Stay inspired with Sara Magyar: Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer

Sara isn’t just a great Budapest based photographer. She is also my friend. So I am super excited to get this conversation on record. I think often we tend to acknowledge talent and awesomeness easily from a distance. Think about it. We would listen to a TED talk by someone we’ve never met or known personally and be in complete awe. But for some reason, the thought that people close to us (like our friends and family) may also have something to offer seems to somehow elude us.

While I enjoy speaking with strangers and drawing inspiration from their experiences, I’ve become aware that no amount of motivational content I consume will amount to the impact of the inspirations derived from conversations with people I have in my life.

When Sara and I met, my first impression was that she was such a lovely human being to be around. And after being good friends for almost three years, I could say she is someone who would go out of her way to help you out. Someone you could rely on whole heartedly. In a self-immersed world, this makes her stand out. Not just as a friend, but even as a creative and a photographer! I have seen her commitment to her work and her clients. Her priority is to supersede the expectations of her clients, and judging by the testimonials she has received over the years, she always leaves a lasting impression.

From the little girl who ran around taking pictures of moments that captured her heart, to the one that now captures the precious moments of her clients… she’s come a long way.

I know her story, and I love it. So I would like to share it with you. Because just like any other job being a creative has its challenges. Be it a photographer, dancer, musician, or writer… chasing a dream and keeping it alive takes an enormous level of courage.

So, here’s a story that I hope will inspire you and help you chase after your dreams… 🙂

Hi Sara, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Hi! Yes, I am a 27-year-old wedding and lifestyle Photographer, originally from Nyiregyhaza, but I’ve been living in Budapest for 8 years. After completing high school, I moved to Budapest for my higher studies. I first graduated in Chinese major from ELTE University and then in Marketing at Corvinus University… but photography has always been my lifelong passion.

What got you into photography? 

I liked photography from a very young age. My father is a journalist, and I believe that had a huge influence because I used to see him taking pictures all the time for his articles. So, I remember even when I was in elementary school, I was the photographer on every school trip, and I took tons of pictures! I was also quite an active kid, so I was in the choir, and we also traveled overseas quite frequently. Whenever we did, I always took my compact camera (which was gifted to me by my parents) along with me. I loved capturing beautiful landscapes and candid moments. I think it made my travel experiences even more memorable.

I’d say that’s how everything started. Also, whenever we met with friends in high school, everyone dressed up with makeup and everything so I could do practice photoshoots. I am completely self-taught: from settings to retouching, I learned everything from the internet. And I kept practicing and practicing until I perfected my skills and techniques.

What would you say your style is as a photographer?

From my younger days I loved to capture candid moments. So, I believe my style is very easy going and natural, unless it must be posed for a commercial shoot or something.

I am also adaptable, and I can switch between styles with ease, but I particularly love to capture the emotions of moments in between. That is my favourite thing about wedding shoots, there are so many beautiful moments the couple would want to look back on and cherish.

I also love capturing the soft sun during the golden hours; there is something whimsical about it. But I try not to restrict myself to one style, but it depends on what I shoot, where, and when. It mostly depends on what the client wants to achieve, be it a wedding, lifestyle, or commercial shoot. But of course, I will first listen to them, discuss them, and offer them my suggestions and ideas as well.

As a creative and a photographer, how do you stay relevant in a fast-evolving industry?

I see what is trending, but unless it is something that excites me, I will stick to what I like and my clients want. It is important for me. not to hop on all the trends just for the sake of.

Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?

As creatives we are wired a little different. So we are inspired by pretty much anything! From the msuic I listen to, the architechture, art, people cultures and landscapes…I think inspiration is everywhere, waiting to nudge us. So I stay open to it.

As for how I stay inspired, I try and network with other photographers and creatives. I find this helpful because, unlike in a corporate work environment where you have collegues to bounce ideas of with running your own business is quite different. You manage everything by yourself. Pretty much, if you are a small business owner/entreprenuer. Therefore for me it’s important to meet others in my industry. It is valuable to understand how the industry is doing, and which direction it’s heading and so on.

I also like to try out different styles and genres.

You will only discover what you are good at if you keep experimenting with new things. Every now and then I also play around with different lenses, try out new studios and locations.

As a creative, I think we constantly evolve by learning new things to sharpen the skills we already have and better ourselves by convering things that work for us and things that don’t.

Another way I like to stay inspired is by following other creatives and artists on social media. It doesn’t necessarily mean photographers only. I love to see what designers, painters, and other entrepreneurs do in this space. There is always something you can learn from them. I appreciate that.

Most importantly, travel!

I am one of those people, who gets entirely pulled into work, especially during the busy seasons, and I will hustle and give my hundred percent to my client. But, as soon as my calendar frees up, I go someplace and unwind with my family or friends.

