Ua Chamberlain stays busy splitting his time between photography, videography, graphic arts teaching at his local photography studio.
Chamberlain, a former Ohio State student, started his full-service photography company UA Creative Photography & Training in Columbus in 2013. He said the company is dedicated to giving clients creative control in their photo shoots.
But the company offers other services beyond capturing clients’ special moments, he said.
More than 50 students stop in the studio on King Avenue in Grandview each week for events such as one-on-one photography classes and group workshops. Chamberlain said this was inspired by an urge to build a community behind what is done in the studio.
“I didn’t really set out to be an instructor and to teach photography — it just kind of happened,” Chamberlain said. “My excitement, willingness to share and my ability to explain things are what pushed me in the direction of teaching. I’ve always been really excited by teaching people things that I know.”
Previously a sculptor, Chamberlain was introduced to the digital world of art in 2002 when he started using Adobe Photoshop for graphic artwork. In 2004, he purchased his first point-and-shoot digital camera, which led to doing photography part time. In 2008, he began teaching photography and Photoshop to enthusiasts, and also began working in a studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2010.
With a mindset of “two is better than one,” Chamberlain partnered with Erica Coffman, a photographer he met at the Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College.
Coffman first learned how to develop film in a dark room when she was in fourth grade. She said she enjoyed photography throughout high school, but never invested a lot of time, money or training. It wasn’t until she obtained her degree from Wright State University that her love for cameras clicked.
“Through the traveling opportunities that I had while studying, I realized that I really love photography and eventually bought a nice camera and just didn’t put it down,” Coffman said. “It went from buying that camera for my travels to shooting friends or family members to shooting weddings and now to this.”
With a background in topics completely unrelated to photography — including international studies, international politics and historical education — Coffman said she is proud of the name that she has built for herself in photography. Similar to her partner, Coffman’s love for teaching was a process. For private training, the two put together a custom syllabus for the students based on what they are interested in or what they want to improve upon.
Chamberlain said people don’t get the opportunity to be playful and creative very often, and his company seeks to give people more creative opportunities. It’s very much about the “making experience” at UA Creative, and Chamberlain said he believes this approach is what has led him to succeed in a world of iPhones and Instagram, where everyone and anyone is a photographer.
“At the end of the day, we’re not really selling our work,” Chamberlain said. “We’re selling ourselves. We’re selling the interactions we give people, the way we make treat them and the experiences that they have with us.”
Coffman said she believes although the “everyone can be a photographer” mindset has devalued photography as an art, the company can help show its value to people.
“It’s more about continuing to produce art for ourselves and putting it out for people to see and that will slowly help people understand what we are doing and why it’s important,” Coffman said.
UA Creative Photography & Training is located at 780 King Ave #105.