It doesn’t matter how old you are as long as you’re enjoying your journey. You will get to where you want to be eventually, it’s just a different route.Vanessa on being a photographer
I am a full time freelance photographer. I left university after my drama degree and I knew after my first year that I really wasn’t going to pursue that as a career. For now, I’m working as an assistant and building my portfolio as I don’t think I quite have my own style yet.
I want to explore and experiment more first and figure out what I’m good at. Eventually I do want to develop my own style because people hire you for your artistic approach rather than because you’re a photographer and you can take pictures.
At the moment, I’m leaning towards fashion photography because I’ve always been interested in it. In fact, my parents have always been very interested in it, so I grew up seeing and reading a lot of magazines. At the same time, I would also love to do a documentary if I could on the side, because when I was younger, I wasn’t as open as I am today in terms of politics. My parents were also not interested in politics so I never understood it. As I grew older and went to university, I was exposed to different people and ideas. I learnt so many things and politics can be interpreted as just viewpoints. Exploring all these different viewpoints have been very interesting for me.
My idea of success is to be financially stable. I don’t need to be someone that makes a lot of money. I just want to be able to reach a stage where I’m shooting the things that I like, and for me to be like, “I like what I’m doing.” I’m super lucky and grateful that I also have parents that support me.
I realise what a privilege that is. I feel like your 20s are the perfect time to trial things that you want to pursue. Even if I fail, I can always go and live with my parents if I have to. If you think that you can do it, and you really see yourself doing it, it’s always a good time to try it because we’re still young. I also think it doesn’t matter how old you are as long as you’re enjoying your journey. You will get to where you want to be eventually, it’s just a different route.
I always think it’s better to try and then fail than regret not ever trying. For anyone looking to get started, I’m always open to help. My DM’s are always open!
Taking a break is very important as well, and I do need to get better at that. At the moment, my job is my life. I’d work on the weekends or even after work hours. I’m just constantly doing something. I really need to learn how to take a break properly. It would be good to focus on having a ‘day job’ and then take the rest of the day for myself. I do get really carried away because I love photography, so it doesn’t feel like work. However, at the same time, I really need to set my own boundaries.
Another thing to remember is to take your time and really appreciate the wins. I’m always onto the next thing, and I forget that I’m actually doing well. I spent a year trying to find a job as a freelancer and as soon as one came, I went straight into it without thinking too much into it. I kind of forgot to celebrate it. I think it’s good to reflect and think where you’re at compared to where you started. For me, I really didn’t think I would be where I am now.