Ellie Thorne was in the sixth grade when she got her first camera. She started out by taking photos that featured her pets dressed up in costumes, but Thorne’s passion and abilities only grew over the years.
She took photography courses at school, shot friends’ senior portraits, and learned more about the art form as a whole. And after several years of photographing as a hobby, she decided to make it a career.
“I just realized I love this and I could do this,” says Thorne, who’s from Arlington, Texas. “I knew I wanted to be the one in charge, and I knew I wanted to work in this art form.”
And so Ellie Thorne Photography was born. Through this enterprise, Thorne has photographed engagements, families, senior portraits, nature, landscapes, and much more. She’s also learned a bit more about the business side of things, such as how to set prices and the value of investing in high-quality equipment.
And while the business is just that—a business—Thorne hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for what she’s doing.
“There are two things that I’ve found to be the most important for my business: knowledge and passion,” says Thorne. “If you’re not excited about what you are pursuing, how are your clients suppose to be excited about your product? Still, I feel like when I’m doing photography, I never have to work.”
Today, Thorne is a high school senior at Arlington High School. This fall she’ll begin her undergraduate education at Baylor University in Waco, where she plans to major in photography and minor in entrepreneurship.
She’s already made arrangements to keep photographing while at Baylor. The photography department shares a building with the fine arts department, so she hopes to keep a steady income by photographing for them. Thorne also notes that working with NFIB has made her think more about her long-term plans.
“Accepting this award, it kind of made me realize that I can really do this,” says Thorne. “I realized there were other people like me, with similar goals, and I’m not alone, and it gave me a new kind of hope.”