Maryville Woman's Passion - Costa Rica Wedding Photography

Katie Stinnett, a Maryville resident, had never imagined how a philanthropic trip to Costa Rica in 2008 would change her life and choice of profession. Now a wedding photographer, she has even featured in a soon-to-be-aired episode of "House Hunter's

When young wedding photographer Katie Stinnett came to Costa Rica to shoot a wedding in Tamarindo, she fell in love with the beautiful beach town, also meeting her future boyfriend in the same trip. A year later, she found herself wavering between working at a flower shop in Aspen and pursuing her dream job, photography. She decided to move over to Costa Rica and become a wedding photographer.

First Trip to Costa Rica
Katie's love for Costa Rica started back in 2008, during a philanthropic trip to a church camp in the Latin American country with her parents and brother. Having graduated from Carson-Newman University, Katie - who was 25 at that time - had done a few jobs, which included one at a bank. She found the indoor working environment too stifling for her and was looking for a fresh direction in life.

Relocating to Costa Rica
A year later, she decided to move to Costa Rica and become a wedding photographer by profession. This was met with disapproval from her parents, but Katie had already made up her mind. She had entered a contract with a Costa Rica wedding photography business and was supposed to start shooting from the 1st of December that year.

Moving to Tamarindo
Following a brief tenure with the business, Katie decided to become an independent wedding photographer. She set up her own website to promote her enterprise and used the same to communicate with her family and friends to share how well she liked Costa Rica, which was now like a new home for her. She also decided to settle there with her fiance Jeff Hooper, who loves surfing, and Tamarindo was to be their new home. But finding an appropriate rental property was the trouble.

Featuring in House Hunters International
It was through her website that HGTV executives contacted Stinnett and enquired whether she could feature in one of their future episodes of "House Hunters International" - a show that share stories of real people who relocate to another country and need a place to live in. Katie agreed and HGTV crew came to her place to film Stinnett and Jeff as they went looking for the right home for themselves. They will be getting married in Tennessee next spring. Their episode is to be aired today at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV.

How Photography Became Her Passion
Katie is a minor in photography and it was while working on the assignment of her roommate in college that she became interested in the subject. The bond grew deeper when she began to take the engagement photos of her friends. She decided to pursue it as a profession. Today, she is assisted by fiance Jeff who also works for an audio/visual company. She works in Costa Rica, which boasts of islands, rain forests and beaches, providing ideal settings for her rich wedding photographs. That short trip to church camp indeed proved to be a lucky one for Katie, who has found a good life and profession in this idyllic Latin American country.