How I skipped school for photography and faced burnout: the success story of fashion photographer Anastasia Belova. BEAUTYHACK

Today, Anastasia Belova, a fashion photographer and founder of the YOU CAN ONLINE retouching school, is working with stars and shooting for L’Officiel, N’Style, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, GRAZIA, OOPS! and other well-known publications. But where did this journey begin? Read the story of Anastasia, in which everything was not always smooth.

– When I was 15, I first reached for the old parental “soap box” that lay in the nightstand. I think it was a sign: that day a friend came to me, and we decided to take pictures of each other. To my surprise, I felt the pleasure of the process of framing the frame and working with the person on the other side of the camera.

Let’s call this moment the first reference point.

The shots from that “photo shoot”, of course, turned out to be pure horror, but now I remember them with pride – they were much more interesting than what was popular in the vast social network that was popular in those days.

Soon, on a family vacation, I did not let go of the camera and took pictures of my relatives. Then I decided that I wanted to develop myself – to engage in photography professionally. I began to save all my pocket money for something that a photographer cannot do without. I’m 16 and here it is – my first semi-professional camera.

Since then, two people left the house for any meeting, walk or party: Nastya and her camera. I photographed people, flowers, lampposts – everything that caught my eye. I give credit to my friends, they faithfully praised my work and even noted some special vision. Or maybe it was just a littered horizon …

Reference point number 2 – I went to study for the first time.

A strange course in a nearby area, where no one had even heard of real Photoshop, still gave me something useful: the basics of composition, basic knowledge of exposure, shooting in M-mode (manual exposure).

Soon, with the support of my parents, I purchased a new camera, which I worked with for the next few years. I began to look for new opportunities for learning, and one of them fell into my hands. More precisely, it appeared in the social network feed. “Saturday, 12:00. Photography training” – of course, I have to be there!

A little reminder: I’m still 16 and I’m a schoolgirl. A schoolgirl who has six important lessons on Saturday!

Well, sincerity has never let anyone down – I honestly admitted to the teacher that I need to go to study photography.

A couple of seconds of a puzzled look, a discount on my excellent studies (and, apparently, arrogance), and she … let me go!

Saturday is coming. And love happens.

The third starting point is the first professional shooting in my life. A real model, a bunch of different lights, a whole team on the set. I wanted to stay there! Which, in fact, she did. Asked for it (in the literal sense) as a personal assistant to the same photographer. I don’t remember how I persuaded, but it seems that the arguments were in the style of “ready to do all the dirty work and buy coffee at my own expense.” In general, everything was in motion. It was then that I realized for the first time that I wanted to do fashion photography.

Working as an assistant brought me a lot: knowledge of working with lighting, framing, modeling and teamwork, new acquaintances, creative shooting with the same students of my mentor. I started making money on the set, for which, by the way, I got pretty bad at school.

“Removing for money? Fuu! What kind of profession is this? they said. Hmm, as it turned out, very much even nothing.

I continued on my way. I rented a room where I did small commercial shoots and test shoots for models. Worked on other people’s photo days for a pittance. Filmed in photo studios with coupons. She was a make-up artist, a photographer, a retoucher at the same time… Well, you get the idea. It was difficult, but interesting. I love this step and thank you!

The next one started in one of the Moscow photo studios. She was stylish, beautiful, popular, stars and brands starred in her. And every time I got into the walls of this place at work, I asked if the guys had an administrator position freed up.

Yes, my arrogance and perseverance again did their job. A few months later, the worker was really needed, and the first thing they remembered was me. And this is reference point number 4 – perhaps the most significant.

Here began the second round of my professional development. I began to get acquainted, and later to work, with a huge number of talented guys: stylists, make-up artists, photographers. Plus, I (as an administrator) had the opportunity to shoot my projects in the studio in my spare hours.

At some point, I decided that I wanted to earn more. My fashion shootings did not bring the desired income, and I began to copy the more successful guys in commerce. Spoiler: it was a mistake. You don’t have to do that.

I went into commerce for many years, lost myself and my vision, did not realize myself as a photographer, as a creator. Naturally, this led to a big burnout, and then I completely put the camera away for more than six months. I went into marketing – and it was a great experience that was useful to me in the future.

Photography returned to my life with the move to Asia. I began to restore the client base, actively filmed bloggers, media personalities. And it paid off – one of the densest recordings in Thailand, and then in Bali.

A new breath opened up, and I seemed to have returned to myself. To what I created before, to what inspires me. At some point, I again caughtherself skewed towards commerce, but this time she managed to stop herself in time.

The stage of self-development as a creator has begun. I actively pumped over my eyesight in fashion photography, worked more on my portfolio, generated ideas for creative shootings, traveled to Moscow more often – after all, you can’t find such strong teams abroad. And the next round of my growth happened. Big magazines and brands began to take notice of me, asking for content and… my vision.

Yes, now I no longer need to adapt to “fashionable” formats and break myself in order to be successful. People come to me with full confidence in my taste, style and ideas, and this is what makes me in demand.

What would I say to that 15-year-old Nastya with a soap dish in her hands? You can do it, honey.

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