We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Shannon Whittington. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Shannon below.
Alright, Shannon thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Risking taking is a huge part of most people’s story but too often society overlooks those risks and only focuses on where you are today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – it could be a big risk or a small one – but walk us through the backstory.
Years ago when our children were little I always had a camera with me (people I didn’t know referred to me as the lady with the camera lol). Other Mom’s at events would say “I forgot my camera would you take a picture of Susie or Johnny”, and I would and then give them the printed pictures (that was before digital). After a while of that my husband said “thats expensive” why don’t you create a website. I did but that didn’t do to much,lol. As I began to have people ask me to take pictures of their children that grew….One day my husband asked me to meet him for lunch, we met in a shopping center with an empty space. I questioned him about lunch and he said this is it! I said no, no food here….he said no this is it…..and asked again, this is what? He said this is your photography studio, you have a gift, what are you waiting for!!! I had never thought about opening a photography studio but because he believed in me I did it! And that was probably 15 years ago:)
Shannon, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My name is Shannon, and I am a contemporary portrait photographer.
With nearly 18 years experience, I specialize in Vanity Fair style portraits and a celebrity experience for everyday clients that is transformative, life changing, and addictive.
My portrait experience is different as I am a boutique photographer, (not a shoot and burn photographer). I spend time with each and everyone of my clients planning out their session. WE talk about everything from How they want to be photographed to what they can expect at every step of our time together, what they should wear, what they shouldn’t wear, location of the session, and anything else we can come up with! I offer a wardrobe planning session if that helps my clients, or even shop them if it serves them best. Then of course there is their portrait session where I guide them in a way that allows me capture them just as they want. And lastly we have big reveal with a slideshow full of their portraits and music in my studio, where they can bring anyone and everyone that they want to join in on the excitedment! There portraits are ready that day, so they don’t have to wait any longer. What they love they can take home that day! (Unless it is a custom product:). After the big reveal I don’t just send them on their way, we stay in touch, celebrate life’s joyous occasions together as well as mourn losses together. We become friends!
I invite you to a contemporary portrait session with me, it will change the way you see yourself.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
You don’t have to give it away……
I had to learn that it’s ok to exchange my photography, and everything that it takes to create beautiful portraits, for money!
I, like most women, didn’t see my value. I didn’t think I was worthy of peoples money even though I put my heart and soul into every portrait that was created. I sold myself short and didn’t have enough confidence in the gifts that God gave me to accept payment. That changed as I began to learn from other business people and as I got closer to God.
Now I am blessed to exchange my portraits and my products with my precious clients for payment and I see it as a gift from God, as Shannon B Whittington Photography is his business!
Have you ever had to pivot?
13 years ago we moved from Columbus Ga (where I grew up) to Park City Utah (inwhich we knew no one). So once we got our children settled I had to begin to educate the community on portraits. Portraits for babies, children, families, high school seniors etc. It wasn’t a thing there like it is in the south. So for 6 months I did just that! I began to photograph babies, children, families, and high school children and it was going beautifully! I learned alot about marketing that to this day serves useful! Then we decided to move again, back home to Columbus.
In praying about photography and starting over since I had been gone for 5 years, God showed me that I needed to create a speciality that was different from anything anyone else in Columbus was doing. After a lot of prayers and time, I felt led to specialize in photographing women (from the ages of 13 to 101). We as women are always taking care of everyone else in our lives (and so glad to be able to do it), we always put ourselves last on the list. When we do think of ourselves it is alot of the times in a negative way, Ex I am not photogenic, I need to loose 25 pounds, I need a little tuck here and nip there………I am even seeing these thought in young girls. No to long ago I photographed a 6 year old little girl, she asked to see one of her pictures on the back of my camera so I showed it to her. She said I look fat. That about broke my heart!!!! So I consider it my mission, ministry to show the women, children, families, high school seniors, sweet 16 friends, business owners what God see’s in them (which is usually completely different than the lies we tell ourselves). I love when my clients/friends see their portraits and cry because they see themselves for sometimes the first time and sometimes it has just been a while!
- Website: www.ShannonBWhittington.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannonwhittington/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannonbwhittingtonphotography
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/
www.ShannonBWhittington.com Shannon B Whittington Photography