What Losing My Instagram Account For A Month Taught Me

As a photographer, my number one marketing tool is obviously, Instagram. I started using it in 2012 and it’s been key in helping me make meaningful connections and to showcase my photography. I feel pretty confident in saying it’s a big reason I was able to build my business into what it is today. 

Last month everything changed.

With no warning, my account got shut down. 

Here’s the story of how it happened, how I got it back and a few lessons I learned along the way:

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Why I don't work for exposure - and you shouldn't either

I was lining up at the post office the other day when a new email landed in my inbox. As I skimmed through the lines I heard myself asking out loud: "Ummm... what?"

I could not stop shaking my head while I was filling out the customs forms. From the outside, it could have seemed like I'm just one of those people who hates the whole admin struggle, but in my mind, I was somewhere else. I was recapping the offer in my email coming from one of the biggest retail chains in Canada asking me to photograph their 6-figure event for free.

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Oshiis Surf & Yoga Retreat 2016 - Puerto Viejo x Costa Rica

Words can't describe our trip with the Oshiis Surf & Yoga Retreat to Costa Rica. In less than a few days we were all up on our surfboards, riding the waves the Caribbean Sea had for us. If you're looking for an active holiday with the adventure factor and local, authentic experience, this might just be the perfect vacation for you. 

Check out my little gallery of the highlights of this trip. 

Special thanks to SPL Water Housings for my camera housing that made this trip and the photos extra amazing. 

The Surprise Leslieville Proposal

It's the best kind of shoot when you get to photograph two of your friends getting engaged.

Nick contacted me weeks before the big day, with the request of capturing the story of his secret proposal. He had quite a plan on surprising his girlfriend, including a beautiful Tesla, a romantic picnic at their favourite park ending with the sunset at Polson Pier. 

And of course, Sue had no idea that from that point on, Friday the 13th is going to be her lucky day. Congratulations again guys! <3 

The Healthy Maven

What a fun day with this mega talented and super inspiring woman! 

Davida and I met almost a year ago - and it was an instant connection between our creative/entrepreneur minds. 

With the revamp of her blog, now was the perfect time to take her personal brand to the next level and organize a full day set with various locations to capture a day in the life of The Healthy Maven

Special thanks to Impact Kitchen for letting us take over their restaurant for a couple hours. 

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"The Healthy Maven is about eating real and unprocessed food, getting creative in the kitchen and leading an active and balanced lifestyle. We could all use a little more kale AND wine in our lives. "

"The Healthy Maven has chronicled my experiments in the kitchen, in the gym and perhaps most importantly, in my life. From quitting my job and taking on the blog full-time, opening up about my struggles with body image and how I’m learning to balance health and hedonism, this place has been my virtual diary for almost 3 years and I have loved every second of it."

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My Interview with Ladyboss Magazine

It was such an honour to be featured in Ladyboss Magazine. Below you can learn a bit more about me and my passion for photography. 


LADYBOSS PROFILES: BETTINA BOGAR

DREAMER, THINKER, DOER.


Hometown: Budapest

Current City: Toronto

Ladyboss Mag (LM): How did your company begin? 

Bettina Bogar (BB) )Photography always played a huge part of my life. I think I’ve been shooting ever since I was able to hold a camera. However, I founded bettina bogar photography shortly after I moved to Canada three years ago.

LM: Where do you find inspiration? 

BB: Inspiration is everywhere. It’s really just in how you look at things. It can be a shadow, a reflection, an interesting shape or sound, a weird composition or story that moves me. I know I’ve been inspired when I find something that makes me want to create.

LM: What has been your career highlight(s) so far?

BB: It is always a great feeling when you’re hired by international brands. Working for Hershey’s, Ashley Madison and Prezi were definitely great achievements for me. But if I’m being honest with you, the real highlights in my career are the little thank you notes from happy clients. Being self-employed is lonely so receiving emails filled with joy and gratitude after they get a first look at their photos can sometimes be the boost I need on a rough day.

LM: Favorite part of your day?

BB: Every day is different to me. Different people, different sets, meetings and lots of editing. However one thing has became my routine and it always makes my day -  morning walks with my doggy, right before the madness starts.

LM: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

BB: Could you please bring back Audrey Hepburn? I would love to take her portrait. But let’s be real. GQ.

LM: Favorite local spots to hang out?

BB: There are some fascinating rooftops in Toronto that I like to revisit. It’s not exactly legal to climb up there so it’s best I don’t name them.

LM: Describe yourself in 5 words or less:

BB: Dreamer. Thinker. Doer.

