We are so excited to welcome Stephanie Pana to the Blog today! Take a moment to learn more about Stephanie and visit her website Stephanie Pana Photography.
Stephanie is featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Pretty Forum for the entire month of November, so come on over and ask her anything you like. Thank you so much Stephanie for taking the time to share your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I can recall going back about 7 years to when I was 16 years old. I was a Junior in High School & was beginning to really enjoy graphic design. I soon realized I wanted to take my own photos to add into my designs. From that point, I decided to take photography as a full on hobby. It started off with really random photos of simple objects that caught my eye. I would use them to piece together ideas in my head that I wanted to portray through a graphic design. Soon enough, I was head first into photography & really embraced everything it was about.
How would you describe your photography style?
I would love to describe my style as modern, bold & natural. I just adore to showcase the natural beauty of all of my clients. Each and every one of them are so unique. They ALL have such a modern style & truly understand the latest up to date fashions. I love to make bold statements, even with the simplest poses & backgrounds. It’s always been a profound part of my work to stay true to the client.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I would definitely say I am primarily self taught, although I have had some formal training through out High School, as well as Columbia College Chicago’s Photography Department. I learned all the basics one would ever want to learn while in school, but I certainly came into my own and learned SO much more when it was just me, myself & I. It felt so much more organic and I truly enjoyed the fact I was able to learn things on my own. To this day, I’m still learning so much!
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot Canon! Started off with a Canon Rebel XTi for a few years & when it was time to upgrade I found myself with the Canon 5D Mark II. Current lenses are the 85mm 1.2L & 50mm 1.4. I haven’t been able to tear my 85mm off my camera for a bit, so to say the least, it’s my favorite!
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Light is SUCH a key point to my style. Whether it be backlighting, direct light or open shade – to truly understand each of these AND what they do is key to taking great photos no matter what the scenario. Knowing your surroundings & comprehending what type of light to look for is something I’ve grown accustomed to and truly take pride in! Also knowing what type of lighting scenario will work best for your shot is important. Each type of lighting scenario brings forth a different vibe!
You specialize in High School Senior Photography, what is your favorite aspect of photographing seniors?
Photographing this age group is SO important to me. I went through so many changes when I was in High School, but primarily during my Senior year is when the biggest changes happened to me. You are officially becoming a young adult and embracing who YOU are. I think it’s so beautiful to capture that glimmer of hope of your future & the maturity that is glowing through each of these girls.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
This year has been based a lot about finding myself & my style in my work. I felt so lost when it came to this aspect for so long. I didn’t know what I wanted MY images to look like. I knew I loved so many other photographers, but kept falling into the same patterns of trying to be like someone else. Once I realized I needed to find ME in my work, the rest fell into place. I know my style is constantly evolving, but I know now that it is something staying true to my personal style.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Don’t rely on others to get you there. Be yourself!
If there is one thing I’ve learned over this past year, it is that depending on others will only get you so far. When do YOU start to shine through in your work? I went on for so long feeling bad about my work because it didn’t look like someone else’s who I admired…but why should it? That’s when things started changing and getting much better for me. People will take notice to individuality in a such a heavy saturated field, where they have PLENTY of choices to sift through. What is going to make you stand out amongst the rest?
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I can only choose one aspect?! There are truly so many parts about this job that I feel completely blessed about. The fact that I am doing what I absolutely LOVE for a living just makes me tremendously happy. Though I think what it comes down to at the end of the day are those little moments I witness my clients have either during or after their session with me. They just light up knowing they are truly beautiful. Feeling their confidence radiate just makes my heart full!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In a generalized aspect, I hope to be married or in the process of doing so! 😉 From a business standpoint, I hope to have gained enough confidence in myself to take my creativity world wide! More than anything, I hope that this love of photography can help me travel the world to see new places & new faces. That would be incredible!!
About Stephanie: Chicagoland Area Stylized Lifestyle & Portrait Photographer focusing solely on High School Seniors & Teens. Stephanie is an up and coming natural light, on-location photographer for the Chicago Suburbs. Stephanie brings the utmost styleand atmosphere to every photo she captures. It is a guarantee that you will experience life, confidence and vibrancy in a browse through her portfolio as a whole.
Visit Stephanie at her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, and TWITTER page today!
And don’t forget, you can “Ask Stephanie” anything you like in the Pretty Forum for the entire month of November!
This was really nice to read! I love your work and I can relate to alot of what you said. Good job, keep up the good work!
Beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.