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PPA Today: How They Did It: May 2012 Archives

How They Did It: May 2012 Archives

About 15 years ago, Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, created a part-time home studio in Madison, W.V., to explore her interest in the art of photography. Today, she juggles Forester Photography--which has cornered the senior portrait market in her area and moved into a modern downtown facility--and photoDUDs, a drag-and-drop design software company for photographers. She's happy, profitable and doing what she loves.

But how did she navigate those difficult early years and keep growing? "I think the key to my success is that I'm always looking ahead," says Beth.

Growth of a Business
Like most, Beth's photography business grew in stages. Rarely does anyone decide to become a photographer and--bam!--start up a smoothly running full-time studio the next day. There are hard decisions to be made and, more often than not, the business you start out with will change significantly.

For example, Beth's photographic passion increased with her daughter's birth. But photography (especially film, which she started in) is not cheap, and she needed to support her hobby somehow! That led her to take on small jobs and charge for them. She even taught tennis lessons for an entire summer, just to buy the medium-format camera she wanted!

Later, at a crossroads in her life, Beth needed a job, needed to support herself. She looked at her history degree and wondered if she should teach. Then she looked at her photography again. More and more people wanted to hire her...could she do this full time? Beth decided on the photography path, but within a year and a half, she realized she had to change a lot of things if she was going to do more than pay her bills.

Read the full profile of Beth Forester.
How many of you know a photographer who got into the business as a career change? Chances are, we all know someone like that (and it might even be yourself!). It doesn't matter where you come from; what matters is where you go with your photography in the end. Does it remain a hobby, does it take over your life, or can you balance it as a career you love?

Jen Basford of 3 girls photography in Edmond, Okla., went through a successful career change herself, and she knows the importance of getting your photography business established the right way (for you).

Making the Change

Jen had no photographic aspirations in school--she wanted to be an astronaut! That lasted about two weeks into her college career, though, which was how long it took to get her major changed. She ended up earning an MBA and working for Accenture. After several moves and her second daughter's birth, Jen's interest in photography was born.

"I didn't have any intentions of making a business out of photography, but I did want to learn how to do things right," she admits. Her MBA experience led her to study photography through courses and workshops...and to join PPA in 2005, way before she went into business as a photographer.

"I knew through business school that belonging to professional organizations was important in whatever profession you chose," Jen explains. "So, I searched out national photography associations and immediately joined PPA as a student."

Read the full article here.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the How They Did It category from May 2012.

How They Did It: April 2012 is the previous archive.

How They Did It: June 2012 is the next archive.

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