By Tim Priebe
May 9, 2024

Portrait legacy with J. Holland Photography

Johnny and Carrie Holland share their journey of capturing moments and continuing a photographic legacy.
J. Holland Photography in Edmond (Photo Provided)

On West 15th Street, just west of Kelly, sits J. Holland Photography. Run by Johnny and Carrie Holland, the business features an outdoor portrait garden behind their studio building that many passers-by may not even know about.

Let’s take a look at some insights into the journey of the Hollands, the challenges they’ve faced, and their view on photography today. 

Q: What drew you to portrait photography?

A: Having always had an interest in art growing up, photography gave us the opportunity to combine the beauty of art and skills of photography to create impactful storytelling portraits for our clients.

Johnny and Carrie Holland, owners of J. Holland Photography (Photo Provided)

Q: I understand you took over the studio from Taylor Made Photography. Can you tell me about that process and what motivated that decision?

A: In 2019, Randy Taylor visited with us about the possibility of purchasing Taylor Made Photography. He was ready to retire and thought we could grow our business and continue to serve his clients by merging his studio into ours. We had a studio in Oklahoma City for several years, and the opportunity to move to a more prominent location in Edmond and take on more clients was exciting. In January 2020, we moved the studio and have been working here in Edmond ever since.

Q: What are your favorite types of portraits to do and why?

A: Our favorite type of portraits to do are the ones that are. Portrait photography allows us to meet people and hear their beautiful stories. We love it when our clients become involved and get excited! It is such great motivation for us to do our very best.

Q: Can you tell me about your outdoor portrait garden and what makes it unique? 

J. Holland Photography’s outdoor portrait garden (Photo Provided)

A: Our outdoor portrait garden is a large area behind the studio that most say they don’t even realize is there. The upper garden has large mature trees, a green lawn, and several excellent photographic sets, including a beach house with sand, a western barn, and a garage with graffiti. We also have a more formal garden area with a flagstone path to a gazebo, large arches, and a beautiful pond with a waterfall and bridge. It is a perfect spot for families and senior portraits that are privately owned, so we don’t have to worry about all the plans that go along with photographing in public parks and spaces. Of course, we also love our location sessions, but unlike other studios, the garden offers our clients an option to stay on-site.

Q: What are some of the unique challenges that studio owners and photographers face?

A: One of the biggest challenges facing professional photographers today is working on our business instead of in it to grow and stay relevant. With the abundance of photographers in the market today, we must work twice as hard to stand out. Understanding how to run a profitable company is as crucial as our photography skills.

Q: What was your background before this studio?

A: Johnny started his photography career in 1998 by working for a local school photography studio, photographing children, senior portraits, and families. In 2012, we started our own business and opened a studio in Yukon, OK. Later, we moved our home back to OKC and, in turn, also moved our studio to OKC. In 2020, we had the opportunity to move the studio. Again, we went to a more prominent location in Edmond, where we are today.

Q: Was there any unique training you had or invested in to help you as an artist or business owner?

A: We attend several conferences and classes every year, nationally and locally, to learn new techniques and good business practices. We are members of Professional Photographers Of America and Professional Photographers of Oklahoma, where Johnny is a Past President, and Carrie is currently second Vice President. We are also members of the Metro Area Professional Photographers, where Johnny has served on the board of directors, and Carrie is a Past President. We participate in an Image competition through the PPA affiliates, which helps us learn and hone our photographic and technical skills.

Q: Who all works here, what are their roles and relationships, and what are the challenges of working with your family?

A: This is a family-run business; we, Johnny and Carrie Holland, started full-time in 2012. Johnny is our primary photographer and graphic designer, and Carrie manages Client sales scheduling and is a secondary photographer. We both share the duties of ownership, marketing management, etc.. we love having the opportunity to work together and enjoy it every day.

Q: What would you like people to know about J. Holland’s photography?

A: We believe that portraits are essential. Portraits help us to learn about our past and record our present. We want to make a difference in people’s lives by celebrating them and their special moments. Being a professional photographer means that when that one perfect moment comes, all of our training and education come together, and we can make a meaningful photo for you.

Q: What is your advice to young photographers/business owners?

A: Advise young photographers to take as many business classes as they do art classes to understand how to run a viable business. And don’t give up.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.