Photographer Follows Her Dream

After a career in photography Stephanie Hastings had a life changing experience which convinced her to go after her dream.

She always wanted to be a hairdresser but real life had taken hold and she became a working mom of two boys and she just couldn't see how she could do it.

Then in 2011 she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and while going through chemo she made the decision: "If I survive this, I'm going for it."

So six weeks after her last reconstructive surgery she started beauty school at Aveda Institute in Dallas, Texas. There she took extra courses while continuing her photography (she has a photography studio in North Dallas) and working with other photographers.

When she graduated from beauty school she was hired by The Beauty Box. Both the owner Christopher Box and lead stylist Brad Bykkonen already had a connection with her and knew her passion for the beauty industry. Box is also a partner in the development of the tape extensions EasiHair Pro. With his travels to fashion week in New York, he inspired Hastings with his energy and desire for fashion. She gives them credit for pushing her through the extra training which made her the new talent stylist taking appointments at both locations Highland Park and Valley Ranch.

Still doing photography, Hastings specializes on people. She likes taking family portraits, boudoir looks for the ladies or model shots. She likes being able to take every part of her training and education and couple that with her experience in helping people feel great about themselves to come up with a great picture.

"Shooting hair is all about a theme," Hastings explained. "I'm inspired by everything around me. I'm very visually stimulated so I'm constantly absorbing my environment. Sometimes it is a color or a pattern in nature. Other times it may be a structure. I am a painter and sketch artist, too, so my brain is constantly on and revolving through ideas."

Hastings photography studio space called A to Zed is in North Dallas and is around 5,000 square feet. It's a great space to play with multiple backdrops, lighting and possibilities. "As much as I am a lover of hairdressing," Hasting exclaimed, "I also adore capturing visual beauty. My tag line is HAIR - FACE - PHOTO because every segment / section feeds into each other. They're all unique but are essential as a team."

"We have such a nurturing job and that's a great place to be," Hasting continued. "When I was going through chemotherapy and I was bald, sick and not very happy, a make-up artist friend of mine took the time to help me feel good by bringing me product and showing me how to draw eyebrows on correctly. That feeling of being cared for turned into the first time (while I was sick) of feeling like a 'normal' woman. I felt wonderful and, even bald, the care and understanding - - the feeling of normality and femininity -- of not being treated like a sick person... well, that's how I want to make everyone feel. That, no matter what they're going through, in those few hours that they're with me, they're the most beautiful person in the world. Every day I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to be alive and being in this business."

For more information visit www.TheBeautyboxSalon.com. A to Zed is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atozedphoto.