I am so excited to present to you the second mompreneur of this series. I cannot wait for you all to read her inspiring story and see her gorgeous photography. We grew up together, spent celebrating multiple childhood birthdays together, and last time I saw her was when we parted ways at her going away party many years ago for Bible School. Viktoriya has always had that creative spark in her. I remember our tween years when we would have sleepovers and tear apart magazines for scrapbooking. Hers ALWAYS looked like a put together professional magazine :) Fast forward YEARS later, and thousands of miles apart, I am thrilled to have had the chance to catch up and interview this beautiful woman.
Hello, My name is Viktoriya Chuprov – I am a mother, wife and a destination wedding photographer.
Everyone knows me for being creative, in pretty much anything. I have always admired art and photos that portrayed emotion. I could never figure out how someone could capture when looking at photos in a magazine. The raw, real laughter and twinkle in the eye – to the moody and emotion look.
Throw back to high school, I accidentally got put into a photography class, after sitting through the whole class I got up and went straight to the office and told them I wanted out!
I do sometimes wonder if I had just taken that class, if I would have become a photographer much sooner! My creatively infused brain just did not seam to see the creative side of photography, instead I took an art class – I could not draw anything decent at all! With every assignment I created something with photos from magazines-photos that showed captured emotion and that portrayed a certain deep feeling.
Everything in my life from that point included me working with photos somehow – in Bible school I had the ability to make monthly slideshows from photos of our time there, and while on missions I seamed to be easily attracted to the camera and capturing our adventures. It was like God was hinting to me the whole time of what I desired deep within, and was still not aware…the captured motion, smile, laugh or even tears – a glimpse into a beautiful soul – is what fascinated me the most.
In the end of 2011, my best friend asked me to do a maternity shoot for her…with her iPhone. I started taking the photos and did not want to stop, I had a tool in my hands that fueled my soul. If the sun did not set we probably would have been there all day. I was inspired by light and a realization of how creative this photo taking can be, yes, even with an iPhone. It opened a whole new door for me, in a way where I saw myself behind the camera capturing what and how I wanted to capture it.
The feeling was oh so strong, however it was very fast put out by the feeling of needing to work and pay bills which over powered the need and want of what everyone thought could just be a hobby. So on I went to work in the medical field, endless hours of work and tiring of my soul.
Skipping along life to 2013, I found myself sitting behind a desk checking in patients and wanting to be doing something that’s NOT THIS. My co workers seamed content with their job, seamed passionate enough about it. Me, on the other hand, not so much. My creativity was jammed in to a box and I was going to explode if I didn’t do something, anything! On one Sunday service I heard a sermon about talents that God gives to people, and some people go through their whole life without ever discovering them. That simple sermon changed my life – it was the moment I started praying and seeking for God to show me what it is that He wanted me to do. I was taught to just live and serve but the thought of living my whole life without discovering treasure within me put there by God, frustrated me more then anything else.
It wasn’t until end of 2014, when in a financially rough place – no job and my six month old baby girl by my side, (My husband was making enough to cover the bills) I decided to fully put my faith in God and try out this photography thing to bring in some “necessary money”. It was a huge risk, and I did not want to do it if it was not God’s will. It was a prayer filled investment as I went into thousands of dollars of debt (something my husband is not for, but he let me just this time -he believed in me) – I had to buy a camera, lenses and learn everything about photography, and prayed that people would hire me. I never planned it to be anything major or big, I never planned to shoot weddings, I never imagined it to be everything I have ever wanted and yearned for…I had shamefully underestimated my God. HE can do so much in our lives if we only take that leap of faith and trust him.
It wasn’t a random idea to go and become a photographer – I had finally dug up that treasure God had wanted me to discover since I was a teenager. I am forever thankful that He has put me on this journey and has never left my side, not for a moment! (There are so many testimonies I can share).
I am a fan of bold colors, the clean and simple, and when it came time to decide how I wanted to edit my photos I chose to go with just that – The classic look that will withstand time and trends.
I also adore black and white photos. I used to look through my parents and grandparent’s old photos back in the day (which, most where black and white) and it inspired me to use my imagination and create timeless images like that for my clients, but with a bit of modern flare ;).
My workday, haha. I laugh because I can work 24/7 with a few breaks to eat and play with my child. Honestly, being a photographer is like being an accountant, office manager, creator, editor & scheduler all jammed into one. I don’t mind working random hours and days, when you love your job it just feels like living and not a hassle. However, its not to say that I don’t love organization – At the moment I am still working on all these task into hours of the day. I am taking this summer to prioritize, organize and hopefully by Fall have a decent office schedule and some balance.
Running your own business can be very stressful at times, and after a year of doing it I finally came to a crossroads of “branding” my business and that ultimately gave me a lot of guidance of what exactly I wanted to do. Yes, I was a photographer – but what kind? It came a point when I had to decide if I wanted to be doing anything and everything or just a specific thing. It was hard to balance family portrait sessions and weddings, as both are very different, I loved doing both, but I felt like I was not giving MY 100% to both. I knew that If I decide to pursue one or the other I will have a specialty and thus give my 100% to do just that, and relieving some of the stress of having to do everything. I chose to focus on weddings and couples and even through it was a hard step to take, it was the best decision I ever made! My work load got lighter and the business became more organized and not so scattered, as well as I now get a lot of more free time to enjoy with my little family.
The goal for me right now is to provide the best service I can to my couples and clients, I am so thankful for word of mouth from clients, which in turn gives me more clients and couples to work with! In the next two years if I am right where I am at now, I will be content. I am hoping to keep booking weddings in destination locations. I never got to travel much when I was younger and neither did my husband, so weddings give us that opportunity to do it together. We enjoy the interaction with the couple and I just love having my husband assisting me, he is also very good with the camera and has an eye for photography, but still needs some convincing ;). Our daughter stays with my mom when we travel, and she is our biggest support and blessing! The goal for the next year or two – we will just have to wait and see, because anything I can come up with now will not compare to what God has in store.
Go live your life and pursue your dreams, whether its to be a photographer, blogger, missionary, lawyer or doctor. You only live once, go live! What ever is in you, is usually what you are ment to do. Be an inspiration to others and find others to inspire you. I believe life is a journey, it will be filled with ups and downs – so don’t forget to do what makes you smile and heart flutter.