Taking the shot: Akanksha Banerjee (‘21) talks running a photography business after high school

In her freshman year of high school, Akanksha Banerjee (‘21) was already an avid photographer. At the time, though, she had no idea her hobby of taking fun photos with friends would quickly expand into elaborate shoots around town for senior, family, and company events. 

Now in college, Banerjee has made great strides both personally and professionally in the field of photography—and it all started with her small high school business. 

The Business Frame 

For all of Banerjee’s shoots, planning is key. Through consultations with her customers, Banerjee determines the time, theme, and price best suited for each client. 

Over time, these consultations and shoots have taught her more about posing, lighting, and simply “what looks better” when shooting different times and locations.

“Most people don’t have experience posing, so I usually ‘model’ some ideas to give them some guidance,” said Banerjee

Banerjee also makes sure her clients feel  comfortable during shoots. Despite most people being unfamiliar with official posing and photo shoots, Banerjee says that consultations remain fun, and that the process always unfolds very “naturally.” 

In high school, one of the biggest perks of managing her own business was working based on her own schedule. 

“You also get out what you put into it, which can motivate you to work harder,” said Banerjee.  

But making big decisions was a challenging aspect, since all of her decisions made a direct impact on her business. For Banerjee, overcoming these challenges meant keeping an open mind and learning from others. 

“In my line of work, you learn so much by working with others and hearing what knowledge they have to share,” said Banerjee. 

Shooting Beyond

Currently, Banerjee works as a photographer for Cal Poly SLO’s PINK team, a position that involves various events and themed photo shoots to create marketing content for the company. 

A few things have carried over from her high school career. Consultations, for one. Maintaining an organized schedule has remained important, too, what with tighter college itineraries and an annual influx of spring clients during graduation season. 

She’s also learned the importance of editing, an aspect of photography that went a bit overlooked in the early stages of her career. 

“When I started, I definitely didn’t realize how much time and effort went into editing. It can make such a huge difference, and I definitely spend more time on it now,” said Banerjee. 

Still, college, Banerjee admits, is a completely different experience. 

“College graduates have a completely different experience in their photo shoots as it usually includes multiple locations and often friends,” said Banerjee. 

Though she’s been learning to navigate the high school-college transition from senior photographers, balancing photography with her course load is also demanding. 

“As a student, academics definitely come first for me, but I do my best to prioritize both! It’s all about finding the balance that works best for you,” said Banerjee

Her biggest piece of advice? 

“Just go for it,” said Banerjee. “You may feel like you won’t succeed, or that no one will be interested in your ideas, but going for it and putting your best foot forward will often prove these ideas wrong.”