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Meet Trailblazer Valorie Darling

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valorie Darling.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My photography career actually bloomed from a passion for social activism. In 2010, I co-founded an arts program for foster kids in South Central LA called SoCal HeArts to offer creative activities cut from public schools to nurture well-rounded children and their dreams. I got a camera in 2012 to document the work and found my calling. Poetic justice I guess.

My camera became my vehicle to pursue every evolving passion. All my life, I’ve been a dancer and my love for movement, composition, and choreography translated not only in the imagery but is why I came to love weddings. They are these impassioned, layered dances that push me and push the art. They required me to be so many things – a timekeeper, a choreographer, a stylist, an art director, a friend and part of the family.

I’ve shot nearly 150 weddings now with a team I’ve had since the beginning. The experience and trust between us make for a comfort, creativity and track record that I couldn’t be more proud of.

I am now able to live my dream of shooting a smaller number of weddings and editorial opportunities that push my artistry while continuing to creatively direct and oversee the incredible work of my team. I fell in love with my partner, Brian, after volunteering my camera in support of a travel company he founded to invest in ecosystems and communities, so it’s been a time of inspiration and adventure!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road of an entrepreneur is definitely not a straight path. It’s filled with challenges in being strategic and intentional, creating boundaries to live a life of balance and learning to empower others to build something better than you can alone.

In the beginning, it’s good to experiment and learn through doing but also important to be focused and say no to things that don’t align with that vision. It’s important to find great teachers, a supportive community, and a practice of being as healthy in mind and body as you can be because it takes a clear, steady mind and a whole village.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Valorie Darling Photography – what should we know?
I love shooting fashion, boudoir, lifestyle and I specialize in weddings. My team covers family, bloggers and all sorts of events.

The level of artistry and integrity of the character of my team is one of our biggest differentiators and something I’m most proud of.

Our craft is to capture these moments of meaning and beauty in a true and honoring light so we may return to them – be inspired by them – and pass them forward.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
My parents always nurtured creativity whether that was an art class, dance, creative writing or letting me use their video camera which I loved to document just about everything. Directing and starring in “commercials”, music videos, self-produced plays, etc…

I always thought that I wanted to be an actor and dancer and that felt so evident seeing those old tapes, but really it was the start of my director of a photography career.

My love for movement, composition, and choreography translated not only in the imagery but is why I came to love weddings. They are these impassioned, layered dances that push me and push the art. They require me to be so many things – a timekeeper, a choreographer, a stylist, an art director, a friend and part of the family.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Session by Mario (bio headshot), Valorie Darling Photography (all others)

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