Andrea Foster – Texas Nomination & Photography by Twisted Arrow Photography Issue 70 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Andrea Foster started a pet-sitting business, Andrea's Paws and Claws, at the age of 14. As a result, she’s become the exclusive neighborhood pet-sitter serving over 50 families thus far. Andrea initiated her business to purchase a quality camera as she aspires to become a professional photographer. Her photography journey started when she joined the yearbook staff as a freshman. She continues to be a key photographer on staff and was recently named as editor this year! She simultaneously received an academic award for her photography in school and recognitions in photography camps hosted by the University of Texas!
Photography by Twisted Arrow Photography
Tell us about your business and what you love so much about it. I love that I get to run my business with my mom. I love that it is something we can do together. We both love animals and taking care of so many different types of pets makes my heart happy. I also love how we can bring many different families comfort knowing their pet is safe and well cared for while they’re away. It’s been a great learning experience.
What was the hardest part of getting it going, and where are you at with it now? The hardest part of starting my business was getting my name out in the neighborhood and finding clients. People worry about letting new people inside their home and trusting the care of their pets with a teenager. My mom shared my story and some neighbors took a chance on me. They shared their reviews and recommended me to other neighbors which has led to returning and new clients.
What do you wish others knew about running a business? Running a business isn’t as easy as it seems. Luckily, my mom helps me with advertising my business. She posts on the neighborhood facebook page and even created a group to refer people interested in seeing pictures and reviews of pets I’ve cared for. It’s also hard having motivation to work sometimes, especially in the early mornings or after long days of school. I would tell others that you have to find creative ways to build your business and push through the tough times and get to work.
How did you find your photographer, Twisted Arrow Photography? What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? My mom saw some Senior pictures of a few graduating friends on social media. Lorry was friends with several people in our neighborhood and they highly recommended her. Since we both really liked her style of photos, my mom asked her to photograph my Sweet 16 photos. She was really nice and made me feel very comfortable during the photoshoot by talking about why I loved photography. She even gave me tips on how I can improve my own personal work and said that I can email her with questions on cameras and different apps for editing.
What kind of photographer would you like to be and why? I’m still learning photography, so I am still trying as many types of techniques as I can. But if I had to choose now, I would strongly consider sports or nature photography. Both are very different, but both are very fun. Sports photography is challenging, but it gives me a rush of adrenaline running around the field and stopping action with a single click. With nature photography, it’s calming and relaxing. I can capture beauty and peace with one frame.
We'd love for you to send us a favorite image you've taken and tell us the story behind it. I have a deep love for the moon. It's very hard to take a clearly detailed picture of the moon. This picture was taken shortly after sunset because it is still light enough where the moon isn't too bright but dark enough to beautifully shows the moon's craters while also being framed by a nearby tree.
Photography by Andrea Foster
What do you do in the yearbook staff? I’ve been the photographer on the yearbook staff since I was a freshman. I go to most of the school events such as football games, baseball games, pep rallies, performances, etc. I take photos for the yearbook staff to put in the school newspaper and yearbook.
What leadership roles have you had? While I was a part of taekwondo, I was in their leadership program. I would help teach the “Tiny Tigers” class which was for younger kids. I would help them with their forms, weapons, as well as teach them new techniques and how to fix or improve different moves. I also help a lot with my high school choir program. As the Choir Historian, I am in charge of taking our choir’s photos/ videos and posting on our social media accounts such as Instagram and Facebook.
What is your best leadership quality? My best leadership quality is that I am very respectful. Whether I am interacting with little kids, students, or adults, I make sure to treat them with respect and kindness in the way I would like it received. I feel it’s very important to be an example and present that respectful leadership.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career until I started high school. My dad was in the military, and we moved around a lot. I was born in Alaska and we moved to five different states by the time I was 10 years old. It was hard to make friends and I didn’t find anything I really loved to do. I still struggle being shy, but I feel like photography has taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me in more ways than just knowing what I want to do when I grow up.
What advice do you have for other kids who are preparing for a move and all the changes that go with it? I think that kids that are moving should keep an open mind while preparing for that huge change. I would encourage them to step out of their comfort zone to find new opportunities and positive changes. It’s difficult to try new things that come with moving, like making friends. Having an open mind and good attitude will make a huge difference in the experience.
Photography by Andrea Foster
What else would you like to talk about? I’m a member of the GeoForce Academy which is fully paid and sponsored by the University of Texas. I applied in 8th grade and was accepted to participate in geoscience field trips each summer throughout my high school years. The first year was the Texas coastline, but it was virtual due to Covid. The second year we visited Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. This year we went to Oregon and Washington. Next year we will stay at UT and work with professors on a research project. When it’s done, it is presented university students, scientists, staff, and parents.
What do you do on these trips? Myself and other students of the GeoForce academy have a very busy schedule. We travel quite a bit throughout the week as we go places to better understand the different details of geosciences of the area. We also have lectures and even do experiments about the activities we did that day. It’s been an amazing experience to hike in so many national parks and learn about the variety of environments.
What is a favorite memory from one of these trips? These trips happen every year during my birthday. I think the best memory yet was on the last trip where we were on Mount Hood, Oregon playing in the snow. On that day, I was playfully attacked with snowballs as a birthday joke. These trips have all become great memories because of all the friends I’ve made. These students all come from different schools, but we keep in contact almost daily. I couldn’t ask for better people to spend my birthday week with every summer.
What is the most interesting thing you've learned so far from these trips? I learned a lot in Oregon and Washington, especially when we visited Mt Hood, Mt Saint Helens, and Mt Rainier. The most interesting thing I’ve learned is that the Pacific Northwest has much more explosive volcanoes than Hawaii. This is due to the type of volcano and amount of silica in the rocks of the two different types of volcano.
What do you feel passionate about or could talk about forever? I love photography and can talk about it all the time. I've done photoshoots with so many kinds of school sports, different kinds of student performances, and candid shots - just to name a few. I’ve also experimented on my own with landscapes and portraits. Photography has opened a lot of opportunities for me like attending university events, meeting important people, and having my photos featured in different places at school and conferences. I’ve learned so much already and I’m excited about all the things that I still have yet to learn.
Photography by Andrea Foster
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?If you had nothing to do and all day to do it, where would we find you? On a day with nothing to do, you can find me trying new photos with my camera or spending my day with friends. Those are my two favorite things to do, and if I can combine them together, that’s a great memory for me.
What is up next for you that you are super excited about? I am very excited to start my junior year and what direction this new journey will take. I hope I’ll improve as a person, not just a student and photographer. I am just anxious about the overall possibility of how the year will progress.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? I am a second degree blackbelt in Taekwondo.
Look for Andrea in issue 70 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!