Interview: Monika Baro, photographer
Monika is an artist from Transylvania born in 1990, grown up in the Carpathian Mountains, living in Budapest since 2010. She loves to spend time in nature, to listen to music, to write poems and stories, and to be creative in the kitchen. She is a goldsmith and jewelry designer. Photography became part of her life in 2006, when she spent one year in Redding (California) as an exchange student. She is a freelance photographer since 2016.
You can find her here:
- Hi Monika, how long have you been working as a photographer now?
I am a freelance photographer since 2016.
- What inspired you to become a photographer? What were your first steps?
At the beginning I was inspired by nature and I was taking photos of landscapes, flowers and insects. Later, when I moved to Budapest I wanted to challenge myself, so I started to photograph people. I wanted to test myself, if I am able to work with people and make them feel at ease in front of the camera. I soon realized that working with people is wonderful and exciting, and it plays an essential role in my personal development, giving me joy, motivation and satisfaction. I had a mentor at that time, which was very helpful, because his encouragement made me feel confident, so I was able to make the decision to quit my job and become a full time freelance photographer. My goal is to find beauty and show beauty, because beauty is everywhere.
- Are you a professional or an amateur photographer?
I have a long way behind and still a long way to go. I think it is hard to draw the line between the terms amateur and professional. I would not call myself a professional, rather a passionate artist capturing moments in her way, willing to become better and better day by day. I don’t think I would ever call myself professional. At the end of the day labelling myself with words is not essential, but the experience, which I gave to people is extremely important.
- What is your favorite subject to photograph?
Nude photography is very special for me, because it is based on a deep confidence between me and my model, it is a great challenge no matter how experienced I am, and it is a good way to show people how wonderful they are. I think less is more, so I never show everything; rather I hide with shadows to make my photos more expressive. Besides nude photography I really enjoy photographing food, real estates and weddings.
- What kit do you shoot with?
My newest body is a Nikon D750. For street photography I use a Fujifilm XF10. Lately I started to experiment with analog as well, so I have a Nikon F100 body and a couple old ones (Praktica Fx and Canon AE-1).
- Tokina 12-24mm f/4
- Nikon 20mm f/2.8
- Nikon 35mm f/1.2
- Nikon 50mm f/1.4
- Nikon 80mm f/1.8
- Tokina Macro 100mm f/2.8
- How would you define your photographic style?
I love to keep things simple and stay natural. My goal is to capture true emotions and beauty. I would describe my style simple, natural, sincere and expressive.
- Which editing software do you usually use?
I usually start editing in Lightroom, than I do the finishing touches in Photoshop.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
I think webpages and social media pages are must haves today for every photographer, who wants to make a living from photography, but they are not necessarily the shortest way to new clients. In my experience the best advertisement is recommendation by clients. Lots of people find me like this, but being present online also helps me becoming more popular. Returning clients are the indicators of good quality and they make me very happy.
- How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working? What do you do in your free time?
I cannot separate work from free time, as my profession is my passion. I never call it work. It is rather a way of life. Usually I have photoshoots 4 or 5 days a week. When I am not shooting I am either retouching or getting ready for the next photoshoot. I also spend some time with social media, communication with clients and accounting. In the rest of my time I am doing some workout (cycling or qigong), meditation, cooking, walking in nature, watering my plants and watching inspiring YouTube videos.
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
All the experiences, which I went through in the past years are part of my journey and they formed me to the person I am today, so I am grateful for each moment and I would not change a bit if I would start again. Sometimes the greatest suffering turns out to be the foundation stone of something wonderful. Let’s walk with open minds and open hearts! Life is not black and white, but full with endless shades of grey, of which I can never get bored of.
- A professional photographer is also an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have many things in common. They read a lot. What about you? What are your favorite books?
- Robert Capa – Slightly Out of Focus
- Jan Němec – A History of Light
- Francesco G. Haghenbeck – The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo
- Anna Gavalda – Someone I Loved; Life, Only Better
- Sándor Dallos – A nap szerelmese (Lover of the Sun), Aranyecset (Golden Brush)
- Béla Hamvas – Babérligetkönyv
I also love to read poems 🙂
- What was the best advice you have ever received as a photographer? Do you have any advice for other photographers?
The best advice, which I ever received, was to not be afraid and to accept the challenges.
I would advise other photographers (especially the ones, who are just starting out) to not overthink and go with their gut. You can easily lose gorgeous moments by trying to make a decision instead of taking a photo. Trust your intuition, grab your camera and shoot whenever you feel like it. Afterwards you can sort out the photos and discard the ones, which you don’t like. I would also advise to take your time and know your gear inside out, so you can operate without much thinking. Do not spend a fortune on equipment. Start small, than gradually buy new stuff when you know what you really need.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
- Top 3 websites?
- Your last vacation?
On the 15th of March I visited a wonderful little lake close to Budapest, and I spent one day by the lake enjoying nature together with my partner.