Lately, I have been craving to be someplace by myself and enjoy peace and serenity. Can’t wait to travel someplace soon 🙂

Then there are also many shows, documentaries, and podcasts that bring in new perspectives.

Who are some creatives/photographers that you admire?

India Earl, Teodóra Simon, and Ana Galloway are some of my favorite photographers. I have so much appreciation for their work. It is even possible that sometimes my work is inspired by them. But… I never replicate what anyone else has done for the same reasons I don’t blindly follow trends. Often my work is appreciated for its authenticity, and I take pride in that. Also I’ve noticed clients who choose to work with me already know this about me and my work.

Did the pandemic affect your creativity and workflow?

Yes. Honestly, when covid came, my wedding photography business had just started picking up, but all my weddings were getting canceled. I lost a good chunk of my business during this time. It was demotivating at first and did affect my creative workflow, but I started to concentrate on some other things. I qualified myself as a tour guide, hoping when the pandemic is finally over, I could offer tour guide services + photography to clients as a coupled package. I still have an idea for executing this in the future. Oh, and I also completed my marketing school in 2020.

So, I think even though the pandemic period was challenging as it was for many others, I tried to spend the time as productive as possible.

Everyone sees a photographer with a camera, just clicking away from this angle and that. We may not always understand the BTS. What is your creative process and workflow like?

No professional photographer will come to a photoshoot and start clicking a thousand pictures hoping to make a few great shots. Although it may seem that way, photography is the art of expressing through visual imagery. Besides the logistical and physical prep, a certain level of mental planning also takes place before executing my onsite photographer duties. Some moments don’t happen twice. So, I have to have a good idea (at least a rough idea) about the framing: the angles, backdrop, lighting, and so on.

While part of it comes from theory and inherent skills, most of it comes from your experience as a photographer.

As for my workflow as a photographer, I charge my batteries and clear up my SD cards. These may be simple things, but as photographers, we heavily rely on this equipment and accessories. Sometimes, I also carry props that could be useful for the shoot. Then when the photoshoot is over, there is the uploading, editing, reuploading, and some back and forth to give the clients exactly what they want.

That is just the creative side. After that comes the business side of things. From invoicing to managing my calendar, website, social media, and client relationships I have to make sure the wheels keep turning. It’s all part of the process.

What do you think about the impact of social media on photography and creating art in general?

For me it is important to create for myself and my clients, not for Instagram or TikTok. While I am a photographer by profession, I am also a creative. The more I create better I become at it. So social media is helpful in displaying what I create and definitely can help reach out to a larger audience. Most of my clients find me on Instagram. I think it’s cool.

I am grateful there is a platform where clients can see my previous work and get in touch with me. So, I like that about social media, but I also think it is crucial to use it cleverly and not imitate or replicate everything that comes your way.

What are five things you should clarify before you hire your wedding photographer?

We spend more than 12 hours with the couple when we work on wedding shoots. So personalities have to match because, on your wedding day, your photographer will play many roles: from a friend to a therapist.

Besides the obvious questions like the availability, rates and refund and cancellation policies you should ask them:

– Their photography style and gallery support this, so you see if it matches what you have in mind. Some photographers like to capture candid moments, and some take charge and create more choreographed images. Clarify what you want. 

– It is also helpful to know if they have previously done any shoots at the ceremony or reception venue. If not, ask if they will check out the location beforehand. 

– You can always ask if they have worked with your wedding vendors before. It doesn’t always have to be yes, but sometimes if there is going to be a videographer, wedding planner etc. It’ s good if they have already worked together on other weddings.

Clarify package inclusions, the hours, extar charges for any additional hours, will there be seperate charges for editing, retouching and other corrective services.

– Sometimes couples assumes phtographers do both digital and film. It’s not always the case. It’s best not to assume. So ask if they do only digital or film, or both.

Photography was a male dominant field for a long while. What was your experience like entereing the industry?

Yes, but I was very lucky, I think. I didn’t have big challenges because I’m a woman. There were instances when some brides preferred me not only because they liked my work but also because they felt more comfortable being photographed by a woman. I also got lots of help when I was starting out as a photographer, from men in the industry. I even worked as assistant photographer to some of them and they taught me a lot of tips and tricks. 

Would you like to share a testimonial with us?

How do you feel when they write to you appreciating your work?

The best feeling ever when I send them the gallery and they say, “I love these photos and choosing you was the best decision I made” and things like that. I honestly give all my creative energy into my work, so it makes me very happy when I hear from them that I have delivered exactly what they had in mind.

Reni & Joni

How does one get in touch with you?

You can find me on Instagram or send an inquiry on my website.

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