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Blue Ridge Women Who Dare: The Photographer

Meet Cindy Fellows, a talented photographer, content creator, entrepreneur and Blue Ridge Woman Who DARES….

I met Cindy a little over a year ago when I was lucky enough to win a brand photography session that she generously donated to an auction to benefit our local Chamber of Commerce.  I had never worked with a professional photographer for my business before, but Cindy put me at ease right away.

She took the time to get to know me and my business. She asked good questions to really hone in on my brand values, and when I asked her what the heck I should wear, she just smiled and said “anything that makes you feel pretty.”  She later told me that she loves photographing weddings because “happy always looks beautiful.”

That must be true because Cindy exudes happy and she is indeed beautiful on the inside and out. She has that rare gift of making YOU feel happier just to be around her.

Cindy is a risk taker in both her professional and private life. She spent a decade and a half as an elementary school educator, a job she fell into after being a stay-at-home mom. Teaching was stable and secure, and where she had the summers free for her young family, but still she felt something was missing.

She knew that she was, in fact, happier with a camera in her hand! She loved shooting weddings part-time with one of her besties, Katie Ameigh of Ameigh Photography, Cindy’s “forever wedding date.” She also felt fulfilled photographing stories for non-profits and small businesses and spending time with families welcoming a newborn, capturing those joy filled, snuggly moments.

Cindy dared to ask the question, how can I do what I love best full time? 

And just like that, October Grace Media was born, on the day that Cindy turned 50. Cindy built her own business to unleash all of her creative energy to tell the story behind small businesses via her authentic brand photography. She could also help harried solo-preneurs, non-profits, and others produce consistent, quality messages on social media. She could live her purpose and make a difference as a brand photographer. Cindy began her journey of brand photography long before brand photography made waves in the photography industry.

But sometimes you have to let go of one thing to make room for another. And a short time later, Cindy made the momentous decision to leave teaching behind and take on yet another creative role as the photographer in residence for the prestigious American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. (Did I mention that Cindy must be one of those people who live in a parallel universe that has 36 hours in a day? That’s the only explanation I can come up with for how she manages to do it all).

Cindy freely admits she was far from a Shakespeare aficionado and is a self-taught photographer, but she stepped up to apply for the job, nonetheless. As it turns out, her natural curiosity and love of learning help her bring the Shakespeare experience alive for both newbies and seasoned veterans. Check out @americanshakespearecenter on Instagram to see her amazing work, which has also been featured in Virginia Living magazine, blogs, and publications showcasing the charm of Staunton.

Cindy is not afraid to step out of her comfort zone in her private life too, and in the midst of the pandemic, the long-time single Mom of two met and married the love of her life. She calls him a true “Kentucky gentleman,” who is also her behind-the-scenes business partner. They are living happily ever after now with Cindy’s high school son and mom. Her adult daughter also lives nearby and shares Cindy’s passion for supporting non-profits. 

Knowing Cindy has been a real blessing. She personifies everything I love about intrepid women who take a chance on themselves. Who stay curious. Who dare to be the best version of themselves. Cheers to you, friend, and my favorite “Blue Ridge Woman Who Dares.”

Stay tuned for more stories of real-life women I have met in my new hometown and all over the Shenandoah Valley who inspire me to keep inspiring YOU as your life and leadership coach to ignite your passion, live your purpose, and make a difference.

Follow October Grace Media on Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Website

Follow Ameigh Fellows Media on Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Website

Follow The American Shakespeare Center on Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Website

Image One: Cast of Much Ado About Nothing (2023) featuring Alexis Baigue, Angela Iannone, Corrie Green, Aidan O'Reilly, Nicolas Eric Sanchez, and Erica Cruz Hernandez.

Image Three: Hamlet (2023) featuring Angela Iannone and Brandon Carter.

Image Four: Patrons enjoying a performance onstage on the gallant stools.

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