But, she also has to fit work in. The Rochester senior runs her own business.
She started taking pictures in eighth grade, soon after landed an internship with a wedding photographer and then launched her own brand, turning her passion into a business — Gabby Morgan Photography, established in 2011. She also works with C.M. Forever Photography, a Petersburg business owned by Coltin Cunningham and Megan Hayward Cunningham.
“I just fell in love with the job,” said Gabby, who considers herself a Nikon girl.
Gabby takes portraits for about 20 area seniors every year and shoots weddings, engagements, maternity photos and family images.
“Gabby is an amazing photographer. The proof is in the extraordinary pictures that she captures,” said a client, Chloe Butcher, a Rochester High senior and friend of Gabby's. “My favorite thing about her photos is that she is able to capture moments, not just normal pictures. She is also very good at integrating some of her own ideas with the ideas of the client. There is a lot of variety in the pictures that she takes.”
Learning to run a business
Gabby's in charge of everything with Gabby Morgan Photography. She doesn't just take and edit photos. The teenager also manages the company's finances, files taxes and schedules her sessions.
Facebook has been essential in helping Gabby grow her client base. When she posts photos from sessions, friends of friends want to work with her.
“It's a great little marketing tool,” said Gabby, who will attend Illinois State University in Bloomington to study business administration.
When Gabby works with high school seniors, she picks backgrounds that fit each person. Some teens choose to shoot
group shots with their friends.
“That's always really fun for them,” Gabby said.
Part of the job is being social. Gabby works to make sessions lighthearted and fun. That leads to better photos, Gabby said. If people loosen up they look more comfortable in their pictures.
“Even if you had never met Gabby before, she makes the experience very fun, comfortable and relaxed,” Chloe said.
Between eighth grade and her sophomore year in high school, Gabby helped shoot around 10 weddings. Then, her aunt got married in Myrtle Beach and she took the photos. From there, close family friends wanted to work with the teen and now former Rochester High students are reaching out.
Creativity is a big part of the business. It's important to mix up locations so each picture looks different, she said.
It wasn't easy fitting her job in with school and volleyball but Gabby said she's managed because she's organized.
“I was able to just figure it out,” Gabby said. “I make lists upon lists.”
For each shoot, Gabby keeps a chart to fill in details and she does it immediately.
When she first started she lost a few SIM cards and so she learned to be much more prepared. She makes charts, organizes and plans as much as possible and always arrives to shoots early in case there's confusion.