OHIO Senior opens camera shop on Court Street

Carissa Nickell, a senior at Ohio University, has her own photography business, Indy Rose. She opens her own photography studio on Court Street and books for all types of sessions.

Nickell started photography in high school as a hobby. She is self-taught in photography and editing. She realized that if she focused on improving her camera skills and started creating content that people liked, she could expand her business. Nickell now shoots fully manually, allowing her to fully customize each shot.

The decision to open a studio was not planned. Nickell was looking for rental properties in Athens when she found a space on Court Street with lots of natural light, white walls and hardwood floors that she thought would be perfect.

Carissa Nickell

“I wasn’t really specifically looking for a studio. It’s always been a dream of mine to open a studio someday, but I never thought it would be possible to find true commercial space in this area…or one that’s affordable and has the aesthetic I wanted. And I accidentally stumbled upon it,” Nickell said.

Nickell’s vision for her studio is to decorate it with a boho-vintage look that’s especially perfect for newborn and family shoots.

“The trend is to have the babies in the family in that really cozy, snuggly, intimate space where you can capture people in their most loving moments,” she said.

Nickell says she is very excited to continue growing and giving back to the Athens community with the opening of her studio. She also looks forward to connecting with a new group of clients by offering a service that is not widely available in Athens. Their goal is to provide family sessions, newborn shoots and headshots at an affordable price without sacrificing the high quality work that is their standard.

The biggest challenge of owning your own business is how overwhelming it is to balance school, other jobs, and your own commitment, says Nickell. She is currently looking for her first hire – a creative project manager to help with tasks such as bookings, social media management and meeting editorial deadlines.

“It’s such a blessing … It’s more than a dream come true to be 22 years old and an undergraduate senior … and to be able to have a business that makes me enough money to start my own.” Opening space as a college student is more than I could have ever imagined.”

This experience was a great learning opportunity for Nickell, who is studying psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences and is with the Army ROTC. She is very open to students talking to her about owning a business and even working for her to see first hand what it is like to own a business as a student.

Carissa Nickell

Nickell’s advice to any student interested in entrepreneurship is if you have a hobby that you’re passionate about that’s marketable and other people are willing to pay for it, then go for it. She encourages students to show themselves and work towards growth, continue to believe in themselves and be consistent.

“You have to believe in yourself to the point that you know you’ll make it, even if you’re tired of putting so much work into that dream or into that business… You have to keep that passion going.” she says.

Time management and aligning business with other areas of life are also important to starting a new business.

“It can become kind of an obsession if you’re really passionate about something that makes you money,” she said. “But you have to be able to give to other parts of your life and not get completely immersed in this business.”

Nickell books appointments both in Athens and for travel outside the region. She is also open to any type of session in and outside of her studio including mini sessions, couples sessions, family sessions, engagements, weddings, student organization sessions, local business sessions and headshots. In addition, Nickell offers discounts to OHIO students, OHIO professors and faculty, and Athens residents.

Her studio is located at 14 N. Court St. Suite 2, Athens. You can book appointments by messaging her on Instagram @theindyroselens.

Carissa Nickell
Image courtesy of Carissa Nickell

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