We had the good fortune of connecting with Steven Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Steven, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Camera and a Lens! I got my first camera in 2016 and it was like Christmas morning as a kid. It was a Nikon D3200 with a kit lens. No memory card or strap just camera and a lens. I never felt so independent as I did with my camera. I took paid classes and made myself as knowledgeable as possibly could. At that time in my life I was going through a lot of personal issues and I spent my free time pouring my feelings into my photos. The finished product was just stunning to me and to think I did this. Once I got into portraiture it was all smiles from there. Everything I take now I try and show how I the world and the people in it and I absolutely love that.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a wedding and family portrait photographer! Really I just love to take pictures of anything I can, I started back in 2017 and I had no clue what I was doing. It took a lot of online classes and countless hours on Youtube teaching myself everything I needed to know. I did have a lot of help from fellow photographer along the way that really showed me the ins and outs of wedding photography. My first wedding was in March of 2018 and it was very small in a little church. I was so proud of myself and I was beyond excited. After that I dove into pretty much anything I could learn that would better me as a photographer.

When I first started in the wedding industry It was definitely a little challenging because I didn’t have all the gear I needed to get the job done. I couldn’t afford the gear at first until I started saving up every little bit that I could. Luckily I had family that helped me pick up my first full frame camera and helped get a little more established.

I think the biggest lesson I learned is that it’s always community over competition. A fellow photographer said to me once, ” there is enough work to go around for everyone”. I love sharing the knowledge that other have shared with me. It gives me the chance to meet new people especially when you both share something you love.

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 visiting the first thing we would do is food, ALWAYS food! I’m a big taco fan and we have some amazing spots in Tucson for tacos. My favorite is a place called Tacos Apson. It’s on the south side of Tucson kind of tucked away and they have the most amazing tacos I’ve had in my life.

After food I would take them to a little bar called Casa Marana. They have a lot of great craft beers and they make their own pizzas in a brick oven. The atmosphere and people just make you feel like you are home.

Downtown has the best spots for drinks and music. The Boxyard is a great place to hang out, have beers, and food. It’s a bunch of shipping containers different colors with murals painted on them from local artists.

I would end the evening with a little astrophotography. I’m a huge fan of the stars. It’s so peaceful being out in the desert in the middle of the night with just you and nature. If I could recommend anything it would be to give astrophotography a try or just take yourself out somewhere far from the city lights and enjoy the stars!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have a few! My first and biggest shoutout also my biggest fan has to go to my fiancé, Marissa. She keeps me on my toes and always makes sure that my things are charged and ready to go on wedding days or sessions. She makes sure I stay true to myself and as a photographer. I love her all the way to the moon.

Facebook has a really awesome photographer community. There is a group called TAPP – Tucson Aspiring and Professional Photographers. So many amazing and local friends/photographer come out of Tucson and they post their amazing work for everyone to see in this group. It’s always community over competition and so many talented people that love to help.

Last I have a fellow photographer and friend Kristin Bendigo. I second shoot weddings with her, play video games, and she’s also the photographer for my wedding. She’s taught me a lot about photography as well as the business aspect of it as well .She shares endless knowledge of both and is just a joy to be around and work with.

Website: www.firststagephotography.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/firststagephotography

Facebook: www.facebook.com/firststagephotography

Image Credits
Cameron Robins for my bridal portrait.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.