We had the good fortune of connecting with Stori Heleen-O’Foley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stori, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
For me, it’s authenticity. My brand doesn’t work unless I am my true self and exude that through my clients. I only want to capture real, raw, emotions. Heirloom photography is something I strive to create for every single person that hires me. Every couple, family, event, or brand has its own story and I strive to capture that. I’m also only as successful as my clients make me. 90% of my business comes from word of mouth and that means everything to me. I feel that every person who steps in front of my lens needs to have a comfortable, fun, and meaningful experience. Connection is everything to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are so many amazing photographers in Colorado, the amount of talent here is insane. I started my journey in the arts as a lighting designer at UNC and was lucky enough to land an incredible job at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2011 working in events. Having this unique and amazing opportunity for so long has really helped push my eye and creativeness when it comes to photography. I’ve learned to look at light different through my lens. It pushes my eye to think outside of the box when framing a subject and create a story through a photograph. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by incredible talent everyday and have a full time job that I love dearly but it’s not always easy. It has been hard to find a balance between my full time position at the DCPA, photography, and home life. Both my jobs are weekend jobs being in events. It has been so hard to find a good ebb and flow balancing the events world and being a mom and wife. I’ve leaned on my husband and family so much while trying to get my careers off and running. We’ve had to sacrifice a lot of family time so I can follow my career dreams. I’ve learned that it’s never perfect, it’s never easy. You have to really stretch yourself and fight to do all you want to do and get where you want to go. I want the world to know that every time I pick up my camera, I do it with purpose. Your story is worth sharing and means something to me. We are all trying to find a balance, a purpose, and share our story. I always want to help support that and document yours.
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?
Oh man, what a question. I’ve been lucky enough to live in Colorado my whole life. There are so many places and people in this state that will stick with me through life regardless of where I go. The only place I want to be when I have time to take off is the mountains. I would hit up Cottonwood Springs in Buena Vista for at least a few days. It is such a hidden gem and such a relaxing place. The Chalk Mountains never get old. We would have to hit some rapids and go whitewater rafting through Salida after eating at the Evergreen Cafe. Next we would travel SW through Ouray into Telluride and hit the Telluride Jazz Festival and do some off-roading. To complete the loop our last two days would be going north through Grand Junction and into Aspen and Marble. There are so many gorgeous hikes up there it would keep us busy for days.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Personally, my family means everything to me. My parents always supported my out of the box endeavors when I was growing up and my amazing husband supports everything I do now. Everything from purchasing expensive equipment, to helping me talk through business decisions, to watching our daughter on weekends while I’m out shooting, he’s always there and that means the world to me.