We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanna Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
If you visited my parents house + went through their storage of my childhood memorabilia, you’d find a LOT of random art projects/drawings, discarded + dried out markers and DIY dolls made of old pantyhose so that creative side has always been part of me. As I grew older, my creative interests graduated from macaroni art to still images. Initially, I just enjoyed pictures because I liked to see my family/friends together – it wasn’t until later that I understood the weight of those images + what they would come to mean. I remember when it was “Camera Day” at school, I would shoot a ton of photos, would show my parents + tell them stories that accompanied the images. It was those stories/photos that would be saved as core memories for me. That’s when I realized the power of a single image – a visual representation of a time gone by – it held so much emotion. There are so many images that have been captured throughout my life that I can happily look back on + feel like, for a split second, I’m transported back to that exact moment where I can re-visit that moment, feel those feelings + enjoy an unfiltered pure moment of joy. For me, those moments are what life is made of + what reminds us that we are loved + valued.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
If you told 15-year old Shanna that she would become a destination wedding photographer who travels for work + owns her own business – she definitely wouldn’t have believed you. Personally, for me, up in an Asian family, artistic interests were viewed as hobbies – not successful career paths. Science was emphasized + it wasn’t a surprise that I entered college as a Bio major. But, my passion + interest was invested in creating + sharing stories with others. As mentioned before, my friends + family have always been my #1 priority ever since I can remember. They add so much richness + fullness to my life + as I grow older, I’ve come to really appreciate + value the roles they’ve played + continue to play in the map of my life. My immediate family is from Hawai’i + growing up, I learned the value of ‘ohana (family) + learned to always embrace the reality that our families extend beyond our front doors – that there is always room for an extra seat at the dinner table. In Hawai’i, there’s a phrase, “talking story” + without diving into the historical background, it’s basically how people share information/stories from generation to generation through the act of storytelling. When you pair these stories with images that document specific moments in time + share them with others, it becomes part of your legacy that you leave behind. As I realized the impact these fleeting-moments-turned-heirlo
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In a pre-pandemic world, it would be a whirlwind tour! Full disclosure, I love being a tourist in my own city, haha! Ask anyone who knows me, they know hands down, I would definitely start off with a Disney trip! We would recover from the day (or two) of fun with a trip to a Korean spa. It’s such a unique experience + recommend everyone try it once if you’re comfortable with it! We’d enjoy a day of stand up paddling in Marina del Rey, recharge eating all the yummy food at Gjelina in Venice + head out to catch a Dodger game to watch our World Series champs while scarfing down Dodger dogs + garlic fries. I’d make sure we swung by Grand Central Market for brunch at Eggslut + a strawberry donut from Donut Man on the way out to catch a show at Hollywood Bowl. Oh! I can’t forget about the Arts District/Little Tokyo for super cute “kawaii” merch! Finally, on the last day, we’d take it easy, grab a poke bowl at Jus Poke in Redondo Beach + just cruise on The Strand in Manhattan Beach + soak up that warm Southern California sun!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow, this feels like my shot at an awards ceremony speech!! In all seriousness – there are a lot people who have really helped + walked alongside me on this journey of entrepreneurship that I can always count on to be unwavering cheerleaders. Of course, I think of my parents + colleagues who I am so blessed to be immersed in this industry with but specifically, I want to highlight my husband, Dale. He’s my Day One – all day, every day. He has been with me through the highs + lows, listened to every question I’ve asked + re-asked + is always my strongest supporter when I find myself wallowing in self-doubt. If there’s a better way to do something, a piece of advice, a comforting word – I can always count on him to share it with me to improve/curate my business practices/processes. He’s my right hand for every wedding, shoot, project + the most amazing partner in business + life.
Simply Adri Photography, Shanna Castro Photography