OHIO senior launches photography business on Court Street

Published: November 3, 2022 Author: Ellie Coldiron

Ohio University senior Carissa Nickell has her own photography business, the Indy Rose. She is opening her own photography studio on Court Street and booking for all kinds of sessions.

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

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

Carissa Nickell

“I was not really looking for a studio specifically. It was always a dream of mine to open a studio eventually, but I did not think it was possible in this area to find an actual commercial space…or one that was affordable and had the aesthetic that I wanted. And I accidentally stumbled upon it,” Nickell said.

Nickell’s vision for her studio is for it to be decorated with a boho, vintage look that will be especially perfect for newborn and family sessions.

“The trend is to have families’ babies in this really cozy, cuddly, intimate space where you can capture people in their most loving moments,” she said.

Nickell says she is most excited to be able to continue to grow and give back to the Athens community by opening her studio. She is also excited to connect with a new population of clients by providing a service that is not widely offered in Athens. Her goal is to offer family sessions, newborn sessions, and head shots at an affordable price without giving up the high-quality work that is her standard.

The biggest challenge with owning her own business is how overwhelming it is to balance with school, other jobs, and her involvement by herself, Nickell says. She is currently looking to hire her first employee – a creative project manager to support her with tasks like bookings, social media management, and keeping up with editing deadlines.

“It is such a blessing...It is more than a dream come true to be 22 years old and a senior in undergrad…and to be able to have a business that makes me enough money that I can open its own space as a college student is more than I could have imagined was possible.”

This experience has been a great learning opportunity for Nickell, who majors in psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and is in Army ROTC. She is very open to having students talk to her about what owning a business is like, and even work for her to see firsthand what goes into owning a business as a student.

Carissa Nickell

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

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

Time management and balancing the business with other areas of life is also important to launching a new enterprise.

“It can become kind of an obsession if you’re really passionate about this thing that’s also making you money,” she said. “But, you have to be able to give to other parts of your life and not be fully engulfed in that business.”

Nickell is booking appointments both in Athens and to travel outside of the area. She is also open to doing any sort of session in and out of her studio, including mini sessions, couple sessions, family sessions, engagements, weddings, student organization sessions, local business sessions, and headshots. Additionally, Nickell is offering discounts for 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