It was “picture day” at Brownwood High School.
    In a room near the Dorothy McIntosh Fine Arts Center, students waited in a line for their turn to sit in front of Heather Nix’s tripod-mounted Canon camera. A section of the room had been transformed into a studio, with lights and a backdrop. Happy chatter filled the room as Nix joked with the students and gave them instructions on how to sit for their yearbook portraits.
    On this day, Nix was working as “Heather Nix Photography.” That’s the name of the portrait photography business she’s owned for nearly 10 years. She’s passionate about her camera works because she loves helping create memories for people — which means creating memories for herself, as well.
    Most days at the high school, Nix works in the school’s library as a digital media specialist. And she’s passionate about that job because she loves reading and encouraging others to read.
    “This is my day job, and I love every minute of it,” the 42-year-old Nix said, seated at a table in the 20,000-plus-book library, where she’s in her sixth year.
    Nix explained how a woman from Virginia, with no ties to Brownwood and no background in photography, ended up in Brownwood, married to Brownwood native Jeff Nix and operating a photo business.
    Growing up, Nix lived in several places around the country with her mom, who was “kind of a gypsy and loved to travel,” Nix said. Her mom often landed jobs cooking in restaurants.
    Nix graduated from high school in Norton, Kansas, then attended the University of Texas for a year, wanting to become a theatre teacher. But when her dad retired from the Navy and moved to Marble Falls, Nix decided to move there, too.
    She went to work for Walmart and transferred to the Stephenville store, where she met Jeff Nix, a Brownwood native. “We fell in love over the dairy case,” Nix said.
    Heather and Jeff lived in the Metroplex, then moved to the East Texas town of Winnsboro, where Heather, who had no experience in photography, went to work as a Walmart portrait photographer. “I fell in love with it,” Nix said. “I got to photograph little kids and babies and some teenagers.”
    Nix went on to work as a district manager in the Grand Prairie Walmart, where she trained and hired portrait photographers. Nix left Walmart and went to work for a children’s studio in Lewisville, where she learned about the business side of photography.
    “You actually do more with the business side than you do behind the camera,” Nix said.
    In 2005, the Nixes moved to Brownwood, where Heather went to work at Hampton Inn, and Jeff worked at Hastings. Heather’s husband and her father-in-law, Dale, began encouraging her to start a photography business.
    Nix began reading about photography to improve her technical skills, and Heather Nix Photography “just kind of happened gradually,” Nix said, although it officially became in entity in January 2007. She owns an appointment-only studio.
    “The biggest thing I get out of it is the connection with people,” Nix said. “It’s really a connection with these kids through the camera lens, and that is the coolest thing on the planet.”
    In December 2014, Nix had a major role in the Lyric Theatre production of “Guys and Dolls.”
    Nix is in the process of seeking certification through a national certification program for photographers, which involved taking a 100-question test over information in 13 books and submitting client images for judging.
    When asked which job she likes better — working as a photographer or working in the school’s library — Nix couldn’t answer definitively. “That’s a hard question,” she said. “I love them both for different reasons.”