Senior Andrew Poertner Runs a Photographing Business on the Side of School and Work


Credit to Parker Bruns

Andrew Poertner is a senior at FHN. Poertner runs his very own photography business that he has grown from the ground up. Andrew took a photography class when he came to North sparking his interest to where we see him now. Poertner’s work has grown in popularity at an exponential rate over the past years. With his very own Canon EOS R and 50mm portrait lense, Poertner is now getting out of his immediate circle and, “Business is booming,” Poertner said.

Senior Andrew Poertner has a lot on his plate. If he’s not participating in the work program or at school, Poertner is honing his photography skills. Although he is no longer photographing for FHNtoday, he still uses photography as a side business and a hobby.

“Lately, I’ve been taking photos of sports teams and senior banners,” Poertner said.

Poertner has been doing photography for about five years and was on photo staff for two years before having to leave after a scheduling conflict. Nevertheless, he still enjoys taking photos on the side.

“I’ve always had an interest in taking photos but never really started until [I took] photos in Kiel’s intro photojournalism class,” Poertner said.

In intro photojournalism, Poertner learned the basics of operating a camera and taking quality photos using the publication cameras.

“I started out using the pub equipment, which I like mentioning because a lot of people on photo staff [and] in intro think that older cameras aren’t as good, but we have a lot of good equipment,” Poertner said.

After joining photo staff his sophomore year, Poertner spent time photographing mostly sporting events such as tennis and football.

“I really enjoyed [photographing] tennis because it’s not too fast-paced, you can get good action shots without them running back and forth, so it’s pretty easy to get a good emotion shot like that,” Poertner said.

When photographing in his free time, Poertner prefers shooting portraits of people. He likes to take images of his friends and has done many of their senior portraits.

“I prefer shooting portraits, I like editing them, I like how they look, like capturing a story. I like capturing raw emotions and them smiling and being happy,” Poertner said.

Recently, most of Poertner’s business comes from senior photo shoots. Choosing him over a professional photographer is attractive because he charges much less than someone who does it full time.

“Fall is coming up. I’ve got a lot of senior shoots, but I would say during the fall I can get somewhere from one a week to three a week. I’ve done multiple in one day,” Poertner said.

There are a lot of technical skills that go into the photography Poertner does. He has to pick the proper aperture size for the distance of the shot. Changing the aperture will bring the foreground into or out of focus.

“If you were taking a landscape, you wouldn’t want a low aperture because it would focus on the ground in front of you and blur the background,” Poertner said.

Aside from aperture size, a photographer has to use the proper ISO and shutter speed to keep the final product clean and in-focus, along with choosing a proper lens. Junior Ankita Pandurangi, a photographer for publications, provides more detail on capturing the perfect shot.

“[Aperture is] one of three things that affect how much light gets into the camera. The background will blur and make the subject pop,” Pandurangi said.

Pandurangi often interacted with Poertner last year while on Photo Staff. She knew Poertner and would come to him with questions. In the photo room, Poertner was a mentor to the newer students on staff.

“I would say Andrew was a mentor and he knew everybody. He’s very knowledgeable about the editing software and helped the other students make their photos look better,” Pandurangi said.

After the photo is taken, Poertner will edit it to improve on the quality and capture more of the moment.

“I think out of the whole process, editing is my favorite, but it’s really tedious and the way I do it takes a couple of hours depending on the shoot and how many photos I took,” Poertner said.

In the future, Poertner would like to get into photographing different subjects, upgrade his gear and expand his business.

“Right now it’s pretty much something I do as a hobby and a side business but I would love to expand it later,” Poertner said.