Winterlyn Stebner is the owner of Winterlyn Photography, a wedding photography company for hopeless romantics who want romantic, organic, and timeless photos.
Tell us about you and your story.What is your background and how did you find your way to the wedding industry?
To give a little background about myself I am born and raised in Chicago. Logan Square to be exact. I have been enthralled with photography since I was 8. I met my husband when we were 6 years old. Together we have built an amazing life together and share 4 beautiful kids.
I have to thank my husband for pushing me to follow my dreams and start my photography business. At the time, he was working full time and also serving in the military, and I had quit my 9-5 job, now becoming a stay-at-home mom with no idea how I could stay home, raise my kids, and bring money into the household.
I had always loved photography. When I was a young girl, photography was everything to me. I never left the house without my camera. My camera allowed me to show the world what I saw when I looked into my lens. When my husband suggested I do something with my passion and look into starting my own business, I jumped at the chance. It truly helped to know that I had my families love and support and that they backed me 100%. I didn’t waste a moment’s time figuring out the ins and outs of starting this new venture. I joined every photography group I could find on Facebook, I read blog after blog and watched every YouTube video on cameras, lenses, lighting, etc. I did my research!
My first job was a wedding for a good friend of mine. The couple had no real budget for a wedding photographer. She had always loved the photos I often took of my children and asked me to shoot her wedding. I enthusiastically seized the opportunity and charged her $150. At the time I only had my Nikon D7000 and my Nifty Fifty lens. Boy was I a newbie, lol, but that wedding opened up so many new doors of opportunities. People were finding me online, so I started a website and a blog and promoted my work every chance I got. I eventually upgraded my camera and lenses and built a better website. I took online courses in lighting and posing etc. I turned my hobby into an actual thriving business.
Photography is a true passion of mine. For a brief moment, families allow me to enter into their lives and capture their most precious memories. It is truly an honor to be a part of my clients' lives. This is not just a career for me, but my life’s work.
Share a little bit about Winterlyn Photography's history.When did Winterlyn Photography launch? What are you known for?
If you couldn’t tell, I am in love with romantic, organic, and timeless photos. I relish the chance to capture couples’ celebrations in a natural, organic fashion. The opportunity to preserve precious memories that my couples will cherish forever is at the heart of everything I do. Winterlyn Photography launched in 2014. My primary offerings are wedding/engagement photography as well as elopement/micro weddings. While I primarily shoot full coverage or "large" weddings, I never turn down a chance to capture elopements and small, intimate weddings. Since Covid, I have come to love and appreciate these smaller celebrations that much more.
What sets you and Winterlyn Photography apart?What's your secret sauce? What makes you different from everyone else?
I love to capture life in its real moments, in scenery that is beautiful but simple. I shoot on location and I search for the best light possible to make my client’s photos amazing. What sets me apart is my love for capturing moments no matter the environment. Dark and shady, I got you. Light and airy, why not? I never shy away from capturing my client's big day just because the lighting doesn't match "my style" My philosophy is simple: Take beautiful photos that will become beautiful memories and fill your heart with joy every time you look at them. Capture details that may otherwise be forgotten.
Tell us about your ideal couple.Tell us about the type of couple that really clicks with you and your company.
My ideal clients are couples who love photography, and the photos of the day are very important to them. They have a vision and work with me to make that vision become a reality. I work with couples from all backgrounds/ all walks of life. The one thing they all have in common is their desire for me to capture the moments they are sharing with their partner and loved ones. We don't take ourselves too seriously at Winterlyn Photography and neither do our clients. My ideal couple is easy-going and just a blast to be around. Getting to know my couples and having a connection with them sets me apart from others. Clients become friends and we cheer each other on, long after their wedding day.
What is the best advice you have for couples currently planning their weddings?You've seen so many couples go through the planning process. Share your best pearl of wisdom for those just starting out with their planning.
Keeping a check on your mental health for sure is one of my best pieces of advice for couples planning a wedding. It is so easy to get stressed and nervous about the day and worry that it won’t run like clockwork but in reality, you can’t control everything. Also, remember to Laugh. Don’t lose your sense of humor! If you get too caught up in it all, don’t forget what it is really all about – you are marrying the love of your life!
What's the ONE thing that couples shouldn't forget to ask potential wedding vendors?Spill! What's the single most important question that couples should ask before booking a vendor for their wedding?
Couples should ask vendors questions about past work. In addition to references or reviews, another important wedding planning tip is to determine a vendor’s level of experience. How long have they been in the industry? How many weddings similar to yours have they worked on? This will help you to determine if their level of experience meets your expectations.
Thanks for stopping by Lakeshore in Love, Winterlyn!