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Meet Laurie Stephens of Sweetface Photography in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Stephens.

Laurie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in England and raised in South Dakota (I know, that accent would have been amazing!!) I moved to Phoenix in my late 20’s and went to school to get my associates degree in broadcasting, I actually wanted to be a news anchor! I would have had to move to a small town somewhere to get a start and didn’t want to leave my life so I decided to stay in Phoenix, I went in a few different directions before settling into photography!My turning point was becoming a nanny for about 8 years to one amazing family, I loved them and their little girl and took about a million photos of them and her. We traveled to Europe for a month and I loved the architecture and the light, the colors, the people, it was incredible. I saw Europe through the viewfinder of my camera and I was in love with photography from then on.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I love photography, I am in love with light. It is my companion every day, it was my only companion sometimes as a little girl and much of how I feel throughout the day depends on the light around me. it’s in me, part of my fabric.

I had a challenging time growing up, I spent a lot of time by myself as a child I was a ward of the state and in and out of foster homes 22 total until I was 18. I was always watching the people around me, gauging their reactions, studying them because their pleasure or displeasure meant my life could change at any moment. I think this is so helpful to me now because watching people, the subtle nuances in a glance that can imply deep emotion are fleeting and some of the most amazing moments if you can freeze them in time.

Please tell us about Sweetface Photography.
My business is called Sweetface Photography we specialize mostly in weddings but I really love to shoot about anything where people are together and life is happening! I am proud of the fact that I continually grow as a photographer and as a human being. I know that might not seem very exciting but the only person who truly knows how far I have come is me, I have had to overcome a lot within myself to get to where I am today and some of those challenges and hurts still live deep within me. But because of them I am always evolving always trying to do a better job today than I did yesterday.

I take nothing for granted, not one little thing. I am also very happy to work with people I think are better than me and to constantly be learning, always evolving. I think my outgoing and bubbly personality sets me apart. I always want for people to feel comfortable with me, I consider it a privilege to document peoples lives, and there is a certain amount of trust involved with that. I have a way of being able to put people at ease, to make them laugh and feel comfortable with me and themselves. This is how you get the best photographs, the camera can only do so much, photography is about capturing the essence.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I have learned that no matter how good you are, no matter how great your gift may be, you still have to work for it, breathe it. Also, it may sound tired and cheesy but be humble, don’t be an asshat. There is a lot of ego in this industry! Number one thing I have learned is that I am better at what I do than some and not as good as others. I am happy in my own skin, with the little corner of the world that I have made for myself. I know I will never be all things to all people and I compete with nothing except myself and the job I did yesterday.

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