Balancing a career as a photographer while going to school and taking care of children and families is second nature to Carthage women who spend their days capturing the perfect images. Erin Phillips, owner of EB Photography, Courtney Ritter, owner of Courtney Ritter Photography, and Hookum Photography owners Lasha Hawthorne and Felicia Pierce, aka Hookum Leese, are no strangers to the hard work that comes with owning their own businesses.
For photographer Erin Phillips, photography is both a passion and a business.
Starting her business in 2017, Phillips has been taking photos since she was in fifth grade, beginning her future career as a hobby.
Running EB Photography is not the only thing that occupies the photographer’s time, since she is a full-time college student at Stephen F. Austin as a marketing major.
“I want to work at a corporate job at first, then take what I’ve learned and apply it to my own business,” she said. She currently puts her marketing skills to work by handling social media and promotional pics for the Texas Tea Room in Carthage.
For her photography work, Phillips specializes in lifestyle photos, including seniors and family portraits along with weddings. Most of her photos are done in outdoor settings.
“Owning a studio is definitely something I want to accomplish in the future,” she said.
As a woman, Phillips said owning her own business is not as hard as people think.
“It’s a man’s world essentially, but I’ve proven I can do this. I have income for myself and it’s a nice feeling to do my own thing. I’m excited to see where I get in the business world after I graduate,” Phillips said.
Like any other profession, the world of photography has both pros and cons. For Phillips, she enjoys interacting, meeting new people and networking.
“I enjoy getting to be a light and a blessing to someone,” she said. As a reasonably priced photographer, Phillips said she has gotten numerous compliments on being able to offer reasonably priced photos and working with any clients to find a budget.
“One of my clients couldn’t find a wedding photographer to fit their budget and I was willing to work with them,” she said. “They were so grateful to have the photos of their special day.” Phillips said she has also been complimented on making clients feel at ease and getting true, happy smiles in the photos.
On the negative side of the profession, the photographer said she is often expected to take photos of everyone all the time and never gets to “just chill” on vacations.
One of her favorite photos came from a vacation, however, when her family traveled to the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle.
The photo is of Phillips’ grandparents, who had not been able to take a vacation in a long time, in front of the canyon.
“It was a special moment and a photo I will continue to treasure,” she said. Though she especially loves that photo, she has favorite photos from every single session she has photographed.
Phillips’ love of photography started when she was a small child and grew up looking at old photos.
“My mom always had a camera lying around,” she said. From that point on, Phillips’ passion for photography led her down the road to work on yearbook staff and working at a church camp which is where she learned how to use manual settings on a camera. The self-taught photographer current utilizes a Canon EOS 70D with a 50mm lens.
To contact EB Photography, see EBphotography on Facebook or EBphotography_1 on Instagram.
Courtney Ritter Photography
Courtney Ritter, owner of Courtney Ritter Photography, has officially been in business since 2018 starting her own company by turning her hobby into a profession.
“Honestly my photography started when I began taking photos of my oldest child,” she said. As a mom to three boys — Kainen, 9, Kreed 7, and Kohen, 2 and a half — she has no shortage of photographic material. As a mom, her full-time job is taking care of her kids but manages to fit in a session or two a week as a part-time business owner.
As a lifestyle photographer, Ritter specializes in senior/graduate photos, families and newborn photos. She thoroughly enjoys capturing senior memories, which is her favorite part, she said.
For Ritter, owning her own business as a woman has given her an extra sense of accomplishment.
“It’s awesome to have my own business and make my own money,” she said.
As a photographer, Ritter enjoys getting to be around so many people but doesn’t enjoy the photography aspect taking away from family time on evenings and weekends.
Since she currently doesn’t own a studio setting and the majority of clients prefer outdoor photos anyway, finding locations can be difficult, she said.
“I don’t own land but fortunately I lots of friends who allow me to take photos on their property,” Ritter said.
Ritter’s love of photography started when she was a child and loved to look at old photos.
“I’ve always loved to capture moments,” she said. Ritter also specializes in graphic design and has created logos for many different businesses.
One of Ritter’s favorite photos that she has taken was a senior on a rock at sunset and other senior class photos during the ‘Golden Hour,’ the time period before sunset.
For the photographer, one of the most difficult parts of capturing photos is finding the perfect outdoor location.
“A lot of my locations are on private property so they can’t be duplicated when someone else wants a photo taken there,” she said. To capture moments, Ritter uses a Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera.
To reach Courtney Ritter Photography, go to www.facebook.com/courtneyritterphotography.
Hookum Photography, owned by Felicia Pierce, aka Hookum Leese, and co-owner/manager Lasha Hawthorne, has been in the full-time photography business since 2017 and specialize in a wide variety of photography including family, wedding, seniors/grads, event, performance and much more. They also offer videography, certified wedding planner/day coordinator, flyers, logo design, business card design, invitations and more.
“We are highly creative within our editing department to where our visual concepts come alive in each session,” Hawthorne said.
As a woman-owned business, Felicia and Lasha try to stay competitive in the world of photography.
“It’s more compelling to be hard on one’s self while demanding growth from the previous year,” the owners said.
Like any other business, there are both pros and cons to owning a photography company.
Looking at the positives, being an artist through the lens allows the photographers to see the softer side of the camera and have creativity explode during sessions, no matter if the client is male or female.
Another positive is to have an independent status to present to their children that women can accomplish multiple jobs at one time, Lasha said.
The negatives to owning their own business is simply not having enough hours in the day and having to prove their worth as a female business owner.
Both photographers got into the world of photography by looking at old family pictures and having the feelings of “wow, look at us, or them.”
“That fuzzy feeling everyone gets when you go to mom or grandmother house and go through those dusty photo albums and want to give the next generation the same feelings,” Lasha said, about why they became photographers.
Many of their clients have exclaimed over the years that they are simply “in love” with their photos, instead of just liking them.
“We strive on being affordable. Everyone wants to have that perfect look but may not be able afford it the high-end dollar amount, but at Hookum Photography you can afford it. Passionate photographers versus just plain old photographers are different when it comes to prices. Hookum Photography is deeply passionate when it comes to capturing the client’s moments, taking pride in our work, not just working. The excitement on our client’s face makes up the monetary difference,” Lasha said.
Research, personal experience and college classes have allowed the photographers to learn how to capture the perfect images, and they utilize Canon M50, 24mm-105 lens and 50mm lens and the Canon Rebel T6i to snap the photos.
Hookum Photography has the option of both studio space and outdoor photos for those who may be interested in booking them for a shoot.
To contact the company, go to www.hookumphotos.com, Facebook @HPHookum or call (903)-423-3332.