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Meet Stephen Mendoza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Mendoza.

Stephen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was younger, I remember my mom always having a camera with her. Our house always had photos of the family on the wall and if not there then in boxes in storage. She was for sure my first influence in photography. As I grew older and got to middle school, I would take photos of my friends and family and would make videos with them but, it wasn’t until high school that I would figure out that this is what I wanted to do with my life. Two of my teachers in high school were crucial in me finding my love for photography and videography, Mr. Dave DeJohn and Mr. Melvin Harris. Without them, I’m not sure if I would be where I am today, they taught me a lot of things and inspired me to be the best that I could be. During high school, I also worked at a studio where I got my introduction to doing events like quince’s and weddings. Once I graduated high school, I started to work on my own and took photos of friends.

From there, I guess word of mouth spread and I started booking photoshoots that actually got me paid and I could not believe I was doing this on my own. Since then, photography and videography has taken me to places that I never thought I would ever see. I’ve done weddings in Dallas, TX, to Destin, FL, even Cabo San Lucas! I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to go to a tropical location to do a wedding. It wasn’t easy getting to where I am today. At times, I’ve doubted my skills and wondered if I would have to find another way to make a living but thank God that I have been able to do what I love.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think any success story doesn’t have its own share of adversity. It might not be anything major for myself but everyday I do struggle with self-doubt. There is an abundant number of photographers in Houston so that means I won’t get booked for every photoshoot or event. When someone doesn’t book with me there is always that thought in the back of my mind, “Why didn’t they book with me? Is my work not good enough? Am I charging too much?”. One thing I know for sure is that everyone needs to know their worth. You have to set your own prices and stay firm with them. There are people out there that really love your work and they will pay whatever amount to book you. Dealing with the rejection is probably the biggest challenge I have faced during my photography journey.

Stephen Mendoza Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is Stephen Mendoza Photography but I also dabble with videography. I would say I specialize in graduation photoshoots and weddings but I do and offer almost every other form of photography. The thing I am most proud of is when my clients are able to look at their photos and remember their special day. The fact that they chose me to document their special day or occasion means so much to me. I do my best to deliver photos that will create long-lasting memories when I do that, that makes me very proud.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Since starting photography, I’ve had the dream to own a studio and also do a wedding somewhere in the mountains in Canada or Colorado, any mountainous location really. I think I am pretty successful considering how far I originally thought I would make it but those are some of my overall goals that I look to achieve in the coming years.

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