Senior year in high school is filled with many milestones. It is a year of firsts, lasts and moments worth remembering, including senior portraits. A new central Indiana photographer is redefining photography for high school seniors by focusing on each senior’s individual personality, and providing styling to ensure that this important milestone is a positive experience for all.
Last year Amber Rae became the owner of Beauty + Grace, the existing fashion store at Carmel City Center. Her plan was to introduce a fashion and photography concept that she perfected at her first store in Michigan. Beauty + Grace is an extension of this concept, which she hopes will provide Hoosiers with a window into the soul of her art, fashion and photography. Amber opened the boutique to create a space for spending time getting to know her clients, helping them find their unique style, and helping them put it all together for fun photography sessions that capture their personalities.
Amber spent much of her career working in the fashion industry, managing retail stores and working as a buyer for retail giant Guess. As she studied photography, Amber didn’t think she wanted a career working in the photography business.
“At the time I would take photos of family and friends, but it was just not on my radar as a career,” she says. “I loved fashion more.”
As fate would have it, Amber met a photographer who offered to take her under his wing if she would help him revamp his business in exchange. She embarked on a mentoring journey while managing her retail store, and simultaneously helped her mentor with his wedding business for several years. Amber began to receive her own photography requests, which she referred to her mentor out of respect. Eventually that mentor encouraged her to begin photography full time.
Amber was grateful for the training but found herself hesitant.
“Even though he taught me the art of lighting and angling to perfection, I knew that if I was going to pursue it, it had to be on my terms,” she says. “I wanted to make a difference and I knew that I wanted to add that element of fashion to it. I wanted to add that avant-garde that I admired so much.”
And with that, Amber’s high-end fashion photography business, Amber Lights Photography, was launched in Milford, Michigan. Referrals began pouring in for her unique photo art. Ultimately she became known as the top wedding photographer in the greater Detroit area. Her career was thriving and her calendar was full.
However, when her bridal clients began referring their siblings to her for senior pictures, she hesitated.
“Senior photos were not quite as evolved as they are now,” Amber says.
Her uncertainty prompted her to evaluate what she could bring to this client group.
“I knew that if I was going to consider it, I didn’t want to do it the typical way,” she says. “What is most important is their experience, and how they feel. So I tell them to bring in everything that they own. We mix it with what we have, and then we help them out.”
What Amber found is that when she styles her seniors, or any of her clients, they are able to relax and enjoy the experience knowing they look their best. She eventually became the top high school senior photographer in the Detroit area.
“As a professional stylist and a designer, I see things differently,” Amber says. “I know what fits on someone’s body, and what will bring out their personality to showcase their confidence.”
Amber offers client discounts in her boutique, so that clients can be confident in how the look is going to come together before the shoot. It’s a process that Amber has perfected, and it allows her to truly capture the best in her clients and create a one-of-a-kind experience.
In addition to serving high school seniors, Amber is confident that she can help every client create unique photos that will capture any important milestone.
“I believe everyone possesses an inner beauty that I am able to capture,” she says. “It’s my passion to empower each person that steps in front of my lens, lets me into their home or steps into my shop.”
Beauty + Grace is located at 719 Hanover Place in Carmel. To schedule your styling or photography appointment, call 317-564-0687, or email email@example.com. For more info, go to shopbeautyandgrace.com.