Professional photography puts high school student in the Spotlight

Professional photography puts high school student in the Spotlight
A South Florence High student operates her own photography business. (Source: WMBF News)
A South Florence High student operates her own photography business. (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - She is an entrepreneurial high school student at South Florence High School who operates her own photography business.

Now, high school junior and professional photographer Tindall Hutchinson is looking to take her business higher.

Ever since Hutchinson first picked up her father's classic DSLR camera at the age of 10, it has been her dream.

"It was huge and bulky," Hutchinson said of the camera. "He asked me to take a picture of his RC helicopter and I remember holding that body in my hand and pressing the shutter button and just hearing the shutter go off. That was just like a click of what my future was going to be like, because as soon as I heard that noise I fell in love."

The student turned her passion into a successful business. Shutter Up Photography has been in operation since Hutchinson was in the eighth grade. She captures memories for families and her high school peers.

"I'm a student providing to other students, and that's also a market that no one in Florence has yet to reach besides me," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson is also part of the entrepreneur and business program at Florence Career Center, a vocational program for surrounding high school students that concentrates on specific careers, training and skills.

"It helped me develop myself as a business person way more than I ever could imagine," she said. "Within this class the pre-requisite was you must have a business idea and I was thinking to myself, 'I have a business.' I almost thought it was pointless in my case, but within this class I got to rewrite my business plan, I got to relearn how to talk to people, I got to learn how to talk in front of people, I got to relearn how to pitch."

Learning those skills earned Hutchinson state recognition. She received second place at the Fifth Annual YEScarolina (Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina) State Business Plan Competition.

As a result, Hutchinson will participate in the 2016 NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. In October, she will head to New York City on an all-expense paid trip to compete against the top young entrepreneurs of the nation, making her the first from South Florence High School and the Florence Career Center to ever attend the competition.

Hutchinson's resume also boasts an active professional membership for Professional Photographers of America, making her the youngest in the Southeast to have gained this recognition. She also works alongside the head photographer at the University of South Carolina.

"I've gotten to shoot for the girl's cheer team at the University of South Carolina for the past three years as well as the co-ed team, so not only has that boosted my confidence within my work, it's also helped me discover new options for college," Hutchinson said.

When she is not tending to her clients and business, she's into her schoolwork and other activities like cheer, Girl Scouts and serving as editor of her high school yearbook, among others.

Hutchinson said she strives to be professional and produce quality work because she is so young and wants to be taken seriously.

As to where the future may lead, Hutchinson hopes the destination is ultimately Charleston.

"I want to be able to expand more into Charleston, South Carolina. My dream is to have a studio on Kings Street, because everyone is on Kings Street," she said.

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