Today we’d like to introduce you to Savanna Brown.
Savanna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Goodness — this question always feels so hard for me to answer because I feel like photography is something that just fell into my lap. I remember as a little girl, I was always the one that loved creating AND capturing moments. Specifically, I remember writing plays and making my cousins perform in them on special holidays, as well as using my brother as a stand-in model for the many interviews I recorded of him on camera (if you know my family well, then maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that have seen those sacred home videos).
So, like I was saying before, I’ve always held moments really close and any form of documentation has been a gift.
When I graduated high school in 2013, I decided that I would take the majority of the money that I had received and buy a little camera. I thought, “Yah know, I want a nicer camera to take on trips and be able to capture photos of some of my favorite times with my favorite people.” The camera went everywhere from Myrtle Beach to Europe. I just loved it.
During my college years, I had two friends reach out to me asking if I would take their photos so they could have some material to use to advertise for their senior music recital. I remember being shocked that they had asked me to take their photos because I don’t even think they knew that I had a camera. When I asked the girl why she thought of me to take their photos, she responded, “Well, you dress pretty cool so I figured you had an artistic eye to take photos.” No joking, y’all. Sure enough, I said yes and had no idea what in the world I was doing… but I came alive.
After that opportunity, I remember reaching out to friends and even my pastor’s family asking if I could take photos of them– for free, of course (because remember, I had no idea what I was doing… I just really enjoyed it).
From that time in the late fall of 2014, I hit the ground running. Something I always share with people is that I believe the local church held a crown over my head and called me into it. I’ve had the honor of being surrounded by a community that has continually empowered and encouraged me to step into all that God has for my life. The one thing (outside of God and His grace) that has been the game-changer in this crazy story of mine has been COMMUNITY. It’s been a matter of surrounding myself with people that are far more experienced than me, as well as surrounding myself with those that I can mentor and extend some knowledge to. People and relationships have always been the most important to me.
Between different relationships and seeing opportunities to step up and serve, I continued to grow in the gift of photography. Which brings me here today– someone who is still living open-handed, always ready to learn, and more than willing to give.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is it ever a smooth road?
When I think of this question, my mind immediately goes to James 1:2-4 TPT — “To my fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested, it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then, as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”
I’m confident in knowing that any problem I run into will surely be used to deepen perseverance in me. Every struggle is a stepping stone for growth, right?
Currently, something I’m navigating through is figuring out a work/life balance. It’s hard for me to turn off “work mode” and enter into a “rest-mode.” I have to lay down a lot of feelings of overwhelm and anxiety due to the many responsibilities I carry in work, relationships, and the church. I am someone that dives very deeply into my commitments and values excellence, which makes creating space for sabbath a little harder for me.
One thing I have been trying to do as of recently is to establish rhythms in my every-day: wake up early, make a cup of coffee, sit in the morning sunlight, spend time in the Word, work for a couple hours, take a lunch break, work some more, exercise, and then finishing off the day with some sort of activity with people. It has definitely helped in creating a margin for things to happen OUTSIDE of work.
My biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone would be to ask someone for help. Tell a trusted friend or mentor how you feel. Talk through your problems and arrive at a solution– whether they be physical, mental, work-related, etc. The moment something is brought to the light is the moment where it no longer has the right and ability to stay in the dark.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
So, you can most often find me photographing couples and weddings! And I just love it. I’m based out of Atlanta, but I’m always willing to travel!
I will say– I believe my heart comes most alive when I am working and serving alongside non-profits through photography. The different photo and humanitarian opportunities I have been given have truly changed the trajectory of my life and career. Like that one time, I spent three days working with and photographing Knox Area Rescue Mission and gave my two-weeks notice at my day-job the very same day I arrived home. True story!
I think the thing that I am most proud of as a photographer is my ability to connect with my clients and their families. It is truly one of the greatest gifts to be invited into a day as sacred as a wedding… like, c’mon! And the fact that I am able to grow with that couple through the season of engagement, wedding day, AND post-wedding… truly, it’s the most fun and humbling. I find myself falling in love with my work over and over again– not because of the ability to hold a camera, but because of the opportunity to look into the window of someone’s soul and get to know them a little better than before.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I have truly been blessed to be surrounded by men and women that have continually championed me and never treated me differently because I am a female.
However, I’m not oblivious to what other females in my industry/culture are facing. If anything, I personally can recognize the stigma of “working moms” vs. “stay-at-home moms.” I think there’s a lot of pressure for women, and even PEOPLE in general, to fit in certain roles and not waver outside the lines.
Each person has their own convictions that will line up with their faith, family, and purpose– and we should respect that. We should be able to embrace others with kindness and compassion rather than judgment and criticism.
- Portrait sessions start at $250
- Weddings start at $2,600
- Website: savannakaye.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: savkbrown
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/savannakayephoto
- Other: www.pinterest.com/savkbrown
Taken by Makayla Smith, edited by Savanna Kaye