A new story from PhotoBiz Xposed
Photographer in South Africa owns one thousand dollars per month now Emma does a combination of commercial work and private client shoots and in addition to her portrait photography Business Emma is a Nikon Con South Africa School China she also mentors other photographers on a one on one basis and more structured workshops collaboration with Nick on and once I learned about the business she built in such a tough market on new she'd make a great kiss for us on rat to have a with us now emma welcome thank you very much great to be here it sounds is like leaving a busy and exciting in South Africa what's taking up most of your time in regards to business the Nikon stuff where portraits so it's mostly the portrait photography at the moment and oversee touched on the business mentoring which has been something I started in January so I've been gradually building that in as well and then I have a houseful of animals as well so life is usually for she chaotic before I hit record you telling me that you have six dogs a parrot yet the Vick's dogs a parrot why do you have six dogs why do I have six dogs well I do quite a lot of them work with animal Oh shelters so I think once you start getting into the world of animal rescue you end up taking stuff home yet set up gradually accumulated more and more dogs as time's gone on so my fiance has put a cap on it at six and I think companies threatened with albeit victims if I bring any more dogs home blame them for placing that limit there I would have done it before six yeah the last two that came in were a total where an accident so I volunteered to bottle feed three puppies that had been often and we got them at two days all and I said to him I promise promise I'm going to rehome them all and then as they got bigger and I got more attached to them I manage to be home one of them and we still have the other two and and they went from four hundred and fifty grams to nearly thirty kilograms now it's chaos all the time I'm guessing you don't do hun bye shoots with the other pets I do I go to stadium at home it's kind of sort of contains we've got a bit of a basement so it's contained eh so it's just a little bit of logistics management when I've got other people coming through with dogs seminar all kind of tucked away that we sort of just about managed to do it I I before we dive into the full visa side of things how did you end up in South Africa and as a photographer there so I moved have to Santa Cruz in two thousand nine with the boyfriend I was with at the time so he was also British and he got a job so a divorce and I had had a small Dole tests so it was kind of an opportunity for a fresh start so we moved out here and I just loved it here and that relationship ended in twenty twelve and I've stayed here so it was one of the very interesting kind of moving countries because obviously very different from the UK and I think it's just I like to hear this lots of open space the weather is obviously much better than the people here are amazing and really friendly and I just kind of evicted for me so I'm very happy here so will oh you photographer back in the UK or all start here in South Africa now I started my photography career in the UK in two thousand four and I actually started kids bikes brock and weddings I'd gone to college an to do a diploma in Photography and at the time of two thousand and foles longtime ago we were doing doctrine trim stuff back then one of the girls on my course was doing a bit of work for local photography studio and she said Oh you know this guy needs more people to gun shoot weddings readings for him sausage cool do that so I went out and shot to these very low value weddings just say to shot to weddings for him and then I so I think I can probably do this so I just set a business up and started just like that which is interesting I can imagine I can imagine doing the in the UK before you move to South Africa so five years in the UK was chasing weddings fall before I moved here okay so just before we get into the South African your business we're in south South Africa are you I'm in and Cherian which is halfway between Pretoria and Johannesburg and give me an idea in the listener idea of the demographic graphic of your clientele and the local area so it's quite a difficult one with South Africa because obviously cynic Konomi with an incredibly huge huge demographic of people who probably five dollars a day in this huge rich and poor divide here and then you've got the other extreme head hey with people who drive around in Ferraris so it's a very interesting sort of economy so I'm working with hit photography shoot weddings here so I got I guess it's sort of difficult to discover you gotTa middle-class demographic here I'm working with to most of your clients would be doctors lawyers that kind of clientele absolutely doctors lawyers architects those sort of people I guess the people that are only well here and can't can't afford to commission photography Roddick Hassle Okay so you moved from UK you've been shooting weddings you come to South Africa and it's a whole new country three yet did you start photography business immediately and had did you start it so I kind of I was quite lucky when I arrived said the boyfriend I came here with he he was a software programmer so we had a very well paid job here so I wasn't under any pressure to have to go out and do what and I will say at that time didn't have a permit to table made to go out and do work such I'm just kind of started making contact with people networking with people and I started doing quite a bit of charity works had time on my hands I'm quite philanthropic so it's always been a bit of an underlying theme of my photography is wanting to use my work to make a difference in the world so when I arrived after had that perfect opportunity so I started to get involved with my local SPCA animal shelter. I went and adopted a dog and I said to them at the time you know from a photographer perhaps help you so I volunteered to help them shoot a fundraising calendar and that's something we lead the first one came out in twenty twelve and we've got a twenty twenty one is being launched said that's the project that's raise an awful lot of money I'm just trying to think putting it into dollars that's probably raised about seventy five thousand dollars last how many years is that seven years so it's been a really cool project to be apart all up and then obviously through that I started to pick up hit photography few works at the pet photography was a title accidents when I arrived here I got managed to get a business permit to the the sort of gradually set the business up here now I just one thing to say is I decided not to shoot weddings when I arrived here because I actually got to the point where are really despised shooting them I know you should you should if weddings I've been through website really works really beautiful and I got to the point with its in the UK it was very difficult because obviously the weather's ferry hit and miss so you'd go to a wedding and a beautiful venue and then it would start to rain and then everybody looks at you like you're going to perform a miracle and actually discuss the point Russell you know what I actually really not enjoying the pressure Hicks was getting very frustrated because you've got a lovely venue with useful grounds and then you you can't go outside because it's raining and I'm thinking actually I'm not enjoying going out every weekend doing this type I decided to take on portrait photography when I got here so that was kind of the nation I decide to govern so that was kids and families will pits yes yes so I started off when I arrived herself doing kids and families so so maternity and newborn family shoots and then once I started doing the SPCA ended up berry accidentally photographing animals IOS and realizing I had a bit of a talent for it I went down the road with that nation so majority of my work now is clients who have dogs so you know a a lot of time it's just photos the dokes then I'll have people who come to me who having a baby and they've got dogs and they want to have the dogs included in the new able and shakes so it's just it's built very interestingly around this concept of the fact that the dogs can be included and then we build the rest of the family and around it it's not it's not like I said dogs really your specialty that's why people are coming to you today yes that's it I I want to dive into how you built the busy so you have in the intro are mentioned that you'll ruining Iran ten thousand dollars a month whereas most of the talk in South Africa earning one thousand why is this such such a huge difference. Why isn't that big chasm between you and these other photographers here we've touched on this very big kind of earning gap here an across the board in the country and I think this is a country that South Africa's sort of seems to really undervalue creatives an undervalue you? People who provide a service is the expectation that because you're just doing you're providing a service and not necessarily something tangible that it shouldn't and cost very much and I think a lot of people are schooled into this that they've got to be as cheap as possible otherwise everybody will book an I saw when arrived here I started off being very very cheap to build my business and my business model that I bought here was the same that I've been using I think it's similar with the with the states and probably very similar in Australia of this model of charging a shoot fee and then op selling clients with Princeton products so is that what you do you'll weap- yeah I think that's popular right around the world yeah it wasn't popular here and it still isn't it's quite interesting search nick the expectation here for the majority of people as they book shoot and they get all the digital files so you have to charge a hefty fee up front for for them to be happy is that right will yes but what photographers doing here is charging a very low rate and just giving all the files away that's been that's up that's the thing thing so I've come in with my overseas model and it's taken a while to sort of educate my clients about the fact that they're going to pay a fee and then they're going to get stuff us they're going to get their work prince hits I so you're still using the UK model you're helping your your client to see that's the way you work yes that's it so often it.