We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brenda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After 5 years of freelancing in the wedding industry, we knew we wanted to create Bella Lumi with the sole purpose of creating an elevated, and most importantly, a more personal photography experience for our clients. In addition to capturing beautiful moments, our priority is to really connect with all of our clients. We spend so much time with these people and are part of some of the most intimate moments of their lives. I don’t believe someone would be able to ease their subjects into such a level of comfort where they get to capture those amazing, raw emotions without connecting with them personally at some level. I’ve cried at these weddings. I’ve laughed at these weddings. Every one of my clients means something to me. When I get a message days, weeks, months and sometimes even years later from a past client saying how much they love their photos, I know I’ve accomplished what I set out to do with Bella Lumi.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe every photographer has their own unique perspective and something to offer to the world, but I am so so proud to be able to tell my clients’ love stories through my lens and this is why. As a Hispanic woman who has found success in a male dominated South Asian industry, my view is unique and true to my own story. In a world where, even still today, South Asian women are expected to be the “shy bride”, submissive and demure, I choose to capture them in a way that lets their inner strength shine through. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who genuinely believe in my art and help me reach so many personal and professional goals so I know I may have had it easier than some. With that said, it definitely has not been a cakewalk. I can’t tell you how many times wedding guests have come up to my male second photographer inquiring about photography and the business during events because they’ve assumed the male is the business owner. The look of surprise and shock when they learn that I am the business owner is always priceless. Is it tiring to hear over and over? Yes. Does it keep pushing me to do even better and work harder? Most definitely. This is what I’m passionate about and want to be remembered for. And don’t worry, guys. I make my grooms look fierce, too!
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?
Houston’s got so much to offer! So, I’m all about activities that are interactive and fun. I first experienced The Color Factory on a trip to NYC years ago and was so excited when I found out Houston was going to be their next location. I’ve been to that place at least 4 or 5 times already with friends for just fun and even with some clients for some really great out of the box sessions! It’s a must, in my opinion. The Museum of Fine Arts is always a great outing to soak some art in. For more chill nights, a movie at Rooftop Cinema Club always does the job. On to food! HoneyArt Cafe is an amazing little spot for light bites and creatives. You can order your food along with a watercolor kit to create some art! They also have so many fun themed events. Another favorite is Tiny Boxwood’s. I love that place. Of course, I may be biased because I’m a plant mom and it shares space with Thompson + Hanson, a plant nursery, but their food and cocktails are memorable, too! There are so many other great places around town, but these are the ones that popped in my head after reading the question!
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?
First shout out goes to my awesome co-founder, Duy Nguyen! Hands down! Without his contributions to the business side of Bella Lumi and his insight on design and visual arts, I wouldn’t have been able to really work on my craft as a photographer and establish this style that is known as Bella Lumi. Secondly, I have to recognize our friend, original associate photographer, and all-around just great human being, Raj Banik. He saw my potential before I even saw it in myself and offered himself up as a second photographer whenever needed. Bella Lumi’s photographic storytelling wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for him. And of course, there is no success without a circle of immense support, and Duy and I are so thankful that a handful of Houston’s most amazing South Asian wedding industry professionals have supported us from the very beginning. We love each and every one of them and they know who they are, but we think two of them deserve a personal shoutout. Chani Singh of DesiJunction DJs and Rathi Menon of Rathi Menon Events have always believed in my photography and that belief has propelled Bella Lumi on such an upward trajectory since day one.
All images owned by Bella Lumi