Flagler alumna Alison Miller is taking a risky and frightening, but potentially beneficial life step by opening Alison Miller Photography toward the end of last summer.
She photographs portraits, weddings, pets, commercial buildings, vacation rentals, maternity, preschools, graduations and special groups.
“It’s nice to have a job where you can do what you like doing and not have to answer to anyone else,” Miller said. She loves being her own boss and setting her own hours.
She began photography because she was surrounded by it during her childhood. Her mother was a professional photographer and Miller admired her mother’s work.
She knew that she was interested in arts and crafts and other creative things, but she wasn’t exactly sure which path she wanted to take with it.
Miller said when she came to Flagler, she enjoyed the fine arts classes most of all.
“I didn’t know when I started at Flagler that I wanted to do photography. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized I love it so much that I wanted to do it all the time,” she said.
Looking back, however, Miller sees the benefit of specializing in photography. “The more you do one thing, the better you get at it,” she said.
Flagler has helped her build her networking for the real world. “My photography teachers were very helpful, and Chris Smith [a graphic design professor] gave me references to assist a couple of people with photography,” Miller said.
She chose to keep her business in St. Augustine because she liked the area and felt that she could build her network since she already knew the people and the area.
She began by assisting a photographer in Jacksonville and helping local photographer Tom Addison with wedding shoots. It was here that she learned how to work “meticulously” and how much work went into the craft.
Miller began to plan her own company after she graduated, although “it was really slow in the beginning.” She continued to work with Addison to perfect her work.
She designer her own web page for her business and is working diligently to make it possible for her business to be her sole source of income.
The hardest part about having her own business, according to Miller, is how hard it is for her to get motivated now that she isn’t busy with classes and being a resident advisor.
Miller now works for a company called Old City Photography to supplement her income. “I have to push it to get my work stuff done and my photography stuff done,” she said.
The most rewarding thing about her job, according to Miller is “meeting people and getting to connect with them through the photos.” She mused and mused but could not find one thing she disliked about starting her own company.
Miller and her boyfriend are planning to publish a children’s book about different activities that children would enjoy in St. Augustine. Miller would take the photos and her boyfriend would write the book.