Column: Being a full time student and business owner


Mia Hennen

Meredith balances her photography business with schoolwork and extracurriculars.

Meredith Frahm, Reporter

Being a full time high school student can be tough sometimes. Especially when you are in your senior year and figuring out what the rest of your life will look like. Applying to colleges, getting a good ACT score, finding the best home for your future to take off from. You manage homework, whether that be an amount with little to do or taking all honors classes resulting in cramming constantly. Having a job to pay for that car you just bought or to pay your phone bill. Staying involved inside of school, whether that means KAY club, StuCo, chemistry club, or all of the above. Not to mention keeping a social life and going to outside of school events. This may be what your life looks like and, hey, me too. But maybe not in the same circumstances.

I am just an average seventeen year old and a full time student. But, plot twist: I am also a full time business owner. Bet you don’t hear that often. I have always loved photography. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a camera in my hand. I was constantly going back and forth between what I wanted to do when I grew up. The adults in my life were always asking me what my dream job was. But something about photography always drew me back in, so I decided to turn my dream into a reality. 

March of 2020 is where it all officially began. Quarantine, the days where we were bored upon end with no in-person school, spending our days scrolling through TikTok. I was no exception; however, I decided to turn that boredom into something magical with my Canon Rebel T5 and 50mm lens. In the past, I would do photoshoots with friends for fun and even did my cousin’s senior photos back in 2017. But I never really considered taking on photography as my future job. 

As I began doing more photoshoots, social distance style, I started to notice myself falling in love with photographing people. After a little while, I was solid on my decision of becoming a photographer full time so I decided to try something new. You may know of some photographers in or around Wichita that have a representative team, for example: Jacob Isaccson and Valerie Shannon. I decided to also try having a rep team as well.

Now you may be wondering why would a senior in high school that has barely photographed any “real” clients take on this huge load? Well, I am doing it for the experience. You can’t grow without trying new things and failing. Through the time of having this group of girls, I have almost gone off the edge of a cliff multiple times. When I do hit one of these points, I brainstorm different ways to fix it and have a better solution to use next time. But my most recent cliff has been school.

I started my dream career during a time where time was endless! Yes we did have online school at the time, however you could easily get a week’s worth of homework done on Monday in a few hours. Once hybrid school began in September, I had to decide what I was going to do about managing my time. You might think I’m crazy but I kept everything pretty much the same with my business and school work. I get my homework done as soon as I can and still do photoshoots and edit. However, this takes major planning. 

I have always considered myself very organized but this was going to take a different type of organization. Keeping an updated schedule is key! I transfer all photoshoot dates to a Google calendar, hard copy planner, monthly calendar in my office, and a calendar on my phone. As if that sounds like a lot, add school work on top of it all. It does get chaotic at times if one or more are not up to date. Not only do you have to make a calendar, you have to put it into practice.

One thing that I did not anticipate when I began my dream was the hidden side of it all. Obviously you have the actual photoshoot, post processing, and posting on social media, except there are major parts that are also included that did not become apparent at the beginning. Let me list some things off for you: designing a website, preparing an inquiry email, making a separate bank account, buying updated equipment, and I could go on with much more. But I soon understood all of this and embraced it with a cautious hug.

When people ask me how I do it all? I just simply tell them it takes lots of organization and planning, and taking it day by day. Trust me, I am still learning how to manage all of this and I will have many ups and downs, but I love it and that is the most important thing.