VIDEO: The Daily Update, Wednesday, April 27

April 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Find out what Syrian snipers did in their attempt to stop protesters. How did a man’s dog almost land him in jail? And find out for whom the wedding bells ring in Ford Stadium. All this and more on your Daily Update!

Finance Student Turned Professional Photographer

January 21, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Kristin Salazar
ksalazar@smu.edu

Evan Godwin, a senior at Southern Methodist University, is a finance student by day and a professional photographer by night. He started as an amateur and now owns two companies and travels the country to shoot wedding pictures. Godwin bought his first camera in 2009 and said he enjoyed taking pictures.

“I put the word out that I can do small photography, like headshots or portraits, and I was doing it for cheap,” Godwin said.

Some professionals said taking this type of photograph does not qualify someone for professional photographer status. According to Robert Hart, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, experience is needed. Hart said if photographers wants to call themselves a professional photographer they need to shoot photographs every day to gain experience.

“What separates us from the amateurs is an incredible depth of experience and problem-solving skills,” Hart said. “We not only shoot the photo but we have to rent the equipment and know what is needed.”

Godwin said he found a professional photographer in Houston and shadowed her to gain experience at weddings.

“I had a couple of brides call me and say, ‘We can’t afford to have a professional at our wedding and we would rather have you come take pictures with your camera because we know they will be better than our guests with disposables,’” said Godwin, who had never been to a wedding before.

In the first six months of his business, Godwin shot amateur images and charged $300 for six hours in order to start buying proper equipment. In the last six months, he said he has gained confidence about his images and charges $2,500 for eight hours plus an engagement session.

“I have gotten pretty good. I have a lot of people request me from all around the country now,” Godwin said.

Godwin has maintained his amateur business for the lower-end market and calls it Evan Godwin Photography. He subcontracts photographers and sends them to shoot weddings for less. His personal project is his second business, the Purus Wedding Studios business, for which he exclusively shoots. He has taken some criticism for these businesses.

“When I first started out, there were a few photographers [who] would e-mail me and say I was charging too little and if I knew anything about the business I would charge more,” he said.

Godwin said he never felt threatened by these e-mails because his education from SMU gave him the knowledge and tools he needs to be a business owner.

“I have been fortunate enough to want to be a good photographer and combining that with the understanding of business works for me,” Godwin said.

Kimberly Wylie, owner of Kimberly Wylie Photography in Dallas, and a former investment banker, agrees with Godwin.

“The people who know who they are and know business will maintain a good status in their business. People who don’t may get caught in the shuffle… It is a very hardworking industry and a lot of people don’t take into consideration the business side of things,” she said.

After college, Godwin said he plans to expand his market to Houston.

“I had a photographer sent to me and I will have them run my market down there,” Godwin said.

He wants to get to the point where he can acquire enough subcontractors to allow him to focus all of his energy into running his businesses. Godwin’s ultimate goal is to go into finance and own restaurants.

What is most important to Godwin when he is out shooting photographs for glowing couples?

Relationships. He said he includes an engagement session with every wedding package because when he spends more time with his clients, he gets to know them better and by the end of a session the couples will start having fun.

“When you build that relationship for the wedding, they know that if there is anything they need they can get a hold of me and they don’t feel awkward,” he said.