Tuesday, January 15, 2013

BEHIND THE LENS: Stephanie Marie Photographie, Nashville, TN

Every time we interview a photographer for our Behind the Lens series, we are reminded of what an amazing community we are all a part of.  Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing your story and beautiful images with us today.   We love how you said that your photo mentor shoots with a "full heart and open mind" (what a great reminder) and we agree that you have some fabulous "besties"  (and we want to see that bag).  

And now we are pleased to showcase the lovely Stephanie Marie Photographie......

Your Name: Stephanie Waddey
Your studio/business name: Stephanie Marie Photographie
Location: Nashville, TN
Twitter:  @stephmariephoto

Your Style:

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?  Cool, organic, fun, joyful, full of life.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained?  I am self-taught.  I did mentor under a friend who is an amazing photographer for 3 months when I began to learn the technical aspects of photography.

How many years have you been a professional photographer?  3

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?  I hope to still be doing exactly what I love!  Photographing little ones, families, seniors and new love!  I want to be in a studio and be shooting more commercial projects.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be?  Oh goodness, that’s a hard one!  To name only one! Shalonda Chaddock of Chubby Cheek Photography is a genius.  She shoots with a full heart and open mind.  Nothing is out of reach and emotion is ALWAYS captured!

Favorite location to take photos?  I have always loved urban locations, however, in the last year; I have been amazed with the amazing light shooting in open fields and tree lines.

Favorite vacation spot?  London, England

Your Business:

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?  I am an attorney by trade.  When my daughter was born, I knew I couldn’t spend my life in my office.  Photography had always been a hobby and a friend noticed I had “the eye.” The rest is history!

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you?  Hit the streets.  Be involved in your community and never be afraid to self-promote.  If you aren’t talking about you, who is?!

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?  If I could cut them a deal on the digital images and they could just take them to Walgreens to make prints…

Favorite print lab? WHCC

Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other):  Canon 5d Mark II, I am dying to upgrade to the Mark III!!

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be?  Hands down, my 85 1.2 L the creamy bokeh, the sharp clear focus, I could go on and on.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in?  My 2 besties threw in and got me a handmade, Argentinean leather camera bag last year for Christmas.  It is AMAZING and so are they!

What gear would we find in your camera bag?   Canon 5d Mark II, 85 1.2 L, 50 1.4, Smarties (for the kiddos who need bribing), 4 or 5 CF cards, my camera charger and of course business cards.

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light

Are you PC or Mac? PC - Sony to be exact

Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use?  Photoshop. I have my own tweaks I do to every image.  I mean every single one.  I think they are what define my style.  I have become obsessed with Florabella Collection actions as well.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Jpeg…I know! GASP!  I think nailing the image in camera is a must for a professional and I know my technical aspects of my photos are dead on.  I have been playing with RAW because of the versatility and I am shooting in both most recently.

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self?  Stop living for anyone other than yourself.

Best advice you would give a new photographer?  Take time to define your craft and REALLY get the technical aspects of photography nailed down.  Post processing is NOT the place to attempt to make a perfect photograph.  Also, this way when you do bust on the scene you can charge what you need to for a successful business and your clients won’t flip out when you start to charge more.  Don’t be afraid to grow artistically.  I am currently going through a style change myself.  More lifestyle, less portrait.  I know what my clients want and will always make sure it is obtained, but above all I have to feel fulfilled in my work. 

What site do you use for your photography and why? Bludomain, it was what everyone was using at the time I started.  However, I am going through a complete rebranding process so all of that is about to change…

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience?  OMG, I was on a shoot and accidentally switched my camera into timer mode…I didn’t know my camera well enough to switch it without it being a big deal and had to whip out the manual in front of my clients…luckily, it was a free, learning session for me, but nevertheless, embarrassing. 

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not?
I am a complete nerd.  I love calculating my family’s monthly spending and planning budgets.  I think taxes are fun and I am schooled, I am to the max schooled in rap music.

And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks

Three things I can’t live without….my camera, my Imogene + Willie jeans, & coffee
I wish I had more…..hours in the day.
The best thing about being a photographer is…capturing emotion in lens that will be cherished for a lifetime.
The most important lesson I ever learned was….truth and sincerity always prevail.
My favorite time of day is…midday.  I am NOT a morning person, never have been, even with 2 cups of coffee, around 10 is when I start feeling my groove!


  1. wonderful interview!!!! stephanie is the epitome of sunshine-y emotion and optimism...not to mention a heck of a photographer! beautiful words and gorgeous work

  2. This girl is amazing. She has been shooting my family for a little over three years, and she never fails to amaze us.

  3. What a great interview! Steph is a fabulous person with an amazing spirit that makes her pictures that much better. Lots of people can take a good picture. Steph finds the heart of the subject and somehow makes it come out in beautiful, indescribable ways. It can be the twinkle in the eye, or the tilt of the head, or the shape of a hand. Whatever magic she works makes the most amazing pictures. No, art. She makes the most amazing art. Thank you Steph for making memories for me and my family. Keep on clicking chick, your talent is a rare gift that you give others.

  4. As one of Stephanie's "besties" I have to say that the journey I have been blessed to watch has been breathtaking. I have never seen so much knowledge, heart, and drive put into something that has become nothing short of wondrous. The (and there is no doubt here) God given talent that Stephanie has thankfully discovered has grown into an art that is exquisite. I am so very privileged to have a "bestie" that is just as amazing at her friendship as she is her passion.

    It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are. - Paul Caponigro


Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate and read each and every one.