What My Photography Was Like 5 Years Ago

Starting A Business While In College

When you don’t drink coffee.


I don’t know what I was thinking but I re-started my side business while in college probably from fumes of pure excitement. Formally I started Bethany J. photography in high school when a family friend hired me for Christmas photos. If you want to see the work I did back then and a cringe bathroom selfie of me in high school click here. I wanted to grow my business but I wasn’t sure how to go about it.  Have you ever been scared to ask people for money before because that is exactly how it felt at first? I decided to offer free sessions wherever I could in order to build my portfolio which was full of fine artwork. I think I had some imposter syndrome and didn’t feel official enough to actually charge anyone for my work. What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to create family photography while also trying to create more in-depth work in school. I think any creative has been there if they have ever done both meaningful art and fun client work.  I don’t have a formula on how to do it but I can share my experience so you can get to know me a bit more. I have a big rebrand announcement coming and wanted to do this blog post so you can “grow up” with me and understand where I have been and where I am going. Stay tuned for next week’s launch of the new brand!


Getting real-world experience

Check out some of the work I created with my first clients. While I had worked on more artistic fine art photography learning to communicate with people for family and professional portraits was a new skill that involved learning to direct people on how to pose, and working with various lighting situations. 



Developing My Voice

While starting to shoot clients I was also in school learning to develop my voice visually. College is where I learned how to be purposeful with the techniques I had been taught as well as how to tell a story. Here are a few projects I think show my thinking over time by exploring self-portraits, costumes, and dramatic lighting.

Fairy Knots

This project was about my natural hair. I cut my hair in high school and remember being so nervous to have short hair. I learned a lot about myself having to accept my hair as it was. 


One thing I can reflect on is that during this period of my life, the growth really showed in my technique. I was able to bring that back to my clients. Here are a few samples of the work that I did with some great people!


What I look forward to is bringing back some of my passion when it comes from the fine art side of my practice while continuing to use the vibrancy and warmth that I brought to my client portraits. I also look forward to taking the time to make portraits with even more detail and thought. I hope if you are working on your own skills or craft that you choose not to give up. Everything takes practice and time. It took years for me to get to where I am and I still have room left to grow. I like to always say enjoy the journey the destination will come. I would love to hear about what your work looked like 5 years ago! Find me on Instagram @bethanyjphotography or email me by clicking the contact button. Also, stay tuned for my podcast The Creative Cure, and more information about my rebrand launch!








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