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Check Out Dana Ball’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Ball.

Hi Dana, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I opened Dana Ball Photography as a business in January 2021, so my business is really new, but I’ve pursued photography as an artist for many years. Sometimes I joke that I’ve probably spent more on my photography education than my parents spent on my college education. I’ve taken online courses and attended in person conferences and workshops, and along the way, I’ve been able to learn from some of the best female photographers in the industry. I love experimenting with different genres of photography, but I especially love photographing high school seniors. Before opening my business, I always did a few senior portrait sessions a year as a way to raise money for charity and to build a portfolio. I always dreamed of starting a business, but life was so busy, and the timing just never seemed right. The Covid-19 lockdown forced me to slow down and gave me time to do some serious reflection on what I wanted next in my life. The result is the business that I’m here to talk about today.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road hasn’t really been rough, but it has been long. A lot of people who love photography go into business as soon as they develop a few skills. I took an opposite approach. I waited a long, long time. I spent a lot of time watching and listening to other professional photographers. So while I still make my share of mistakes, spending a long time in the learning phase has helped me avoid some common pitfalls.

A couple of years ago, I set a goal to have my work published in a national magazine. At the time, this goal seemed a little crazy, a little too ambitious, so I didn’t share it with anyone. I just quietly began to submit work to various publications, knowing that rejections would be a part of the process. And they were! But because I put my work out there – risk and all – I’ve had the thrill of being published in national magazines – not once, but four times! That outside affirmation – having other professionals recognize and publish my work – helped me have the confidence to launch my business this year.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
At this time, I’ve chosen to photograph high school seniors exclusively. And I’ve decided to build my business around creating tangible artwork instead of just selling digital files.

We all love digitals, right? I love being able to share my images with friends and family, far and wide. I love knowing that I have a digital negative that can be printed at any time. Digital images are here to stay. I want them. And I want my clients to have them.

Still, there is something about a beautifully printed image that makes my heart sing. And over the years, I’ve come to realize that no matter how beautiful the images are, when I simply send someone a digital download, most people never get around to printing that digital file. Some people never even get around to downloading it.

Because of this, I offer both digital files and a simple menu of print products that I love: fine art canvas, fine art framed prints, small 8X10 albums, and gift prints. I meet my clients in person to show them their images and help them select the digitals and print products they would like to purchase. My goal is for them to walk away with exactly what they want from their senior portrait session. Most clients choose both digitals and prints.

My clients also value creating something unique to celebrate their child’s senior year. This is one of my favorite parts of this job: collaborating with families to create portraits that tell their child’s story in an artistic way. Whether it is highlighting a sport or hobby or choosing a location that has a special meaning to the senior, I want each client’s portrait to be one-of-a-kind.

Most clients hire me because they feel connected to my work. Usually, they’ve seen my portfolio on my website or Instagram and something about it resonates with them. They trust me to create portraits of their child at this significant milestone. I feel honored to be the recipient of that trust.

No two high school seniors are alike. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know each senior and working with them to create joy-filled, unique portraits that tell their story. Each year in May, my mailbox fills up with graduation announcements, and many of them feature the senior portraits that I shot over the past year. It makes me smile to think of all the possibilities the future holds for these graduates.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photo of Dana Ball by Ashley Rogers Photography
All other images by Dana Ball Photography

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