Welcome to our “Coffee Talk” series, a Q&A feature of the women in our community with inspiring stories to tell. These women are beyond amazing, and we hope that you can in some way relate to or learn from the lives they lead and the words they share. That said, grab yourself a cup of joe and join in today’s #realtalk with our June guest about fashion photography, “influencer culture,” and how to find what sets your soul on fire.
I’m so happy to introduce Megan Weaver, a street-style photographer and educator based in Dallas, Texas. As Megan’s former assistant, I had the pleasure of learning the ins-and-outs of her successful photography business while getting to know the lovely creative herself. Megan’s stunning work may have earned her a seat among some of today’s most popular influencers (hello @happilygrey), but it’s her friendly nature and genuine humility that truly sets her apart. Read on to learn more about the sweetest redhead you’ll ever meet.
HSG: Thank you for grabbing coffee with me, Megan! I’ve gotta ask, what’s in your mug?
MW: A cappuccino—just two shots of espresso with steamed milk.
HSG: Classic. Now that we have some caffeine in our systems, tell me a little about yourself and your business.
MW: My name is Megan Weaver, and I’m a photographer in Dallas. I shoot mostly lifestyle bloggers/entrepreneurs, and I also teach bloggers who want to take better pictures with their DSLRs.
HSG: Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?
MW: Not really! I studied communications in school because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. The whole taking pictures thing started on family vacations with my point-and-shoot camera. I loved taking photos of my sister for fun back in our hometown, and in college, some friends asked me to do their senior pictures. That eventually led to shooting engagements and weddings (which was both terrifying and thrilling for an introvert like me). When I moved to Dallas, I prioritized portraits because that’s what I love most—and as Dallas is home to a ton of fashion bloggers, it was a natural niche to fall into. I’ve been photographing bloggers for five years now!
HSG: So your environment helped shape your career.
MW: Definitely. Sometimes I wonder what I’d be doing if I was still in Oklahoma, because even though there are influencers everywhere now, I might not have caught on to that if I wasn’t in such a big, fashion-driven city.
HSG: Makes sense! This is the city that birthed rewardStyle, after all. What’s your favorite thing about photographing fashion bloggers?
MW: I like the storytelling aspect. I’ve always been obsessed with Vogue and editorials that tell stories, so I figured I could translate that into blogger shoots and portraits. What kind of brand are they going for? What do they most want to showcase about themselves and their aesthetic? This is how they tell their story. Shooting with people one-on-one is something I really love. I’m able to get to know them first and bring out their strengths and personality through the images I create.
HSG: I love that! Tell me more about how you got into teaching photography. Is that where you’re hoping to go with your business?
MW: I’ll always keep shooting because that’s what lights me up. But I had to figure out what makes me different than other photographers in town (because there are a lot). Marie Forleo is a master marketer I follow who said that the most generous person always wins. This really made me think, how can I be more generous to my followers? I started small, by simply sending out a newsletter with random photography tips—and it progressed from there. Eventually, I began teaching classes and speaking at conferences and workshops, and that’s when the idea to create an online course came to me.
It’s kind of a win-win because I’m able to do what I love while also sharing my passion with others! I want bloggers to feel confident in their photography skills so they can be proud of the content they’re putting out there into the world. This helps immensely with growing their own business.
HSG: What gave you the courage to build your own business?
VR: Before Megan Weaver Photography, I was a project manager for an advertising agency. Looking back, it taught me a lot of things about working with teams and clients, and it made me aware of my own capabilities, like how much I could get done in a small amount of time. (Deadlines and all.) But I didn’t love it. I was constantly stressed out, to the point of tears some days. Outside of work, I was going on shoots whenever I could and editing on top of that, and it just got to the point where I couldn’t do both and stay sane. So one day, I was like, you know what? Life is too short to not do what you love. Yes, we all have to make money to survive, but I wanted to put all of my energy into photography. And fortunately, I had no reason not to. My husband and I don’t have kids yet, so the time felt right to go for it. It’s easy to put things off, but at some point, you’ve gotta take action. Why wait until retirement to enjoy your life?
HSG: Amen! What would you say to the woman working the 9-to-5 office job and feeling like something is missing or like she’s not truly fulfilled in her career?
MW: Growing up, I never knew what fulfilled me. All of my peers seemed to know what they wanted to do or had a vision for their lives, and I was just waiting for mine to reveal itself to me. But it doesn’t always happen that way. I think you have to be willing to try different things to find your thing. I picked up a camera not expecting the hobby to stick, but here we are. My advice is, If you are at all interested in something, give it a go! Do it in your free time. Experiment with different interests. Marie Forleo says that clarity comes from action and not thought. You can spend your whole life thinking about a list of cool things you’d like to do, but if you never actually try any of them, what’s the point? Even if the inclination’s small, follow it. Regardless of its career potential, pursuing a passion will set your soul on fire.
