Student Success: Student Success: John Roach

By Michelle Ecker on February 23 2017

When John Roach was approaching retirement in 2008, he began to consider how he wanted to spend the rest of his life after working. After giving it some thought, he soon realized that photography was the field he wanted to pursue more deeply. He enrolled in a local digital photography course, soon followed by NYIP’s pro course. Today he has not only developed a client base in his area, but has begun working as a University of Wisconsin instructor for the School of Continuing Education, teaching infrared photography, wildlife imagery as well as travel photography. We recently had the opportunity to talk to John about his NYIP education, the work he’s doing now and his plans for the future. Here’s what we learned:
Student Success : John Roach

1. When did you realize that photography was the field you wanted to pursue?

  • During my life I, at various times, did some photography and enjoyed it. My first serious camera was purchased as Nikon FM2 in 1980. However, it was an on-again, off-again affair.
  • When I was close to retirement (2008) from senior management in the corporate world, I was driven to decide how I wanted to spend the rest of my life after retirement. I determined that photography was my choice and my first serious course after a course in digital photography at a community college was NYIP Pro Course. The passion for capturing the light has grown daily ever since.

2. When did you enroll at NYIP?

I enrolled in 2010. I wanted to get the best education I could find after looking at many resources by taking the Pro Course.

Student Success : John Roach

3. What was your coursework like?

Wonderful…done by mail (note- NYIP courses are now entirely online) receiving books which I still refer to from time to time, DVDs, sending prints and course work back forth by mail and email as well audio file critiques of my work.

4. Was your mentor helpful during the process?

My mentor was Jerry Rice and he gave excellent critiques; Chris Corradino was helpful, too. I found everyone at NYIP helpful including the student forum.

Student Success : John Roach

5. What type of work are you doing now?

Landscape, macro, street and travel with occasional portrait work. Add IR to the mix, too. Finally, I do a lot of Black & White as well as Monochrome images.

6. Tell us about the teaching you do at The University of Wisconsin!

Over the last 4 years I have provided seminar type classes for the School of Continuing Education, OSHER Life Long Learning for Seniors about photography that include specialty presentation in Infrared Photography, Wildlife Imagery, Specific Travel such as my trips to South America, Portugal, Alaska and photographing the North Lights with a significant amount of how to do it included.

Student Success : John Roach

7. Do you have your own photography business?

  • I have a photography website as well as several specialty sites and word of mouth. I seek only a limited amount of business, because my photography is primarily for my pleasure with occasional sales pursued when someone shows interest and contacts me.
  • I travel and go places where I can find the best images. Examples of where I go can found in the special galleries on my website such (National Parks, Great Lakes, Cities, etc.)
Student Success : John Roach

8. How do you find new clients and advertise the work you do?

Through Social Media (500px, View Bug, Hotshoe, Google+, Facebook), Fine Art America (where I sell select images), my Website via business cards (, Exhibiting in several venues both in Chicago and Milwaukee, and competing in photography competitions.

Student Success : John Roach

9. What qualities do you think a successful, aspiring photographer needs?

Passion, vision and tenacity. It is important to always want to learn and evolve and try new ways of seeing.

10. What do you always carry with you in your camera bag?

Mix of lenses, filters, batteries and remotes. Each of several cameras have their own bag. Student Success : John Roach

11. What’s the most interesting thing you learned at NYIP?

To value the PRINTED Image.

12. If you had to pick one, what was the most memorable photography project you’ve ever completed?

Senior Pictures for a very good friend of mine’s daughter.

Student Success : John Roach

13. Describe a workday in your life as a photographer.

50% image making, 25% Post processing, 25% marketing, exhibiting, competing and learning more depending on schedule.

14. What’s the most rewarding part of studying photography?

It is my first real passion late in life.

Student Success : John Roach

15. What subject is usually your favorite to shoot?

Morning and evening grand landscapes.

16. If you could give one piece of advice to our current and prospective students, what would it be?

Keep learning and be open minded to let your vision evolve and steadily chase the light.

Want to learn more? NYIP offers online photography classes that can help you learn photography or start a new career. Request your free course catalog

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