Today we’d like to introduce you to AnnaMarie Stephens.
AnnaMarie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love of photography started out when I was very young. I remember attending the wedding of a girl from church, and I was absolutely determined to capture their first kiss. I think I wasted a whole roll of my mom’s film because I kept jumping the gun when I thought it was about to happen! Fast forward to Christmas 2010. An abnormally large box was under the tree for me. It was a Nikon D3100, my first DSLR. I was so excited and immediately ran out to take photos of anything that caught my eye. Since I was only a teenager then, I didn’t take it very seriously. I didn’t even learn how to shoot in manual until I was 19 or 20.
All I was interested in at first was landscape photography. The earth is so beautiful, and I knew I could always capture that beauty. I felt like humans weren’t as beautiful because of how flawed we are. Not to mention I’m a total introvert, and photographing people always scared me. By the time Bellamy (my son) came around, I had come to realize that we are just as beautiful as the earth, just in completely different ways. I now had someone to model for me 24/7, so that helped a lot with my fears. I worked really hard on posing my husband with him and just documenting our lives to get back into the swing of things. One of my mom’s friends told me she thinks Bellamy is the most photographed child she’s ever met. He’s such a ham for the camera, I always joke to my friends that I’ve trained him well! I have tortured my poor child (and husband, bless him!) with multiple outfit changes, driving hours to a very specific location to get THE shot, and spent way too much money on adorable outfits that I want to photograph him in. It’s okay though because I know he’ll appreciate looking back on all the photos later on in life.
It’s become a huge passion of mine to document every aspect of motherhood, including the ugly parts. I recently did a photo series titled “Fed is Best”, celebrating that not every woman’s breastfeeding journey is successful, and a full baby is a happy baby, no matter how they get there. I’m also considering doing another series focusing on postpartum depression. My favorite thing to see in an image is a natural expression, and I always strive to tell a story through my images. I feel like these are the best ways to evoke a response from someone when they’re looking at your work. I’ve realized that photographing people is just as much fun as photographing landscapes, if not more so!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I was 18, I got accepted to The University of Texas at Dallas where I decided to major in Fine Arts. I figured at the very least, if my photography dreams never came true, at least I would have a degree under my belt. I made it through the first semester, but early on in the second semester, I had to do a medical withdrawal because of my depression. I’ve been going to therapy and been on medication for as long as I can remember. The medication I was on at the time just stopped working all of a sudden, and I couldn’t function at all. I couldn’t get up the motivation to study for tests, I couldn’t read the chapters they assigned because of an untreated concussion I had suffered several years prior, I couldn’t get up the energy to go to class. It all just started piling up and I couldn’t handle it anymore. So I dropped out.
My doctor put me on a new medication, and it worked really well for a while. I got a job at a photography studio and started to feel a lot better, so I enrolled in a class at The Art Institute of Dallas, with lots of support from my boyfriend (now husband). In that class, I finally learned how to shoot in manual, the basics of Photoshop and Lightroom, and took a photo that would, later on, win Best in Show at the state fair. Since that class went so well, I enrolled for two classes the following semester. Unfortunately, the new medication I had been put on started to give me awful side effects. It severely sedated me to where I was sleeping up to 20 hours a day, and couldn’t stay awake during class. So, once again, I had to drop out.
After that, I didn’t really pick up my camera again until my son Bellamy was born.
Please tell us about AnnaMarie Stephens Photography.
I am a photographer that specializes in lifestyle children and family photography. Lifestyle photography looks so much more natural and fun to me than the traditional posed style. I think what sets me apart is that I try to document your family’s story into a group of photos. I don’t just try to give you as many images as possible, I try to only give you images that I know will tug at your heartstrings. Every moment with your child seems so fleeting, and I think it’s really important to capture as much of it as you can. You won’t ever look back through family photos and regret taking them, you’ll regret not taking more.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. All the roadblocks and victories along the way are the reason I’m the photographer I am today.
- Lifestyle Newborn Session – $150
- Family Session – $200
- Couples Session – $200
- Website: astephensphoto.com
- Phone: 214-789-2683
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: astephens_photo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/astephensphoto