HSG: You mentioned aesthetic earlier. How would you describe your aesthetic?
MW: I’m not sure if I have a defined aesthetic, but I absolutely love bright and cheerful images. Not too posed; I want my subjects’ happiness to shine through and their genuine personalities to show. The authenticity is what’s beautiful.
HSG: I’m glad that you bring that up, because it seems that some influencers exclusively publish curated content that feels forced or fake. And as a result, we’re starting to see followers rebel against the picture-perfect feed in favor of more raw, real life images. What’s your opinion of “influencer culture,” and as a photographer, how do you bridge the gap between beauty and authenticity?
MW: Personally, I think it’s a great time to be alive. We are able to do anything we want—blog, take photos, travel, share our outfits and fashion tips—while making a living from it, which is amazing. So many things are possible with the internet and social media.
But on the flip side of that, we live in a world that tells us we have to put our best foot forward at all times and only show the prettiest parts of our lives. But the thing is, people want the real you. That’s what human connection is all about, and that’s what we all crave. As a photographer, I try to really get to know the people I’m photographing and make them feel as comfortable as possible by bringing my authentic self to the shoots. Authenticity attracts authenticity. People are most beautiful when they’re real, and that’s what I strive to capture. But you can’t take yourself too seriously, either. There’s got to be a balance. I sometimes put a lot of pressure on myself to create really meaningful social media content, but I’ve had to let go and realize that not every Instagram post needs to include a therapy session in the caption. Ha.
HSG: Okay, so when you’re not shooting NYFW or hosting workshops, what does a typical day look like for you?
MW: Oh, man. It’s different every day! I’ll either have shoots at some point in the day, but if I’m not shooting, I’m either editing, responding to emails, or creating content for my blog. I’m trying to get better at being consistent, because I can get overwhelmed with the workload if I don’t take it one step at a time. It’s a process. When we’re not working, my husband and I like to disconnect because we both work exclusively with technology (he’s a videographer). We love to travel or go camping when we can! We are also always updating our house in Plano—Mark’s great at home renovation projects.
HSG: Fast forward five years. Where are you?
MW: I definitely want to continue doing all that I’m doing now, but on a bigger scale. I hope my course is a success—I really want to help hundreds of bloggers. And I want to keep inspiring people to take control of their lives and pursue what they love…
Also, in five years, I’d really like to focus on shooting more editorial-style images, like the styled shoots you see in Vogue. I love the idea of working with models and fashion-oriented brands on creative direction. That’s my long-term goal.
HSG: What is the most rewarding thing about your job now?
MW: Connecting with others and helping to follow their dreams, for sure, but also just providing people with pictures of themselves that improve their inner confidence. There’s nothing more rewarding than that. A lot of times, the women I shoot aren’t sure of themselves and their capabilities, and that’s so sad because they’re rockstars. They just need someone to show them.
HSG: I will say, as someone who’s been in front of your camera, you have a gift of making women feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. Like they can take on the world. That’s such a gift, and I feel like that’s your brand. Photographer and life coach!
MW: Wow, thank you! That is the best compliment I could receive, and exactly what I strive for with my business.
HSG: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Now for a few fun ones…
Name a daily ritual that you can’t live without.
MW: Some sort of movement is key! I like to rotate between jogging and yoga. Exercise helps me feel so much more focused and calm throughout the day.
HSG: What’s on your favorite playlist at the moment?
MW: I’ve been listening to a lot of Ramin Djawadi’s work. He’s the composer of the Westworld and Game of Thrones soundtracks. The instrumental is epic!
HSG: The best thing to do in Plano is…
MW: Eat all the Mexican food. We love Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, and we go there all of the time.
HSG: Name one woman, living or dead, that you’d love to have coffee with.
VR: Marie Forleo, to soak up her brilliance.
HSG: If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
MW: Oh, that’s easy: Stop second-guessing yourself.
Photos courtesy of Megan Weaver.
Co-Founder & Editor | Emily graduated from the University of Texas in December 2013 with a degree in English and journalism under her belt. She currently lives with her husband in Frisco, where she works for a chiropractor and moonlights as a lifestyle blogger. On any given day, you can find her hanging out at a quiet coffee shop, nose-deep in a good mystery novel or snapping photos of her extra frothy cappuccino.