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Meet Gracyn Applegate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gracyn Applegate.

Hi Gracyn, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Gracyn Applegate Photography was born out of, quite frankly, quarantine boredom. I’ve always loved taking photos of my surroundings, but it was never with anything more technical than my iPhone. At 18, upon graduating high school, my parents gifted me with my first — and current — professional camera. With nothing to do that summer due to Covid-19, I began making plans with my friends to photograph them (from a safe distance of course!) to build my portfolio. One thing led to another, and people within my Dallas community started requesting my services for payment.

Throughout that summer, I continued to shoot for free to gather content, as well as offer some low-budget freelance work. As an incoming Advertising major at The University of Texas at Austin, I had no intention of pursuing this as a career but was instead content with keeping it a side gig. That is until I realized how much I missed it.

You see, upon my move to Austin, my client base went from flourishing to non-existent. The reality was, I didn’t know how to get myself out to the Austin community. So, I decided to focus on making new friends, exploring the city, and getting to know my new campus instead. Photography took a back seat, and I think that is what opened my eyes to the truth that I wanted this to be more than just a side gig.

During my second year in Austin, I amped up my marketing strategies and outreach, as I was determined to establish myself and my company in this place I now called home. I delved into business and entrepreneurship books in order to educate myself on the realities of pursuing a career consisting of self-employment. I invested my time, energy, and money into educational courses to add to my self-education toolbox. I defined my target audience and began presenting myself as the photographer I envisioned for myself, rather than simply waiting for the moment I would eventually “become” that. All this while balancing my school and workload (I was a Marketing Manager for an interior design firm at the time)! In short, I took control of my dream, of my company, and of my future.

Gracyn Applegate Photography is a work in progress. I am far from finished with shaping this into what I ultimately want it to be. I have lots of work to do when it comes to defining my niche, using social media as a marketing tool, utilizing the best business practices, and so forth. I am overwhelming grateful to be chasing this dream of mine and cannot wait to see it come to fruition!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Like I said, my move to Austin was my first challenge when it came to my business. With no client base and no connections to help me get my name out there, I felt rather hopeless at the possibility of my company taking off in a brand new city. Apart from that, giving Gracyn Applegate Photography the time and energy I truly want to has been nearly impossible. Being a full-time student and working over 20 hours a week as a Marketing Manager on top of that allows little time for building my brand. However, I am a big believer in the idea that people make time for things that are important to them, and turning this side gig of mine into a full-time career is just that!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a natural light photographer who is utterly in love with capturing your beautiful moments. I photograph intimate weddings and elopements, both near and far, along with graduating seniors and the occasional family. Though posed portraits are important and I thoroughly enjoy capturing them for my clients, I have a soft spot for candids and am very proud of my ability to make my clients feel comfortable enough in front of the camera to truly let loose and have fun! Hearing from my clients that they feel truly beautiful as they themselves once they have received their completed gallery warms my heart, for THAT is the way I aspire to help everyone see themselves. Preserving and providing memories in a physical form to look back and reminisce on years later with a smile on one’s face is what makes this career so fulfilling for me. Photographs make time stand still and that is a gift I hope to provide each and every person I work with.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we have already seen a change from glamourous ballroom weddings to smaller, more intimate ones. With that has recently come the switch to a more organic approach to photography rather than posed. I believe the industry will continue down this path of authenticity and continue to snowball into capturing memories that evoke nostalgia — something I am excitedly eager to be a part of!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Gracyn Applegate Photography

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