A little girl fascinated by pictures. An 18-year-old with a little “point-and-shoot” camera. A young mother who got a camera in hopes to help out at her church. A photographer with a passion, a dream, and a work ethic that helped her create a livelihood for herself. All of these descriptions can be used when talking about the person behind the lens of Welch Photography.
Samantha Welch is a wedding/engagement photographer located in Clarksville, AR that had her true start in the photography business in 2016. Samantha took some time to sit down with me and share the ins and outs, and the past and present, of Welch Photography.
Welch reflected upon being a little girl that loved pictures, photography, and just all of it. Once she got married and started having children, her interest in photography resurfaced but was still held on the back burner.
“From the time I can remember, I liked photos and taking pictures. And I can remember being a kid when I didn’t have the luxury of having copy photos and I would take pictures of pictures–so I would have multiple copies of photos. I’ve always just liked them,” Samantha said.
After holding this interest on the back burner, she had the realization that for a while she had been a mom but she did not have anything truly for herself. When she got a camera to help out with different things at her church, the “thing” she was looking to do for herself, kind of fell right into her lap.
Welch shared, “When my second child was born, I got a camera, mostly, to help out at my church. From there it kind of turned into more of a passion, and then I fully became obsessed. I started to learn everything about how to take photos and then I started my business as soon as I could (maybe even a little bit before I should have).”
This entire journey seems simple in writing, but it was a constant learning process for Samantha. She jumped into the photography world with a hunger for knowledge. She looked to free programs that she could use to play around on, invested in Lightroom and Photoshop, and watched any YouTube video she could find in regards to both taking pictures and editing pictures.
When asked what her favorite things were to photograph when she first became interested in it, her answer was simply “flowers and piles of junk.” Those two subjects have changed quite a bit in her professional life, but she still enjoys taking pictures in nature and of landscapes with something as simple as a cell phone.
Welch was really diving into photography in 2015 and that is the year that she shot her first wedding for a friend at church. In 2016, she started to take photography more seriously and shot her second wedding for her cousin. Since then, she has taken pictures for every occasion but always fell back on her love for weddings.
“After shooting my first wedding as a photographer, I knew that was where I wanted to be…I really just love everything about weddings. I love being able to see how two families connect with each other and just all of the detail that goes into weddings. Each wedding is very different so I just enjoy being able to experience everything from an outsider's point of view,” Welch shared.
Welch spent several years taking pictures for free, learning on her own, taking pictures of all types of subjects for many different occasions, and even listed photography sessions on Facebook Marketplace before Welch Photography became an official business in 2018.
“Small businesses will generally get really excited in their first year, and burn themselves out until their business fizzles out. I didn’t want that, so I went into owning my business with the mindset of intentionality. I knew that I could only do so much at once and that was it,” Welch said.
Ever since the formalities of Welch Photography were in order, Welch was able to work towards growing her business more, doing photography full-time, and she was able to announce that she was only able to photograph weddings and engagements (that announcement was made at the beginning of 2021). Welch’s business continues to develop and change with the seasons of her life, but one season that has stayed the same throughout this journey has been motherhood. As mentioned above, she got one of her first “real” cameras when her second child was born, and now, she has three little girls that she homeschools full-time, along with running Welch Photography full-time.
Welch shared a little bit about her juggling act as a home-schooling mom and a photographer in that she allows her business to ebb and flow and change and grow just as her seasons of life do. The role of being a mother is so important to her, and being able to photograph weddings and engagements on the weekends allows for her to fulfill that role, while also living out her dream and working with a passion as a photographer. It is her “entrepreneurial spirit” that allowed her to find something that she is passionate about and decide that she wanted to make a business out of it.
From her first point-and-shoot camera at the age of 18 to now being a mom, a wife, a homeschool teacher, and a successful wedding/engagement photographer, Welch truly has been through it all. She set her mind on pursuing photography and has worked tirelessly to achieve that goal she has set for herself. If you or anyone you know is looking for a photographer that is up for a little bit of an adventure, loves nature, and has a passion for capturing life’s most precious moments, reach out to Samantha Welch at Welch Photography for your special day!
After her time at the University of the Ozarks, Abby Asencio graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She now works as our Community Relations Director, continuing to connect our community.