The young photographer, part 1: Building a photography business as a millennial

Heather Brady, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON – When Mary Alice Jackson started taking pictures at age 6, she wasn’t dreaming of one day starting her own business behind the lens.

But she never lost her passion for photography, and today the 25-year-old photographer owns Shot With A Bow, a company she started herself.

Jackson lives in Mechanicsville, Va., a small town just outside of Richmond, where she grew up.

With her husband, Andrew, who is in the military, her young son, Beckham, and her full-time job working for the Astyra Corp., her life is more established than that of the average millennial. But despite her demanding schedule, she has set herself apart by setting aside time to jump-start her career in photography.

This is the first in a two-part Q&A series where Jackson reveals the way her dedication and passion led her to start a small business and how she has mixed her 20-something technical and social media sensibilities into her work.


Did the name of your photography business come from your style of wearing bows all the time? It seems to be your signature thing.

Yes. I guess it’s been a couple years now where I’ve decided I’m going to have a bow every day with every outfit. It doesn’t matter how formal or informal it is. If you go into my bathroom, there’s like 40 bows on each side of my mirror. In photography, in the business, everyone tells you to go by your name and I don’t really like my name all that much, so Shot With A Bow was cutesy, I thought.

What kind of photography did you start with when you began your business?

I first started with kids or families. Weddings actually made me really nervous, but I had somebody come up and she was like, “I wouldn’t have anybody else in the world but you shoot my wedding.” So she actually ended up being my second wedding, but I would like to do more weddings


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