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Overcome fear and start now to create your dream business, says BYUH student photographer

A girl wearing a purple dress in the arms of a boy wearing a blue button-up T-shirt. The girl's hands are on the boy's neck as he lifts her up. They are both blonde and standing on the beach.
An example of Grace Cannon's work.

Grace Cannon, a freshman majoring in communication & media studies from Southern California, said despite the anxiety she felt when first starting her business, she was able to pull through and make her business a success with the help of the people around her.

“If I hadn’t taken my mom’s advice years back, I would not be where I am today,” she said.

From pressure to passion, Cannon said her mom was responsible for developing her interest in photography. “I remember I was in the car with my mom, and she told me that I needed to take pictures of my friends so I could build a portfolio for scholarships,” she explained.

Cannon’s mother, Ronelle Cannon, said when her daughter started to show interest in learning more about photography as a young teenager, she was happy to encourage and support her along the way. “From driving to find unique locations, giving her a loan to upgrade her camera so she could officially go from hobbyist to pro, or carrying props as her assistant on her first paid shoot, it’s been a joy to be along for the ride,” said Ronelle Cannon.

Grace Cannon said she started out by taking pictures of her friends to build her Instagram account to start her portfolio. As her follower count grew, so did her client list.

“I had a lot of people asking me to take pictures of them,” Cannon said. “It quickly became a popular thing to do because it was during COVID-19. There was nothing to do, so it would be the date night thing to go get your couples pictures done.”

As her experience increased over time, so did her dedication to her work, Cannon said. “I started getting a passion for photo shoots, ... by getting to meet new people through it.” Cannon shared. “So that’s what kind of started ‘Cannon Uncharted’.”

Creating an uplifting environment

Cannon said her business is unique because she does non-traditional and creative photo shoots where she is not afraid to try new things. “I have so many fun ideas and locations. I’m just dying for the right person to come to me and use them,” she explained.

Preston Carlson, a freshman from Utah majoring in exercise science, said he would recommend Cannon to anyone. “Grace is so fun to shoot with. She’s your biggest hype man. She knows exactly what you want and how to capture it.”

Carlson said Cannon knows what she is doing and is good at creating an uplifting environment. “She knows how to pose you and makes it fun ... [She] makes you feel so good about yourself.”

An image of a boy surfing a wave at Turtle Bay. It is sunset.
Grace Cannon's photo of a friend surfing.

Future Plans: Take on the world

Cannon said moving to Hawaii inspired her desire for more mobility within her work. Originally based in California and now on Oahu, her work consists of balancing jobs in California and Hawaii, she said. However, she said she wants to expand that.

“I want to travel and be a travel photographer,” Cannon said. “I think it would be super awesome to be able to expand my talents, not only in my local areas but also just all around the world and mainland.”

Advice for aspiring business owners

Cannon said for anyone else with a desire to start their own business, start now. “If you have an idea to start something, it doesn’t hurt to start it.”

She said she when she began her business, she was worried people would tell her she was not good enough. Despite the anxiety she experienced, Cannon said she decided to give it her best shot and encouraged others to do the same.

Another piece of advice she offered was to study under people who are doing the same practice as you. “If you want to start a photography business, go shoot with other photographers. If you’re trying to start a nail business, go do nails with other artists. “Just go and meet other people in the community and learn from them hands on. It’s the best way to learn.”

Cannon said some of her favorite kinds of photos to capture are individual shoots, couples and sometimes families. She said she loves to capture “raw” moments. “I just love the movement, and just the interactions between people. And I absolutely love meeting new people to shoot with.”

For more information, visit @cannonuncharted on Instagram.