Meet Shannon! Shannon and I are sorority sisters, however we actually weren’t in school at the same time because, well, I’m a year or two older than she is. 😉 We really connected when I was a few years out, and Shannon was still actively involved in our chapter. We had the opportunity to connect through the world of weddings and events. I have been able to see Shannon’s company grow and flourish in that time, and it’s truly amazing to see where she has taken things today. I could look at her work over and over and over, time and time again. Not only does she take incredible photos of the biggest moments of individuals’ lives, but she captures the everyday moments too. She also travels a great deal, capturing the true beauty in places all over the country and around the world. We’ve been lucky enough to have Shannon take photos for us on numerous occasions, including when we lived in California, and she stayed with us out there for a few days. Shannon knows and loves adventure and thrives in big city atmospheres, but she has also made herself a (lovely!) home in the small town where we went to school. I admire Shannon and her zest for life and the fact that she knows, and shares, the importance of capturing all of life’s moments, big and small. Read a bit more about Shannon, and see more of her gorgeous work, below!
Name: Shannon Duggan
Company: Shannon Duggan Photography
Title: Owner/Lead Pretty Maker
Currently Located: Um we live in Cape Girardeau but I’m typing from a plane. Aka I go
Photo by Celine Chhuon Photography
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Crazy, Fun, Creative
Describe your business and what you do:
I’m a Photographer! Primarily weddings but I also do a select amount of lifestyle work with family clients. I also love to shoot travel work since I seem to be doing that all the time. I shoot roughly 25-30 weddings a year. While STL is my home base I do work internationally. The more years I put into this business the more I seem to be on a plane. (Which I’m honestly okay with!)
How did you start in this field?
Funny story, I took a class senior year. I was placed in 2 months late because I’d tried to switch schools (that’s another long story) and returned to my HS in KCMO to beg my new counselor to place me in Photo. Walking into a class with 1 million technical applications 2 months late was a little daunting, and I’ll never forget my first assignment:Frame within a frame. I remember shooting through a mirror in my backyard thinking “This is stupid, I really suck.” I told my dad I was going to drop the class the next day. Thankfully when I went to talk to my professor, Mr. Baker, he told me to suck it up, do the work, and I’d come out with a B. Thank God for that man (who I still reach out to often!) because he was right. I finally got a human in front of my camera and from there I was hooked. I did all of my friends’ pictures that spring and switched my program at SEMO to commercial photography. I had my first bride approach me my freshman year of college. I naturally was clueless about weddings but she was ready to take a chance on me, so I dove in. I never looked back from that point. I went to school while managing my sorority, a business, and student government. It seems a little crazy now but I’m SO thankful I worked my butt off! I’ve worked with so many former classmates during and post college. The networking alone has been an incredible part of my business.
Did you know that this was something you always wanted to do?
No. Literally clueless. My 12 year old papers said I wanted to be Karl Lagerfeld! Ha! But I’ve always been super interested in fashion/art so I don’t find it surprising that this became my path because photography is such a crucial part of those fields. We do, however, have an image of me at my cousin’s wedding at age 12. The photographer was a family friend who’s incredible (shoots the books for Disney and golf courses all over the world). He gave me his film camera and let me run around all night at the reception with it. My aunt got a photo of me- it’s now hanging in my house and is obviously a favorite of mine. Meant to be. 🙂
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Oh gosh. This changes CONSTANTLY. I’m always 5 year planning- which I think drives my husband crazy because he is not. Lol. Five years from now I hope to be a mom who is also successfully balancing her worldwide brand with grace and ease. Which also sounds hilarious to me because nothing about this life is graceful. Right now my current hope is to be working out of Chicago a lot more and still of course traveling all over for weddings. I hope to continue to give back to other photographers and help them grow, as this was something that I struggled to find when I first started. And last I just hope to be a good person that other people value and care about (all we really need is love).
What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?
Fashion designer. Seriously. I absolutely cannot sketch a thing but I can totally make it happen in my head. I think I subscribed to every major magazine when I was in high school. These days I still love to page through Vogue – but I find my time to do so is very limited.
In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?
I hope constantly. I’m a 26 year old female that grossed 6 figures from the second I stepped out of school. If you work hard, you can do it too. I live in a small town (Cape Girardeau) but still manage to work with clients all over the world. I make connections world wide too. I think the biggest thing I hope to inspire other people with is that you only limit yourself. Only you can make your box small. Dream big, go big, do big. The world will totally give you back what you put out. Hustle and make it happen and your dreams will come true. When they do, dream bigger, and bigger, and bigger.
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
My mom. She’ll never believe this because I am also her biggest critic (sorry momma) but she’s it. My mom was the breadwinner in our family and I watched her put in COUNTLESS hours to make a wonderful life for my dad and I. On holidays and weekends. Which I think really showed me that hard work isn’t just 9-5 Monday – Friday. She was also the woman that always told me I could be whatever I wanted and supported every small business I ever had as a kid – jewelry making, a scarf shop, whatever I could dream up. Mommas out there hustling – quit feeling bad that you’re working. Your kids are watching you work your butt off and it’s so inspiring. You will raise incredible children that so admire all you have done for them!
If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?
Oh gosh. This is so hard. I have like. I would always have coffee. I love happy hour but sometimes I get tipsy after one drink, ha! I would say Peter Lindberg. He’s an incredible fashion photographer that I’ve always admired. I would have to say at Boot Café in Paris- It’s literally the cutest little coffee shop in Le Marais. And it’s basically the size of a boot-so quaint! Can I also say Annie Leibovitz? Anyone that can say no to Kimye is someone I want to meet (the power of no is everything). Also Drake. I just really love him.
What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)?
Yoga. So obsessed right now it’s unreal. I think with my crazy life it brings me serenity. Film- I almost exclusively shoot medium format film unless it’s a wedding (sometimes digital is easier for tricky lighting situations). Anddddd can I just say coffee? I always want coffee. Like all the time. Anyone that knows me knows they can find me at my local fave on almost every weekday morning.
Photos by Shannon Duggan Photography
Here are all of the platforms where you can find Shannon and see more of her gorgeous work:
I hope you had fun getting to know Shannon! Getting married or seeking someone to document those special moments in your life? Contact Shannon today!
I can’t wait to continue to introduce you to more fabulous, inspiring, empowering women in the weeks to come! Be sure to also checkout more inspiring women in the series!
PS – Know someone who would be great to feature as an empowering women? Contact me HERE, and let me know! I’d love to contact her and learn more!