We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Padhye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I am completely inspired by the thought that there is no end to growth. It just continues on and can develop forever. Growth, whether it be personal or creative, is something I find myself constantly thinking about. There are so many things I have planned for myself & my life, and realizing that there is no limit to being able to reach those goals really inspires me to keep pushing forward.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For as long as I can remember, I always dreamed of being a professional photographer. I didn’t always dream of being a wedding/ elopement photographer though.
When I was young, I looked up to Annie Leibovitz and wanted to be a fashion photographer working with celebrities and shooting magazine spreads. That was the only thing I could imagine myself doing. So, I decided I was going to move to Colorado and go to college for Commercial & Editorial photography, and I did.
I studied photography at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, hoping that my degree would catapult me into the business of editorial photography. Little did I know, it wasn’t that simple. Editorial photography is an extremely difficult business to get into and succeed in, and to be honest, I didn’t really want to move to a huge fashion-driven city in order to live this dream of mine.
After having the realization that maybe editorial photography wasn’t for me, I moved back home to AZ and gave up on photography altogether as a career option. I went back to school for a different degree and was ready to completely change my career. But, then, covid happened. I dropped out of school once again and had been furloughed from my job. I literally had no choice but to pursue photography full force. And I am so glad I did. I mean, I love it! At that point, I did everything I could to educate myself on the ins and outs of creating a successful photography business. I knew I wanted to focus on photographing people but ultimately ended up falling in love working with couples. I love that I get to take part in the most important day of their lives and give them those memories to look back on forever.
Its been a challenging last couple of years, but the most rewarding at the same time. Every day I wake up excited to do what I love and to be my own boss. While challenges still arise, it’s such a rewarding career, that no challenge is too much to push through.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was coming to town, I would first take her to Charro Steak. That is one of my favorite restaurants in town and it’s freakin’ delicious. Then we would head to Portal for some cocktails.
While I’m still new to the area, I feel like Tucson has so many great outdoor things to do and I would absolutely want to show her all of its glory. Mount Lemmon for some wandering, Sabino canyon to maybe see the waterfalls, Saguaro National park because there’s nothing like it, and maybe even some wine tasting in Sonoita.
As I said, I’m still new to Tucson, but I love nature and being outside (when the weather is cooler), so we would spend most of our time exploring and maybe even finding new places to call favorites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been incredibly lucky to meet a few amazing women since I’ve moved to Tucson, who are the epitome of true friendship. Tori Markel, Andi O’Bert, and Kristin Bendigo are all women who I look up to and go to for support. We confide in each other for so many things, even when it’s not related to photography or business. I love them all to pieces and definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and never-ending encouragement.
Luxe & Co. Photography