Picture this: alumna lands commercial photographer job at Columbus Brewing Company

Published: March 2, 2023 Author: Ken Klein

When Bre Severns graduated Ohio University in May 2022, she headed to Columbus . . . with her camera equipment.

As a student, Severns, a Visual Communication major, had interned at Columbus Brewing Company. After graduation, she immediately began working there full-time as a commercial photographer.

In this Q&A, Severns explains how she got her job, how her work is published, and offers advice for future commercial photographers.

KK: How did you get a job in commercial photography?
BS: In college, I majored in Visual Communication Commercial Photography along with a certificate in Social Media. What I learned in school, along with my involvement in the student organization Thread Magazine, helped me get to where I am today. I got my full-time photography job at Columbus Brewing Company by starting as an intern during my last semester at Ohio University.

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KK: How are your pictures used?
BS: My pictures are mostly used as content for our social media accounts. I also take photos to go on our website for new canned beers. My photos also have been used online for articles published by 614 Magazine and the Columbus Dispatch.

KK: Is there a difference between commercial photography and other types of professional work like news photography?
BS: Commercial photography is creating images that serve the purpose of advertising specific products. Whereas news photography is photojournalism, which captures real-life events as they have happened. Working at a brewery means that I have a hand in both styles. Although mostly what I create is considered commercial, I do photograph certain things that would fall under the photojournalism category. I tend to go back into the brewery a lot and photograph anything and everything that goes on behind the scenes. Whether they are brewing a beer, packaging, or testing it, if something interesting is going on I'm back there. We are currently in the process of opening a second location, so over the past year I have gone over to take lots of progress photos.

KK: How did your training help you?
BS: Before working here, I had very limited experience photographing food and beverages. A lot of what I had done in school consisted of working in a studio with lights, backdrops, people, and props. Currently, I take almost all of my photos inside the Taproom bar area using the windows as my light source. A lot of the photos I create are considered commercial still life and lifestyle. Coming into this job, I had to do my research and see what other photographers in the beer industry were doing to know what type of photos I should create. 

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KK: Any tips for would-be commercial photographers?
BS: My biggest tips for would-be commercial photographers are to have an open mind, keep trying new things and never stop learning. After graduating college I had this idea in my head that I was done learning, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have been able to learn and grow so much post-grad, which I think is very important and valuable. I love that my work is a visual representation of my growth and how far I’ve come!

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