Interview with fashion photographer Zuzana Breznanikova
Read how Zuzana Breznanikova was inspired to launch a career as a fashion photographer after being given a camera aged 13.
What’s your career background?
I have both psychology and photography background. I started with photography as a hobby when my dad gave me a camera at the age of 13 and taught me how to develop photos in the dark room.
Photography has been my passion since – I get in a flow and fully immersed in it. I did get my first work published at the age of 16 in a national newspaper but it was not until 2010 that I started my business.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It made a perfect sense for me to combine my photography passion with my entrepreneurial spirit and my psychology background. I realised that my passion lies with photographing people and it is where I could apply my psychology knowledge as well.
One of the things I hear repeatedly from clients and parents of kids I photographed is how relaxed and comfortable they felt during the session in spite of how they may have felt at the beginning. It also helps me to get to know a person and help to capture their personality.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I started the business while in a permanent job working just evenings and weekends initially with no external funding.
I designed a website and packages that I thought would be attractive and got it listed on directories. I worked on developing my portfolio by working with top modelling agencies photographing their new faces. The portfolio and website helped to get clients and from there referrals from customers.
Once I got busy I resigned from my job and ventured in my business fully. I have been my own boss ever since and have never looked back.
What’s your USP?
I do not compete on price but on quality. My USP varies for each service I provide. For example for model portfolio shoots it is my experience working with top model agents, my reputation within the fashion and modelling industry and knowledge of the modelling industry.
Also I give out all the photos from the shoot on the day unlike many photographers who can charge hundreds for products. My packages are not cheap but all inclusive and the photos are high quality.
Who’s your target audience?
Fashion brands, magazines, publicists, actors, talent, business professionals and teenagers or parents of kids wanting to get into modelling or acting. I also have some families for kids portraitures who regularly return for updates.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
My clients spread the word for me. There is nothing that beats the word of mouth besides having a good portfolio of work and credits.
When I ask clients how they found me these days they just say they have heard of me as a model portfolio photographer. These days Instagram also spreads the word for me.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Featuring my fashion photography on Instagram. These days I get so many enquiries and bookings through Instagram. Some people, actors, artists and magazines have followed me on there for a while before commissioning me for a shoot.
I guess it makes me more attractive to fashion brands and publicists because of the influence that comes from having larger following on social media.
And your proudest moment so far?
My work being published in Art + Commerce/Vogue Italia collection. As a fashion photographer Vogue is the top publication to aim for so having my work selected by Vogue editors made me proud and honoured.
Also having been commissioned to photograph royalty – however discretion is paramount here so no names. However the proudest moments have been when I was able to make a positive impact on someone’s life, by taking great images and giving them a memorable experience that they report as ‘confidence-boosting’.
Parents of teenagers and kids in particular say there’s an increase in their self-esteem since their shoot! This is the part of job I love the most about what I do. Being someone’s birthday or Christmas gift also feels special – no pressure there!
Why is work so important to you?
Work is my passion and find it creative and fulfilling. I enjoy working with customers and giving them a confidence boosting experience. I love having my own business.
Who inspires you?
My mum is my biggest inspiration in life. I watched her as a kid to be a successful entrepreneur and to raise three kids at the same time!
She has battled through cancer not just once but twice and was able to overcome any adversity in life and to live it to the full. I can only aspire to be like her one day.
How do you balance your work with your family life?
My husband also works very long hours but we do try to spend some quality time on Sundays and during holidays.
I try to visit my family when possible given my hectic schedule and the relatively long geographical distance between us having to fly over. I am planning to take my mum on a trip abroad again.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
Exceed expectations. Perseverance and hard work will pay off. And do not give up on your dreams.
Zuzana Breznanikova is an internationally published fashion photographer. She also specialises in high-end portrait photography, PR, talent and model portfolios.
You can follow her work and journey on Instagram firstname.lastname@example.org