Good morning!! I wanted to get this post up before I left for work because I’m so so so excited about it. This is my very first artist feature, and it’s good stuff. I asked Miss. Courtney Bruesch if she would help me out because she has been endlessly helpful to me. She’s very knowledgeable (about pretty much everything. I can’t even describe) and friendly and her blog is so cute. When I approached her about being a part of my feature she was extremely supportive and gave me some AMAZING responses. If you’re an art student, this kind of information is gold. Read on to learn more about Courtney!
I am a professional commercial photographer and graphic designer. I am the owner of Courtney Bruesch Photography+Design for six years now. I have had photographs published in magazines, made into posters for in-store displays, used in e-mail blasts and for the web. I have photographed for companies such as Ace Hardware, NHL, Limited Too/Justice and Payless Shoes.
I always knew that photography would be the only path for me to take. I am never without a camera! I graduated High School early so that I could start my college career. I only applied to one college (Columbia College Chicago, which is second only to New York’s School of Photography) and had the privilege of both taking classes there and working there as a teacher’s assistant and darkroom lab technician. I can’t see myself doing anything other then photography and design for a career.
I think that this was partially answered in the last question but let me flesh it out a little more. There is a lot of technical know- how to photography. It is not always just about pretty photos but how you get to that point. ISO/ASA, Shutter Speed, strobes, slaves, flashes, props and lots of numbers are just part of what goes into a photograph. Then there is always post-production; film processing, image editing, etc.
Once you know how to make great photograph or successful design there is the business and branding side of an artist as a commodity; something I think not every artist thinks about in a commercial sense. You really have to if you want to make a living from your art, I was lucky enough that my college has a program for Fine Art as well as Commercial Artists. I received a BFA (with honors) in Photography.
As times get harder more and more of my family and friends worry about what I am going to do for the rest of my life. Art seems to be one of the first casualties in a slow economy. It is becoming more and more difficult to find freelance work. Commercial photo studios are going out of business like never before and the market is flooded with professional freelancers; not to mention the people who fancy themselves a professional photographer because they have a digital camera.
For me, life is not about making more money then the next person; I never wanted that kind of life. I simply want to have an artistic career that affords me the luxury of paying my bills- anything else would be just lovely though.
My favorite part of my career is working out the challenges that projects come with. I really love photography because it is part science and part art. No project is exactly the same and that makes it a very rewarding career.
I also love that I essentially sent my own hours. This is a double-edged sword though because when you set your own hours you often works well past them. It is easy to get into a routine of working 12 hour days!
Finally, do you have any advice to entrepreneurs or budding artists who want to make their craft a career?
From my experience here are some things to keep in mind when making the transition from art student to artist:
Be prepared and committed to use all of your time and money to pursue it.
Please have PROFESSIONAL portfolio. If you are not 100% committed to the work in your portfolio leave it out.
Dress properly for an interview; yes we are all artists here but no one will hire or book you if you look disheveled. I don’t like it either but it is the way the business world works.
Don’t get hung up not booking a job.
Remember that you are not longer in high school and the art world is very small…I think we all know what that means.
Try to read ‘Art and Fear’ by David Bayles and Ted Orland at least once a year. It is a very inspiring book that discusses making art after being an art student.