Today we’d like to introduce you to Steph Grant.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Steph. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a 34-year-old wanderer from Huntington Beach, CA. I quit the corporate world almost 8 years ago, left all things familiar behind and hit the ground running in Dallas! Looking back now, I guess you could say I was a closeted artist/musician for most of my life. I’ve performed little ditties ever since I can remember & was involved in competitions with acapella groups. I was basically a professional dabbler without a degree. Drumming, drawing, painting, designing, marketing, HR-ing…you name it. Never trained in anything specific, but I have the ability to pick up most things and with enough determination become good at it. I ended up doing this with a camera & started a photography business over 10 years ago. I started out photographing anything and everything just to pay rent. When I shot my first wedding I swore I would never in a million years do that again! In about a year I was right back in the middle of it doing weddings again. What can I say? I like a good challenge. It wasn’t until I found my niche AND myself that business started taking off. In the summer of 2013 in Los Angeles I photographed one of my first lesbian weddings. I knew it was beautiful but I had absolutely no idea what was in store for next over the next month. One morning I woke up to a bunch of missed calls, social media blowing up and emails from Huffington Post, Mashable, Cosmo and from friends saying that my work was on Reddit. I had no idea what was going on until I realized my site had crashed. That was because 81,000 people were on my site from around the world in 1 day. That wedding took off and made its way to places that I will more than likely never visit. I still get emails from people in other countries telling me that this wedding and my photography gave them the courage to come out. My favorite email said that after seeing my photography and the love this couple had for each other he could no longer take a stand against same sex marriage. In 2014 (just 1 year before marriage equality) I made the decision to start marketing myself specifically as an LGBTQ wedding photographer. This was right in the middle of wedding vendors turning down LGBTQ couples, lawsuits and trying to search the internet for lesbian & gay weddings and finding nothing. I found myself through photography and in turn have helped others feel brave enough to be true to themselves. My businesses and nonprofit (the Promote Love Movement: a safe space for the LGBTQ community raised in a religious environment to connect and share their stories) now has me traveling all around the world capturing LGBTQ love stories & events for corporate clients such as Nike, Hurley, Facebook, Google, LA Lakers, Arianna Huffington, Daymond John, Kellogg’s, Logan’s Roadhouse, Kat Cole, Gene Simmons, Katy Perry and Texas A&M. I do my best to surround myself with incredible people doing big things in the world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
At the beginning: Let me just say that when quitting your job and moving out of state you should probably save up a decent amount and have some clients lined up. I had neither. I just went where the wind took me. Well the wind took me to a place where my only camera was stolen. No money. No camera equipment. No clients. So basically, I was doomed. I put a brand new Canon Rebel on my credit card, lived off of top ramen and Eggo waffles for years, had to move in with some friends eventually and considered getting a part time job at a coffeeshop. But still I pressed on.
Current: not being able to take a break from social media. If I take a break… I lose business.
Please tell us about Steph Grant Photography.
I am most proud of the fact that my business fits so closely into my life that at times it doesn’t feel like “work”. I am myself and don’t feel like I have to “play the part”…that’s what always rubbed me the wrong way when I first started in the corporate world. As a 20-year-old low on the totem pole I felt like I couldn’t really have contact with the executives. I couldn’t just get to know them, ask questions, and have a normal conversation about life. Now I fly in to meet executives and we run around their city having brunch, taking photos, hugging and sharing real life stories that matter. That’s when I capture the best photos…when we both feel comfortable and fully present with each other.
I am proud that clients recognize that my heart and soul are poured into everything I have built. I believe what sets me a part is that most clients have been following along with my story from the very beginning and feel like they are a part of it…because they are.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am not one to really have regrets but it would’ve been nice to have some extra money in the bank just in case…but honestly, I work better when I take risks, have limited options and have to prove to myself that I am enough and can figure it out.
- Website: www.StephGrant.com and www.StephGrantPhotography.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/imsteph
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephgrantphotography
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/imstephdotcom