We had the good fortune of connecting with Gretchell Mafong and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gretchell, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My creative career path, like most people, started as a hobby. My photography business was completely unexpected. In college, I did study to become an Architect but then life happened and I had to pursue something a little more stable. That’s when I got my job in the Medical field and is where I met all my supportive co workers who gave me a chance to work with them creatively and that’s what really started my Photography business. I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me throughout this journey. Because of them, I get to do what I love.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Photography is a very competitive industry. When I first started, I had soooo much to learn. This is esp true with learning more about myself. For example. If you ever meet me in person, you would’ve never guessed that I am actually a very shy person. I low key get social anxiety but I’ve quickly learned that in this business, there is no room for that. So I had to force myself to snap out of it by reminding myself that I get to do what I love and to have fun with it. Now, I’m completely comfortable working with new people and bossing them around (in the nicest way of course haha)! I thought that meant I was done with the worst part but that was far from the truth. Every obstacle to me is just a new learning opportunity and I am finding that I enjoy the challenge. When I get thru the tough parts, I find the end result to be more rewarding. I mostly just want anyone I work with to feel good and just have fun! It is the best when the smiles come naturally and I get to capture that on camera.

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?
My idea of the best time ever would be an unplanned trip. Head to an area that is new to the both of us where we can both explore and meet new people! We would try food that we’ve never tried before, find hiking tails we’ve never hiked before or dance to songs we’ve never even thought we would ever dance to. In my experience, introducing new experiences have always left me with the best memories.

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?
My brother Valiant, who taught me everything I know about photography. He was my inspiration thru this entire process. Also, like I mentioned before, my Scripps Mercy family for always trusting me to take their photos and giving me the fresh start I needed and helping me realize how much I love this business!

Website: www.gmafongphotog.com
Instagram: @grexplore