Ohio University offers a wide range of opportunities for students majoring in visual communication, particularly those interested in photography. Whether through various student-run publications, media-related organizations or events occurring in Athens, student photographers have a plethora of possibilities to practice and showcase their craft. 

While many photography students may begin their freelance work well before college, when coming to the Athens campus, there are numerous media organizations available to photography students that enable them to actively practice their skills in new ways. 

Leanna Siupinys, a senior studying commercial photography, said she immediately joined these organizations to further her interest and gain experience. 

“I got involved right away with Thread Magazine, which I think is a really great opportunity for any photographer on campus,” Siupinys said. “I've picked up the role of photo editor, which has really helped me out a lot and allowed me to make really good friends that are also photographers, (which) has helped me throughout my college experience.”

Sophia Muñoz, a senior studying commercial photography and the creative director of Variant Magazine, said being on campus is beneficial to her photography career, as it has given her opportunities related to her specific genre: music-related photography. 

“My passion is making cover art for musicians, so being in Athens has really helped me take off (my music photography) career because I've met a lot of musicians from the DIY scene here,” Muñoz said.  “And then, also, just within Brick City Records, I've worked with artists there. So, I've found a lot of opportunities here in Athens to make that happen.”

Kailee Richey, a junior studying commercial photography, said one of the greatest benefits of being on campus for her photography career is the access to the various equipment provided by the university.

“Being a student, we don't always have the money that we need for various equipment (that) we might need for photo businesses and photo clients and such,” Richey said. “So having access to our equipment room and stuff is a really nice advantage of being on campus.”

Outside of the campus itself, the benefits of OU have extended to students’ professional lives, as they navigate internships and possible job opportunities. Richey, who is also the web editor for Thread Magazine and the photo editor for Variant Magazine, said her future internship has a connection to OU. 

“This summer, I have an internship in New York City with an OU alum who majored in commercial photography as well,” Richey said. “So, ideally, this summer will be setting me up to meet people and make contacts. So, hopefully I will be able to find a job somewhere.”

Despite the professional opportunities, Richey emphasized her passion for her photography business is rooted in her love for the process involved in creating and finishing the project at hand. 

“I love being able to have a very cool and creative and beautiful image in my mind and being able to execute that through photography and through my editing,” Richey said. “Working with makeup artists and nail artists and models and photo assistants — whoever might be on set — I think that's the fun part of commercial photography ... just the process of being able to work with all different departments to create something pretty and beautiful that you're able to either sell through advertising and marketing or just create an artistic vision for yourself.”

When thinking about her future in photography, Siupinys said she hopes to rely on the collaborative aspect of the process, as it is integral to the project’s success. 

“I really enjoy the aspect of being able to think of a moment or action or scene in my head and then put together a team to bring that to life,” Siupinys said. “It's fun to get to know other people, whether they’re a model, a stylist or a makeup artist. I think that's a really important aspect of the creative industry — specifically, the photo industry — because it makes everything so much more enjoyable.”