You're nineteen years old, just out of college and have no real experience about the working world, so the thought of starting your own business is probably the last thing on your mind. But photographer Jessica Hayman did exactly that and even though it hasn't been all fun and games she's still taking photographs and her business is still going strong.
As a child Jessica loved art and music but it wasn't until late 2005 that she started taking photographs.
“I would go out, take pictures and put them onto Flickr. I asked for feedback and soon after I began to realise I enjoyed doing it and took it up as a profession,” said Jessica.
Jessica started her own business shortly after a local studio hired her. She worked at the studio for three months shooting all sorts of people from pregnant women and children to pets and the elderly. Even though she loved working with people the studio didn't offer her enough room to be creative. She wanted the chance to make her passion into a career so she left them and began to shape her own business.
“I started the business when I was 19, it was quite a big step as I hadn’t really done it before and I was just out of college with no experience in the working world. The greatest thing about running your own company is that you’re your own boss, so you can relax when you want to, give yourself a raise and take extra days off if you want. However running your own company isn’t all fun and games you have to be very motivated to be able to push yourself, you have to be flexible to ensure the work gets done and you have full responsibility for your own wage. If your company goes down, so does your wage and that is a scary thing to think about.”
Based in the South of England, Jessica now travels all over the UK to attend shoots and she will be venturing over to Ireland soon to shoot weddings. not bad for someone who is only 20 years old. Her first job was a modelling shoot for a local agency who she teamed up with to make sure both sides got what they wanted. The agency got a good set of photographs while Jessica could ensure she was paid.
“I love working with people and I love hearing their stories when they come and visit me.” said Jessica.
Although her love is of people her favourite image is one she calls Misty Roads. She took the photograph at 6.15am on a winters morning back in 2005 on a simple point and shoot camera.
“I was impressed with the detail that came out; especially seeing it was taken on such a basic camera.”
This simple photograph has turned into a popular buy for her customers who often request it on a canvas or as a large print. Jessica believes this goes to show how your equipment isn't everything and that your imagination and creativity can show the true beauty in the world.
Her work may have began on a point and shoot but now she uses a Canon 40D with various lenses, a swap she made earlier in the year.
“I swapped my Olympus E-500 for the Canon earlier this year, the main reason was I saw my company growing and my camera just wasn’t as reliable as it used to be so I knew an upgrade was needed. I also upgraded as I had my first wedding this year and I wanted better gear to ensure that I capture that moment the way I see it through the lens.”
How she captures her work, her style is described as laidback and enjoyable. Jessica believes in capturing what she sees and to create a friendly relationship with her models to ensure she not only captures them in their best light but it also makes it more of an enjoyable experience for all.
“I went on a shoot myself as a model for another photographer just to see a sample of how other photographers work. The photographer I used I found very forceful and unpleasant; however after the experience I could note where he was going wrong and where I aim to correct his mistakes and treat my clients fairly and kindly.”
Jessica likes to show her models, clients and friends in all their glory. She captures their personalities and demonstrates why everybody loves them. A picture showing this is of Zowie, her rocker chick (picture to right).
Like for many others, the digital age has allowed Jessica to get creative and showcase her work online. “I use it to network, showcase my latest work and organise shoots. I don’t believe a company can progress nowadays without the Internet, everyone is using it and it’s a great way to spread your name.” However, like all technologies digital photography has its downsides and for Jessica that's believing Photoshop is a must have. She doesn't like images which are heavily worked in Photoshop.
“Rather than capturing the beauty on the shoot they add the extras at home. I’m sorry but a software dork doesn’t make a good photographer. I use it to enhance my images not to create fake pieces of work.”
So does this young entrepreneur have any advice for other photographers out there?
“Practise! Lots and lots of practise!” said Jessica. “Oh and don’t listen to those who say you have to study photography to go anywhere. I believe photography experience is much stronger than any qualification. In Art, talent is important. After all, the industry doesn't care if you hold a degree or not!”
You can view more of Jessica's work here.