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This is part of a monthly series about side gigs—nurses with interesting side jobs or hobbies. This month, we spotlight a photographer.
By day, Shannon Lynn Boxter, RN, works as a travel nurse at Duke University Medical Center, in the COVID ICU and at the University of North Carolina in their Cardiothoracic ICU. But in her spare time, she captures beautiful images of clients through her side gig—a photography business.
Boxter got started with photography when she was in nursing school and needing a creative outlet. Armed with a small digital camera, she began experimenting on shooting at different angles. “I guess the bug bit me then,” she admits.
At the time, she offered tons of free shoots. When she graduated from nursing school, she purchased her first semi-professional DSLR camera.
Her photography business, Shannon Lynn Photography, was started as a passion project. “I wanted to document my friends and family. However, I was so intrigued with how other photographers captured beautiful images that I wanted to know more,” says Boxter. “I taught myself everything I could about lighting and shooting. I offered my services for free and was a second shooter for photographer friends. I learned so much! Most of all, I have been perfecting my style and who I want to be as a photographer for the last six years.”
As for the type of photography she does, Boxter says she identifies most with photographing families and couples. “Anything that has a promise of an adventure is something I’m interested in documenting. I think the process of finding your style is very complex and directly tied to who you are as an individual,” she explains.
While she’s mostly self-taught, Boxter enjoys learning and continuing her photography education. She says that she still gets excited at each shoot because she knows that she’ll be providing her clients with lasting memories.
“It renews my faith to see a baby being born or a couple so in love during an engagement shoot,” she says. And even a young family member seems to be following in her footsteps. “My little boy, who’s almost four, has developed an interest in taking pictures and he now has his own little digital camera. It’s adorable to watch his eyes light up when he captures something new.”
“I love the creative freedom photography allows. I feel free when it’s just me and my camera. I find it a challenge to capture the in-between moments and identify as a lifestyle photographer; I give prompts and let the moment be what it is,” says Boxter.
There’s another reason that Boxter loves photography. She also fosters dogs through Cause for Paws. “A good photo of a rescue dog is so important for future adopters to see,” she says. “I really enjoy being able to use my photography to help these dogs find forever homes.”