Creating a business is not an easy task, especially while still in school, but it is possible. It requires dedication and determination to balance school and a business. Senior Anthony “AJ” Mahoney found this balance with his XL Photography business while continuing to major in Business Management.
He bought his first camera in Oct. 2017 and created a business that next year. Mahoney gives special thanks to his friend, Senior Elijah Rachell, for allowing him to borrow a camera until he acquired the money to purchase one for himself.
Mahoney started to experiment with the settings and angles of the camera by taking pictures of his roommate, and he felt that he was finding a new love, photography. Continuing to use the camera allowed him to find his own style.
Mahoney would currently describe his style as a portrait/street photographer. One of the aspects that Mahoney focuses on is the lighting.
“I prefer to take photos right before sunset because there aren’t any heavy shadows,” said Mahoney. Not only do Mahoney’s photography skills stand out among the rest but so does his personality.
“He finds beauty in anything and everything. It is a talent that goes far beyond his photography skills,” said junior Tatyania Watts, a student at MC who Mahoney often photographs.
Watts goes on to mention about how Mahoney “opens up to people causing others to do the same, and it causes them to glow. It makes his companionship one of a kind.”
Freshman Lesli Nolasco also mentioned her gratitude towards Mahoney. “His humble and supportive attitude helped me get back into my passion of taking pictures, and I cannot thank him enough for that,” said Nolasco. Students are not the only ones to respect Mahoney as a photographer, but professors do too.
“He does a great job at making people feel comfortable which helps with the authenticity of the candid shots in his portrait work,” said Dr. Alesia Orren, Associate Professor of Elementary Education here at MC. “Also, he likes to experiment with interesting backgrounds that mix up lighting, framing, and blurring.”
“He is sensitive to his customers’ budgets and offers immediate digital downloads of each image through AirDrop if you don’t want retouching,” continued Orren.
It is clear that Mahoney is not in it just for the money, but the happiness that it brings him and his clients. This will continue to help him succeed in life as a photographer. Mahoney eventually hopes to have enough clients that he can focus strictly on his photography skills.
He intends to move back to Houston to start his own photography studio after finishing his last semester here at Maryville College. Weddings and sports events would be the type of things that he would hope to incorporate in his career. The many people that recognize his personality and skill stand fully in support of his business.
“Bringing out the best in people is going to allow him do big things one day, and that is going to make him legendary,” said Markel Kea. Mahoney gives this advice to other potential entrepreneurs: “Be as consistent as possible, and always take advantage of networking opportunities.”
For a passionate photographer that fills his photos with personality and charisma, contact Mahoney on Instagram: @_XLPhotography_
Or you can email him at: [email protected]