Wedding photography and nursing aren’t closely related, but senior nursing major Victoria Stapleton seems to have brought them into coexistence.
“It’s never easy, and it’s actually really stressful most times. Things get hectic very often, but I love it,” Stapleton said. “I see a lot of qualities that apply to both (photography and nursing). In either, it’s important to be able to make people feel comfortable quickly because, in photography, if they feel comfortable, it’s easier to get the best picture of who they really are. They’re smiling, they’re not tense, everything is pretty much natural. And with patients, their first impression of you is vital. It’s crucial to show them they’re important to you, to ask questions to get to know them and also to let them know you.”
Stapleton said she would not be where she is without her mentor, Tracy Mallott, who taught her everything she knows about photography.
“In 2008, Tracy kind of took me under her wing and showed me the ins and outs of wedding photography,” Stapleton said. “She taught me a lot about how to truly care for clients and help relieve their stress. A wedding is a pretty big event, so a lot of clients are nervous and uneasy. It’s just a huge blessing to make them feel comfortable.”
Stapleton said she began doing photography at a fairly early age.
“My mother got me my first camera when I was five – it was a Canon 20D – and I mostly would just use it to take pictures of my mom or my siblings or my pets,” Stapleton said. “When I was 12, I went to a wedding in Chicago and shadowed the photographer there. When I was 13, I shot my first solo wedding. I ended up shooting three more by myself at 15, and I’ve been running my own wedding photography business since 2009.”
Stapleton’s business, La Vita Photo, is stationed in Dayton, and she’s photographed everything from engagement sessions to wedding sessions to snapping photos of newborns and toddlers – essentially any stage in the growth of a family.
“I’ve really had to learn how to accommodate people and do whatever makes them feel most comfortable,” Stapleton said. “That’s been a huge lesson for me.”
Stapleton also serves others through her photography.
“I also work with Now I Lay Me Down (to Sleep), an organization that takes photos of stillborn babies or infants born with life-threatening disorders, and retouches them and gives them to the parents so they have something to remember their children by forever,” she said.
Stapleton also said she takes pictures for Dayton Right to Life, an organization dedicated to defending the rights of both the unborn and the elderly, as well as the sick and disabled.
“My aim in life is to touch hearts and show people the love of God, no matter where I am or what I’m doing,” Stapleton said.
Stapleton’s friend, Mikayla Bush, said Stapleton is very people-focused in her photography.
“One of the most prominent things about Victoria is her passion for people,” Bush said. “She loves people right where they are, it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, gay or straight, what your beliefs are, she loves people. And I think that comes out in her work. She just wants to capture those moments for people, whether it’s a wedding or getting pictures of a family or what have you. It’s about giving those people a memory that they can hold onto.”
A balancing act
Bush is the cousin of Stapleton’s fiance, and Stapleton was also her discipleship group leader. Bush said Stapleton faces difficulties in balancing her loves for nursing and photography.
“I know it stresses her out at times,” Bush said. “And I’ve been there when she’s got deadlines and she has people emailing her, and she needs them to understand that she’s a college student and she’ll get things back to them as soon as possible. I think she does work hard at getting things back in a timely manner, but she also goes in with the understanding when she gets new clients that they have an agreement.”
Stapleton’s academic advisor, Amy Voris, said Stapleton’s combined efforts in photography and nursing are fascinating. Voris commended Stapleton’s photography.
“She’s very good in it,” Voris said. “She’s busy to the point that I have been concerned for her at times, burning the candle at both ends, but she has managed well.”
Voris said when she first met Stapleton and found out she was heavy into photography and intended to pursue nursing, she was confused and wondered how her advisee would maintain both interests.
But Voris said she quickly found that photography is her advisee’s passion and working with people through nursing and using that as a ministry is Stapleton’s primary focus.
“If she could, I know she would take pictures all day, but I also know she would very much feel the lack of connection she now has working with her patients,” Voris said. “If there’s one thing I think everyone should know about Tori, it’s that God is always first in her life, and her compassion for people is always second. Anyone who’s known her for more than five minutes knows that. She definitely has a servant’s heart.”
Contact La Vita Photo at 937-479-1390
or at www.lavitaphoto.com
Dominique Jackson is a junior broadcasting major with a concentration in audio and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. When he’s not recording, he enjoys writing poetry, singing loudly and ignoring most societal norms.