Makayla Hendricks has been taking photos since she was 6 years old, posing her teddy bears for a photoshoot just after she got her first camera.
Now, as a sophomore at the University of Utah, she’s the owner of her startup Off the Frame Photography. Her company’s mission is simple: to take pictures that your grandma would hang on her wall. To Hendricks, it’s all about being authentic.
“I strive to make everybody feel confident in front of my camera, because a lot of people aren’t. I want to create really genuine photos,” she said.
Off the Frame was recently formed as an LLC, but Hendricks has been working on her company since she was 16 years old. Hendricks’ mom gave her her first camera for Christmas, and the teddy bear posing began. From there, Hendricks received a digital camera at 8. Four years later, she bought her own camera, a Nikon D5100 with average kit lenses. She used that camera in her high school yearbook class, and the quality of photos she produced compared with the quality of the equipment she used impressed her advisors. “In photography, a lot of people think that you have to buy the best camera and equipment to be good,” said Hendricks. “But really, it’s just how to master your equipment.”
Around that time was when Hendricks rebranded to Off the Frame Photography. “I decided to change my name from Makayla Hendricks Photography when I was 16,” Hendricks explained. “I changed it because I wanted to add to my team, and it was the longest name in history. When I rebranded, that’s when I felt like I was in business mode.”
Initially, her name-creating theory centered on “picking nouns and adjectives and putting them together,” but when Off the Frame became the official name, her business plan and personality finally met. “For me, when Off the Frame was decided on, it was taking the experience further than just the picture,” she said. “It connects people to each other. It’s off of the frame, it’s not just a picture for your Instagram. It’s who you are, it’s a way of creating a memory. It’s not just simple headshots, get in get out, it’s something that you can remember, and feel confident about.”
Hendricks always knew that she wanted to go to a university, but she was committed to Off the Frame Photography. After touring other campuses in Utah, she found out about the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “Lassonde is why I’m here, because of the resources they offer and its entrepreneurship focus,” Hendricks said. “I learn something on Monday and implement it on Tuesday.” She applied and received office spaces at Lassonde Studios through the Company Launch program, which provides startups with space and resources.
Now, she studies entrepreneurship at the U while also running Off the Frame with an intern. She focuses on graduating high school seniors’ photos, and is mainly an outdoor photographer with big plans to hire more photographers and expand in the near future. “Working with clients, I’m looking for somebody that really wants the whole experience,” Hendricks said. “I really try to make that connection. This isn’t casual – this is my passion.”