Creativity, strong communication skills and passion – these are the three decisive qualities that fashion-conscious photographer Vicky Baumann combines in her profession. She did not follow the classic path of an apprenticeship, but has taught herself her knowledge to a large extent. The young photographer has specialized in “wedding photography”, since then she is a permanent guest at the most diverse wedding celebrations. I talked to her about photography, inspirations and her personal plans for the future.
Vicky Baumann has many sources of inspiration
FIV: You work as a freelance photographer: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have any role models in photography?
Vicky: I get inspired by many people, but also many things in my environment. It’s always very different, but there are of course some photographers whose work I find absolutely terrific. First and foremost is my No. 1 Nadia Meli.
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FIV: What qualities make you stand out as a person and as a photographer?
Vicky: Being able to deal with people and being emphatic is an incredibly important quality to have as a photographer – I would say I have that. People in front of your camera are usually insecure and don’t really know how to act. On the wedding day, the bride and groom also have the added stress that inevitably comes with the wedding day. As a photographer, your job is to take the tension out of the situation and convince the bride and groom: Hey, you can’t do anything wrong by being who you are. Don’t try to look perfect or pretend for the shoot. Forget for a moment that I am there and just enjoy the moment of togetherness. Most of the time this works quite well. The prerequisite is, of course, that the couple trusts in me and my work and also implements what I advise you to do. I never get impatient or hectic, because I can put myself in the couple’s shoes and know that this would only make them more nervous.
Ambition is one of my most important qualities that have brought me to where I am professionally today. I have taught myself everything I have ever learned photographically. It was a long road full of ups and downs to get there, but if you follow your dream to the end and never question it, you will eventually reach your goal – I have reached my personal goal today – This gives you confidence and the incentive to keep going.
FIV: Based on your looks, which I’ve often seen in photos of you in person, I assume you’re passionate about fashion: how would you describe your look?
Vicky: My look changes all the time. I don’t follow certain trends anymore (unlike before), I just wear what I like. Of course, when you’re out and about a lot at weddings, you often wear dressy clothes, like a blouse and ballerinas. Privately, I dress casually and comfortably.
Vicky about her career start & her job as a photographer
FIV: How did you get started in the profession? Did you do a classical education?
Vicky: As already mentioned, I actually taught myself everything. Nevertheless, my studies have already influenced me a little. I studied communication design and had photography as a subject. However, I only learned the absolute basics there. You can’t really count that. I’m still grateful for the 9 semesters, because without my studies the stone would probably never have started rolling.
FIV: Do you have your own studio?
Vicky: I share a studio with another photographer. Since I mainly shoot wedding portraits, I rarely need a studio. But for my baby and pregnancy shoots it’s quite practical.
FIV: Was the subject of photography already present in your childhood/youth?
Vicky: No. I honestly NEVER thought that I would become a photographer. I actually took my first steps with the camera only during my studies and at that time I found the subject rather uninteresting. I chose the subject because you had to choose one. For me, the profession of photographer was always rather the image of the passport photographer on the corner. That was my absolute nightmare and still is today. But I see my photography more as an art and less as a craft and I think that my pictures have absolutely nothing to do with these posed cliché images that each of us knows only too well.
FIV: Do you specialize in anything or is your range of topics broad?
Vicky: Wedding coverage is my core area of expertise. I’m actually out at a wedding every Saturday and love it! Especially in the summer, of course, it’s sometimes hard to drive to work in the morning knowing you won’t be home until night while your friends are meeting up at the pool or having a nice barbecue in the evening. I think without the passion for the job I wouldn’t last long either!
In second place come baby and pregnancy shoots. First of all, this has nothing to do with the wedding, but thematically it goes in a similar direction:
I photograph the most beautiful and important moments of two people: The engagement, the wedding, the pregnancy and the child together. I accompany my clients on a short but very emotional part of their journey together and capture the memories of these important events for eternity. For me, this is the most beautiful part of my job.
It was important for me to have a clearly defined core competence and to communicate this to the outside world. The other areas should also not be too far away from each other thematically. Product photography, for example, is not something I would include in my portfolio. The way I see it is that an egg-laying milksop can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t really excel at anything. That’s why I think specialization is hugely important in photography.
FIV: What is your “favorite” motif?
Vicky: Very clear: bridal couples
FIV: What does a typical working day look like for you?
