We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Stepp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alicia, what matters most to you?
Both professionally and personally honesty, humility and kindness are very important to me. I think so often in business, we can forget or neglect principles that are so crucial to any successful or happy relationship, be it professional or otherwise. Treating each other with kindness and respect with pure intention makes for much happier and productive partnerships. I want to work with and for people that I trust and enjoy and that in turn trust and enjoy me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. It started out as a hobby when I was a young girl and then my interest piqued in high school when I worked as the staff photographer for our yearbook. In college I took classes and remained a hobbyist until the early 2000s when the interest turned more serious. In 2007 I traded in my film camera for a Canon DSLR and the rest is history! I am not a pen-to-paper artist and the world opened up for me when I was exposed to digital and the magic of instantly seeing your creation on an LCD screen. My professional background at that time was in web and graphic design – I had been working in that realm since the mid-90s. At that time I was still working full-time as a graphic artist and decided to re-enroll in college to take some photography classes. I spent the next few years experimenting with photography and exploring fashion and fine-art. The storytelling was what felt most natural and exciting to me. I soon realized how difficult it is to excel, at least financially within that realm and switched over to portraiture and wedding photography. I spent about 3 years doing this but felt very creatively unfulfilled. After suffering a devastating personal loss in 2010, I knew that I no longer wanted to spend my life at a desk job , so I left my salaried job of almost 10 years and applied to the BFA program at the Art Institute. After graduating in 2013, I pursued my passion for fashion photography and interned at a few local representation agencies. These opportunities allowed a unique look from behind the curtain of how the industry works and laid a wonderful foundation for entry into the industry. The last 7 years have encompassed thousands of hours of conceptualizing, shooting, editing and marketing. After 13 years I have finally established who I am as a photographer. I spent some time allowing myself to be pulled in various directions based on how someone thought they might be able to sell me best – but at the end of the day I’m so happy that I listened to my internal voice on the stories I want to tell. I’m not going to mince words, photography is a hustle. Every single day. I work harder at this than anything else in my entire life. It’s just like running any other business. It takes time, patience, a fairly large and varied skill set and flexibility and willingness to adapt with the every-changing tide of our industry. Despite that, it’s the love of my life and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I will speak as if it were normal times… Food is one of my biggest joys in life – so a big part of of our intenarary would involve eating, I’ve listened some of my favorite spots in the city below: Uchi Resident Taqueria Zizikis Sushi House Gemma Chuys Kebab & Kurry 20 Feet Here Lounge Sevan Ali Baba Ginger Thai Sasha Sushi Spiral Diner And when I’m done with the savory – I satisfy my sweet tooth @ these amazing places: Reverie Bakeshop Humble Pies Unrefined Bakery Chocolate Secrets Unrefined Kate Weiser Chocolates Another big part of my life is/was going to see live music, so concerts would definitely be on the agenda, here are a few of my favorite spots to see a band in Dallas: Three Links Granada House of Blues Trees Bomb Factory Double Wide Kessler Theater I am no longer a big drinker – but these bars are fun places to gather with friends regardless: Dubliner Lee Harveys Good Friends Times Ten Wine Cellar Northpark Mall is one of my favorite spots to keep up with fashion and it’s always fun to people watch and grab some dinner! I also love nature, so when the weather is cooperative, I love visiting (and hiking) at the following places: White Rock Lake Cedar Hill State Park Audobon Nature Preserve Geeks Who Drink is fun for trivia (available at spots throughout the city) and Alamo Drafthouse for movies!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to Stephanie Cantu. Stephanie is my creative partner and acts as makeup artist on the majority of my photo shoots. We work as a team and have a shared aesthetic that makes for seamless and fluid creativity on set. We have become best friends over the past 6 years of working together and our dynamic is truly symbiotic. I would not be where I am today without her support and creative input! Due to COVID she has recently pivoted and is exploring the world of motion and photography! She is definitely very multi-talented.
Stephanie Cantu, Heather Fitzgerald, Amy Hays, Jasmine Green, Sheridan Klarer, Wallflower Management, Sarah L, Gloria Paz, Doug Voisin, Vaughan Ollier, Allison Hampton, Two Model Management, Kayla Whitmire, Haley Halter, Lily Griffin, Kim Dawson, Vision Models, Lillie Miller, Melissa Taylor, Selma Sosa, Meghan Takahashi, State Management, Dana Cash, Vanessa Aranda, Mallyce Miller, Rbonney Nola, Walter Fuentes