Superstar gay wedding photographer Steph Grant shares her ideas on filling your special day filled with a lifetime of memories
A full-time freelancer since 2010, Steph Grant (StephGrantPhotography.com/blog) is perhaps Dallas’ most prominent LGBT wedding photographer. Her work has been featured in Curve magazine, the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed, among others. She happily travels all over the country and beyond to shoot weddings as well as corporate events. So when it comes to knowing what to do for a couple looking to preserve their memories, there’s no one more savvy.
Grant took some time to give us some insights on the role of a wedding photographer and advice on selecting the best one to document the love and joy of your big day.
Dallas Voice: What’s the photographer’s role in the process of planning a wedding? Steph Grant: With my clients, I like to be as involved as they’d like with the wedding day schedule. This allows me to give my input as far as lighting and making sure we’re not rushed when it comes to things like “first looks” and letting them have a moment after the ceremony to take everything in. Typically, I have found that couples welcome the input. We usually do this planning over cocktails and have a few laughs. I have had clients in the past say that they felt like they not only got a photographer, but also a wedding coordinator and someone to give them hugs when they were nervous. All in a day’s work. These couples are more than clients; they end up being life-long friends. I love it!
How would you recommend that couples evaluate photographers when choosing one for their event? Keep up with them for a while [via their website and social media presences]. See how they interact and talk about their clients, how they tell their stories with their words and their images. Look for consistency. This is one of the biggest days of your life, so always do your research. Work with someone who isn’t just concerned and coming in day-of-wedding and snapping photos. Work with someone who wants to meet with you, get to know you and your love story so they can properly document it when the day comes. A photographer shouldn’t be viewed as someone just taking pictures of the day; I want to be viewed as an artist. I take time with each image not only on the day of your wedding but also in the post-production. In short, work with someone who “gets you.”
About how far in advance do you recommend that couples book you for a wedding? What are your busiest months? Least busy? Just from personal experience, I’d say over a year for sure. I am already booking weddings and events for spring and fall of 2016. My busiest months tend to be September and October, but March was insane! In the fall of 2014, I believe I spent more time in the air than on the ground. I try to keep July open to take a month to myself — for personal projects, reading and pool time. Not only do I photograph weddings but I also photograph a good amount of corporate events around the U.S. and I just launched a side business called Promote Love Movement. So really, there is no such thing as a “least busy month.”
What can a couple expect to pay a good photographer for a wedding? And what do you usually include in your wedding packages? I can really only speak for myself here. For us to partner together for your wedding you can expect to pay between $4,500 to $10,000. There are leather wedding albums involved for you and your parents, two top-notch photographers, engagement session with brunch, boudoir add-ons and much more.
Did you make a conscious choice to specialize in LGBT weddings? How did that happen? How do you feel about being increasingly known for this particular aspect of your work? Initially, no. Eventually, yes. The backstory is so great. Being a lesbian, it would make sense that I have a slew of lesbian friends. In 2012 I had photographed a couple of them. It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that something completely shifted in my career. I photographed a beautiful lesbian Indian wedding in Los Angeles. Little did I know it was the first lesbian Indian wedding in the U.S. The wedding photos quickly went viral and love spread like wildfire. Within a day, more than 81,000 people visited my website. I was being contacted by Huffington Post, Mashable and Buzzfeed for interviews. Almost two years later these images are still circulating. I had a unique opportunity because of this to be working with clients whom I can very easily connect with. I wouldn’t change it for a second. I believe that once you ground your life and your career in promoting love, you can do no wrong.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 10, 2015.