Professional Photographer

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my portfolio over on, but that’s not because I haven’t had any work. I’ve done quite a few projects that need to make their way to that showcase, when I finally get around to it. But still, some projects aren’t big enough to bother with and some aren’t worthy of a spotlight.

Speaking of spotlights, this year I have added something to my list of professional services that has been a dream of mine for a long, long time. Natural light and basic studio light photography. I’m so excited to be using a camera and getting paid to do so!

Leigh Anne Miguelez and Joey Saunders

My sister’s engagement shoot happened the same day her fiance popped the question!

I have been using Photoshop since version 7 in junior high and started editing photos for family and friends in high school. It wasn’t until college that I got into photography and purchased my first digital camera. I guess it’s been about 10 years since then. The first year at The Art Institute of Philadelphia I took a photography class and was hooked right away.

I won’t show you photos from that first year, because they were simply horrible. The first half of that photography class, we weren’t permitted to edit any of our photos. They were graded as they came straight out of the camera. I didn’t do well…

The second half of the class, however, we were encouraged to crop, make corrections, and even minor visual changes to our photos. We were graded on both the original photo and the final image. Due to my love of spending hours each night in Photoshop, I ended up getting an A in that class. I think my photography slightly improved as well.

Shelby Riley & Associates

Natural light group photo of Shelby Riley & Associates.

Incorporating My Passions

Earlier this year, when one of my clients had a lot of Photoshop work for me to do, an opportunity opened up. Because of a newly hired associate who didn’t have a matching studio headshot, I was tasked with taking an engagement photo and making it look like the rest of the associates’ professional shots. It was a grueling few hours of work and while ultimately looks presentable, it’s nowhere near perfect.

Shelby Riley & Associates office photo

Then came the request to add the new associate to the old group photo. I said, “no thank you.” You’ve seen what happens on sitcoms when they show fake family photos from the “past” – it’s not believable. You just can’t take a person on the beach and cut them out and place them with other people in their family room. The lighting alone is enough to make it an impossible task.

Instead, I offered to do a very cheap photoshoot to update the client’s group photo. They accepted and I got a chance to try it out. It turned out so well that instead of purchasing just the one requested group photo, they ended up taking four! I’ve done a couple more since then and I’m actively advertising this service to my clients. Now I’m more comfortable doing these shoots, have no trouble charging a reasonable fee, and I’m looking forward to branching out further than corporate portraits.

Rachel Bachman professional headshot

Why Not?

If you’re a freelancer or own your own business and you wish you could incorporate more of your hobbies and talents into your job, just start looking for ways to do it. Start small with low risk so you and your client feel comfortable with the possibility of a bad outcome. You definitely don’t want to shoot a wedding for your first photography job! But if you can find a way to do what you love even just some of the time and get paid for it – you simply have to try!

And if you need photos of anything, I have very competitive pricing. Modeling and corporate shoots may be obvious, but I also do the less obvious. Real estate, product, and car photography just to name a few. Get in touch with me; I’d love to help. I’ve included some examples of my skills in this post, but I’ll be sure to update my portfolio soon.