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From Paintball To Weddings-



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From Paintball To Weddings—

How An NHS Rising Sophomore

Started A Photography Business By 15

By Eliza Hallabeck

For Newtown High School rising sophomore Chris Fulcher, becoming his own boss started with borrowing his father’s point and shoot digital camera to shoot photos while playing paintball on the weekends. Now, Chris says it is hard for people to believe he is a wedding photographer at 15 years old.

“I never thought I would be doing weddings at 15 years old,” said Chris during a recent interview.

He started snapping photos between 11 and 12 years old, and said he has never used a 35-millimeter SLR, or, in other words, never used a film camera.

Chris said he is planning on taking a photography course offered at NHS this coming school year, and will learn to use film then.

Before then, he will be shooting band photos and more weddings within the next few weeks. Chris also said he shoots baby photos and senior portraits, and samples of his work can be found at his website, www.chrisfulcherphotos.com.

“I actually got started when I used to play paintball, and it was $100 a week,” said Chris, “It actually got really expensive. I saw someone there on the field with a camera, and he was getting a lot of credit and kudos for it. I thought it was cool and thought I really want to do that.”

So Chris used his father’s camera to upload the 2.5 megapixel photos to a website, “And everyone was like, ‘Theses pictures are really good.’ So I started doing that.”

Through trading paintball guns and the website, Chris said he made enough money to buy his own Nikon D60. He started taking more photos and had more people commenting on them.

“Then I had someone email me from one of the best paintball websites in the world,” said Chris. “I actually thought it was a joke the first time he emailed me and said, ‘Would you like to come and shoot for my team?’ And I was like, definitely.”

From working on the weekends for the site, Chris said he saved enough money to purchase enough equipment to start his own business.

“So I made my own website, and made my own business cards and all that,” said Chris. “And here I am today.”

That was four to five months ago, he said, and he was soon contacted by the owner of Weddingreports.com. A few days after being one of the listed photographers on Weddingreports.com, Chris said he was contacted to shoot a wedding.

“I taught myself,” he said. “I spend pretty much most of my time, like other kids, on the computer, but while they play video games, I spend my time learning more photography.”

He said two friends in Monroe, Victoria and Erik Souza, professional photographers, have been a large help to him.

He has a couple weddings coming up in October and more scheduled for next year, he said.

Last year in school Chris said he never told anyone about his photography, but since adding his photography skills to Facebook, he said he has been gaining fans.

“I didn’t really think I was going to tell anyone, but my friend made the fan page for me to get more business,” said Chris about his Facebook fan page.

The same friend, Ryan Feminella, helped Chris with a photo studio at his house, and, Chris said, plans to help drive him to photo shoots next year.

“When I started on my studio, Ryan came over,” said Chris, and the two of them set it up together.

Chris said his friends help him shoot events, as does his father.

“I have a couple people to be assistants if other people can’t do it,” said Chris.

Ryan’s Aunt, Robin Olson, was one of the photographers, Chris said, who helped him want to shoot photos.

What Chris likes about photography “is the emotion of it. On the big day I just like taking photos of two people in love. It’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”

Chris said baby photos, too, are fun to take to capture the emotion of the baby.

As a sophomore in high school, Chris said he has started to think about his educational future.

“I’m thinking of going into business management so I can run my business more effectively,” said Chris. He is looking at attending school in San Diego, and credits Victoria Souza for pointing out the importance of having a website as a photographer.

“I do weddings, baby photography, all types of portraits, modeling, and will see whatever the year brings me. I just started and it’s been pretty good this year, and hopefully it will be even better next year,” Chris said.

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