Vicky: There are three fields in my profession that determine my daily work: Photography, Image Editing and Marketing. My work week actually starts on Saturdays. That’s when I shoot my wedding reportages, usually one lasts 12 hours. On Sundays, I’m seemingly dead and get over the well known “Wedding Hangover”. Monday-Friday is always a bit different. Sometimes I have some smaller wedding shoots during the week, but mostly some baby or pregnancy shoots. I use the time in between to sift through all the shoots, sort through them, and edit all the images. And that is most of the work! Of course, as a one-man business, I also have to take care of the marketing and accounting myself. Luckily, I’ve learned one of the two areas. Laying out a new website, designing the new business cards and getting them into print, crafting the flyers, planning and organizing trade shows, shopping for shoots and workshops….as you can imagine, there’s not much free time left then. I am just myself and all the time.
Vicky Baumann: “Working with people appeals to me”.
FIV: What appeals to you about being a photographer?
Vicky: There are many things that make the profession appealing to me. But most of all, working with people and the fact that I get to accompany my clients on the most important day of their lives excites me. I feel honored every time that 2 people put so much trust in me by choosing ME out of all the photographers. That makes me happy and I feel validated that my art resonates with people. But what I love even more is when my clients send me their thank you cards or a lovely email after their wedding and tell me that they cried tears of joy when they saw your pictures – Then I am always very touched and happy that I could move people with my work and make them so happy.
FIV: How can I imagine your work with models or your clients: Do you give a lot of instructions?
Vicky: I prefer to give no instructions at all. With some couples, it works like pushing a button. They forget the world around them and give themselves completely to the togetherness. That is the optimal case and instructions are hardly necessary.
But many couples are, understandably, still a little insecure in front of the camera and do not really know what to do with themselves. I then give them the feeling that they can do nothing wrong and I have no expectations of them. That takes a little bit of the pressure off. I then give them as much help as they need to get a feel for how best to move and behave so that it comes across beautifully in the pictures. Most of the time my couples thaw out after 10 minutes and then it flops all by itself. Of course, it is always important that the couple feels comfortable in front of the camera and it is my job to create this atmosphere. How I do that exactly, you can see by the way at my workshop on 23.08. Vicky Baumann Wedding Photography
FIV: Are you free to create or do your clients discuss with you beforehand exactly what results and motifs they want to make?
Vicky: Fortunately, most customers put the creative part in my hands. If someone has a specific request, he may express him of course happy and I will then also implement so. However, since my “poses” are more intuitive and not necessarily pre-planned, I have a problem with someone coming in with 30 images and wanting every pose recreated. That’s not the way I work (at least not for couple shoots). If someone insists firmly (which has never happened before), I tell the client that their ideas don’t fit my way of working and that I don’t think we’ll end up together.
FIV: Being a photographer can be stressful, do you have a trick to keep calm in stressful situations?
Vicky: Especially at weddings you have permanent stress. During the wedding ceremony, for example, I used to be so tense that I always felt sick beforehand, for fear that I might miss something important or that the camera would fail at the wrong moment. Today I have so much routine that I am no longer tense. Of course, a 12-hour working day is always stressful. You just have to take breaks in between and breathe deeply. If something doesn’t work out, or the camera has a hitch – never panic. Most of the time the problems solve themselves and you can continue calmly.
FIV: What have been your best experiences on the job so far and your most interesting assignments?
Vicky: There were certainly many wonderful experiences. I can’t pinpoint one in particular. I’m often so touched by the wedding ceremony or the speeches at weddings that I have to pull myself together behind the camera not to start crying. These are always these touching moments, which for me are among the most beautiful at a wedding. As I just said, the thank-yous and the beaming faces of the customers are always great events for me.
I was allowed to photograph, relatively at the beginning of a wedding, where the Swedish royal family counted among the guests. That was of course an absolute highlight for me. My first wedding abroad and then with royal guests…that was exciting.
Photo quality: The price of the camera is not always decisive
FIV: Do you have any tips for the “amateur photographer”? What to look for? Which camera can you recommend and why?
Vicky: Hmm, it always depends on what you want to do with the camera and where you focus. I think you can shoot great pictures even with cheap cameras. For example I use the 5D Mk2 and Mk3 at work, privately on vacation or for trips I bought the Canon 700D. Of course, it is not in the professional range and absolutely not comparable, but if you photograph purely hobby, this is a solid camera. Also important are the lenses. One lens I always recommend for beginners is the Canon 50mm 1.8, which is easy on the wallet (79.00 Euro MSRP) and gives great results. Of course not suitable for holiday photography, but unbeatable in the beginner area in portrait photography, for example.
FIV: Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Do you have a dream that you would like to fulfill?
Vicky: Professionally, my goal is to also work internationally as a wedding photographer. I would like to photograph more weddings abroad and get around more.
Privately, in 3 years I would also like to be one of the excited brides who plan your wedding down to the smallest detail and drive 300 km to pick up her dream dress. (You can pass the hint with the garden fence times so to my friend).
FIV: Vicky, thank you very much for the interview!
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