We had the good fortune of connecting with Belinda Philleo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Belinda, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are what make growth happen. Nothing extraordinary has ever come from simply sticking with the status quo, so it’s important to think creatively and be willing to take a calculated leap into the unknown from time to time. Not all risks that we chose to take will turn out how we imagined, but even those “mistakes” are incredible learning experiences that get us moving in the right direction for the next step we take. Some of the most innovative creators and business owners in history experienced epic fails at times, but their willingness to get back up and try again, to take another risk, is what made them successful in the big picture! For me, starting a business back in 2010 was a huge leap. I was blissfully ignorant of how little I really knew both about photography and especially about running a business at the time, but I really wanted this. So I took a leap and dedicated myself to always keep learning along the way!
Please tell us more about your work. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My fascination with photography is really about emotion. Photographs are like little visual time machines that take us back to a moment and suddenly we’re immersed in the scene and the feelings. That being said, I love making photos of couples, or families that capture them engaging with one another rather than stiffly smiling at the camera.
Each shoot becomes a storyboard about their family or wedding day that they can look back on and reminisce and really relive those memories. For that reason too, I’ve made the creative decision to keep my editing style vibrant but true to color, even though it’s not on trend right now I think it’s important in order to maintain a timeless and true life feel.
One of the big lessons I’ve learned over the years is how important it is to remember why you started doing this in the first place, and celebrate the little wins along the way. I’m the type of person where once I reach a goal it’s easy to immediately think “Okay, next goal! What’s next?!” And if you don’t keep that in check you can start discrediting the things you’ve accomplished and wind up feeling burned out.
With creative careers it’s so easy to get swept up with what’s trendy and distract yourself. So while it’s good to take lessons and try new things, you don’t want to lose sight of your purpose either because it’s your unique style that makes your art special, so spending too much time keeping up with the trends will muddle the thing that makes your work great in the first place and you might lose your joy in the process.
Your art and your journey doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. When I’ve found myself distracted or caught up in all the noise, I remind myself to take a step back and refocus on my “why” and reflect on the how far I’ve come in my OWN journey. In the long-haul that means a better experience for both me AND for my clients.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many great options here that it’s tough to narrow it down, but I think I’d definitely take them to some spots with a great view like Griffith Observatory or The Getty, then Perch in DTLA for a cocktail and a sweet view of the city, and of course, while we were there we’d have to go around the corner to The Last Bookstore! For a casual & low-key dinner, I’d take them to Cole’s French Dip so that afterward we could hang out in their speakeasy (The Varnish) for a little while. For a chill relaxation day, I’d take them to Seal Beach (in OC) to relax out by the water and browse all the little shops on Main St because it’s not usually as busy as some of the other beaches out here. While we’re in OC, I would HANDS DOWN take them to ARC in Costa Mesa for dinner for one of their incredible burgers, or basically anything on their menu!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh man, there have been so many good sources of support for me that it’s hard to narrow it down to specifics. First of all, my husband. Having a spouse who believes in you, even on days where you’re not feeling it, is just absolute gold. He and my incredibly supportive friends and clients over the years have kept me moving forward! Also, there are amazing people throughout both the wedding and photography industry here locally – Basically everyone at One Story Weddings (a great photo/video team I’ve had the privilege of working with often), and a networking group I joined a few years back OCWP (Orange County Wedding Professionals). Both the wedding and photo industries here in SoCal have a lot of amazing talent and competition but, despite that fact, I’ve seen such a welcoming and generous spirit among these groups and I’m grateful to be able to be a part of that.