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person taking photo of pants and shoes
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Meet Local Business Owner: Maya Huggins

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

Introduce yourself!

I am Maya Huggins, an honors journalism student at West Virginia University. I’m from Wheeling, West Virginia, and I work as a disc jockey at the college radio station, U-92 FM.


What is your business?

I have a self-run photography business where I take anything from senior portraits, to headshots, to conceptual portraits. I love lifestyle photography and working with people rather than landscapes.


How did you come up with the idea for your business?

Ever since I was a kid running around with a disposable camera in hand, I’ve had an eye for a good photo. I’ve always been in love with the idea of capturing a moment you can never replicate again, and having a visual memory you can hold in your hand. Being a part of the social media generation has also influenced my love of photography–I gain inspiration and insight from Instagram artists and countless other photographers who post their work online.


When did you start your business?

My freshman year of high school, which was almost five years ago, I was paid for taking photos for the first time. Since then, I’ve grown in my skill through experience.


How has your business progressed since moving to Morgantown?

Since I’ve moved to Morgantown, I feel that my skill has greatly increased. I made a large investment in a new lens before leaving for school, which has changed the outcome of my photos and has added a more professional look to them. It can be difficult charging college students for my service, but I still have a good stream of clients in my hometown along with occasional new clients in Morgantown.


What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of photography is people. Making connections, capturing every unique smile, and seeing someone recognize their beauty means everything to me. Every person has a story and I try to show this in my photos. I’ve also always loved finding new ways to mix light and colors and blend them into my surroundings from different angles. The science behind a visually pleasing photo fascinates me.


What advice do you have for college students who want to start their own business but aren’t sure how?

In order to start your own business, you have to be willing to put in the time, understand you will not see results immediately, and you have to be open to help and critique before you can ever improve. I have reached out to numerous artists online and have asked for critique on my work. I am also always researching and watching videos on building my business and approaching photography in new ways. Having a business involves a lot of investment in time, money, and patience.


Do you have a visual portfolio?

I post photos from recent shoots on my Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/chroniclesofmaya/, my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Mayas-Photography-675059025986317/ and my LinkedIn profile, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maya-huggins-7a317a14b/. I also keep a physical book of my photos. 


How should someone who wants to contact you get in touch with you?

I can always be reached at my student email, mch0019@mix.wvu.edu or by message on Instagram and Facebook.


Do you have any tips for beginning photographers?

Practice, put in the work and always be willing to connect with people and reach out to strangers. Also, take as many photos as you possibly can, because you may never capture a certain moment again. It’s not about the technology you have, but the experience. Anyone can have a camera, but not everyone can take a good photo.


Where do you see yourself in the future?

I hope to go into photojournalism in the music industry in the future. I want photography to remain incorporated in any career I go into because without art, I don’t think I would function properly.

I'm a freshman journalism student involved with U92 FM, Daily Athenaeum, and Public Relations Student Society of America. I love Twin Peaks, cult films, classic rock, and Star Wars.
Hi ladies and gents, my name is Mel, Melanie if you're feelin' fancy. I'm a senior studying advertising, political science and fashion at West Virginia University. In addition to my studies, I am the Campus Correspondent for the WVU HC Chapter! You can hear me on the radio at U92 FM reporting the news and hosting morning shows. If I'm not there, I'm most likely at the local Panera eating my body weight in broccoli cheddar soup or writing about the daily, awkward encounters I experience. I represenative of the college of media as an ambassador and the prez of the magazine club. Oversized sweatshirts and jean on jean are my aesthetics. Lover, not a fighter unless you tell me Joe Jonas wasn't the best Jonas. Laters, baby.