So next up in my blog interview series is the lovely Elena Popa. I met this talented lady early last year but I feel like I’ve known her for ages. I fell in love with her photography style straight away – it’s evocative and atmospheric! I love the mood and feeling she creates in her images. Elena has this calm energy about her combined with a rather dry, wicked sense of humour! I love being around her and am so looking forward to working with her again. I’m so excited to share her interview with you so that you can learn more about this beautiful soul.
So Elena, when did you start your photography business? And did you do something else before?
Firstly thank you so much for including me in your blog series Vaani! It’s a real honour and pleasure to be part of it! Photography has always been a huge part of who I am. When I was 15, I pestered my dad until he gave in and bought me a point and shoot camera (my favourite band were touring and there was no way I’d let this occasion slip by unimmortalised). Naturally there wasn’t a leaf on my street that didn’t get photographed that year. I never really considered photography as a career though, in fact in my home culture it wasn’t regarded as a “proper job” at all. So I carried on taking photos (I eventually progressed from leaves to portraits) for another 10 years or so, whilst studying for a career in academia…until a complete stranger asked me if I’d be up for shooting their wedding 5 years ago. This was during my PhD studies, and shortly after I was awarded my Doctorate in Developmental Biology, I decided to ditch all that and start my wedding photography business. It was one of the best decisions I ever made 🙂
What made you decide to become a wedding photographer?
The need to be creative, which would have been a real challenge as a researcher. I needed to keep my passion for photography alive, and to be my own boss! After getting a taste of it (purely by chance) my gut feeling told me I simply had to keep going.
What makes you unique and how would you describe your style?
I take atmospheric, heartfelt, honest photos for modern, creative couples who are laid-back but also style-conscious. I love working with couples who are quite relaxed on their wedding day, who love simplicity and authenticity and don’t care much about breaking the “rules” and see their wedding day as a chance to make their own traditions. A bride in a jumpsuit, a groom wearing a pink velvet suit, people who aren’t afraid to express their personalities on their wedding day. So I guess my style is defined by the non-traditional, the beautiful details so much thought has been put into, and those real, genuine moments full of emotion
Where do you find your inspiration?
There are a few portrait photographers whom I’ve followed since I first picked up a camera, such as Lara Jade and Julia Trotti. On the wedding photography side, I hugely admire The Kitcheners, James Frost, Kayley from Kansas, Benjamin Wheeler and many others. To be honest, many suppliers in this industry are a constant source of inspiration for me, be they florists, stylists or cake makers (that includes you!)
I also love dramatic landscapes, natural and urban alike. Tall pine forests, the City of London, the cliffs of the 7 Sisters, they all display jaw-dropping beauty and I never take these sights for granted!
What do you love most about your job?
I think it’s simply the joy of it. Whilst shooting a wedding is indeed a rather high pressure situation, I get to be around people on one of the happiest days of their lives. Nothing beats that really! Except maybe for the incredible feedback I’ve been lucky to receive from my amazing couples after seeing their photos! I also really love working from home and having my sweet whippet Jimmy by my side most days 🙂
Where is your favourite place to escape to?
It has to be Cornwall. It’s the one place I find myself going back to year after year. There’s nothing quite like a breezy walk on the Cornish coastal path, or an invigorating swim in the icy cold water at Readymoney Cove.
Do you have a favourite cake flavour?! And what’s your favourite tipple?
Ohhh depends on the occasion! For a birthday I’d probably go for something like a black forest gateau. Just love the combination of chocolate and cherries, mmm! For an everyday flavour it would either be Victoria sponge or carrot cake. I need to mention it’s nearly midnight as I write this and I’ve just had to help myself to a thick slice of the banana bread my husband and I baked last night (anyone else pandemic-baking?)
My favourite drink has to be a whiskey sour….or a margarita (with salt, never sugar on the rim!)
Do you have any tips you could share with a couple who is looking for a wedding photographer?
Choose someone whose work you simply fall in love with. You look at their images and you can’t help but want to be in them.