Photography marketing

Turning the passion for photography into a business

BOTTINEAU – December 8, 2021 – Lacey Grade always knew she wanted to be a photographer, but it took a nudge from her grandmother to put her in the right direction. She got the education she needed for her career through the photography program at Dakota College in Bottineau (DCB), but not before a brief detour.

“I started taking photos in the early 2000s when I was in elementary school in Spring Creek, Nevada,” Lacey said. “I signed up for an after-school photo club and used a Fujifilm Quicksnap disposable camera. You could buy them everywhere, and all you would do is point and shoot and hope for the best. “

By the time she was in high school, she had switched to a digital camera, a gift from her parents. Although she had a passion for photography, she decided to take a few years off after graduating from high school in Harvey, North Dakota. “I had no doubts what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to do it. So I worked full time in a grocery store to save money and explore my options for college. After five years, I had not only accumulated my savings, but also met Gustav Grade, the love of my life. He encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Today, Lacey Grade Photography is thriving in Martin, North Dakota.  She is proud to follow in her father's footsteps as a successful business owner.

A conversation with her grandmother, Bonnie Faul, about a newspaper article put her on the path to making her dream come true. “I always looked at pictures with my grandmother. We would go through old family photos, laugh and talk about when and where they were taken. The photos told the story of our family, and I wanted to do it for other families. One afternoon, her grandmother showed her a newspaper article about the photography program at Dakota College in Bottineau. “She knew change was always difficult for me, so she really encouraged me. She insisted that I lean over it. So I went online and did my research. When I decided the program was for me, I went straight to Grandma’s to tell her I was applying. She was so proud and happy for me.

Sadly, Lacey’s grandmother didn’t live to see her enroll in DCB. “She passed away in June 2016, just a few months before I started college. I was devastated. She was so excited for me and couldn’t wait to see what images I would create. It was hard to accept that she didn’t take this trip with me.

At DCB, Lacey’s classes included marketing and business in addition to photography. “When I started at DCB, despite all the photos I had taken over the years, I really didn’t know how to properly use a digital camera. I was 23 years old and I was starting my studies again. Now with every photoshoot I can hear my instructor in my head helping me apply all the skills I learned throughout the program, and it just comes naturally.

Lacey graduated from DCB with an AAS degree in photography in 2018, as well as a minor in small business management.

Lacey graduated from DCB with an AAS degree in photography in 2018, as well as a minor in small business management. “On graduation day, I wore a button with my grandmother’s picture in it, to let her know I was going through this scene because of her. I know she is smiling and that I made her proud, and I will continue to do so.

Today, Lacey Grade Photography is thriving in Martin, North Dakota. She is proud to follow in her father’s footsteps as a successful business owner. “One of the advantages of photography is that you can take it anywhere. This is important when you live in a small town. You market, contact, and start producing work that clients love. My clients are amazing and I have been shown so much more love and support than I could have imagined for my small business. Her passion for her work is evident at every photoshoot. “I want to capture important moments. When I started to lose people close to me, I realized that a photo is a moment in time that cannot be taken away from me. The images will still be there even when the memories fade.

Lacey has some tips for other budding photographers. “I would tell anyone in high school that if they like being able to create and capture a moment, go to DCB. I love the people and the environment. It’s the best program in the state.