Today’s interview is with Candice Zugich!

Like many of us, you started out shooting your kids and have now transitioned to the most incredibly emotional couples, boudoir and self portraits. Will you share the impetus behind that shift?

This switch was actually quite emotional for me. Last Summer I was harshly criticized for my shooting style of my children. It became so bad that I had the police at my door several times for child pornography. After they had found nothing, I decided I needed to reevaluate my game plan in how I was going to be able to express my art the way I saw fit. So I took the summer off. In the mean time I still took images of my children and still do, but I started a personal project to see differently; I started shooting myself. I wanted more time to express myself and learn to use light and emotion differently, this also gave me a new-found inspiration to express who I was as an artist. Right after Click Away, I made the transition. I asked 4 couples to be a part of this with me. In between shooting them and shooting myself I found my calling. I found what I was meant to do. I love shooting my kids and always will…but in order to be able to share with the world the way I see them I will have to wait till they are older. I’m patiently waiting for the day. For now, I will show the world how I see couples, myself, and women. I have so much to give and share. I may be different but at least i know I’m staying true to myself.

close up of man and woman by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

You have mentioned on your Facebook page that ClickAway 2014 was a very important part of your photography journey. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Click Away opened my eyes. I think there is where my strength was born. I saw myself in a whole new light and I surprised myself with what I knew and what I had learned from fellow friends and photographers. There is when I knew I had to change my path in where I was going. And that it was okay for me to do it, and I that I would have support.

Your work is all about connections, emotions and beautiful light. Can you tell us a little more about how you draw out such incredible intimacy and vulnerability from your subjects?

A lot of photographers spend a lot of time trying to draw out the emotion of their subjects when for me it’s trying to draw out the emotion in myself. The emotional connections are made the way you see them because I felt them first. I passed those feelings on to my subjects. It makes me feel so vulnerable sometimes because I feel like you all know exactly who I am when you see my photographs and you see what I’m thinking. I liken myself to a painter. When I’m painting (photographing) I take the elements around me, the subjects and I create something that emotionally moves me. A touch, hair in the wind, a deep breath. I’m aware that my subjects don’t come into a session knowing how to emotionally connect with their partner with me in front of them, and it’s okay because I don’t want them to see their images and say you captured us the how we see ourselves. I want to capture an image and they say “ WOW.. You captured us in a way we NEVER thought we would see ourselves”. I want them to see themselves differently…like a dream, like how they would be in private. I want to show her how he sees her, and how she sees him. It’s all very emotional for me and it’s why I only take on 4 sessions a month… I need time to emotionally prepare.

couple hugging by the beach by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

mom and toddler photo by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

Do you have a favorite photo you have taken? Can you share it with us and tell us a little about the story behind it and why you love it?

I have so many I love, not for technicalities but because they move me. Right now it’s this image. This image was taken while doing a 2:1 mentoring in Laguna Beach with a fellow photog couple. This image honestly just fell into place for me.. I saw it and knew it would be a favorite of mine. I love it because it says it all in one embrace… no posing, no special lighting, just pure emotion. it will be a favorite of mine forever.

couple embracing photo by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

You are based in Southern California but have recently started taking on travel sessions to places out of state and even out of country! How do you manage to balance the travel with being there for your two adorable children?

I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard. But being a mother comes first so they go with me. Everywhere I will go, they will too. I have a few places I plan on traveling out of the country next year like Ireland, France and Australia for some workshops I’m planning and I will make sure that my husband and kiddos can come. I need them. They support me and the encourage me to be who I am. The one thing I tell myself everyday for balance is “ I will be amazing at one thing a day” so each day I choose which task I will be great at. I can’t be amazing at everything, so I choose today, for instance, to be an amazing photographer. Tomorrow I will be the best mother I can be. And then it’s amazing wife day! LOL, this seems to keep the balance really well for me.

I’m in love with all the wind and movement you capture in your images. What are your tips and tricks for getting that so consistently in your sessions?

Thank you! I love wind and elements, it gives a cinematic feel to my work that I love so much. I bring an assistant to most my sessions, and she carries a huge board to create different types of wind. I’m a firm believer in making your own magic. So I do whatever I can to create an image that has been in my head even if the elements don’t allow for it.

windy photo of man and woman by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

What do you think is next for you? It seems like things have taken off for you in a major way this past year! You had an incredibly successful breakout with Clickin Moms, you’ve been booked with clients who are in love with your distinctive style, your photo was on the cover of Click, you are speaking at Click Away and also at Mystic Seminars… what are you hoping to do next?

It’s been an incredible couple years. As of now, I’m booked till June of next year plus traveling so I can only hope it keeps going up from there. I think though for me it’s staying true to myself and working hard at just that. Because of that, everything has been pretty smooth sailing. I don’t expect anything to be given to me, so I work super hard at being who I am and not caring if others accept me. I hope that leads me down the exact path that’s best for me. I will say though I would love to work with some of the greats (i.e. Elizabeth Messina, Jose Villa) in the future, collaboration of some sort, maybe start shooting only film, I’m not sure what’s in store… but I can’t wait to find out.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for photographers who are just starting out and haven’t quite found their specialty yet?

Be yourself. Don’t let the fear of showing the world your vulnerabilities scare you, because it’s only when you can be truly open with yourself that you know what you want.

husband and wife kissing by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

woman sitting in a chair by the beach by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

self portrait by the beach by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

woman holding child by the beach by Candice Zugich of The Blissful Maven Photography

Thank you Candice for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Candice’s website, facebook, twitter, instagram, and google+ to view more of her amazing work and keep up with her happenings!