We had the good fortune of connecting with Bibi Lalbihari and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bibi, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I became a mother before I became a photographer. I always adored children and wanted to work with them. When my dream for nursing was not attained, I discovered a passion for milestone photography through my children. I started out my business with no money for props and no money at all. I even sewed some of my outfits to provide a client closet. I wanted to provide beautiful photos but yet keep it affordable to capture the timeless moments in people’s lives. It was important for me to do this as a woman of color and having someone to come to and be relatable as well. I also wanted to make women feel beautiful and empowered and stand confident in front of the camera because pregnancy is beautiful on it’s own. That’s when I knew I wanted to add maternity sessions to my portfolio. Bringing out the Goddess in each of us women was something I knew I wanted to do, so I worked super hard to accomplish this.
What should our readers know about your business?
From day one, I knew I wanted to be different from other photographers. I wanted to do my own thing, whether it was with the business aspect, the look and the entire experience. I wanted people to put my photographs on a wall among others and they could point out “Hey, that’s Bibi’s work!” At first, it was not easy pitching my photography to my small knit Caribbean community. I got a lot of hate at first for posing babies in buckets and bowls, especially from the older folks. People didn’t understand why I was offering them clothes for their photographs. I was ready to give up. Instead, because of the love I had for doing this I went on to booking more clients and I excelled. In the process I’ve learned that giving up is the easy way out rather when you pour your heart and soul into something you’ve built with your own hands is the big accomplishment you could of ever dreamed of. The feeling I get when I deliver a gallery and to hear my clients tell me how beautiful I’ve made them feel is more gratifying that any thing I’ve experienced in my life.
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?
Some favorites around my city would be a walk in Central Park. Followed by some great eats at SERRA by Birreria where the atmosphere is relaxed and set for a perfect evening. Feeling touristy, a visit to NYC famous landmarks, such as Times Square, Statue of Liberty or catch a basketball game or concert at Madison Square Garden or A Yankee game just across the bridge over in The Bronx. If you’re into Museums, the MET and the Museum of Natural History are two of my favorites. Of course you can’t come to New York City and not get New York style pizza! Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street hands down is the best pizza in NY. For a more of a hipster vibe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn is where it’s at! Lots of eateries and bars for a night of bar hopping. In the mood for Korean, Korea Town has everything you can imagine from Korean BBQ, karaoke, sushi and some of the best ramen noodles. Night life bring us to Astoria, Queens. Here you can find a clash of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods, bars and culture. From great Greek food, Turkish, Moroccan teas, Hookah lounges, Indian food and so much more. It’s literally the melting pot of NYC. And to top off our week, AIRE Ancient Baths in New York City has a very relaxed atmosphere. A great massage to head back relaxed and ready to be motived for the next venture.
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?
There are many people that deserve credit in my journey to where I am today but the one that truly deserves this recognition is my first mentor, Jennifer of Sweetborn Photography. She believed in me, believed that I could and with the three sessions she offered me, I had gained the knowledge I needed to be on my way. She encouraged me when I was ready to give up. Her generosity and kindness was something I was able to pass on to others. I feel as though she has blessed me in so many ways. I haven’t failed her yet. Also, my dedicated clients! They are the real MVP’s. I’ve seen them grow in their families and they have seen me grow in my business. That is a blessing on it’s own.