An Artist and a Businessman – Justin Reid uses the BBA Degree to elevate his art

Student Stories

August 12, 2014

You may expect a creative individual with a passion for photography to study the art itself, but not Justin Reid. A talented wedding photographer with a thriving business, Reid chose instead to get his Bachelor of Business Administration at Yorkville University.

“Most photographers consider themselves accomplished with photography degrees,” Reid said. “But, my focus has been to put myself into a business like environment. Using photography as the outlet to do something that is passionate and using business to make it successful.”

According to Reid, as many as 80 per cent of photographers who venture into business for themselves will fail within the first three years.

“As creative as they may be they don’t know how to market that skill to compete,” Reid said. “Or even just keep their finances in order so that they can sensibly handle their business.”

Reid, 28, is a professional wedding photographer and the owner of Latte Productions Photography. His business handles between 160 and 180 weddings a year and has 16 photographers that work on a contract basis with him. He runs the company with his wife out of their live/work studio in Kitchener. Their company services mainly the areas of Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph in Ontario.

Reid said a few years ago he was driving to shoot a wedding when he heard a radio advertisement about Yorkville University’s new online Bachelor of Business Administration and he decided then and there to call the school to find out more.

The Bachelor of Business Administration Degree at Yorkville University provides a broad-spectrum business education. Completed entirely online under the guidance of instructors who are industry professionals, the program is flexible, accessible and can be completed in as few as two and a half years.

“It got me interested, because going to a physical location everyday, my experience with college was that I might only have one course a day and I spent as much time in transit and parking as I did in class,” explained Reid, who also has a three year college diploma in Business Administration Management Studies. “Given our work schedules and how busy I was… it was really necessary for me to have a little more flexibility.”

He enrolled in 2012 and was among the first group of Bachelor of Business Administration students at Yorkville University. Reid is currently working on his final capstone project for his degree and is on track to get his degree by the fall.

During the past two years, Reid said, there are certainly times when, between a busy work schedule and studying, his workload was intense, but he manages that by planning ahead.

“The program certainly has allowed me the flexibility to be able to work on it at whatever time of the day I want to,” Reid said. “And what is interesting is the ability to still be able to do work for school while I am travelling.”

During the off-season for weddings Reid said he will take three or four trips, sometimes to more remote locations. To be able to travel internationally and still do his schoolwork, complete readings and collaborate with class discussions has been helpful, he said. Reid said he has also found his instructors to be flexible enough to let him work ahead when he was planning a trip somewhere without wireless internet.

Without giving away the secrets to his successful business, Reid said he has certainly already seen the knowledge he has gained during his Bachelor of Business Administration studies positively impact his business.

“We have made refinements to our processes, to our terminology, to our approaches which can be largely attributed to the Yorkville courses,” Reid said. “Be it forecasting as to how many resources we need in the studio to maintain our operation, new protocols… better marking approaches and techniques to try to increase transparency, developing vision statements and corporate documents that provide a solid foundation for couples to know what we are all about before they even come in for a meeting.”

By employing all of these lessons, Reid said his company has a 90 per cent book rate, meaning 90 per cent of the couples that come to his studio for a meeting book his company, and most of those bookings happen on the spot.

Click here to request more information about Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Business Administration.