I am often asked how I got started as a photographer. My answer is that I’ve always been a photographer, but was a hobbyist most of my life. It wasn’t until the Lord spoke to me and told me to do this that I began my education with the New York Institute of Photography and purchased my very first professional camera. It was exciting and a bit scary! I came across a photographer that taught how to narrow in on a genre and found a mentor to study under for that genre.
In 2016 I created a portfolio that I loved and could market. My home studio in Diamondhead, MS served my business well for a couple of years, but started to outgrow it as I booked more family portrait sessions. In April of 2018 I moved into my new studio again feeling excitement and a little bit scared.
I didn’t know why the Lord told me to do this until a woman asked me to photograph her that had never been told she was beautiful by ANYONE…EVER. Why would she think she was beautiful? It certainly wasn’t the message she had received in her life. After doing her hair and makeup and showing her the images on the back of my camera, I posed the question, “Do you see how beautiful you are?” She answered as tears began to well up in her eyes, “Not yet, but I am beginning to.” My reply lovingly and affectionately was, “No crying once we have makeup on!!” She laughed and we proceeded with the shoot. I tell people that you can cry when you come back to see your images all you want! And people do cry…often. This still amazes me!
For the first time she loved images of herself. She told me she had never even liked images of herself much less loved any. So when I delivered her images to her I noticed a glow about her and I asked, “You’re glowing! What’s going on?” She said that this experience helped change her life. You could have picked my jaw up off the floor. I was stunned! This was why the Lord told me to do this. It was a ministry. Since, I’ve photographed many women needing to feel and look beautiful. What a joy to show them!
Recently I was reminded of my why again in a powerful way. A beautiful woman asked me to photograph her that was needing to find her worth again. What an honor and a privilege to do that for another woman!
You see, I’ve been that woman. Not seeing my beauty…the way the Lord created me and not knowing my worth…my identity…in Him. Everything changed for me personally when I saw myself through Jesus’ eyes. I am perfect in Him. There is nothing for me to do, but to believe and understand that I am wonderfully made. Nothing will separate me from his love. Nothing. I am the daughter of the Most High God….the highest royalty. Earthly royalty doesn’t compare. Imagine! There was a boldness and a confidence that came over me when I got ahold of this truth and now I am on a mission to share it with others.
I tell people all the time, I have a dream job! The Lord shows me how he sees people and I get to capture it with my camera and show it to them! Amazing!! Thank you, Lord.
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.