Lounge were run by the same people. So when I applied to be a photographer to Lin&Jirsa Photography, I didn’t know that I had already learned their style by watching their videos -I was simply applying to the best studios in CA for wedding photography and was hoping that someone would appreciate my work and bring me on to their team.

My initiative to learn from the free online sources landed me a full-time job as a photographer in less than 4 months of me being out of school at debatably one of the best wedding studios on the west coast.

In that 4 months before I was hired, I also founded Moments by Bilal Studios, a boutique wedding studio, catered to sophistication and art -I also shot my first three weddings.

In the last 12 months, making it officially my first year in photography, I have shot over 30 weddings, which is an incredibly successful journey for which I’m extremely grateful for.

Moments by Bilal Studios is now hiring team members because of the growth. I’m looking to add to my numbers and shoot 40 weddings this second year.

I still shoot still for Lin&Jirsa and have officially become an educator/writer of photography on the site that I first learned from.

When I’m not making art in photography, I’m usually hiking or making art elsewhere, finding inspiration from different Muses -my personal favorite is music 🙂.

I’m currently working on my Elemental Art Project, found here: https://www.instagram.com/theelementalarts/

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest obstacle, or as I should say, the first one, was biting the nerve to drop out of college and follow my inner compass into the workforce. Frankly, after that, it kind of just fell into place.

Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard -I ate, slept, drank, photography (even giving up music for a bit to stay focused). But the biggest and most important challenge that I faced after dropping out was the challenge of believing in myself.

I quickly realized that hard-work is the simple answer to most of the challenges I was facing, such as not knowing much about the photography industry or having the experience to thrive in it. I was struggling month to month but the harder I worked, the closer I got to my goals. Obstacles didn’t seem impossible anymore and soon small victories turned into tailored performance, which was me being the best version of myself.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Moments by Bilal Studios story. Tell us more about the business.
As mentioned above, MBB Studios is a wedding photography oriented studio, specializing in fine art, photojournalism, and advanced flash photography. We’re most proud of our understanding of light and how we use it to compliment the scene we’re shooting in. Our understanding of dramatic portraiture and synergy across all photos that are delivered, make us a novel experience that cannot be duplicated. Every photo that is seen on our blog or portfolio is an identical representation of the quality of work that every photo has. From bridal/groom prep to evening couple session and reception, we make sure that every photo is top quality and to our highest standard -we simply pick our personal favorites in the portfolio.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is a perspective of experience.

When we have good experiences we call it good luck and the bad ones are called back luck. In hindsight, I cannot say I had any bad luck because it has led me to the position that I am right now, for which I’m extremely thankful for and cannot regret a single thing. I make a living making art.

But, when I first started, my reluctance for school, although inspired by my dream of working as an artist, haunted me as an insecurity of being a college dropout. I thought that dropping out was a decision I was forced into by bad luck. The opposite could not have been truer.

So, the role of luck seems to be favoring me! 🙂

Contact Info:

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1 Comment

  1. Theresa Smith

    February 8, 2017 at 20:49

    I just want to tell you honestly as far as first impressions go? Your portraits are classy, dramatic and beautiful. But then you add an element of fun and joy and incorporate it all so elegantly and with such grace. Absolutely breathtaking these photos.

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