By Megan Maurer
agricultural communication student
“I’m always dancing; I’m addicted to Red Bull; I love to bake.” These are the words of one unique individual. She is your average college student; she has hobbies; she goes to class; she completes her course work; she participates in multiple extracurricular activities. But one thing sets Kasey Miller apart from the rest of the students within The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; she is also a business owner.
“A typical day this semester would be waking up at 6:30 to commute to campus for my 8 am class…Then I have a little bit of break in between classes and try to work on homework and client communication, and making sure my calendar is up to date and I’m not missing any appointments I had scheduled with potential clients. Then I’ll go to my next class, and once that is over on most days I would head to either a cheer practice or tumbling practice where I have to supervise. Or while they were in season, I had games during the week. Depending on the day or time the sunset I would typically have pictures scheduled for after whatever I had going on with cheer. …So running from one thing to another was really all I did. And thrown in throughout would be meetings and events.”
Kasey is currently a junior studying agricultural communication at The Ohio State University. As an agricultural communication student, Kasey not only studies photography and its’ role in agriculture, but coursework also includes publication design, web design and journalism and their roles in agriculture, which all benefit Kasey’s goals within her business. She is a newly activated member of Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority within CFAES, and is an active member in Ohio State’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club. She commutes to the Columbus campus from her hometown of Pataskala, which calls for a lot of early mornings and late nights.
“She’s very organized,” said Dr. Emily Buck, professor of Agricultural Communication at Ohio State, “I mean she is always professional, that’s the thing about Kasey. She’s got like a sweet, bubbly personality, but she always gets stuff done and cares about how things are done.”
Not only is she actively involved through Ohio State, but Kasey also participates in volunteering at the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries and is an assistant coach for her high school’s cheerleading team, all on top of running her successful photography business.
“When I was really young I swore I was going to be a wedding dress designer and my original dream for college was to go to New York City and go to FIT for fashion merchandising,”
During her senior year of high school, Kasey struggled to figure out her path in life. She has always been a creative person with even bigger dreams, and she was always crafting small business-like ways to make herself some money, including when she exhibited pigs through 4-H.
Kasey Beth Photography was established in 2017, and specializes in wedding and senior photography across the state of Ohio. The business is booming and its success can be credited to Kasey’s time spent on learning the ins and outs of photography. Just this last October she shot over 30 sessions and three weddings.
Throughout her photography career, Kasey has collaborated with vendors and her team of fifteen seniors to create a styled photoshoot that helps promote her senior clientele. The team includes seniors from various high schools surrounding Pataskala, and they are responsible for promoting Kasey Beth Photography on social media once a month in order to receive money back through referrals. Along with the styled shoots, Kasey works along with other photographers throughout Ohio as a second photographer in for various events and weddings.
“I think that is one of the reasons I was able to take off so successfully,” Kasey said when asked about investing into her business. “…I was willing to invest into myself and the business so it could thrive.”
Kasey spent all the money she had saved through 4-H to invest in a professional camera and equipment, online photography courses and workshop after workshop so she could gain knowledge from industry professionals and leaders. Not only did Kasey invest her own time and money into getting her business off the ground, but her parents were also a big factor in the success of Kasey Beth Photography.
“My Dad came from nothing and has built an incredibly successful business all on his own. He instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me from a very young age and fostered my desire to be my own boss.”
Kasey always lends a hand to others, even with her demanding lifestyle. “Kasey is my mentor that I look up to everyday within my own business,” said Makayla Petersen, new photographer and agricultural communication student within CFAES, “Her work reflects the time she has spent into becoming an amazing photographer.”
With such a busy, hectic lifestyle it is difficult for Kasey to balance everything; she even commented on her inability to distinguish between working time and down time. Considering her array of extracurricular activities and constant increase in number of photo shoots, balancing college life with business life is something Kasey is working to improve on.
“I’m always trying to improve different areas of my business…the main thing I am looking to work on right now would be to improve client communication and turnaround time for clients.”
Kasey’s next big goal in life is to become a full time photographer right out of college. While that might not be a realistic outcome, Kasey plans to keep growing and improving where she can. She plans to continue her busy hobbies such as coaching cheer, but she hopes her business will consistently bloom through college and into the real world.
“I have doubled profits the past two years and hope to do the same for 2020 and would be at a goal I feel is good enough to live on once I graduate.”
In five years, Kasey sees herself as a married woman, hopefully working as a full time wedding photographer. Her wish is to be doing between fifteen and twenty weddings a year, and she is definitely on track to reach this objective. No matter how her business works out, Kasey is going to be content as long as she is living a happy and healthy.
This feature story was written by Megan Maurer, an agricultural communication student enrolled in the Agricultural Communication 2531 course during the 2019 Autumn Semester. Dr. Joy Rumble instructed the course.