A Dream Job That Sparkles and Shines

Photography alum Amanda Stayer ‘23 is working in her dream job as a studio coordinator for fashion company David Yurman in New York City.

In this role, Stayer wears many hats in managing David Yurman’s photo studio and product e-commerce.

“I help build our shot list of what we’re doing on set daily,” Stayer said. “I also work with a program called Creative Force, which handles retouching of files that will be put on site.”

Before joining David Yurman full-time, Stayer assisted photographers on set as a photo studio intern during the Summer of 2023, just shortly after graduating.

“I’d fill in for digital tech by helping them run computers, manage files and uploading them to the asset manager.” Stayer said.

Growing up in Suffield, OH, Stayer was influenced by Kent State’s proximity to home and the specific photography degree offered by the College of Communication & Information.

Photography Student Amanda Stayer sitting at a drafting table

“Picking photography was an easy choice,” Stayer said. “I liked that there were technical and scientific aspects to it, as well as the idea of working hard to create something that has a big impact.”

At Kent State, Stayer worked with fashion design students, producers and stylists for various projects. This valuable classroom experience prepared Stayer for her positions at David Yurman.

“My Fashion Photography class helped establish how a photoset functions,” Stayer said. “Photostudios rarely just have a photographer, there are many people involved and you have big teams.”

Working with platforms such as Capture One and the Adobe suite in classes also provided her with foundational skills that prepared her for internships, Stayer noted.

“In my role now, I live in Capture One on set,” Stayer said. “Having a class where you get to work with it has a huge impact because you won’t find a set that’s not running on this platform.”

During the Spring and Fall 2020 semesters, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Stayer to attend classes virtually. However, professor Tim Bell made it their mission to adapt to these changes.

“Tim taught my advanced photo class during the Fall 2020 semester,” Stayer said “This class is one of the most important classes you take, but he tried to be as flexible as possible to teach these important foundational skills.”

Professor Bell also urged Stayer to think critically and challenge herself in all aspects of her work.

“He was good at pushing his students but also stepping back and letting you learn on your own,” Stayer said.

Aside from class experiences, Stayer served in a variety of student media positions for Fusion Magazine, helping her hone in on important networking and communication skills that prepared her for the big move to New York City.

“Student media provides you with practical skills of working within your degree but also social skills of working with people, reporting to people, being on different teams and managing conflicts,” Stayer said.

For students looking to go into photography, it is important that they take time to explore what they want to do in the field, Stayer commented.

“Take a lot of classes, explore different areas, collaborate with other students and photographers in the area,” Stayer said.

Moving to a big city can be intimidating at first glance, however, Stayer recommends making connections that can help streamline the process.

“Kent has so many alumni that live here and in other cities,” Stayer said. “If you reach out and find alumni and get connected, that makes a big difference.” 

POSTED: Thursday, May 9, 2024 04:37 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 9, 2024 04:41 PM
Blake Serrano '25