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Alumni Mentor Joshua Carter

I’m a farm boy at heart…I grew up milking cows, hauling hay, running a combine, and discing fields!  I’m not sure what an artist is supposed to feel like.  On a normal day here at the house, you’ll find me in camo shorts and a grey t-shirt, looking to go hunting or fishing.  Simple, that’s me.  But for some crazy reason, I’ve been able to grasp ahold of photography, and build it to a business that I never imagined in my wildest dreams.  A quote I often refer to is “What do you do when your dreams become reality?”  Well, I’m there…  I’m excited that in the small rural town of Carthage Missouri, I can provide for my family of three kids and a wonderful and amazing, supporting wife.  Who doesn’t want a “job” that pays the bills and you love it??

How did you get started in the business?
After 12 years at a Fortune 500 company sitting in a cubicle, I started rekindling my childhood enjoyment of photography, and quickly, I could see there was something there.  After three years of working both the full-time job and the part-time photography business, I realized it was time to make the jump to a full-time photographer.  Biggest.  Scariest decision.  Ever.  Five years later, my business is still growing and the cubicle life is something I look back at and just smile.  I’ve had several people help me along the way.  Amazing mentors that were willing to share their secrets, talk to me on a personal level as friends, and share our love for photography.  Travis and Paula Gadsby have been and still are a vital part of my photography business, always pushing me, giving me great advice, and they are pretty dang cool too.  Steve and Shelly Harrington are great friends of mine.  When I was starting out and participating on the Silverlake Photography forum, I looked at Steve’s work and told my wife…”I want to shoot like that!”  I attended several of their workshops, and they were amazing!  And Scott and Kelly Crosby.  I love that couple…amazing, giving, and dang fantastic at what they do!  I used Scott’s senior model program (on a bet, long story) for the first time several years ago and have been able to increase my business every year since!!

Special Message or advice to attendees?
Come with a notepad you can fit in your pocket and pen.  Don’t be afraid to pass up on a shot to make a good note about it so you can recreate it later with your own flair.  Listen for nuggets of wisdom, they are everywhere!!  The last AD I went to, I took very little images (by choice) and it made me more aware of what the mentors where saying.  Think about your business and what you want to learn, and target those mentors!  Another bit of advice I received was to always be a student.  And that’s how I go into every single photography convention.  There’s always more to learn.

After Darks Attended:
I have attended four AD’s!

Favorite AD Moments:
In Minneapolis, about 4:00 in the morning, several of us photographers and models were out doing some crazy vampire/gothic shots on the streets with OCF.  It was crazy cool!

What are the top 5 skills?

  • Marketing
  • Lighting
  • Photoshop
  • Posing
  • Sales
Contact Info:
WebsiteFun Facts:

  • Nikon Shooter
  • Specialty Market: Seniors, some Weddings

Majority of Business:

  • I’m about 75% seniors with my business, and mix in a fair amount of weddings and families, and oddly enough score several commercial jobs each year.


  • Give me a 48″ Tri-Grip reflector, and I’ll bend light like a super hero.