Stephanie Smith isn't just a professional with a side gig. Her weekend photography business has become a full-fledged pay-it-forward awareness project. The goal? Making children with special needs and their families smile.
Smith, a 28-year-old office manager, started offering families with special-needs children free portrait sessions and prints (which usually cost about $200). Families across the U.S. started contacting her, and the overwhelming positive feedback rolled in.
So she started Lenses for Love, a site that connects photographers with families who can't afford a photo shoot or who have been made to feel uncomfortable by photographers who aren't willing to put in the extra effort needed to work with a child with special needs.
Smith has personally done 17 free shoots and is encouraging other photographers to do the same.
For her, a successful side hustle is not about money. "It can't always be about how much money you can make," she said. "When you give back, the blessing comes back times 10. I truly believe that."