We had the absolute PLEASURE of working with the amazing Steph about 6 months ago when she photographed our very first every photoshoot. Our first impression was how comfortable she made us feel, what a genuine, beautiful soul she is and how much she has to give the world. Her photography beams positivity and happiness, and her pink hues are totally awe inspiring.
We know you’ll take something inspiring away from this incredible interview with the lovely Steph from The Soul Echo.
Question 1. So tell us, what was the lightbulb moment that made you decide to embark on your biz owner journey?
|My lightbulb moment was unfolded a little differently than I expected. It was my birthday (last July) and I proclaimed that I would be self-employed by my next birthday. I really didn’t know what I would be doing (I was working through picking up the camera again after many years not photographing + old stories surrounding being a photographer fulltime). It was December 2017 when I realised that I could probably do this photo thing full time. Then January 2018 post-Christmas holidays I returned to my corporate job and something felt different – my gut/intuition was going crazy, and that’s when I made the decision that I would dive into The Soul Echo full time.|
Question 2. What have been your biggest struggles, and your biggest accomplishments with owning your own biz so far?
|Ohhh, the biz lyf rollercoaster! I think the coolest thing, in general, is that the highs are super freaking high, and I guess the lows can be pretty low – both exceeding any sort of high or low I’ve experienced in corporate life. |
I feel my biggest struggle has been shifting my corporate conditioned mindset – the idea that we HAVE to work 40+ hrs per week and that we SHOULD be working 9-5. In reality, I didn’t become self-employed to work myself into the ground (although I’m sure biz owners can relate – there are far more than 40+ working hours in our week), and that when I’m hustling at 1:30am, it’s okay for me to sleep in until 8:30 am. Reminding myself on the daily that I am my own boss – so make the most of that freedom!
My second struggle would have to be backing myself relentlessly and also valuing my time. Both are things that I’m working through at the moment. There are days where you’re questioning what you’re doing, IF you should be doing it etc. Learning to cheer myself on constantly has been an adjustment – corporate life there is a company and/or team backing you – but when you’re on you’re own, you’re facing off with yourself. Also, the ol’ time + energy + financial investment conundrum – taking the time to value myself and my work!
Biggest accomplishment would have to be launching into self-employment life far sooner than I expected, and perhaps the fact it even happened at all. This was a dream that started 8 years ago before it was shut down by limiting beliefs + negative circle of ‘friends’. To think I’m here now, living my dream and my late Mum’s dream is just so freakin’ WILD and electrifying!
Question 3. What is something that you wish you could tell young, blissful early in the biz days you? Something other biz owners could learn the easy way!
|YOU ARE CAPABLE OF ALL THAT YOU DREAM + DESIRE + IMAGINE… So those ‘crazy’ ideas you have, the wonderful things you daydream about creating… JUST GO OUT THERE AND DO IT NOW. |
Seriously, I dreamt of starting a blog for 3 years before I fiiiinally created The Soul Echo (yep, that’s how this started). I think reducing the time between dream + action is vital, realising that the only limit at the end of the day is how much you stand in your own way.
Question 4. What would you say makes your brand stand out from the noise?
|I believe my work as a photographer is about so much more than ‘just photos’. I’m passionate about storytelling – documenting moments which are candid and emotive, and connecting with my clients on a deeper level. Couple that with my passion for self-empowerment and celebrating our fabulous selves, along with my empathetic + intuitive abilities, which I’m really honing in on (and realising it’s such a super cool skill), it’s a wild + creative + exciting ride with lil’ ol’ me as your documenting hero!|
Question 5. Now we specifically LOVE the way that you use Instagram stories to share your vision of self-empowerment & your beautiful photography & use of pink branding throughout, are there any tips of the trade that you’re willing to give away that might help others nail theirs too?
|Ohh, I love this question! So often people comment on my insta stories, with wistful intent to create the same. |
My very blunt advice: JUST. DO. THE. DAMN. THING.
It’s perceived to be nerve-racking, and you know what, it kinda is. It can also feel a little uncomfy at first, but all it takes is practice…. Record, record, record. Even if you delete them, or save them to your phone for your eyes only, just start! You will only continue to grow and find what works for you! I truly believe this is such a kickass way to developing your voice and your brand’s message – and it doesn’t all have to be in video form! Speak from your heart, and let yourself get creative AND personal – videos, photos (of you/personal life – ie. I won’t post an iphone photo to my feed because I’m a photographer, however, I’ll share it in my stories), use your brand colours, and have FUN!
