Stephanie Parsley is an award-winning wedding and fashion photographer based in Little Rock, Arkansas. We talk with Stephanie about managing stress levels on the day of a wedding and her recent acceptance on to the Mastered with Nick Knight fashion photography program.
How long have you been shooting and who or what first inspired you to pick up a camera?
I have been shooting for almost six years now! My roommate in my freshman year of college first inspired me to pick up a camera; she was so photogenic and beautiful and she knew that I liked to take pictures and so we set out one day and did a random photo shoot. Ever since then it has just stuck with me! I guess photography kind of found me because I never pursued it at first; I always loved taking pictures but I had no idea that being a photographer could be a job. I didn’t even get paid my first year of shooting because I was just doing it for fun – haha!
You specialize in wedding photography which has always struck me as something for only the bravest of photographers! Your images are so beautiful and everybody seems so relaxed; how do you go about planning and managing the day when stress levels can run so high in a bridal party?
I typically come to each wedding and photoshoot with a goofy attitude. When stress levels run high on wedding days, I always reassure my brides that photos are the last thing they need to worry about because I will take care of everything. My brides are awesome and always trust me, so that helps too! I’ve done enough weddings now to know my backup plans for when timelines get messed up and how to handle mostly any situation!
Alongside your wedding photography, I can see from your blog that you have a keen eye for portraiture and fashion photography – your recent shoots with Sybil Sharp and Lacey Rogers are particularly stunning; do you feel that the styles can complement each other or will you eventually specialize in one of the disciplines?
This is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately; I love shooting fashion just as much, if not more, than shooting weddings but I’m so torn between the two. I love being there for two people on the most important day of their lives but, when it comes to creativity, I need that release and find it when I shoot fashion. I think that, unless I was shooting full-time for Vogue or any huge magazine that I respected, there’s probably no way I would stop photographing weddings. I would love to be able to do both equally.
You have recently been accepted (congratulations!) on to the Mastered with Nick Knight program which is a course specializing in fashion photography run entirely online (very Nick Knight) using online masterclasses, tutorials and critique. What was it about this style of course that attracted you and what are the main things that are you hoping to take away from it?
Thank you so much! I never in a million years thought that they would accept me because over ten thousand people applied and only a handful got accepted. I kind of applied thinking, “Yeah, right… but let’s try anyways”.
What attracted me to this course though is that it is devoted solely to fashion photography. With fashion photography, I feel like I have so much more room to grow and I am so passionate about it. I WANT to get better at it and I don’t care what it pays or anything like that. I just want to do it. Creativity is so important to me and I need it in order to stay sane. When I do shoot fashion I can be as creative as I want and it’s a release for me. It’s exactly what I need when I’ve been shooting a lot of portrait and wedding work.
So what is next for you?
Right now I am working on building up my fashion portfolio; I have plans to travel to Miami, LA, and New York at the beginning of 2016 and again at the end of the year to work exclusively with models. I am also working on building my destination wedding portfolio by traveling and branching out to brides in other states and countries. So, at the moment, I am 100% focused on fashion and weddings and I don’t see that changing anytime soon; I have finally found what I really love shooting and I’m so driven right now.
See more of Stephanie’s work at:
All images copyright Stephanie Parsley.
We have chosen to present Stephanie’s folio in two parts; first her beautiful wedding photography followed by her fashion photography folio – scroll on and enjoy…