I first met Jaclyn Simpson while riding on a city bus in Chicago. She and Jenn from Jennifer Kathryn Photography had made a stop at Paper Source (one of my favorite places), and we somehow discovered that we had photography in common. We followed up with coffee, and I was lucky enough to be a part of an amazing Fast Track group with them in Chicago before I moved to Michigan. A year later, I knew I had to share Jaclyn’s career story with the photography world.
After second shooting and starting her business, Jaclyn could never bring herself to make the final leap into full time. In 2009, a lay off ended up being the push she needed to get to it (a blessing in disguise). She’s been a full time photographer ever since.
A few topics from today’s show:
- Second shooting
- Connecting with photographers and other vendors (set up meetings and work together)
- Observing the work of others in order to break it down and translate it into your own style
- Styled shoots (if you don’t get those “kind of shoots,” you can make it happen yourself)
Check out some of Jaclyn’s very pretty work below (and spectacular details with help from Fleur), and find more on her blog.
I first stumbled across Arden Prucha on The B School—I was particularly struck by her collaborative involvement with other photographers online and her amazing personal underwater maternity session with Amy Karp.
In this interview, Arden tells the story of how she became a portrait and wedding photographer. She also discusses how second shooting with an experienced photographer and becoming involved with online forums gave her the technical chops she needed before pursuing wedding photography on her own.
Recommended resources and tips:
- I Heart Faces
- If you’re not an expert in a particular area, outsource
- Read catalogs and magazines for new inspiration
Check out Arden’s beautiful work on her blog.
As a teen, Dale Benfield worked as a printer in his Dad’s photo lab, so it was a natural next step for him to become a photographer himself. Dale started his photography business right out of high school as a way to pay for college (his first wedding involved a ceremony in Klingon—you’ll hear more about the ensuing hilarity in the interview).
Dale continued the photography business on the side as he pursued a career as a high school teacher. Five years ago, he gave up teaching and moved to Arkansas to be closer to Meredith, who he recently married in Italy. When the business blew up, Meredith joined him full time.
Learn how Dale and Meredith have grown a booming business by staying true to themselves and constantly striving to better themselves in business. Also hear Dale’s philosophies about being smart with money—including his approach to buying new equipment, investing in himself and avoiding debt while starting a photography business.
A few gorgeous photos from Benfield Photography:
See more of Dale and Meredith’s awesome work at the following:
Jill Devries studied communications in college and landed a great full time job after school. While second shooting weddings on the weekends, she realized that she wanted to transform her passion for photography into a full time career. For the next year, Jill continued to do photography on the side, learning, growing, networking and building up her professional equipment. After a busy year, she gave herself a goal of 20 weddings on the books before quitting her full time job. She went full time in April, 2010, and she hasn’t looked back.
Over time, Jill has learned to take photos that reflect how she sees the world—photos that are true to her unique vision. Rather than trying to be like someone else—an easy trap to fall into—Jill does her own thing, and she never feels like she’s in competition with other photographers who have their own styles.
In this interview, Jill tells her story and addresses what it’s like to run a business as an artist—dealing with fear and uncertainty while always pushing forward.
Recommended book: Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders
A very small sampling of Jill’s amazing body of work:
See more amazingness on Jill’s blog.