Stephen Wenzel

NC-Based Photographer | Professional Portraits with a Creative Flair

Nice to meet you! I'm Stephen!

I've been interested in discovering new things ever since I was young, including various foods and wildlife. My first sense of photography, rather than using my phone, was through my grandfather's old Canon T4 Rebel back in 2015. I adventured the outdoors in my backyard in Clyde, North Carolina and hiked the Great Smoky Mountains in search of animals and plants that I haven't seen before.

In 2018, I discovered event photography through volunteering for our town's local international festival, Folkmoot USA. This fesival promoted cultural diversity in our hometown as well as in the world. It was also where my parents met! I loved photographing the various folk dances from around the world, with my favorite folk groups being from Romania, Egypt, and Mexico.

In the fall of 2018, when I moved to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I shared my interest with my new friends. They convinced me to turn my passion into a business, and so I did. I started a website, worked for a local nightclub, and created my first online store where I sold nature photography.

It wasn't until the spring of 2019 when I began to take senior portraits for college graduates that I realized how much I loved portrait photography. I began to invest so much of my time to improving my portrait photography that I began to lose sight of why I began photography in the first place, to explore the world. So, I made it my goal to capture the diversity of the world through my camera, looking at people and their talents from a new angle.

That fall I took my first ever photography class, which changed the way I did photography forever. I learned how to use the equipment, how to think more creatively, and how to communicate with clients. I never thought that I would end up using camera gels, light rods (they look like lightsabers), and long shutter speeds to capture what looks like rays of light protruding out of the subject. I was so happy that I had a new spark for photography, and I haven't lost it since.

My goal now is to create professional portraits but also to add a creative twist or angle that is different than other photographers. I am primarily interested in capturing the emotions that people feel when they are doing something that they love to do, whether it be playing a sport, making music, or cooking (I did a photoshoot for Cold Stone, Mellow Mushroom, and a local restaurant in Chapel Hill).

Thank you for listening to my story! Feel free to take a look around at my portfolio and the rest of the website. If you have any questions, you know who to ask!

“Working with Stephen is a learning experience as well as a photoshoot! His creativity flourishes from his work, but is also able to be seen first hand. Stephen understands the equipment that he is using inside and out. He also is willing to experiment with new technologies and techniques. Stephen is very patient as well, this makes working with him very easy. His photography continues to beat my expectations since the first day I saw one of his pictures.”

- Emma C.

“Stephen was a great photographer to work with! Really fast to respond and fast to deliver results! You will not regret it!”

- Sam O.

“I have done multiple shoots with Stephen, and his creativity is always the most memorable part! Never did I think I would be posing for long-exposure photos with sparklers, but it is something I would 100% do again because of how fun it was! Stephen’s personality makes everyone involved feel comfortable and the atmosphere is so easy-going, even if you don’t have much experience behind the other side of the lens. I love taking pictures with Stephen and they turn out amazing every time!”

- Taylor W.

“Stephen was very relaxed the whole time and was willing to change the plan based on what I was looking for. We were able to try a lot of locations and poses, and we never had any real conflict over what we were able to do. When I decided to get a few more photos, we were able to schedule a super convenient mini-shoot to take a few more pictures. We had a few scheduling conflicts, but Stephen was very flexible the whole time and was able to work with my changing schedule. Our shoots were a great experience, and the pictures came out better than I expected. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for a professional photographer.”

- Dylan V.

“Stephen was amazing to work with. I honestly had so much fun in the photo shoot and it showed in the wonderful pictures he took. He listened to what I wanted and executed it perfectly, while also giving tips and direction. He is very knowledgeable and knew what would look good on screen. Throughout the shoot he showed me the shots he took so I could see what else I wanted or if I wanted more of a certain angle that I really liked. Great experience, and stunning/Insta-worthy pictures. Would recommend Stephen to anyone.”

- Emma T.

“When people say Stephen is amazing, it’s an understatement. He will work with you on whatever look you’re going for and end up with a product incredibly better than what you imagined. He is one of the most creatively talented, patient, easy-to-get-along with photographers that I’ve ever worked with. His love for nature pours out through his shooting process and left me feeling inspired. He made me feel super comfortable in front of the camera, and can’t wait to shoot more pictures with him in the future!”

- Lucie P.

"Stephen is a true photographer at heart. He has an eye for good shots and knows how to edit. I was incredibly impressed by his artistry as a photographer and his knowledge of how to create great shots. I will be recommending everyone to him because of how diligent he is and how much he pours into his work. The process was completely smooth. As a business owner, I was so impressed by how well he had created the customer journey. I was never surprised or worried. I had a great time working with him to create these photos."

- Tyrell C.

“Stephen was a really fantastic photographer to work with! He really valued making the experience collaborative but his own creativity was revealed with some of the unique and inspired takes he had on a classic subject. I would definitely recommend Stephen to anyone looking for not only a skilled and professional photographer but anyone looking for a unique and quality angle.”

- Alex B.