Casey McGaffick always knew someday she would own her own business. In 2008, armed with a dial-up internet connection and a library at her disposal, the idea to start her own photography business just clicked.
A graduate of Panama Central School, Casey earned business and psychology degrees from Houghton College. After graduation, she got married and worked a corporate job with a 9-5 schedule. When her son was born, she realized that her work life would not provide her the flexibility she wanted as a new mom and embraced the opportunity to launch her own business.
“I was researching photographers for my sister’s wedding,” Casey said, “and saw a niche there and just went for it. I cleaned out the local libraries, studied like crazy, and with my business degree and the cheapest SLR camera available took the leap and started McGaffick Photography.”
With no formal photography training, Casey researched different methods of taking photographs and lighting options by reading photography books, camera manuals and articles on the Internet, without popular social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.
“In some ways, (not having those sites available) was a blessing,” she said. “It forced me to do the hard work of learning and researching for myself and getting creative and developing my brand without the influence of others.”
A lifestyle photographer, Casey specializes in engagement, maternity, newborn, children, family, and high school senior sessions.
“I want my clients to see themselves and their families as I see them, beautiful and unique,” Casey said. “Sometimes it takes another perspective and a still image in a busy world to bring that to light.”
Now that her son is in school, in addition to shooting full time, Casey spends some of her time during the day working with photography students. Currently, she teaches online business and photography classes through The Potters School, an international high school/college, and in the past she has worked with students from the State University of New York at Fredonia.
“My advice for anyone pursuing business ownership or a career in photography would be to do the hard work, prepare for it to be difficult and, most importantly, be yourself,” Casey said.
To see some of Casey’s work, visit McGaffickPhotography.com or “Like” McGaffick Photography on Facebook.
This is part of a series focusing on students who have received scholarship assistance from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and have returned to the area to live and work. If you were a scholarship recipient and want to share your story, contact Sarah Marciniak at 661-3390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current high school seniors or college students interested in learning more about the scholarship opportunities available through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation can learn more at here. Applications are now available for the 2015-2016 school- year and are due June 1.