Molly’s Photography Journey

Molly Potter starts up her own photography business

By Deana Johnson

Molly Potter, a senior at Ripon College, recently started her own photography business. She recently sat down with the College Days to talk photography, life goals, and what it’s like to run a business full-time while still studying at Ripon College. 

What did you get into photography?

I started when I was pretty young, taking basic Tumblr-esque photos on my phone. My Dad had this old camera that he would let me use, and I would try to take some photos with that. Once I got to high school, I took every course they had available throughout my four years, learning more advanced techniques and how to edit. That was what really started my love for photography; I would convince my friends to model for me and go and try to take their photo, being as weird or creative as I could be. And it just grew from there!”

What are your favorite photos to take?

“Definitely editorial/conceptual photos. Once I started working with Elly Klawitter, Ripon College senior, here at school, I realized how much I loved taking an idea and visualizing it into a shoot. I love taking my weirdest or randomest thoughts and creating an image with them.

What is your favorite part of photography/what do you love most about it?

My favorite part is getting to work with a variety of people and helping them to feel confident and good about themselves. Knowing that I can take a photo that someone can look at and think, “Dang I look good;” that’s the best feeling. And that’s my goal with every shoot: to have the client be not only in love with the photos but how they look in them.

What is it like starting your own photography business?

Oh god, it’s stressful. Some months you’re shooting a ton and you feel great, and then you have a month with no shoots and you feel like a failure. Something I didn’t expect was the amount of support I have received, particularly from people in Ripon! Having people repost my images, or come up to me and tell me they love my work, it is the best feeling in the world knowing people appreciate your art. Especially when sometimes I spend 6 hours on one photo! It’s all worth it when others appreciate what I am trying to do. One of the hardest things about starting a creative business, though, is putting aside the creative part sometimes and focusing on the business aspect. I am currently months behind on my financial spreadsheet, and it is taunting me. Tax season’s a bitch for sure! 

What is your career goal for the future? 

I hope to own and run my own photography business full time, freelancing as an editorial photographer as well as doing weddings and portraits. If I had to really reach for a dream, it would be to work New York Fashion Week. I love clothes and using them to create creative images, and to get to do that in the hub of fashion would be an absolute dream.

What do you want Ripon students to know about photography?

Photography is hard and can be daunting. If anyone on campus is interested in photography and learning more about the process, I would love to answer any questions! It often feels like those in the business are gatekeeping the information, and I would never want someone to give up just because they aren’t receiving help.

Follow Molly’s journey on her website,  www.yellowpinesphoto.com, and her Instagram @yellowpinesphoto.