Patrice Graves was introduced to photography “about 20 years ago” in high school while working at Ritz Camera. “At the camera store we would develop a film in a dark room and repair cameras,” she said. Snapping memories took a backseat to life after that part-time job ended.
The art of capturing an image re-entered Graves’ life after the death of her grandmother. During the grieving process, Graves became depressed after feeling she didn’t have many personal photos of her grandmother. “I decided I wanted to make sure I capture most moments for keepsake,” Graves said. Added motivation to pick up a camera came from those close to her. “I would show family and friends pictures I took years ago. They would be so grateful I kept the photo for that long. The old photos would become a social piece to engage in conversation when I would have company.”
Graves attributes meeting Bobby Roach while interning at Danville Community College as a pivotal moment in her photography journey. “Bobby Roach was like a mentor to me. I would help with the college publications. Take photos and help with media. That’s when I decided to commit and start my photography business in August 2023.” Her photography is a product of the essence of every celebration she captures. Graves added, “Leaving you with masterpieces to be cherished for a lifetime.”
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Graves has called Danville home for the last 13 years. Along with her husband, Robert, she has 5 children. The area provides an unlimited number of canvases for her to use as inspiration.
Graves has a fondness for many styes of photography, but one stands out. “I tend to specialize in portrait photography. Shooting portrait style allows me to interact with people. I’m a social and friendly person who enjoys people and is not afraid to be around crowds.” She uses the portrait to nail the subject’s personality. Graves continued, “I aim to personalize experiences and leave a lasting impression.”
For her, the perfect photo has 3 key elements. The image must be non-altered. It must show emotion. And most importantly, it needs to be a “clean, crisp photo that tells a story.”
Creativity is another crucial tool in a photographer’s camera bag. To Graves, creativity holds a certain element of individuality topped with authenticity. She feels a group of photographers could be asked to get creative with the same subject and every image would have its own identity. “You’re able to have your own creative perspective and have fun all at the same time.”
Ideas aren’t scarce for Graves. She uses each photographic opportunity to construct an unforgettable moment. “Whether it be a wedding shoot or a community event, I ask myself, ‘How the client would want to remember this day.’” Her philosophy of photography is rooted in the belief that “every client is unique, and their stories deserve to be told with passion and authenticity.”
Graves remembers the days back at Ritz Camera and aspiring to be a professional photographer. Her advice to up-and-coming photographers is to never compare or compete with others. “We all create, edit, and photograph in different ways. Be inspired by other photographers and do not doubt yourself. God made each individual unique for a reason—to be different. Have a vision to inspire joy.”
Graves hopes that people will find the genuine elements that resonate within her work. “I try not to alter photos too much. Altering photos take away from the photo being authentic. If I decide to alter or edit a photo, I try to edit at a minimum. And above all, that I am a passionate professional who genuinely values every detail.”