Today we’d like to introduce you to Becky Heath.
Becky, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been a full-time photographer and visual artist for over 20 years, getting my start in the marketing industry and eventually taking the plunge and starting my own Woman-Owned Small Business, Irish Coffee Studio. My clients and cohorts would say I am always striving to juxtapose efficiency and imagination into my work, whether I’m working on a corporate architecture contract, a creative photoshoot, or a mixed media venture.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved drawing. When I was a child, I traveled with my family in an RV across the U.S. I had some extra time on my hands, so I would sketch constantly —especially on the road between Dallas and Taos, New Mexico. I would make up stories, go into the mountains, and imagine new characters and create them in my drawings. Or would make mini sculptures while sitting on a fallen tree placed gently over the river — just like you would see in the Lord of the Rings. I loved reading, using my imagination to ponder how the characters would dress and express themselves, and then recreate them from a piece of blank paper. I have these childhood experiences and passions to thank as I grew older and found my way into graphic design work.
My uncle used to take pictures all the time of us growing up. That always fascinated me. It was no surprise I eventually became interested in the art form. My love for photography started in a dark room in high school, processing photos of my friends, landscapes, and lots of black/white and infrared photos. Naturally, my first camera was film. All throughout school, the art room and photo room were where I’d always escape to after class or during breaks — as a kid, I much preferred creating art and photo projects over socializing or playing sports. I preserve some of these old photos in a scrapbook somewhere. Writing this makes me want to dig them out, clean the dust off, and view them in a new light, decades later.
My father and most of my family built custom houses. Even as a child, the minutiae involved in architecture fascinated me! I learned about how small details can create aesthetics that speak volumes about the families that homes are designed and built for. I loved being on the job sites, watching a flat patch of land turn into a unique home that a family could form a new life in. I eventually found my way into drafting classes. I learned that creating with my hands was not only important for me as an individual, but that it’s my outlet — physically and emotionally. I realized I didn’t even contemplate the “what” or “how” of art very much, but that it seemed so second nature that my hands would just create without needing much thought. I found early on in life that through art and photography I could get feelings and frustrations out on a pad of paper, or that taking a photograph was much easier than I could verbally describe things using speech or writing.
After pursuing college and having my first son, I worked full time and it felt like my family was constantly on the move. I was pursuing a corporate career in marketing, and also taking classes on the side to keep up with new technologies, platforms, and media types. I liked marketing, but aspired to have more command over my work — to create what I wanted to create. It was around this time in 2014 that Irish Coffee Studio was born.
Now in business for 4 years, we are thriving and letting our Arlington, Texas roots flourish. Starting this business and exercising my passion every day has truly become a dream come true for me, especially with my family living and working in the communities where I was born and raised. The sense of calm, happiness, equanimity, and peace I find through all of these mediums of art seems to be ever-evolving, and I’m so grateful to have made my passion also my career. Thank you for giving me a chance to share my story!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With any business, challenges can be seen as blockers or as opportunities. Being a Woman-Owned Small Business isn’t a piece of cake. I am a 5’4″, fair-skinned / translucent woman with bright red hair, and I am frequently seen smiling ear-to-ear. I may look like a pushover. But with that, I have to be strong and be able to assert myself to make sure I am able to produce the best product possible for my clients. I have to show they can trust me and my experience to bring the design and vision that they need for that specific project.
To lay the foundation for Irish Coffee Studios, I had to work for others for many years while learning the skills needed to advance my career. I eventually realized I needed to work independently for my creativity to prosper and to grow, and for me to be truly happy. I wanted my work to represent me, my vision, and my perspective, so I started running art shows in addition to my full-time marketing job so I could plant the seeds for the business and become an entrepreneur.
I also believe strongly in giving back to my communities and supporting others with the obstacles and challenges they come across. To share compassion and respect for other women who have started their own business ventures, I started a women’s group on Facebook for women in different industries to connect called: Women Trusted and Inspired Advisers. We all work together on issues and remember that we have the power and the knowledge for what comes in front of us.
Please tell us about Irish Coffee Studio.
