Nice to meet you! I'm Stephen.
I'm in my last semester at UNC Chapel Hill studying biology, chemistry, and neuroscience. I'll be graduating in May, and I will be working as an ophthalmology technician. My goal is to become an eye doctor, ophthalmologist, and to live in the Asheville area where I grew up while continuing to pursue photography.
Starting out as a Wildlife Photographer
I've always been interested in learning about wildlife and exploring the outdoors. Growing up in the mountains of Western North Carolina definitely helped me to become more interested. I started wildlife photography using my grandfather's old camera in our backyard, where I aimed to take photos of every plant and animal. I brought my camera with me on trips in high school, even to a math competition in Charleston, SC because I knew I would be close to the ocean, which had pelicans, palm trees, and lots of seagulls. In my senior year of high school, I even stared a club aimed to educate people about the outdoors and how to take care of it. If you would like to view some of my pictures, please click this link to navigate to my separate nature photography website.
Folkmoot & Event Photography
What does all the nature have to do with portrait photography? It helped me to get out of my comfort zone, inspiring me to become more creative, and eventually to try doing photography for people. Besides, it's a whole lot easier taking pictures of people than it is of, let's say, a small bird soaring through the sky 100 feet away.
So, I started volunteering for the Folkmoot International Dance Festival back in 2018, and I've continued doing photography for them every year since. This helped me to become more creative with photography and to learn how to interact with clients, as well as being able to contribute to my community.
Portrait Photography Takes Off
The summer after I started photography for Folkmoot, I became interested in taking picutres of people in a more creative way rather than with no control at a festival. So, I learned more about how to use more advanced features on my camera, and I began following inspiring photographers on social media, such as Aaron Anderson, Joe McNally, and Marina Williams. My creativity was running wild, and I seized every opportunity to take portraits for people.
In my sophomore year at UNC Chapel Hill, I signed up for a class through the Hussman School of Journalism and Media called "MEJO 489 - Photojournalism, Lighting, and Business Techniques". This class helped me to expand my personal photographic vision and my professional portfolio by honing my newfound knowledge and skills of studio and location lighting, propping, and styling. Overall, I grew to become a lot more comfortable with portrait photography, and I gained the skills that I wanted to be as creative as possible.
Starting the Business
It's been more than 2 years since then, and more than 7 years since I started photography in my backyard. In every session, I aim to make it as fun as possible, while honing in on capturing your personality as well as your experiences in the most creative ways. I've even learned how to code websites in order to make the experience as easy as possible for you to navigate.
My Creative Style
I love using colors to capture a certain mood in each image I take, whether that be the natural glow of the sun on your figure during golden hour, using a multitude of photography gels to portray a color combination, or using "lightsabers" to create vibrant images that fill up your environment.
If you would like to read some testimonials from past clients about my services, please click this link to the testimonial form to navigate to that page! Thank you for reading about my journey and who I am. I look forward to hearing from you!