This week, the editorial staff of The Student Movement chose to honor Joelle Arner, an individual who has worked tirelessly for the benefit of our paper. Arner, who has served as a photographer and/or Photo Editor from 2013 to 2016, has served very important role, providing readers like you with photos you love (and which any good newspaper needs). Having graduated in the Fall 2016 semester from Andrews University with a BFA in photography, Arner is now pursuing a career as a wedding photographer. This interview constitutes a shout-out to Joelle and her work, an introduction to those who may not know her.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
My dad had a big impact on me growing up; he would always bring a camera on vacations or to events (or simply have it with him in everyday life) to document memories in the making. When I got to high school, one of my friends participated in the 365-day challenge and it inspired me. I began taking one new photo a day, of whatever I wanted. And my interest in photography began to grow! Soon I was taking a photography class and when I came to Andrews I knew I wanted to major in photography.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to make a career out of photography?
I remember this moment so well. I was 19 and a junior in college, trying to decide whether or not to pursue wedding photography. It was such a big deal for me because up until that point, I hadn't been planning on being a professional photographer long-term. I always thought maybe it would be something I'd do on the side. But, that night I decided to go for it and I'm so glad that I did! I have no regrets whatsoever.
What were some challenges you have overcome both as a student at Andrews and as an entrepreneur?
Being an Andrews student and running my own business was naturally challenging, having to balance school and work at the same time. I wanted to devote time to each but there were definitely times where I had to prioritize. As an entrepreneur, I think one of the biggest challenges you face is how to market yourself well. I figured out that you need both pretty photos and good captions in order to grab people's attention (and keep it!). Over time I learned about different tools that have really helped to streamline my process too.
How did your time at Andrews prepare you for your career?
My teachers' impact on me was huge. I cannot thank the teachers in the photography department enough for how they prepared me. They critiqued my work and showed me how to improve, encouraged me in running my own business, and overall have just been incredibly supportive. It means a lot and I'm very grateful for them.
What keeps you going even when things are looking difficult?
God. Hands down. Lately I've been learning to really trust Him with a variety of things, but especially my business. All of my successes are 100 percent because of Him, not me. And I think that's really important to remember.
How can people contact you for photo shoots?
They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!