We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
After starting my photography business in 2008, I quickly learned that being creative and taking beautiful pictures is only part of the job. Running a successful business requires consistency and communication, and that’s how I’ve built my brand to stand out. I have worked hard since day one to provide a consistent experience and end-product for my families. I treat each family as my most important client. I want everyone to feel that they are getting the very best portrait experience. Over the years I have also developed habits and tools that help my communication with clients, including quick and detailed responses to inquiries, an informative and beautiful website, thorough session preparation and planning guides, and of course good old fashioned phone conversations and emails to ensure a personalized portrait session. All of this adds up to providing a superior service to my families. I want my families to walk into their session feeling prepared and eager for their session, and to leave feeling happy and excited about the time we’ve spent together and the images I’ve captured. I want them to love their session before they’ve even seen their final gallery. The portraits themselves become the icing on the cake!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I left my corporate job in 2005 to be home with my sons. I was focused on being a mama and documenting my family’s life in our new home in Colorado. I found myself taking my camera with me everywhere, capturing my boys as they grew up. I started to photograph friends and family for fun – it was my creative outlet. Eventually strangers were reaching out to me to photograph their families as well. I guess you could say my photography business started accidentally. But I have never looked back! It feels like this is where I was meant to end up in life. That was twelve years ago and I have worked tirelessly to build my business to where it is now. In 2011 I set up my home studio in my walk-out basement, and that was a huge game changer for my focus on beautifully styled newborn and children’s portraits. I love creating a custom designed whimsical set ups for each little one who comes to my studio! It is my absolute joy to do what I do every day!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a Castle Rock girl, through and through. We moved here 16 years ago and it’s been home ever since. When I have friends visit, I am happy to stay in my little neck of the woods and show them the beauty of my hometown! We would start with a hike at one of our many nearby trails – Ridgeline Open Space, Legacy Trail, and of course, THE Castle Rock! The views and the wide open spaces are what I love about these local spots. Food is always at the forefront of my mind (and stomach!) and this town never disappoints! For the best breakfast in town and a historic throwback we’d stop in at B&B Cafe. The cafe has a long Wild West history, and a delicious breakfast menu. For the evening, we’d start with a cocktail at the Sinners and Saints Bar at Ecclesia Market. I love the laid back vibe of this local spot, and the drinks are always yummy. If it’s nice we’d sit outside on the patio. We might even browse the Sudden Fiction bookstore that’s on-site as well. For dinner we’d walk over to Union Bistro – my favorite local restaurant. Dessert would be their incredible Coconut Cream Pie (though a walk down to Sugar Spoon for ice-cream is also a great option). In between hiking and dining, we’d visit the various shops in Castle Rock that make is unique. I can spend hours browsing The Barn and The Emporium for antiques and unique finds. I get a lot of my photography props from these shops as well. I also love Amazing Lemons Boutique for clothing and gifts! In between eating and hiking and shopping, we’d also visit Festival Park in downtown Castle Rock. This park is the hub of our town, and hosts tons of events – concerts, the Farmer’s Market, festivals, and everyone’s favorite, the annual holiday Start Lighting on top of the Castle Rock! Lastly, my favorite thing to do (especially during the current pandemic) is to sit on our back deck and watch the sunset together with my family. We’d roast marshmallows and watch the light fade. We get a beautiful view of the mountains, and occasionally the deer come to visit, too. Home is my favorite place of all.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shout out to my fellow Castle Rock Women Photographers group! Several years ago I co-founded a group for local professional women photographers to come together as a community. Pre-covid we did monthly meet ups for both social and educational purposes, and even now we meet up over zoom or chat through our online group. Over time these women have become close friends. I love how supportive our group is! If I need to bounce ideas off someone, or have a photography question I need help with, or even just if I need someone to talk through life with, they always have my back. Community over competition!
headshot: Amber Davis Photography Others: Self (Crib Tales Photography)