Internationally Recognized Photographer • Family Man & Foodie
Two years ago we were fortunate enough to hang out, shoot and get to know Hugo Velazquez in Portland, Oregon. Recently we caught up with him after the birth of his new baby girl and engagement to the beautiful Natalie Cullum. It is by no surprise they are still killing it in the industry as they travel as a family to exciting destinations to explore as one. We asked Hugo a few questions regarding the balance between professional and family life, recent challenges, daily activities and lessons to live by when experiences mean the most!
Read HugoV’s previous interview with HOUSEINK – www.houseink.com/hugov-photography
Quote that sums up your family and professional life.
“Bitter Sweet”… Our photography business is one that involves a lot of traveling, we don’t shoot much in our hometown Omaha, NE. because our market is not necessarily here. The bitter part of it is that we can’t travel together all the time, which means we have to sacrifice time away from each other, and with the new addition to the family, it really hurts to have to leave everyone behind alone while I have to carry on working and traveling alone.
The sweet part of it is that we make our own schedule. We get to travel together as a family on work trips at times, even to the point that we have traveled internationally together. I also work from home when we are not shooting, which means a lot of family time. We get to do something that we love, is fun and that we consider art. We take pride in our work.
What is it like balancing family and your career/ photography?
Having to balance family life with the business side is probably the biggest struggle we run into. I have 3 children and they need as much attention as possible but when we aren’t traveling and shooting, we are at home editing, doing social media, advertising, doing customer contact, maintained all our equipment and website, and much more. It is hard but I have learned to work at night with the kids asleep or during the day while they kids are at school. Once the kids are up and at home we are focused on the family thing.
How has being a father evolved you as a photographer and a person?
The biggest growth I’ve made as a father and photographer is become a more responsible business man. Although that sounds like more of a photographer oriented growth, it’s both because a father has to provide for his family, while knowing how to balance the fun or collaborating shoots and paid work. I have to know when I can shoot for fun and when I need to be serious about my work. It is important to be taken as serious as any business you encounter in your every day life. I have grown to manage every aspect of my business more efficiently, to be able to provide for my children and my lady, but also keep enjoying what I do as to not make it a job I dread doing.
When you’re not shooting, what does a typical day look like?
I’m a home body, we love hanging out at home and cuddling together with our babies, cooking, watching movies or playing games together. We hang out with our local friends and enjoy cooking together as families and enjoying time and drinks together. We like to travel and spend time with family as well as much as we can, but I’d say we are more foodies than anything. Our lives revolve around food when not shooting hahaha.
What one thing or lesson you would like to pass down to your children?
Follow your dreams and work hard for what you desire in life. Trust yourself, keep you circle of friends close and love the people that matter the most. Don’t be afraid to travel. Get out of town as much as possible and experience other cultures. Life is too short to be stuck doing what society thinks is the requirements to be happy. Material things have zero value and the intangibles are the most tangible things you will ever experience which will have the most significance in your life and beyond!
What are some challenges you have had in the past two years? How have you overcome and grown from these challenges?
The last two years have probably been my toughest years for my business, but the happiest. I went through a phase where I was going to quit photography altogether to focus on my new relationship and my children. I started taking on other non-photography related projects in town so I didn’t have to be traveling all the time. After finishing off my last biggest tour going through 6 countries in Europe and getting engaged in Santorini, Greece to Natalie, I pretty much made the decision to put photography on hold to nourish our relationship and make the steps to conceive a new baby as well as enjoy my family more. With the help of Natalie and her encouragement to keep doing what I was passionate about and keep doing something that I am good at, we decided to plan our new tour around the US and take it internationally again next year. We are starting strong and plan on taking the bull by the horns again! We want to make it the best year we’ve had so far for our business, but most importantly, for the art we create and the lives we touch with our work.