Blush Career Spotlight
We know you. Yes, you. The girl who had a Nikon at age 13. Or you, the girl who always had the best pictures in her locker. And you…the one who discovered Instagram before any of us loserz. You are her. You are a photographer. But have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a photographer for a career? I know everyone nowadays thinks they are a world-class photographer! (I literally saw a picture of a cheeseburger that accumulated 112 likes yesterday. Mind boggling.) But you have talent–real, raw talent. It’s time for you to learn about the world of photography, and what it’s like out there. Did you know that most photographers are actually entrepreneurs? They found a business, work freelance, or do jobs on the side! You could have the opportunity to call your own shots. Turn this hobby into a photography career–the world deserves to see your work.
Median Salary: $17.41/hour, $36,330/year
Highest Avg. Salary Niche: Personal Services
Top 3 States with Highest Employment: California, New York, Florida
Top 3 States with HIghest Paid Photographers: Washington D.C., California, Illinois
Founder of Alice Rabbit Photography
City: Austin, Texas
Niche: Editorial/Fashion, Music Videos
CoFounder of Votive Image
City: Austin, Texas
Degree: B.A. in American Studies, Minor in Photojournalism
Niche: Wedding & Portraits
Founder of Hannah Truly Photography
City: Boulder, Colorado
Degree: Full time student studying Information Management, Entrepreneurship, Technology Arts & Media Studies
Niche: Wedding & Portaits
Blush: All of you have such varied backgrounds! Let’s begin with how you got started.
Elis: I studied for a couple of years at Community College and learned so much about PR and Marketing. At the time, I was pursuing the entertainment industry, and not realizing how much this would help me later. Luckily, my time in the industry lead me to have an amazing network that allows me to focus my photography in a fashion and editorial space.
Amanda: In college I decided to go with a major that fascinated me rather than a practical one. I chose a Liberal Arts major that taught me to think outside the box, and kept this mentality while starting Votive Image. My Photojournalism minor helped give me basic photography.
Hannah: I study Information Management and Arts & Media, so photography is the perfect fit. Of course, I am interested in a lot of things (Start ups! I die!), but for right now I enjoy how photography blends design, creativity, and technology. School of course has helped, but I did not learn how to be a photographer, I just did it! (I was only a junior in college!)
Elis: Alice Rabbit Photography is my baby. I do fashion and editorial work, and love every minute. I also film Music Videos and shoot my own jewelry line, Crystal Bullets.
Amanda: My husband and I started Votive Image together. We work as wedding & portrait photographers, so we mainly work with brides and grooms, but also families and graduates. Our goal is to create timeless, light-filled images that our clients cherish for years to come.
Hannah: I started Hannah Truly when I was a junior in college, and now it’s a $50,000 wedding photography business. I began with no formal training, but instead with an intense urge to create and a desire to reach out to other photographers!
Blush: You all seem to be so happy…what do you love about your job?
Elis: I love photographing beautiful people. Plus, I’m not stuck in a cubicle. My days are filled with shoots and meetings!
Amanda: I love that my job is people-oriented and that I get to be part of special moments in others’ lives. I enjoy that I get to be creative every day and work alongside my husband. We also get to make our own schedule and our own buosses–which takes a lot of discipline, but is a wonderful benefit. It’s also so important to me to be in a job where I can continuously learn new things.
Hannah: Where to start? This career is constantly evolving. When I first started, I really wasn’t that great–swear. But everyday I get closer to creating my own brand, and it feels incredible. Plus I have met some amazing people–after every wedding I feel like I’ve made 30 new friends! I get calls from brides crying over their photos, and I get to mentor high school seniors coming in for their portraits. Those are really the best moments, when someone compliments your work, for it is a reflection of my heart. And I am so grateful.
Blush: Ok..it can’t all be perfect! Tell us what stinks. Spill!
Elis: Editing. Shoot me (ha!). No but really, it’s so tedious sometimes, and occasionally requests are very difficult to make happen.
Amanda: Comparing myself to other photographers. Everyone’s work is out there for the world to see, and sometimes I’m not as experienced. It’s hard, but I stay focused. Hannah: EMAILS. But it’s worth it. Also, things can get really busy trying to balance everything!! I feel like I can’t give the necessary attention to every project, and that is stressful.
Blush: Time to give advice!! What would you like to say to aspiring photographers?
Elis: Play, play a lot with cameras and learn about existing techniques. Collect photos you love and try to take your own version of them! Don’t be shy about photographing what YOU want.
Amanda: Be patient with yourself, but be persistent and photograph what you love! If you love it, just keep at it, because photography can take a great deal of time to determine your personal style. So be willing to put in the work, and enjoy the messy process along the way.
Hannah: Just do it. I admire photographers that have built a brand–and that means a lot of trial and error. I started my company with ZERO experience. I just went out and started shooting. And of course, reach out and find a mentor. Sometimes that’s all you need to start.
We hope you learned a lot about photography and a lot about yourself while reading this! Thank you to Elis, Amanda and Hannah for sharing their success stories with us! Now it’s your turn. We know you can do it, and we can’t wait to cheer you on at your first shoot!
Go for it, girl!
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