Finding a passion for business — in photography

By Riley Holman/El Inde

During one summer semester abroad in the Eller Business School program, Harley Goul remembers the landscapes of Brazil as some of the most beautiful natural places she has ever seen: from the rivers of the Amazon to white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, and bustling streets of locals selling goods. After a two-month long summer of immersing oneself into the culture of the city of Fortaleza, studying and taking photos, a coveted film camera was sacrificed to the windy beaches that clogged it with sand. But that circumstance didn’t stop Goul, a college senior, from taking some of her best travel photos of her career. 

“When we went to the Amazon, I saw some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen,” she said.

Ever since she was five years old, Harley Goul had a passion for photography. She looked up to her parents — both of whom have their own businesses and always had an eye for creativity.

Cameras were all she ever wanted for her birthdays. Goul began her photography in high school and has since expanded it during her college years at the University of Arizona. Over the last few years, she’s developed her own photography business, Harley Goul Photography, serving the Tucson community, while she finishes her degree program in Finance and Entrepreneurship at the UA. 

“I saved up for five years and got my nice digital camera that I have now. And that was when I started taking photos of all my friends and stuff was freshman year of high school.,” Goul said. She began taking more photos and continuing the practice throughout the rest of her time in high school. 

Goul was inspired to pursue entrepreneurship in high school. “My parents have a small business, so I’ve always wanted to do something in that realm too,” she said. “I don’t want to work in the corporate world with business because I am an accounting major and I’m not really into the big four or anything like that, so this was always a better path for me,” Goul said. The Big Four is the name given to the largest accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC, and KPMG. 


Goul grew up in Boise, where she looked up to several professional photographers for inspiration; they gave her a sense of home from her early days of beginning her business. “I have a lot of local Idaho photographers that I follow still .  I’m trying to follow more people in Arizona and find photographers in Arizona that take good photos, too,” she said. 

Goul focuses her photography strategy as getting it right in camera, prior to editing and developing the photos. As best as she can, Goul tries to get the perfect shot in the moment, making it less difficult and more raw when it comes to editing the photos. “I also love to do film photography, with film you have to develop. I think that has really helped me too because it makes everything look so beautiful and original and so that’s usually what my travel photography is on,” Goul said. 

Her personal favorite is the “Froot Shoot.” After utilizing a blue backdrop and some fresh fruit with two friends over one Christmas break, Goul woke up one morning with a vision to take photos with fruit. “It was so fun, and I feel like I got some of the best photos I have ever done, and the strangest, too,” she said. Goul’s personal Instagram, @harley_goul has some of the photos from the experience posted. 

Goul has built her Instagram and online photography business by photographing senior portraits, by using her personal connections through her sorority and business fraternity and with other students over the last few years. “I’m definitely still working on (identifying my brand). I feel like I build it on mostly happy photos, I feel like good quality, happy and connecting with people, more so, even if they are fashionable photos I feel like I like the happy vibe more than the serious fashion photos,” she said. 

Tate Jameson, a senior and friend of Goul’s, has been a photo subject for her. “ I wore my bathrobe and had my hair tied up in a towel post shower and threw on my sunnies to hide the fact that my face was bare. It was very casual but made for an amazing ‘work from home chic shoot,” Jameson said. 

Jameson described her personal love for the transparency Goul shows throughout her work. Goul has a unique ability to highlight different individuals’ beauty in unique ways that “truly emits joy and peace,” Jameson said. 

Sammi Monk, a senior at the UA, has been in front of the camera in one of Goul’s photoshoots. She describes the experience of being a subject as relaxing and confident. “Harley and I did a photo shoot in Sedona, Arizona, the summer after our freshman year,” Monk said. The photos are bright, peaceful, free-spirited and uplighting. Monk is running on the red clay desert sand with orange rock formation mountains in the background as her hand swings up while she runs. “Harley did a great job of helping me feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. It was such a fun experience and I loved getting to see that side of her,” Monk said. 


Goul’s boyfriend, Cole Brinkman, has been with Goul for the last two-and-a-half years of college. “It’s been pretty cool, we have known each other for a few years now, and being able to see her photography progress, especially these past six months, I feel like she has really stepped up her photography,” Brinkman said. “She won this competition, I think it was in Guatemala, and it was this lady making tortillas and then Harley got a photo of that, and then she got this other one of an older gentleman in Brazil — it’s a beautiful photo.” 

Brazi photo by Harley Goul
Brazil photo by Harley Goul