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Meet Jill Goehring of Half A Rice Studios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Goehring.

Jill, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I went to the University of Houston for both of my Bachelor and Master’s degree in Accounting and was planning to be an accountant for the rest of my life. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and maybe 15-20 years later become a partner of a public accounting firm. I did not like accounting in school but I was very good at it so I was thinking I can make it work. Six months into the real workplace, I realized the 9-5 lifestyle and accounting are not for me. My personality was not fit for that type of work and I was feeling like I was wasting my time. So I quit. But before quitting, I, of course, raise the question “What would I be doing?” in my head.

Then I thought of photography, my life-long passion. I have been in photographing things/person around me since I first have a camera phone in my hand (not even my phone). When I was little, my aunt was gifted a camera phone by my grandpa and I would not miss a chance to borrow her the phone anytime just to play with the camera. When I was in my senior years of high school, one of my classmates had a good camera phone (I think it was a Sony), and I would ask her to use it all the time to capture the moments of our senior year. I loved how a camera could freeze time and 10 years later as of today, I still cherish the photos I took in that year.

When I got my first job during college, my main goal is to save up and buy a second-hand DSLR. When I hold my Nikon D90 in my hands, I still could not believe that I had made it. Even though the lens came in later so I could not take any pictures for the first few weeks, the thought of having it and that I would be able to satisfy my passion excited me so much. So when I quitted my job, I decided to follow my other dream which was always in the back of my head – becoming a professional photographer. That was how it all started.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it has never been a smooth road. As I quitted my corporate job, our two stream income became just one. We still have a student loan to pay. And the biggest struggle I had at the time was how I started this business. Most of the photographers out there were professionally trained, they went to photography school, got their degrees. If not, they probably have a mentor who taught them what to do.

But me, I did not have any of the above. I went to business school for accounting so I knew how to do booking keeping for this business. But there is no need for a bookkeeper if you don’t generate any income. I reached out to a person I knew on Facebook, who was and still is a wedding photographer, asking for a tip. No response. So I understood that I was on my own. I watched as many YouTube videos as I could, listened to as many podcasts as I could find and enrolled myself in as many online courses out there. I knew that I have to invest in myself technically so if someone hired me, I would know what to do.

I started a Facebook ad for graduating seniors and charged $50 per a half an hour session to help me build a portfolio and get my name out there. And it worked. But people came to me not because I had amazing photos because I had none to show, but because my price was super cheap. I started assisting, shooting with people for a cheap price just to learn. I remember a photographer hired me as an assistant a few months after I quitted my corporate job and she offered to pay me $7.25/hour to hold her strobes and assist her on the job with the first two jobs being no paid. I was happy with that. I thought to myself that I had zero knowledge at the time so if someone is paying me and teaching me, why not?

After the first wedding, she told me that she was only comfortable paying me at most $7/hour. I agreed with her because if I worried about how much I made, I would not have quitted my corporate job. I worked with her for another job and realized I was being used because I did not learn a thing. I respectfully told her that I couldn’t keep working for her and returned to my square one. Luckily for me, a friend of mine introduced me to another photographer who took me in as an intern and taught me about the wedding photography business. Up to this day, she is still my mentor without whom, I would not get to where I am today as fast.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Half A Rice Studios story. Tell us more about the business.
When I first started. I named my business after myself, Jill Goehring Photography. But over time, I realized that people couldn’t spell my last name. Thus, they can’t find me on the internet. So I tried to think of a simple name that stood out to others and still reflected me. So Half a Rice Studios was born.

It is a photography service company specializing in wedding photography. The reason I picked wedding photography to be my specialty is because it is always a great honor to witness a wedding, left alone capturing one. Wedding photographs are something people pass on to the next generations and make them think about one of the happiest time of their life. I want to be there. I want to be the one who captures those images.

My style is bright and airy and what I am known for is how I capture the emotion in a photograph, not just smiling faces. I love being the storyteller through my camera and lens so when my clients look back at the photos, they can tell how happy they and everyone else around them felt.

I am most proud of the company because it has a great story behind it and it has been known to people for great service and taking care of client’s need from a personal level instead of a regular photographer-client relationship.

When I meet a couple, I genuinely care about them and their stories so I can tell it through my photographs later. I think this is what set me aside from others.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has been everything. Without luck, I would not have been here today. I was lucky to have a husband that supported me mentally and financially so I can go after my dream.

I was lucky to find a mentor that taught me most of what I know and gave me chances to practice. I was in bad luck to work for someone who was using me but it helped me to know what I liked and what I don’t like.

Pricing:

  • Silver Wedding Package – $1,500
  • Gold Wedding Package – $2,700
  • Family Session (30 minutes) – $150

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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