The Vault Member Spotlight: Sonja Stafford
Sonja Stafford is a professional photographer specializing in special occasion portraits such as engagements, maternity and bachelorette groups.
She was prompted to create her business through a hard experience she had to endure, “I lost my mother to cancer when I was just 12 years old. This started my obsession with photographs. My mother and my father were both excellent at taking photos and making sure every birthday, vacation and special occasion were captured on film and I wanted to do the same for my family. The obsession then poured into the profession of photography, a career that I love.”
Sonja focuses on digital photography, but also offers a wide range of luxury photo albums, wall art and prints. She tells us why her photography business is unique, “I spend a lot of time choosing the best products to offer my clients. All the products offered are of the latest styles and are chosen to match my style of photography.”
We asked Sonja what she loves about her business and what she does. She said, “This is such a hard question because there is just so much that I love about what I do, one thing I love the most about what I do is my ability to make people step outside of their comfort zone and be vulnerable, but at the same time completely feel like they are on top of the world. Once my subjects see a few images on the back of my camera they automatically gain confidence and start loosening up. My boudoir clients walk into the session shy and timid and then march out like a Primadonna, it’s the best.”
Sonja gave us some tips for staying balanced, “Set a schedule, if you don’t have structure just forget about it! I also recommend always taking time for a family/date/girls night and self-care, you can’t run on an empty tank.”
Although Sonja has found success for her photography business, she has faced hurdles along the way as a business owner. “A big hurdle that I have faced is having to move my business and start completely over; losing all our clientele was a large hurdle. I moved from Anchorage, Alaska to Phoenix, Arizona in May 2019. The first few months after moving to Phoenix I assisted other photographers and built up my Arizona portfolio with stylized shoots and models. The stylized shoots helped with working with vendors and networking. Eventually after some time I started getting referrals from other photographers and vendors which led to gaining word of mouth, the best marketing.”
We of course are biased as we have worked with Sonja on three of our events in Arizona! She truly is wonderful to work with and brings professionalism to all her work.
You can check out some of Sonja’s work on Instagram: @sonjastaffordphotographer.