Corporate photography and art are my specialties. I understand commercial and corporate photography for construction, architecture, and branding. My clients’ branding deserves the visuals that tell an important story. This is where I come in. I bring over 20 years of industry experience to create tailored visions for my clients.
One of my favorite parts of architecture photography is seeing a project that I have photographed during the day grow and take a new shape. By the time I reshoot a building at dusk or dawn, it’s full of a new life with dancing lights, and full of new energy that it didn’t have earlier in the day. For portraits, I love being able to talk to my clients about their passion and what they are using the image for. My mission now as a professional is to show others a different way to imagine or feel through a variety of visualization tactics. It helps me bring out that energy and turn it into a visual portrait they can be proud off.
In art, the same idealisms come into play as my architecture — except, in art, my inspiration comes from whimsical and dark imagery and pop-art. My favorites are Tim Burton, Camilla d’Errico, and Mab Graves. Pop-art allows me to bring a new idea or visual to the viewer with a smile of curiosity. Many of the characters I draw are inspired by the 1960s ball jointed Blythe dolls. I love using the theme of dolls over other types of characters — because of the way their eyes and their expressions tell stories of their own. Creating these expressions is one of my favorite parts of being an artist.
As a company, Irish Coffee Studio focuses on a professional attitude and being prepared. I have spent a great deal of time preparing clear documentation so when you are ready for me to assist with a project (whether it be a new building, redecorating, restoring, products, or headshots or team photos) you know what to expect. Everything is provided to make the experience easy and efficient. What I love about my work is the feeling of a job well done and experiencing the joy I feel after doing service for happy clients. I produce photos that not only my client love, but that I am proud of.
For every client, I offer a creative project consultation to make sure we have everything together that is necessary for a shoot to run smoothly. If I feel there will be more time required, I will let you know. I will also work with you to help figure out what pictures you may need for a project. If you have never led a photography project, I will work with you to get a shot list together with example images to make sure you get the images outcome you are looking for and the feeling you would like to get across to your audience.
At Irish Coffee Studio, I work to make myself happy. I feel so special when someone buys a piece of art and appreciates the love and attention I put into it, and when someone acknowledges my sense of humor and style. It is a way to relax and release. I figure if I enjoy it, someone else might as well. My home is filled with the art of I have created and that my friends and family have created. It is a way for all of us to share important pieces of ourselves that can be passed on for generations.
AIAP: The Association of Independent Architecture Photographers
ASMP: American Society of Media Photographers
PPA: Professional Photographers of America
REP: Real Estate Photographers of America & International
ABoR MLS Verified Photographer
ALM: Art Love Magic
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My father and most of my family built custom houses. Even as a child, the minutiae involved in architecture fascinated me! I learned how small details can create aesthetics that speak volumes about the families that homes are designed and built for. I loved being on the job sites, watching a flat patch of land turn into a unique home that a family could form a new life in. I eventually found my way into drafting classes. I learned that creating with my hands was not only important to me as an individual but that it’s my outlet — physically and emotionally. I realized I didn’t even contemplate the “what” or “how” of art very much, but that it seemed so second nature that my hands would just create without needing much thought. I found early on in life that through art and photography I could get feelings and frustrations out on a pad of paper, or that taking a photograph was much easier than I could verbally describe things using speech or writing.
- Headshots can range between $65-$125. We request a $250 minimum for headshots. We suggest for clients schedule several of the members of their organization together so the process is smooth, the shots are styled together, and I am able to offer clients a price break for groups.
- Mixed media pricing includes prints and other mediums ranging from $10 to $150, and originals of mixed media range from $85 to $1000+.
- Architecture prices range on the type of shoot. Price varies depending on building size, type, the number of levels, and requests for exterior shots. Below is an average estimate for a large building: Day rate: $1,500-$2,000 plus tax/travel, with no assistant. Half-day rate is $750 plus tax/travel, with no assistant.
- Website: www.irishcoffeestudio.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Instagram: @irishcoffeestudiophotography | @irishcoffeestudioart
- Facebook: @irishcoffeestudiophotography | @irishcoffeestudioart
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