A captured dream

Teenager starts photography business


Photo by Dawson Kelley

Story by Jenny Gonzalez, staff writer

No emails. The following day repeats with the same news, no emails. Each dreaded day slowly passes by. Every time there’s nothing but the words inside his head telling him don’t give up, this is just the beginning.

Sophomore Oren Smith’s love for photography sparked around the eighth grade, and last year, he began his own business as a photographer. 

“I was in a photoshop class that I didn’t want to be in at first. I thought it wasn’t going be fun, but it turned out to be amazing,” Smith said. “It was really interesting seeing what you can do with pictures, and how it reflects art itself. You can show many emotions in one picture.”

With the help of his parents, Smith was able to begin a new chapter in his life pursuing what he loved.

“My parents are friends with a photographer and they showed my pictures to [the photographer],” Smith said. “He bought me my first camera, and it was all awesome. Later for my birthday, [my parents] bought me a professional camera.  I bursted into tears of joy upon receiving it because I was so excited to start.”

Like any other business, it started out small, and while things didn’t seem to be going very well at first, they started to get better as more people knew about the photography business. 

“It started up slow, as a normal business. I started advertising by word-of-mouth and gained two to three customers who told me, ‘You have to get your marketing out,’” Smith said. “Now I go home and I have at least 20 emails from people that are interested.”

I was in a photoshop class that I didn’t want to be in at first. I thought it wasn’t going be fun, but it turned out to be amazing.”

— Smith

Smith manages to find a way to balance his photography work, school and extracurricular activities.

“A lot of people look at me and think, ‘Wow, he’s got it easy,’ or, ‘He is managing all of his time.’ Well, it’s harder than it seems. I have a planner specifically for photography, and I have to work around school and maintain my grades,” Smith said. “You look at everything to see how much you have to keep up with. I have to manage my time and remember to stay organized.”

Even though at first it was a struggle, Smith learned to organize his time and not let obstacles interfere with what he aspires to do. 

“Go for your dreams. Don’t stress about it because if you stress you are going to just break down and give up, and you never want to give up,” Smith said. “Go after what you want and continue. Don’t let people say you can’t do something. Don’t pay attention to them, but instead burst through and go on your journey.”