Inspiring Interview with Stephanie Fisher Photography
Our interview today is with a long time friend of mine, so I am totally honored to be able to share her story and her work with you all! I have known Stephanie of Stephanie Fisher Photography for many years now. We were actually on a forum for expecting moms together and were part of a group of ladies that went off to start our own photography forum. After realizing we were all completely obsessed with taking pictures of our new babies, we decided it was in our best interest (and those we were likely annoying with all of our picture posting) to start a forum for us moms with DSLR cameras and a desire to improve our skills. I always admired Stephanie’s work well before either of us were even in business. She had natural, god-given talent and that was clear to everyone. On top of natural talent was a true passion for photography and the obvious necessity of having a crazy good business sense. At the time, she worked a full time job and we both struggled with finding that balance between being a mom, having a full time job and trying to start a successful photography business.
A couple years down the road, Stephanie was given the opportunity to take her photography business full time. She committed 110% of herself to being successful and making a career out of this and she most certainly has. I admire how far she has come, her dedication to the quality of her work, her ability to find a work/life balance that works for her and most importantly, for always keeping her primary focus on her daughter and being the best mom she can be. Stephanie truly is an amazing woman and I am honored to call her my friend. I have been blessed to take this photography (and parenting) journey with her and look forward to watching her grow and succeed for many years to come.
Please meet my friend Stephanie…
A few words from Stephanie: Hi! I’m Stephanie and I live in Alabaster, Alabama which is a suburb of Birmingham. I am from the small town of Enterprise, Alabama where I grew up with my great grandparents. I have one daughter, Hannah, who will be 6 this month. (oh my!) I started my business in May of 2007- I can’t believe it has been almost 5 years. It has been an incredible journey. I have a natural light studio and we focus mainly on newborns, babies, children and families. I’m so excited to be here on LSI!
1. If there was one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?
I have the BEST job in the world! Well, two. Being a mom and photographer… I am truly happy. My little girl is the most amazing little person and my job… gosh, I am just truly humbled that so many families choose ME to document their lives. I am truly blessed.
2. Share with us your favorite image and why.
I had to choose this image of Hannah. This was a shot I snapped on her very first day of ballet when she was two. I just adore that sweet little face and I can look into those big brown eyes and can see the nervousness and excitement she had that day and it takes me back to that moment. I have this image framed BIG in her room.
3. What inspired you to be a photographer?
I have always loved photography. I was gifted a small 110 film camera when I was five and it wasn’t too long after that I was lining up the neighborhood kids posing them for their own photo sessions. That love grew over the years (I even worked at the Wal Mart photo lab in college!) and as many others, when my little girl was born it drove me even more to learn and grow in my photography as I documented her.
4. How long was the transition from hobbyist to paid professional and how long have you officially been taking paid clients?
I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D50) in November of 2006. I immediately started practicing and playing and started my official portfolio building in May of 2007. I was working in another full-time career job in investments while doing photography on the side until I got laid off in December 2008. I hit the ground running with my photography business full time and never looked back! I opened my natural light studio in February of 2010. It has been an amazing three years.
5. What type of session do you look forward to the most (maternity, newborn, child, family, etc) and why?
I love all of our sessions but I have a special place in my heart for our sweet newborns. I could just hold those sweet little babies all day! No two newborn sessions are alike and can definitely be a challenge but I love every minute of it.
6. On average, how many sessions do you have a month?
In the regular season I shoot an average of about 20 sessions per month and in the holiday season we do sometimes 30 or more per month.
7. What has been your most memorable session and why?
When I think of my most memorable, the birth of Tucker Lowe definitely comes into my mind. http://sfisherphotography.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/birmingham-alabama-birth-photographer/
I had been talking with his mom before his arrival and she was beyond excited about their little boy that they had tried so hard for- who was to arrive soon. I was so excited to get to meet her and document this amazing day for her. I spent the whole day at the hospital with her (the super trooper who went ALL natural!) and their family the day of his birth and then photographed his newborn session just a week later. She was killed in the tornado on 4/27- Tucker was only 7 weeks old. She has made a permanent imprint on my heart- such an amazing person.
8. Are you formally taught or self taught?
And what has been the best source of information along this journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)? I am completely self taught. My degree is actually in International Business and Spanish! Back when I was first starting out- there really weren’t many online forums at all. A friend and I formed an online photography forum after a group of us on a parenting forum were so eager to learn more about photography and that board is still going strong to this day. It was such an amazing resource to be able to learn and grow with others. The biggest thing was (and still is) just practice, practice, practice!!
9. What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
Definitely documenting my daughter and my family. I am constantly snapping photos to document EVERYTHING. I don’t have many photos from my childhood so this is something that is very important to me and I love to give that precious gift to others so that they will have these fleeting moments documented through portraits.
10. Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I’m a Nikon girl. I started out with the D50 and have since shot with the D300, D700 and now the D3S. My favorite lens for newborns is the 50mm 1.4 and for outdoors I love my 85mm 1.4!
11. RAW or jpg and why?
I am JPG. I make sure to nail my exposure, etc. in camera for minimal editing on the final image.
12. Do you use Lightroom, Photoshop, both or other?
I use both. I load all of my photos into Lightroom to do my basic editing and flagging and then export to Photoshop for the finishing touches. J
13. What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
One thing I always suggest is to set your pricing where you want to be when you are out of your portfolio building stage and then offer a big discount on it while you are portfolio building. (I’d suggest 50%) That way your clients will see what your full pricing is and know that they are getting a great deal while you are building your portfolio. Then when you are ready to go to your full pricing, it won’t be a huge shock to the clients and you can ease right in to your new pricing structure.
14. What is your favorite and least favorite part of owning your own photography business?
My favorite thing is my awesome clients! I adore them all! I love that they trust in me to document all of these moments for them and I love watching their families grow and make wonderful friends in the process. My least favorite is definitely all of the paperwork and tax stuff!
15. Who is the most inspirational photographer in your life?
I try not to look at other websites too much but when I venture out to look I always love to stop by and adore Mindy Harris’ work (Pastel Photography) Absolutely stunning!
16. Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?
17. And finally, please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
Hmmm, I had to sit back and think about this one for a moment. I guess I’d say my style is simple, relaxed and fun. This really describes not only my work but our sessions as well. We try to just let go, relax and have fun!
A few fun questions:
1. what is your favorite food? I love filet mignon with sautéed mushrooms. Yum. and for dessert (or heck, anytime!) … chocolate!
2. what is your favorite beverage? Sweet Tea! Or on my way to the studio I get my Starbucks Caramel Mocha Latte mmmm (and if my cardiologist is reading- I get half caff!)
3. your favorite item of clothing? My Lucky jeans!
4. your go to pair of shoes? In the summer definitely my flip flops. In the winter I live in my Uggs (unless it’s 70 degrees mid winter like today… then it’s back to flip flops!)
5. what is one word you catch yourself saying too often? Like totally like!
Huge thank you to Stephanie for sharing your story and gorgeous images with our readers. We truly value your participation over at LSI and I am sure you have inspired many with your story today. ♥
Please be sure to “like” Stephanie Fisher Photography on Facebook!