Neilson owns business

Starting in the summer of 2009, Practical Service Practicum teacher Harper Neilson has owned and operated her own photography business called HarperLLD Photography.
“I started by making videos of weddings in 2002,” Neilson said. “But I got tired of giving business to the other professional photographers when I could do it myself, so I started working on my own business in 2008, and it was up and running in the summer of 2009. Now I do weddings, women’s portraits, and some family pictures.”
Managing her job as a teacher alongside her business and her family is a difficult task, but Neilson keeps her schedule organized.
“I dedicate Saturday to taking and editing photos, and Sunday is all family time,” Neilson said. “My main method of organization is maintaining my Google calendar. I’m also a huge list maker, and if I don’t get something done on one list, I move it to the top of tomorrow’s list. Being organized takes a conscious effort, but it helps me keep track of everything.”
With the wedding booking season approaching, Neilson switches up her schedule to include appointments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She meets the clients and goes over the expectations of both her photos and the clients’ behaviors.
“I’ve never had a bad client,” Neilson said. “I choose them as much as they chose me. It helps that I’m a people person, so when something starts to go wrong at a wedding, I step in and almost take the role of the wedding planner. I’ve worked with stressed brides, grooms, and parents, and it’s never been a problem.”
This people-pleasing attitude and her meticulous organization can make her into a bit of a perfectionist, according to Neilson. Post-production for photos can take over half an hour, and she sends them to another company for most of the editing process.
“At weddings, people always say things like, ‘oh no, don’t worry, she’ll fix it in Photoshop’ but it isn’t that simple. Smoothing out skin takes roughly ten minutes, and swapping heads is at least half an hour,” Neilson said. “I prefer to just get it right in the camera so I don’t need to spend so much time editing.”
Neilson has a passion for photography, which is plain to see in her portfolio.
“My favorite thing to photograph are the portraits,” Neilson said. “I love building up a woman’s self-esteem and showing them a side of themselves that isn’t always seen. It’s great to take pictures where they are in outfits that they feel good in. Most of them cry when I show them their finished portrait because they’re so excited and emotional.”