My other tip, because let’s be real, it can feel super wanky talking to your phone like you ‘know it all’ (whether you do or don’t). Think of it as a close friend, how would you talk to them? I suggest avoiding words that feel impersonal (ie “guys”, “girls”), or substituting them for “friends” (which I do sometimes). Most often I try and channel my energy as though I’m talking directly to an individual, instead of a collective, even though my message is for the collective (or anyone who watches it), so I’ll use variations of “you”, or to make it relatable/inclusive of me (because generally, I’m sharing lessons I’ve learnt or my thoughts) I’ll use “we”/”us” etc.
My last tip, which I know is super common (and I’m guilty of it sometimes too) is saying “Guys, I just wanted to jump on and say…”. I know it’s tempting to announce the erm, announcement, but I don’t think we need to. Show up and own your airtime, you’re here for a reason with a very needed message – you don’t need to justify yo’self to anyone! You never know who needs to hear what you have to say, and how you might just alter their day or life.
Question 6. Holla to some Instagram accounts that you admire and why? We love to look for new inspo!
|@galadarling – forever my dream kween! A friend introduced me to the magic of this woman years ago, saying I reminded her of Gala. Little did I realise that’s probably the greatest compliment ever. Gala embodies so much magic, self-love and empowerment. She’s a sparkly unicorn, with a badass vibe, on an incredible mission. #fangirl|
@gabriellarosie – her art and her energy is hella incredible and inspiring,, it fills my heart with so much yasss!
@liamwon9 – i loveeeee his neon night vibe photography.
@subliming.jpg – colour + words + design = yes!
@bodiposipanda – she is a kween of self-love, with such a powerful message to the women of the world
@celestebarber – for the lols
@ all the beautiful brissy biz babes (like you gals), nothing like cheering on fellow women on powerful missions!
Question 7. What’s something that triggers you about social media?
|Mmm… This question probably would have triggered me a lot more a few months ago. I actually feel totally cool with it now, I think like anything in our lives, we have the power to create meaningful containers that SERVE US. So if social media isn’t serving you (and is triggering you), then you owe it to yourself to reassess and correct. I truly believe it can be a magical world online, abundant with learning, opportunity and support.|
I will say it does really sh*t me when people are following for a numbers game, like, m8 don’t waste my time with disingenuous game playing. Here for the real deal support, 5eva!
Question 8. What’s one photography rule that you think was made to be broken?
|I think they were all made to be broken! I’ve learnt and I continue to learn that the greatest creations come from exploration and playfulness (perhaps a side of badassery). Some of my biggest mistakes/rule breaking has led to more magic or a better understanding of my art and knowledge.|
The one rule I will never ever condone is crooked horizons (unless in very rare cases you happen to be shooting diagonally… which I feel is only really appropriate for dancefloor action). Straighten dem horizons, it makes a world of difference! Otherwise, go cray and get rule breaking!
Question 9. What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and how do you address it?
|HAH! I think there are huge misconceptions about being a creative and also being a biz owner (and both). I think people perceive most of my days to be filled with Netflix and wine (although, some are, because hello perks of working for yourself). My biggest struggle is when people say “but, it’s just photos”… IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT (for me at least).|
Its connecting, it’s building trust, it’s creating an experience that allows people to feel safe and relax, it’s knowing how to build a connection with someone you’ve never met in a short timeframe sometimes, it’s finding the location or composition while holding a conversation, it’s thinking about and knowing the science of light and how we capture it, it’s knowing how to get someone to pose without looking posed, it’s allowing someone to share vulnerably with me, it’s having the energy to help them in moments of release, it’s being ON in any given moment, it’s the editing processes which can take hours or days, it’s understanding a vision or brief in words and being able to bring it to life visually, it’s the admin life of having a biz and doing it all yourself, it’s valuing clients and nurturing them from start to finish…
It is so much more than ‘just’ photos. *mic drop*
Question 10. What’s the craziest request (good or bad) you’ve ever had from a client?
I think my current favourite of all time has been photographing a proposal as it happened. Seriously, so unbelievably magic, I had tears in my eyes as I was witnessing and documenting this moment. I feel so honoured that people let me into the most intimate moments of their lives… That in itself is pretty crazy!
Please share the best way our lovely readers can find you:
|My main home is on Instagram @thesoulecho, along with my events page @thesoulechosocial.|
My website is about to launch revamped – www.thesoulecho.com.
I’m on facebook too – www.facebook.com/thesoulecho
Or via email for super fun n’ cute chats – email@example.com
Thank you so much, beautiful women, for allowing me to share my thoughts! I’m so grateful for you both! x
THANK YOU again for being so generous with your time and baring all of your beautiful soul! We appreciate it so much!