We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Ritchie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Josh, how do you think about risk?
There is a lot of risk taking in starting out on your own as a business owner. I started out as a staff newspaper photographer where everything was taken care of. As long as I showed up to work and did a proficient job I was paid and had benefits. When I decided to leave the safety of a full-time position I was taking a leap into the unknown. I had no idea where my next pay check was coming from. No idea if my new business would survive. If it failed I had no idea what the next step would be. Luckily that risk paid off. Now that I have been freelance for 17 years the risks have shifted to more subtle ones. How do I market myself? How much money do I spend on marketing/gear/personal work? How much money do I put away for a rainy day? How do I set myself up with the IRS so I am not paying more than I should but I am still doing things by the book? Every decision is a risk. Every little thing affects the outcome of the business. Only 10% of what I do is actually taking photos. The other 90% involves those little risks behind the scenes. You have to have guts and grit to survive. There has always be risks that make you hair a little bit grayer. Over time you learn to deal with those risks and that the risks can be both exhausting and fun.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Getting to where I am took determination and perseverance. It was a matter of keeping my head down and putting one foot in front of the other day by day. Each day I learned something new. Sometimes it was a large lesson, sometimes small. Each lesson was filed away so I could rely on it down the road. Probably the biggest lesson I learned as far as freelancing goes was to have patients. I won’t have a paying gig every single day, and that is ok. The many days when I am not actively being paid are the days when I work towards getting more clients.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I have visitors I normally take them to Rocco’s Tacos or South Port Raw Bar depending on what type of food we are in the mood for. Then we either head over to the Everglades, the beach, or down to Key Largo for some snorkeling. The rest of our time is typically spent just hanging at home chatting.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would give my shoutout to two different people. First would be Curt Chandler. When we met he was the Director of Photography at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He saw something in me that I didn’t. He broke the “rules” and brought me on as a second academic intern when they typically only had one. Without him I likely would never have gotten into photojournalism. The person who has had the biggest impact on my life both professionally and as a friend is Melissa Lyttle. She has pushed me when needed it (which has been a lot). Listened when I needed an ear. Been a harsh critic of my work when gentle gloves just wouldn’t do. With out her I would not be freelance. Without her I would not see the would in the same way. Without her I would not have the guts to do half of what I have done. Even though we are close in age and experience, the fact that we walk the same path together means the world. Everyone needs a close friend and mentor along the way. Without her shoulders for me to rest/cry/stand on I would not be where I am today.

Website: joshritchiephoto.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joshritchiephoto/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-ritchie-5283b7181/

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