A Piece of Stephanie's Story
Meet Stephanie Erffmeyer; a Calvin College grad who now lives and works in Dallas, TX! Besides running her own photography business, she also loves traveling the world with her hubby. Read more about how her loving personality fits so well with what she does, and what she's learned so far in her career!
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? ARE YOU IN SCHOOL, WORK?
I graduated from college in 2014, and shortly after started my wedding photography business, Gray Door Photography. I’m currently wrapping up this year’s wedding season, which means editing, editing, editing! Now that my busiest months of the year are coming to a close I’ll be spending more quality time with my hubby and family, focusing a little more on rest and recharging, as well as partnering with some other local creative wedding vendors for a few inspiration shoots!
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LIKE? ANY UNIQUE MORNING RITUALS?
During the week, I wake up and send my hubby off to work, brew myself some tea or milky coffee, and settle into my favorite corner of our couch. Sometimes I'll add a little yoga or chill music to the mix; and I always eat a protein packed breakfast - I'm talking over easy eggs on toast with avocado and smoked salmon! I'm a total morning person and these morning rituals feel like a restful way to bring positivity (and a whole lot of productivity!) to the rest of the day.
HOW DID PHOTOGRAPHY START FOR YOU? WAS THERE A MOMENT YOU KNEW IT WAS RIGHT?
I’ve always been creative - I think the first time I told my parents I wanted to be an artist was in preschool. Growing up if I wasn’t making a mess, painting, or drawing, I was at dance class. And if I wasn’t at dance class, I was taking pictures. I was blessed with parents who encouraged me to keep on creating and by the time I was graduating college and planning my own wedding, my photography dream was at the forefront of my mind. While I planned my own wedding, I started to fall in love with the planning process, the meaningful details, the way we got to express ourselves as a couple, and especially the beauty in having such an incredible occasion documented. I knew it was absolutely the right move when I started my wedding photography business and my entrepreneurial heart felt so happy!
YOU RECENTLY MOVED TO TEXAS, AND BEFORE THAT YOU WERE IN RHODE ISLAND, HOW WERE BOTH OF THOSE MOVES? IS LIFE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT IN THOSE PLACES?
After getting married about two and a half years ago, Kyle and I relocated to the east coast for his job. To us, it was an absolute adventure! Actually, the first time either of us had been to that part of the country was over our weekend-long home finding trip! We found an adorable little apartment and we settled into our first home together as newlyweds. It didn’t take long for Providence, Rhode Island to feel like our home - it also didn’t hurt to have the ocean, Cape Cod, fresh seafood, and New England’s historic charm right at our fingertips.
We loved our years on the east coast, but the biggest challenge for us was being so far away from our families and friends. So, when Kyle was offered another job relocation to Dallas, Texas we couldn’t turn it down. While we still miss our family and friends in the Midwest, we’ve been seeing a whole lot more of my parents, brother, sister, and brother-in-law who are all currently live in Dallas! About three months ago, we moved from the smallest state in the US to one of the biggest and we definitely have so much more to learn about life as Texans. But for now, I’m loving the warm weather, TexMex, redecorating our new apartment, meeting all of my newest clients, and the quality time with family!
YOU ALSO TRAVEL A LOT, HOW HAS THAT SHAPED YOUR PERSPECTIVE? WHAT OTHER PLACES ARE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Yes! I’m a girl who loves to travel. While in college I studied abroad in York, England and backpacked with friends (one of which is now my husband!) through Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Ireland, Spain, Holland, and Scotland. Since Kyle and I have been married, we’ve gone to Mexico, Greece, and back to England. Traveling together has become such a bonding experience for us, and it also continually changes and broadens my perspective. Leaving home and often my comfort zone behind, has always led to growth. Whether that be road tripping around our new home state, attempting to navigate the train system in Germany, or trying new foods in Greece – seeing and experiencing new things reminds us that there’s always so much to learn, appreciate, and enjoy! And as a photographer and storyteller, travel is a huge source of inspiration.
Next on my travel bucket list: Hawaii, Switzerland, Alaska, and New Zealand!
HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT LOVING? HOW DOES YOUR LOVING PERSONALITY TRANSLATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
Wedding photography is many things, but most of all it’s inviting someone into the most special, intimate day of your life and trusting them to capture each small detail and big moment. I think my loving personality shows through my work when I take the time to get to know each of my couples, learn about their values, and their vision for their big day. No matter what I’m photographing, whether that be an engagement session, wedding, or styled inspiration shoot, I always keep things personal, simple, and I love to make my couples laugh! Encouraging my couples to just get wrapped up in the moment and in each other makes for some incredible, authentic emotion-filled images, and I think that’s when you can see the kindness, comfort, and positivity come through in my work the most. Being a wedding photographer is about so much more than pretty images – it’s about connecting, celebrating incredible marriages, and creating tangible memories that become first family heirlooms.
DO YOU ENJOY THE PROCESS OR THE RESULT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORK?
I really do love both the process and the final result! I will say that there’s something so rewarding and exciting about delivering a beautiful collection of wedding photos to my newlyweds! After all of the planning, working, and celebrating together, sharing the finished product is just so good!
ASIDE FROM BEING LOVING, WHAT ARE THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND HOW SO?
Creative – Creativity is such an important piece of who I am on a personal and professional level. Being creative allows me to express myself, connect with others, and do the work that I so dearly love!
Passionate – I’m a go-getter! Those who know me well would tell you that whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it at 110%
Encouraging – In one of my favorite quotes, James Keller says “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” I’m all about encouraging other creatives to leave self-doubt at the door and become fellow dream chasers!
HOW DOES BEING LOVING HELP YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS?
I believe that building genuine relationships with the couples and other creative professionals I work with is essential. Without a loving personality, I’m not sure I could do that, or at least do it well! Bringing positivity and kindness to each meeting, session, and wedding I shoot is a big part of what I bring to the table as a photographer!
WHO’S YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?
This is a tough one – there are so many people I could talk about who inspire me daily! But, the one who is nearest and dearest to me would have to be my husband. Kyle is the most supportive husband a girl could ask for. He’s my number one encourager, a level-headed listener, a hard worker, an incredible friend, and my favorite travel buddy. I’m inspired by his patience and kindness each and every day.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
In the next five years, I’d love to see Gray Door Photography continue to grow! I also have this tiny dream of hosting workshops or creating some other educational opportunities for photographers who are just starting to chase their own wedding photography dreams.
On a more personal note, I can also see myself next to Kyle on our couch wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a new puppy in our lap!
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES AND TRAVELS? WHAT CAN YOU TELL A YOUNG GIRL THAT WANTS TO PURSUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Leave self-doubt at the door! You’ve got this! Be willing and excited to work hard, but don’t forget to find balance! The hustle is great, but so are all the moments in between.
Check out more from Stephanie below!