MunaLuchi Coterie member and visual storyteller, Dashaun Graham of Phive-14 Photography, brings a background in software engineering to the photography medium. Having founded Phive-14 Photography in 2015, Dashaun defines success by the joy expressed by his clients when seeing their captured moments. Motivated by the inspiration his images create, Phive-14 Photography strives to ensure your most special of memories are perfectly framed for a lifetime of enjoyment. Read all about Phive-14 Photography in this informative and inspiring in-depth interview.
Name: Dashaun “Shaun” Graham
Business Name: Phive-14 Photography
Founded: May 2015
Describe your business. Phive-14 is a creative outlet specializing in the medium of photography. We enjoy infusing visual storytelling with stylistic high fashion portraits. We are highly passionate about wedding photography because it is our chance to change the narrative about black love.
What did you do before starting your business in the wedding industry? Before I joined the wedding industry I was, and still am, a software engineer. At a young age, it was fairly common to catch me behind my windows 98 machine coding Black Planet pages for my friends and family. I took that passion and turned it into a degree in Computer Science.
How long have you been in the wedding industry? 4 very beautiful and challenging years.
How would you describe your style? Visual storytelling with a hint of high fashion. On wedding days I try to be as unobtrusive as possible. I enjoy documenting moments as they unfold in front of me. That is unless cash money starts taking over from the nine-nine to two thousands. Then I might put one of my two cameras down and indulge.
What motivates you? Hmm, I’d say my views of marriage is what motivates me the most. I grew up in a family were no one got married or there was infidelity. I simply didn’t believe in marriage. Somewhere around 25 that changed. What motivates me the most is keeping in mind 2 things. One, that the world needs to see more photos of people of color in love. We need that. There is some little person right now growing up and they’ve never seen that. I want them to know they too can feel safe giving someone their heart one day. Two, that marriage is tough. I shoot with the belief that 5, 10, 20 years from now when times get a little rocky looking at your wedding photos could be the reason you work things out.
Why should brides/grooms choose you? I tell my couples that I care about their wedding just as much as they do. I care about their love, their smiles, their moments. I want to document that not only for them but for everyone to understand that they belong together.
How does your company define and measure success? I define success by OMG’s. A lot of my clients sit down with me to review their photos. If I get an “OMG” or an “I had no idea this looked like that” I feel like that was a pretty successful day.
What do you enjoy most about your work? Hanging out, having fun, traveling, sharing moments.
Describe a proud moment while working in the wedding industry. Honestly, I think when my friends started booking me was a big moment for me. A lot of time getting our friends to buy into our creative is tough. When I first started shooting, my friends would always ask how photography was going but no one booked me! Then I started mastering my craft and the support has overflowed in the past few years.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received for your work? The best compliment ever came during a reception. I edited a photo from my couple then displayed it next to the main stage on my Mac Book. Their mom walked up, saw it, turned to them and cried. That’s all you can ask for.
What are your business goals? To capture as many moments as I can. That’s it.
What’s your favorite part of the wedding industry? Hands down my couples. Especially the ones who truly believe in me. Dope couples make for amazing weddings and great photos. Those people who trust in your vision and just follow you.
What’s your least favorite part of the wedding industry? Taxes. Period. April 15th coming up isn’t it?
Describe your vision of the “perfect” wedding. The perfect wedding is any wedding where the love the couple shares for each other is infectious enough to spill over into the crowd.
Where do you find the most inspiration? I have a few mentors that drive me technically and creatively for sure. They inspire me so much. But most of my inspiration comes from a melting pot of fine art, beauty and documentary photographers.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know? Wedding Photography is important. If you spend the time and money to create a perfect day, you should hire someone you trust with documenting everything for you. After the lights turn off and the flowers die all you’ll be left with is your memories and your photos.