Gabi Previtera, alumna and current photographer and business owner, shares her experience at Rowan and her journey starting her own business from the ground up. Gabi graduated from Rowan in winter of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but her story only starts there.
“I actually started out shooting portraits in a mere 200-square-foot space in my parents’ dining studio!” Gabi reminisces, who now works as a full-time photographer. “As my business started to grow, I knew I’d need to move into a larger studio and now I’m excited to have a much bigger space.”
Not sure what she wanted to pursue at first, Gabi changed her major while at Rowan. “I originally wanted to be a marine biologist, but I was doodling too much in biology classes and not paying attention at all. I realized I probably shouldn’t pursue this route anymore and maybe go into the art field since I’ve always been an artsy person. I tried that, and of course my parents told me that I need to go into a degree that makes money, so that’s where the graphic design part came in.”
Gabi started her business, Endless Smiles Photography LLC, after she realized that she wanted to do more than graphic design and expand into working as her own boss.
“Being a business owner is tough, but is great. You never stop working!” Gabi explains. “I’m a perfectionist so I really like to be able to do what I want, how I want, and on my own schedule.” Some months she has more than 100 shoots while other months are dedicated solely to newborn sessions.
“My proudest moment actually happened early today. I finally reached a big financial goal I thought I’d never make. I did this all on my own. I paid my own bills, got my own clients, built up referrals through word of mouth because of how I treat my clients and the service I offer,” says Gabi.
Gabi believes in investing in education each year because you never stop learning in the field. Whether it be art classes, finding a strong mentor, or getting your first camera and watching videos to learn, education is important.
“For anyone starting out, please don’t go into debt for this. You don’t have to have the best equipment, don’t let others fool you. Pay whatever you can to learn through workshops and practice. Learn what you can, replicate your favorites, and never stop growing.”
Looking back at her time at Rowan, Gabi reminisces about the lifelong friendships she’s made. “I absolutely love my friends that I made at Rowan. We would all hangout in the art areas together and just make stuff. I keep in touch with them still.”
The biggest advice Gabi shares with creatives is, “Charge your worth, figure out what you want to do and make it happen. Art is a field with careers, so choose the major you want. Don’t just give out photoshoots or give your work out for free — know your worth.”
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Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising double major