The DBMH weekly crush is Valory Evalyn! Valory is a couples and wedding photographer based out of California and Oregon! We fell in love with Valory’s warm tones and the way she exemplifies the love that her subjects have for one another. Take a look at what Valory has to say about her business, life, and her goals!
Where are you sitting as you are writing this right now? How’s your day going? How are you feeling?
I’m currently sitting at my desk (I’m pretty sure I’ve spent like half my life here by now haha)! Since I’m finally all caught up on all of my editing from 2018, today I actually had the chance to blast some music while I cleaned the house, organized some things, and all that fun stuff that can be put on the back burner when I’m swamped with editing haha. But the break will only last a couple of days since my first session of 2019 is this weekend! Feeling super excited for this new year!
To those that might not know you just yet, please introduce yourself – Who are you? Cat or dog person? What’s your photography style?
Hiiiii my name is Valory Evalyn and I’m a wedding + couples photographer based in Norcal (Redding to be specific) but I typically travel all over California, Oregon, and sometimes across the world for weddings and sessions, which I LOVE! Pretty crazy to think that only a few years ago this photography business of mine was just a dream! 2.5 years ago I was a full time student AND also waking up nearly every morning at 2:45am to work (crazy, i know haha) and spent any free time I had building my photography business! I remember back then being so excited when the opportunity came up to shoot a friends wedding, which didn’t end up happening, and how sad I was! I felt like I was just so close and my dream kept getting pulled away. But it’s crazy now looking back how fast my business ended up growing even though it was hard to see back then when things and weddings kept falling through. But I’ve now been a full time wedding photographer for about 9 months! I just wanted to share a little of that part of my photography journey to encourage anyone reading to keep going and keep dreaming, even if your business isn’t where you want it to be just yet! Keep setting little goals for yourself! 🙂
But anyways a few random facts about me: I’m 100000% a cat person, I eat at chipotle wayyyy too much, I’ve been to 16 countries, and I love to spend my free time playing cards or hiking with friends!
Can you show us 1 or 2 photographs that are particularly meaningful to you and share the story behind them?
This was probably my favorite couples session from all of 2018! These two (Rusti and Donnie) had been married for almost a year, I believe. They have spent most of their first year of marriage long distance because Donnie’s been deployed in the military. So he was home with her for only about 2 weeks and we got to squeeze this session in there! Super special getting to capture them when they hadn’t seen each other in MONTHS. Here’s something that Rusti texted to me afterwards that just meant so much to me and reminded me of why I do what I do: “I know I keep saying this but you have NO IDEA how much these photos mean to me. I look at our pictures and get so emotional because it’s not us posing for the camera, but it’s our genuine laughs and smiles that we would share in an everyday moment in the car or at the grocery store. I get so numb to long distance but looking at the photos you took for us makes my heart long for him and those moments even more. They’re SO special to me and I admire and love your work so much. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world and for never settling for less than the most sincere captures. You are a gift!!!”
Yep had me in tears!!! LOVE doing what I do and seeing it mean so much to people!
What role does Instagram play for you as a photographer? Is it important for your business?
Instagram is definitely important for my business! Right now I’m probably getting 80% of my booking from Instagram Hashtags (the rest from referrals and facebook ads)! Hashtags such as #yosemiteweddingphotographer have been super helpful! One of my favorite parts about Instagram is that I’ve met so many other photographers that have become some of my best friends! Super cool what a little app can do!
If you had to pick just one thing, what would you say you love the most about being a wedding photographer?
Only one thing?!?! Oh gosh…. haha. It’s between getting to meet and become friends with my clients and getting to capture such special memories for them! I can’t really separate the two because getting to know the couple’s story and personalities is super important for me because I feel like I can capture their day 1000% better when I know them and they know me! It’s seriously the coolest thing knowing that their future kids and grandkids will be pulling out the photos I took on that day years down the road. I just love everything about it!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced that could be a helpful lesson for other photographers?
I think the biggest challenge for me was comparison when I was first starting out. I would always see all these other photographers getting the type of shots I dreamed of but I just felt like I could never get to that level no matter how hard I tried. For me the first step in getting over that feeling was just realizing that my year one is not supposed to look like someone else’s year 6! Everyone starts somewhere! Doing a lot of shoots just for fun in beautiful places and getting creative helped a lot too. Tons of practice! I do feel like I’m finally where I’ve wanted to be for a long time, but there’s always room for growth! So I still love to get out there and just shoot for fun and go crazy with an idea sometimes haha!
Who or what inspires you?
I’m always super inspired when I go explore a new place! Whether that’s traveling to a new place or just getting out and hiking around my house (thanks Northern California!!). If I’m feeling uninspired that’s when I know it’s way past time for me to get out of my house! Whenever I go hiking I usually find a new spot for a photo session to so it works out pretty well haha!
What are your dreams for the future of your career?
I would LOVE to get into booking a few more destination weddings (who doesn’t? haha). I already travel a ton so why not add some more wedding into that? I would also love to get into more of the educated world of photography and have some online classes, guides, and fun things like that to help other photogs!