Today we’d like to introduce you to Hellena Steyaert.
Hellena, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a wedding and portrait photographer and this is the story of how it all began. Even though I owned a camera from a very young age, the love of photography started much later. My dad bought me my first film camera at 8 years old (in the stone ages), I never really cared much about taking photos back then. I took a few photos and quickly got bored of my camera. In high school, my dad bought me a Canon SLR camera. I tried taking a photography class but was turned off by how expensive everything was, and so I dropped the class. Fast forward to 2010, a friend of mine lost his job and wanted to venture into photography/ film making. He asked me to help him out and so being a good friend, I bought my first Digital SLR camera, Canon EOS t2i to help him. My friend decided not to continue his business venture and so he returned my $800 camera. I took this as a sign that I finally need to learn photography. I hired a couple of photography teachers to teach me to use my camera. I took a lot of week long workshops, purchased a lot of books and videos on photography and immersed myself in everything photography related for almost 2 years, I feel that I still continue to learn to this day and evolve in my creativity. I bought a full frame Canon EOS 6D and started my newborn/ maternity photography business in late 2012. I eventually fell in love with wedding photography when a colleague asked me to be a 2nd shooter for his wedding photography business. I then shifted focus to do wedding photography a year later and have been in love with it ever since. I have been lucky enough to work with amazing couples and their families.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As a creative person, business doesn’t come easy for me, and everything is a learning experience. Luckily, I have a supportive husband who helps me with the business side of things. Sometimes part of the struggle for me is to get couples to understand why wedding photography cost so much.
We have our expensive gears, our liability insurance cost, and the time that we spend before and after the wedding itself. We meet with the couple for consultation, visit the venue(s) prior to the wedding, take the wedding photos and spend time afterwards editing and getting the final products.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about HMS Photography – what should we know?
HMS Photography is a wedding photography business serving the Southern California area (www.hms-weddings.com). We provide photography for engagement sessions, bridal boudoir, wedding photography and post wedding sessions or trash the dress sessions. I am proud of what I do because I feel that I listen to what my customers are needing and try to not only meet their needs but to go above and beyond their expectations. This is especially true when working with small weddings without a wedding coordinator, I think my assistant and I somehow end up being their photographers and wedding coordinators at the same time. For couples who choose not to hire videographers, we also try to video the most important part of the ceremony, e.g., exchange of vows, rings and/or the officiant’s announcement of husband and wife.
I am also proud of the fact that we are able to get our photo gallery available quickly for viewing.
Although, most couples will be in their honeymoon and won’t usually get to them for a couple of weeks. Once our couples choose their favorite photos from their gallery, we work hard to get our final products to them very quickly. I enjoy watching their excitement when they get their gift bags of products they will love and cherish.
We also photograph newborns, maternity and families (www.hmphotographics.com).
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My dad, now a retired electrical engineer always loved gadgets and cameras – he bought me my first camera when I was a kid, and apparently tried to inspire me to take up photography. I know that both my parents are proud of my accomplishments in photography. My husband Vik who is the love of my life, has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. He encouraged me to take photography classes and workshops and helped me set up my business. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do any of this without his support and encouragement.
- Our Wedding Package starts at $1500.00 and we are happy to try and work with every budget.
- Website: www.hms-weddings.com
- Phone: 888-395-9496
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org