BOONE, N.C. — Anna (Hanselman) Ulery ’04 describes her job as “capturing moments of fun.” As a portrait photographer and the owner/operator of Boone Photo Booth, Ulery said, “Encouraging people to laugh, be themselves and come out of their shell is what I do best!”
While at Appalachian State University, Ulery earned a B.S. in industrial technology with a concentration in technical photography — equivalent to today’s major in commercial photography.
Ulery and her husband created Boone Photo Booth in 2014. They set up their booth at weddings, parties, company gatherings and community events, using a professional camera, lighting and printing technology to provide prints on-site for instant mementos for guests at the events.
“Engaging clients and their guests in the experience is what I love most about my job,” Ulery said.
Ulery, who grew up in Rutherford County, developed an interest in photography at an early age. “I was given my first 110 mm camera as a young girl, and I remember posing and photographing my dolls all lined up,” she said. In high school, Ulery was a photographer on the yearbook staff.
She started out at Appalachian as a psychology major before considering photography as a career option. Taking photos on a trip to California during her first year at Appalachian changed her perspective.
Afterward, “On a whim, I decided to check out the photography department, and (the late) John Scarlata (professor and coordinator of the photography program) encouraged me to pursue my true dream of being a photographer,” she said.
“I was blessed to be mentored by incredible people while at Appalachian,” Ulery said. “John Scarlata encouraged my growth as a student and as an individual. His critiques were honest but tough, enlightening and encouraging.”
Minoring in media studies, Ulery said professors in Appalachian’s Department of Curriculum and Education played roles of encouragement and leadership, including Jeff Goodman, now senior lecturer in media studies, plus Drs. David Considine and Jeff Fletcher, both since retired.
“I would encourage prospective students who are interested in the visual arts to seriously consider Appalachian for a well-rounded educational experience,” Ulery said. “My experience was certainly conducive to intellectual and personal growth, and I am so thankful for the professors who were diligent and committed to making my time there a success.”
Ulery served as a photography lab assistant in both departments. “Mentoring and teaching other students was a highlight during my time at Appalachian,” she said.
She also completed two internships:
- At David Crosby’s commercial photography studio in Hickory, she shot studio images for Corning Glass using large format equipment.
- At COPAC, now Quad/Graphics, a printing company in Spartanburg, South Carolina, she learned different printing techniques.
“I would encourage students to do as many internships as possible to discover where their real-world interests lie,” Ulery said.
After graduating from Appalachian, Ulery stayed in Boone and worked as a studio manager and assistant to local photographer Jonathon Burton. “I was his second shooter at weddings, portrait sessions and commercial photo shoots. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in the fields of photography and business,” she said.
Ulery said she feels rewarded when she hears how her photography services are important to others. Recently, she received a call from a prospective bride who had seen Boone Photo Booth in action at a friend’s wedding reception.
“The bride said she ‘had to have us,’” Ulery said. “She wasn’t getting married until she secured our availability — no venue, no wedding date chosen yet. What an honor! That is why I do what I do.”
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Department of Art
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Art at Appalachian State University prepares students to explore art, identity, expression and creative problem-solving while challenging them to go beyond their previous limits by discovering new connections to culture. The department offers degrees in art and visual culture, art education, graphic design, studio art, photography and graphic communications management, with minors in art history, studio art, photography and graphic communications management. Learn more at https://art.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian State University offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls more than 2,000 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.