Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Strydom.
Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had an interest in photography, but it wasn’t until five years after I had graduated high school that I realized it’s what I wanted my career to be. I researched quite a few schools in the North East. The one that stuck out the most was Hallmark Institute of Photography. It was a 10 month long, jam-packed program. M-F 8-5, 1400 total hours.
I graduated in October 2010 & that my friends is when Stephanie Minion (my maiden name) Photography started. I photographed in the first couple years while working other jobs. But in August 2012 I started dating Paul. He was working on an H2B Visa from South Africa. His visa was up on December 30th, 2012, it was either get married or risk him never being able to return. On December 26, 2012, we married. Was it impulsive & absolutely insane? Yes, but I do not regret it for one single second.
We had our first baby boy, Lucas in November 2013, he was born with a rare genetic condition called blepharophimosis, ptosis, and epicanthus inversus syndrome (BPES). It made the first few months of his life a little scary, especially being a first-time mom. We didn’t have a diagnosis until he was 3 months old & he underwent surgery on his eyelids at 6 months old. He is a firecracker. I swear that boy is going to move mountains someday. Our second baby boy, Caleb was due in April of 2016, sadly I went to the doctor for decreased fetal movement and sure enough, we had lost him on 2/18/16 at 32 weeks. We delivered our stillborn baby boy that afternoon.
From that point on our lives had changed forever. We had decided immediately that we needed to grieve & cope & do what we needed to do for Lucas to have the parents he deserved. We had two choices, be angry & bitter or try to be positive. We couldn’t change what happened, so we tried to be thankful that we had Lucas, we were all in good health, that Caleb didn’t suffer. We absolutely had CRAP days, but we knew the next one was a chance to try again. After we lost Caleb, I started to volunteer for Now I lay me down to sleep. Whose mission is “To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.”
It is so incredibly difficult to walk in the room and REALLY know & understand a family’s pain, but I find peace in being able to give them the only photos they’ll ever have of their child.
At this point, I had quite a bit of time to work on my photography. I didn’t have much booked because I was expecting to bring home a new baby, but I photographed 6 weddings that year. In March 2017, we found out we were pregnant, a few weeks later we found out we were having twins, one boy, one girl. It was like we had lost one and now we were being blessed with two. It was so surreal. We were so excited to complete our family. Not that it would ever FEEL complete without Caleb. Tragically, in October I went for a routine checkup, and we had lost our baby girl Charlotte. I was immediately admitted into Brigham & Women’s where I received the necessary treatment to prepare for a baby boy, Cohen’s arrival. Two days later Cohen was born at 34 weeks.
Thankfully I have some amazing people friends/associates/ connections that immediately stepped up to the plate to photograph two weddings I had booked that weekend. Cohen spent 34 days in the hospital before we brought him home. It was a very hard month finding a balance between being home with Lucas, grieving Charlotte & being there for our newborn baby. Finally, he came home in November. He’s now 10 months old, over 20lbs & really thriving. We are certainly blessed he’s okay. It’s not easy to get out of bed every single day missing two of my babies, but I do it for my boys. I do it because they deserve for me to be the best mom I can be.
I feel like my photography is my outlet, it’s my therapy, its seeing & capturing moments that will never happen again. I love being there and watching families grow from engagement sessions to weddings to newborns to first birthdays. It’s so surreal to be able to provide my clients with these memories. to walk into someone’s home and see my work on the walls. It’s incredible, I am so blessed to do something I truly love. I am excited to be photographing 16 weddings this year & I look forward to the growth of SSP in the years to come.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all, but I am thankful for the support of my friends & family and the AMAZING loyalty my clients have shown.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Stephanie Strydom Photography – what should we know?
I am a photographer, I specialize in wedding & portrait photography. I am known for going above & beyond for my clients, for putting my heart & soul into my work, and for constantly putting my camera down to carry my bride’s dress!
I am most proud because I took 5 years after high school to figure out where my passion was and I just went for it. I started my company from the ground and have slowly built it to where it is today with many obstacles in my way.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My husband Paul, my mom, my dad & my stepdad deserve the most credit. My clients for spreading the love through word of mouth.
I also have to mention my go-to second shooter, Maleida Cook, she’s literally my right-hand lady at these weddings.
- Packages start around $1500
- Website: www.stephaniestrydom.com
- Phone: 603-702-2336
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @stephaniestrydomphoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieStrydomPhotography/
Kasey Jean Rajotte