“It’s Your Job to Continue to Learn and Grow,” says ’04 Journalism Alumnus Zach Dobson

In 2004, when alumnus Zach Dobson was a senior studying journalism, he was prepared to have a career in journalism. He did end up working for various newspapers, but quickly realized this wasn’t a path he wanted to continue down.

In 2006, Zach decided to work for himself and opened his own business, Zach Dobson Photography. Since then he’s focused on “documenting people’s lives and businesses in action.”

When he first started he had to focus on paying the bills, so he photographed weddings, family portraits, professional headshots, and freelanced for newspapers and magazines. As time went on he would narrow down his clientele, wanting to focus on the jobs that fit his interests.

In 2015, nearly 10 years after he started his own business, Zach had narrowed most of his work to weddings and commercial and editorial work. He wanted to change things up, so he stopped doing weddings and began to focus on his commercial and editorial work.

Over the years, Zach has compiled a client list that includes the Indiana Pacers, Coca-Cola, the AARP, ZipCar, Indiana University, Visit Bloomington, Hamilton County Tourism, Land O’Lakes, RIOT LA Comedy Festival, Indianapolis Public Schools and the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

Looking back to where he began and knowing how far he’s come, Zach said he wishes someone would have told him early on in his career “to focus on what you find the most fulfilling and pursue that.”

Zach wants young photographers to know that their career is their own responsibility.

“It’s your job to continue to learn and grow. There are people who will help you, but you have to ask,” he said. “You need to pursue your own professional development if you really want to be great at what you do. There are lots of opportunities to be had if you look, but no one is just going to present them to you.”

Because he’s self-employed, Zach has to run the business in addition to setting up photoshoots, taking photos and editing them.

“I run the numbers, manage projects, and do networking, marketing, and social media,” he said.

Of course, the photography part is what he enjoys the most.

By Ethan Fairbanks
Ethan Fairbanks Peer Coach Ethan Fairbanks