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Stefani Hays

From Stefani:
As photographers (and those who sell it), we have the best job in the world–we get to make a living building relationships with people who value what we do, trust us to document the most important milestones in their lives, and want to pay us for it! So few people ever figure out what their passion and purpose is, much less get to support their family while living out their dream. The minute we start taking any of this for granted is the moment we fail. We have been blessed with the opportunity to give our clients the gift of capturing a moment in time–one they will never get back. Don’t take this lightly. We also have a talent that can be used for great good; charity is a very important part of our business–not because we’re trying to get “more exposure,” but because we truly want to offer our talents and give back to the community. My favorite quote (even if over-used)–”We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”–Winston Churchill

How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
Along side my husband, James, our business, Enchanted Images, was conceived 9 years ago after we had our first “real” professional portrait experience when taking our then 10-month old daughter to a high end studio in our town. We realized we could do the same, and started Enchanted Images in our basement. What began as a very part-time, weekend only business has turned into the only job for both of us and sole income for our family. James’ artistic talent and my business background have been the perfect recipe for a successful boutique photography studio. It’s difficult to pinpoint one person or mentor in particular that has influenced us, but I can say that 2007 was a turning point year for us, when we were introduced to both the business ideas of Charles Lewis as well as the philosophy of charity and giving back inspired by Sandy Puc’. I have a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Communication and practiced as a professional financial planner for several years prior to starting Enchanted Images.

How many After Dark Events have you attended and what’s your favorite moment?
This is my third After Dark. I have to admit my favorite moments are those spent getting to know other amazing photographers outside the “official” event–over a drink or at dinner.

Why is education important to you? How long have you been teaching? What made you get into teaching? What do you get out of being a mentor?
Without education ,we would not be where we are today. James and I first presented together a few years ago and absolutely love being able to share our experiences to potentially help others. Our philosophy when it comes to education is that if we can take one thing away from an educational opportunity and apply it to our business to even make one change with impact, then it was worth every penny. Education is what got us where we are, and our hope is to pass some of what we’ve learned along the way to others so they don’t have to learn by making the same mistakes we’ve already made!

What are the top 5 skills you’ll be teaching at After Dark?

  • Sales for the boutique studio (without really selling)
  • The art of a successful mini-session/limited edition event
  • Building a relationship-based business
  • Creating exactly the kind of studio you want (and the importance of branding)
  • Marketing (to the right people)

Contact Info:

Fun Facts:

  • Have never used photoshop in my life.
  • I am SO passionate about photography–and I am NOT a photographer
  • I am my husband’s biggest fan and his worst critic.
  • I LOVE a good bargain. I will splurge on jeans and shoes, but never pay full price for a carwash!

Majority of Business:

  • Portraits: Families, children, maternity, high school seniors


  • Whatever James says.