Shelby Steckbauer, the creative mind behind Shelby Rae Photographs, is one of the most in-demand photographers in the Atlanta area…and for good reason. Her knack for a neutral palette and ability to make even the most photo phobic individual feel like a catalogue model is known across the blogging world – and doesn’t stop there.
Not satisfied with taking over the photography game in Atlanta, Shelby recently opened a new online retail store featuring everything from bandanas for your pup (her Doodle is one of her biggest sources of inspiration) to gorgeous accessories to make you feel glam.
We caught up with Shelby to pick her brain on what makes a good brand, her favorite way to spend a day and what’s on her iPod. (Just kidding…and do those still exist?)
What makes you feel confident? Shelby Rae Photographs
When I hear back from my clients saying that they felt so beautiful at their session and had so much fun!! Biggest reward!
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self? Shelby Rae Photographs
Don’t let your age scare you from chasing your dreams. I felt very intimidated when I started my business at age 19. Stay true to yourself and don’t ever give up on yourself.
How do you unplug at the end of the day? Shelby Rae Photographs
Playing with Lola and listening to music! Staying away from my phone is hard, but I think we all need to set aside time from social media and enjoy who/what is in front us. Life is way too short!
What is your perfect Atlanta day?
Taking Lola to the Beltline or other trails around Atlanta. I also love stopping at local coffee shops!
What were you doing before you started Shelby Rae Photographs?
I was in college without a clue of what I wanted to do with my future! Luckily, I found my passion during a time I needed it most. I was completely lost my first year of college until my parents bought me my first camera at 19.
What inspired you to start your new line, ShelbyRae Shop
Lola! I know it sounds crazy because she is a dog, but she has been such a big inspiration to me throughout this journey in my business. I knew I always wanted to open an online shop, but had no idea what my vision was. Until one day Lola and I were sitting on the couch and I was wearing a bandana around my neck. She kept trying to play with it. And just like that, it clicked! Why not make bandanas for dogs?! And then I launched a jewelry line, mugs, etc!
What is your favorite piece in your new line? Shelby Rae Photographs
I love everything in the shop because I wanted the pieces to truly represent me and Lola. For the bandanas, I love “The Lola” which is why I named it after her, as well as “The Sarah” necklace in the shop. I wear it every day!
If you were going to give us (Peachtree Roadies) a Christmas gift from your new collection – which piece would you pick?
Ohhhh! This is a hard one!! My top sellers from my shop are “The Charlie” bandana and also “The Marble Earrings”. Either of those, for sure!
Does Lola have creative input?
Oh yes! Hehe. I swear she is human 95% of the time. She gets me extremely inspired for certain shoots we do and what type of bandana styles we come up with!
Were there any moments during this journey that made you question yourself or your vision?
Absolutely! I think as a business owner we always second-guess ourselves – will people like it? Is the vision good? But I have learned that if you keep doing what YOU love, your work will speak for itself!
Do you have any tips for creating a cohesive brand identity?
1. Have a color pallet- For me, it’s changed over the years, but I feel this year I finally found my colors. Which is a big reason why people gravitate towards you as a photographer!!
2. Find out who your audience is going to be and get specific!
3. Logo! This builds trust. People are very visual, as we remember things by their appearance. So it is important to have a logo that fits your brand so when people think of it they immediately think of your business.
What social channels are you favorites? Where do you recommend other creatives spend their time?
Instagram & Facebook! I always say focus on the social channels you enjoy and have the most engagement on. If you find yourself interacting more with certain platforms, focus on those.
What is your biggest career milestone to date?
Moving at age 22 from a small town in Wisconsin to chase my dreams in the big city of Atlanta! It has been the most rewarding decision I have ever made. Thanks in large part to the most amazing support system, my family. I also couldn’t have done it without all my amazing followers and clients. They truly have made my business what it is today!
Bird-watching or whale-watching?
Best gift you’ve ever been given?
Who is on your Spotify playlist right now?