About Light By Dawn Studios

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Lead Photographer Biography

Our Lead Photographer, Dawn O'Neal-Shumate, works as a documentary-style photographer and lives in the mountains of western North Carolina near Boone. Through early childhood visits to her father’s photo-teaching labs and documenting family trips,  served to spark her interest in all-things photography-related at a young age. Not until the advent of the digital world of photography, did she finally find the instant camera feedback and online community collaboration which enabled her to pursue adventures in learning this multi-generational form of art. 

Dawn has grown through the years as a self-taught, passionate photographer willing to work with all the challenges encountered when working with light. Since beginning her serious studies with photography over 10 years ago, she has worked with local media outlets providing them with documentary, portrait and editorial style photography since 2010, by photographing local high school graduation events, local university commencement ceremonies and regional yearly red-carpet awards events as well as various editorial assignments. She has volunteered as photographer at Two Rivers Community School, supplying them with various marketing photography solutions for many years as well. She has also led general-photography workshops for those in her community who want to learn more about proper exposure, creative composition, etc. and how to apply these concepts in camera.

Currently, she is building an in-house commercial studio to complement her existing mobile portrait studio enabling her to provide a more expansive serviceability in the commercial and portrait photography niches. She is also currently working with several local area non-profits on long-term projects to add to their overall marketing portfolio. In addition, she is delighted to be invited to help share the world of photography with students at Wildwood Agile Learning Center. Dawn continues to provide school portrait photography to Boone area schools and day care centers.

Creative Studio Director 

Artist Statement

To capture moments in time using light whether it is in full darkness, by the break of the dawn or anytime in between is my full-time career dream. What did you want to be, as a child, when you grew up?  I soaked up photographic inspiration from a young age in a variety of ways; helping in my dad's at-home darkroom, visiting his high school darkroom teaching lab, and carrying his camera and gear on many picturesque family vacations. I first became a student of photography when in 7th grade, for a science project, I researched and reported on “Photography: How a Camera Works and the Relationship Between the Aperture and Focal Length of a Camera”. From the time when I was very young playing with toy cameras to young adulthood when I helped my dad in his studio, I was enamored with this art form of capturing light.

My early photos consisted of everything I encountered from protests to parades whether they were featured on my living room couch or the streets of my local town. Through participation and leadership roles within online forum groups, I spent two years completing my personal learning project wherein I designed my own independent study of photography, its concepts and how to apply varying methods in camera.

During my two year self-study on photography, I relied a great deal on the constructive criticism and feedback offered by fellow photographers in online forums with Digital-Photography-School.com and Yahoo Groups. When I felt ready to apply what I had learned, I sought out documentary style work first in and around where I live. Through years of volunteering and working to help document our Boone community, I have grown to cherish the interactions with different people and the places my assignments and field trips have helped me discover. While only pursuing photography work on a limited part-time basis for several years, I developed a love for documentary-style work.

Since then, my subject matter has expanded to include editorial, commercial and portrait photography work for area newspapers/magazines, non-profits, local businesses and individuals. My portfolio comprises a wide variety of differing types photography including but not limited to portraits, still-life, editorial, fine art, and landscapes. I shoot what I see, whether it be that special cast of light on a leaf or capturing someone’s unique moment in time. I love to play with my camera just to see what may develop but am always on point with defining the moment when tasked with an assignment.

I am very excited to see school portrait photography fully integrated into my business portfolio as I continue headstrong in pursuit of my life-long dream of being a photographer…when I grow up.

Want to read more about our Lead Photographer and Creative Director's specific skills and work experience?  Take a look at her resume.

About Our Studio

We are a full-service, creative photography studio willing to go the extra mile to serve each of our clients needs individually. As Creative Studio Director and Lead Photographer, Dawn can take your project from a rough idea to a finished product, tailored to suit your individual needs. Whether you are a business looking to add to your marketing portfolio, a magazine or media looking for essential editorial additions or you are an individual looking for maternity, children, engagement, family portraits and more we can help you achieve inspired results.

Our photographers abide by all COVID-19 local guidelines and precautions.

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  Contact us  today for a consultation 

about how we can enhance your next photography project.

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