Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Shepard.
Hi Abby, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I never wanted to be a photographer. I used to think that photography was a “lesser” art form than other mediums. I thought the camera did all the work and the photographer just pressed the button. So, in college, I studied environmental science and graphic design. I also did a lot of ceramics, product design, illustration, and types of art and design. But never photography. I had barely even touched a DSLR camera when I graduated.
However, when I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to get a “real” job yet, so I took an internship at a state park in Delaware as an environmental educator. I had never been to Delaware, but I had always wanted to be a naturalist. Before my internship started, I decided to buy a camera. I thought it would be fun to take photos of the park and the landscapes. During my internship, I did just that. I took so many photos of the park, and I loved it. It was so much fun to create compositions and figure out how to capture what I was seeing. Pretty soon, I started taking photos of the programs and events that I was leading as part of my internship. Then I asked my supervisor if I could start an Instagram for the park. He said no, but he said I could help with the Facebook page. A few weeks later, I fully took over management of the park’s Facebook page and started posting the photos that I took. When my internship ended, I was offered a job in the central office marketing department for the entire state park system in Delaware. Soon, I was managing all social media for all of Delaware State Parks. I also started doing a lot of the photography for the state park system, and photographed landscapes, programs, events, people, staff, and staged marketing shoots. As part of my job, I was in charge of wedding venue marketing within the state parks. I started planning and photographing staged wedding shoots all over the state. People started asking me to take their photos, and it was around that I started my own photography business. I photographed my first real wedding in 2017 and because I love the outdoors so much, I decided to focus on outdoor weddings. I stayed with the state park system for 5.5 years total, and while I started as an intern, I left as Chief of Marketing and Creative.
Now, I photograph weddings all over the country (and even internationally!). I also do outdoor adventure/lifestyle commercial photography and landscape photography. I’ve worked with clients including The North Face, AllTrails, Kent County Tourism, Dakine, and more. It’s been a wild ride, and photography has truly changed my life. It’s led me to so many incredible experiences, challenged me as an artist and businesswoman, taken me all over the world, given me a deeper appreciation for nature, and allowed me to meet so many amazing people.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s been a mostly smooth road, but there are always challenges. It was challenging to work full-time for Delaware State Parks and run my photography business on the side. Being your own boss, it’s always challenging to figure out a work-life balance that works for you. Moving my business from Delaware to Colorado was intimidating at first, but has been pretty smooth so far!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a photographer with two different focus areas.
First, I’m a traveling wedding and elopement photographer who specializes in outdoor weddings and elopements. I capture real moments with bright, bold, natural images. My goal is to make my clients’ wedding day the best it can be and ensure that they have a meaningful, memorable, and fun wedding day that is the start of a lifelong adventure. I’d say I’m known for composing images in a way that really compliments the landscape. I’m also known for creating a really fun experience for my clients and capturing genuine emotion. Also, sunset images. I love to position my couples so that I’m shooting directly into the sun, which creates these really dramatic, glowy photos.
Aside from weddings, I’m also an outdoor lifestyle, adventure, and landscape photographer. This usually means that I’m taking photos of people doing things outdoors, like hiking, camping, running, kayaking, etc. I’ve worked with clients including The North Face, AllTrails, Kent County Tourism, Dakine, and more. I also do a ton of landscape photography, and I sell my photos through a print shop and offer commercial licenses.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Take lots of photos and focus on subjects/types of photography that feel fun for you. For me, that was landscapes, and I still love it. Even now, my love of landscape photography makes me a better wedding photographer. I’d also say that if you want to get into a certain type of photography (or anything creative really), you have the power to create a portfolio for that type of photography before anyone pays you for it. You don’t have to wait until someone hires you. For example, if you want to get into wedding photography, offer to shoot your friends for free, do a model call on social media, set up a styled (fake) wedding to build your portfolio, shadow an established wedding photographer for free. Then, you’ll have the portfolio and the skills you need when someone does hire you.
- Weddings start at $2800
- Elopements start at $1500
- Engagement photos start at $275
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://abbyshepardphotography.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abby.shepard.photography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbbyShepardPhoto/
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/abbyventure/