LM: If you had a theme song, what would it be?

BB: George Ezra - Budapest. I believe he’s singing my story. 

LM: What does being a Ladyboss mean to you?

BB: Being your own boss is a whole different lifestyle. You learn a lot about yourself through all the challenges and you’ll sacrifice a lot of your free time. Sometimes life will get really unbalanced, but over time you begin to find clarity and figure out how badly you want your dreams to come true. I personally love how it allows you to set your own goals, improve your business and grow your skill set at your own pace. Because believe it or not, you can reach those goals sooner than you think. 

LM: What was the greatest challenge you have had to face as a Ladyboss?

BB: Bettina Bogar Photography went through a lot of changes in the first couple of years. I’m more of an artist than a business person. I enjoy creating, being surrounded by inspirational people and working on ideas. I had to really buckle down and learn the business side of things. A large part of my time will often goes to administrative work that I don't adore as much. But hey, it’s part of making your passion your paycheck.
 

"SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE."

LM: What advice do you have for other Ladybosses?

BB: I would pass down some simple advice that someone really important told me once. It changed my whole life and quickly turned around my business - surround yourself with only good people. 

LM: What can we expect to see from your in the near (or far) future?

BB: This year is about making more dreams come true. I have a lot to create and capture and I’m super excited about it.

Michelle Quance

I will never forget when Michelle Quance and I met for the first time. It was an instant connection. We had a million things in common and what started as casual chat turned into a deep conversation that lasted hours. 

Michelle is my mentor and I could never be at this point in my career without her advice, guidance and unconditional friendship. The time we spend together is like therapy - her wonderful personality always brings  the best out of me. 

I couldn't have been more honoured when she asked me to design and curate her new website. I mean who wouldn't want to go through 17 years of gorgeous work by an artist you look up to. And trust me, this woman's talent is extraordinary.

Below are few examples from her wedding collection and be sure to check out the her new website here. I'm in love with it's simplicity - www.michellequance.com

Photos by: Michelle Quance Photography. - www.michellequance.com

In addition to building the website, I also had the chance to capture Michelle’s portraits in January. The results are absolutely stunning, but to tell you the truth, she was giving me a hard time as a model. Turns out, none of us like to be on the other side of the camera.

Big thank you to Holly from Hot Makeup (https://www.facebook.com/hotmakeupchick) for providing the wonderful makeup. 

Mobility Campaign for Prezi

One of the most rewarding shoots to date has to be the gig I just completed for Prezi.

For those of you who are not familiar, Prezi is like an online version of PowerPoint but so much better.

For their new mobile campaign, Prezi hired photographers from major cities around the world to capture a day in the life of an entrepreneur and highlight the benefits and convenience of their new app.

My good friends Ricardo and Gloria Roheim McRae were selected to represent Canadian entrepreneurs and were kind enough to recommend me as the photographer.

Having the opportunity to tackle the creative direction and storyboarding this project was a huge plus for me. I personally picked the locations and scenarios so I was able to deliver images that were clean and professional.

Prezi only had one condition: we could only use natural light settings. If you know my work well, you’ll know that was not an issue for me.

Gloria and Ricardo also did a fantastic job and followed direction really well. They looked super cute and were really comfortable in front of the cameraa. 

Getting hired by an international brand that’s created an app with over 50 million users is quite an achievement for me, not to mention, how much I love the Hungarian connection here. Prezi was founded in Hungary, in 2009, now it's currently being used worldwide.

You can take a peek at the final photos by clicking here.

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Hush now... shooting for Ashley Madison. NSFW content.

As those of you who read this blog know, most of my weekends involve snapping shots of beautiful brides and grooms so I was surprised (and kind of excited) to get an email from Ashley Madison requesting a shoot for their new web campaign. 

The day was amazing - ten creative people jammed into one studio in Toronto’s east end to create something beautiful and super sexy. As you can see below, the models were real babes. 

Huge thank you my very talented team:

Makeup: Charlotte Wolfe 
Hair: Joe and Burlisha from HairDynamix
Styling: Amanda Fox

I always think it's fun to see how an image looks like before and after editing, so there you go, here's a raw, unedited version from our shoot:

Below you can review the final images (18+) that are now travelling around the internet. 
Final touch and editing by the VP of Creative at Ashley Madison.


AdBands X

Every year a bunch of talented ad agency people get together for a special cause - to raise funds for the Tennyson Quance Foundation For Autism... 

And have a few drinks. And be a rockstar for a night. 

This year they have celebrated their 10th anniversary. Things got a bit wild.