Three years ago, Samantha Knox began taking photographs professionally. It was love at first click. The Kamloops school teacher has spent years playing with photography as a hobby, creating high-quality images to document the important moments in her life. A yearning to grow and share more of her passion and talent prompted her into opening a business, Samantha Knox Photography:
“I am in my infancy as a professional photographer. Until recently, I was simply a photography hobbyist. But, with my wild imagination, I wanted to show the world the beauty both in nature and in the people I saw around me. I began taking photographs professionally a few years ago and after a few portfolio building photo sessions, the requests kept pouring in.
Samantha is still in the learning stage of running a business. Her formal education is not business related and she has not relied on any funding. She says that networking and making connections with others have been the biggest keys to her success. She met families when she took part in The Front Steps Project and the Grad 2020 Project. She has also learned a few other business tips along the way:
“Paying attention to your expenses and income are essential for taxes. Having a well managed social media presence and a webpage is vital in the photography world. People like to research and find the artist that meets their needs. A good portfolio gives clients a sample of what they can expect from you. I always remain open to new opportunities. Not all work is monetary and frequently it’s the way you make people feel that brings you forever clients.”
Samantha is an outdoor portrait and lifestyle photographer, so her shoots typically take place in various natural settings such as forests, sagebrush or fields of wildflowers. She prides herself in creating a fun and positive experience for her clients. The outdoor sessions are long and require careful preparation:
“I usually spend the days leading up to the shoot connecting with my client and listening to what they want. I always go to the location and check out lighting, bugs, terrain and the areas I want to shoot the day before. My average photoshoot takes 2 -3 hours on site, so I want to make sure my clients and myself are fully prepared and as comfortable as can be.
Once we are on scene and ready to shoot I often remind my clients to take deep breaths and have a moment to enjoy the sunlight with their eyes closed. I call the first 15 minutes ‘get-to-know-you’ shots. These first few minutes help me see how the person moves and what poses they naturally do. Knowing how my client moves allows me to pose and direct them in more natural ways. I often love to share with my client what I am seeing with my camera. Sometimes seeing these images helps my clients pose better too.”
After every shoot, Samantha spends countless hours editing the fine details of each image. She works on a small desk in the living room of her small apartment:
“With my favorite tunes cranked, I get to work editing as soon as I am home from a shoot. From beautiful lighting to acne removal, I work hard at making each picture my best work. My editing skills are always improving as I learn more techniques and try new things.”
As with every business, there are challenges. Cancellations and setting reasonable rates are two that Samantha must deal with:
“I find so often that people don’t consider how many hours I put in before and after a shoot. They think I simply snap a few pictures and they are ready to go. Also there are expenses when it comes to updating my gear and editing software. I try to keep rates low and fair so that everyone can get a beautiful photo taken regardless of their economic status.”
This ambitious elementary school teacher plans to continue teaching and running her photography business. According to Samantha, she ‘absolutely loves both passions and hopes to continue them for a long time’.