Taking a shot at photography biz

National 3 minutes, 15 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

WHAT was once regarded a hobby has now been turned into a lucrative business in Brunei.

More youths are turning their passion in photography to a career despite the perception that it is an unstable career compared to a government job.

One such youth is Faizul Azizi, a Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) graduate, who chose to become an entrepreneur when he was still a student.

The 26-year-old said he started his own photography business while he was still studying at UBD.

“I started in 2009 and back then I considered photography as just a hobby and only charged a nominal amount for my services,” he said, adding that he started taking pictures of small scale events for his family.

The events and wedding photographer said the expectation from his family for him to land a government job was high as he is a master’s degree holder.

“My mom discourages me from doing this as a profession especially after my graduation as she sees it as unstable.

“But for me, at least I am doing something that I love and gained side income while waiting for job offers or calls. My dad, on the other hand, is supportive because he is a business man for his entire life,” he added.

Currently, he has four members working under the brand GG-Studio Photography, which also involves his UBD mates.

“Most of us are still waiting for job offers and opportunities with both the government and private sectors. But doing this as a business is a profession for us too,” said the founder of GG-Studio photography.

He added that being an entrepreneur taught him to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in earning his own money.

“It is undeniable that being in this industry the money is quite good, but it also depends on the number of clients and the prices you set,” said Faizul.

Speaking about his photography business, he said that it is important to stay on top of the game by continuously improving his skills and knowledge in a market saturated with wedding and event photographers.

“I see this (new and current photography businesses) as healthy competition,” he says, while noting the growing number of photography businesses in Brunei over the years.

A photography entrepreneur who is no stranger to taking risks is Hanisham Salleh, who quit his job at the Royal Brunei Air Force.

The owner of The White Room Studio started his photography business on the side while working as an aircraft engineer at the Royal Brunei Air Force.

“I need to establish myself first (at that time) and build a stable foundation to prepare (my business). I don’t want to be left hanging doing nothing,” he said.

Hanisham, who is in his 30s, covered small events for one year before quitting his job in 2011 to focus on his fledgling business.

He said it takes time to build a business, especially one that’s based on passion and interest.

“I need to take risks to venture into the photography business and be confident in what I am doing, I like challenges,” he says.

Hanisham believes that the key to succeeding in any business is to provide the best service to clients.

Another local entrepreneur is Khalid Ali, who pursued his passion by partnering with a renowned Malaysian wedding and corporate event video production company, Creative Studio Technology (CST) Production.

“I quit my job as an engineer in a company back in 2012 and decided to go into the business full-time,” he said.

“It was a calculated risk but this is my passion and my wife supported it, so I decided to just do it.”

Khalid went to Kuala Lumpur to join one of the videography workshops organised by CST Production where he met the company’s founder, Rosli Mohamed.

Negotiations were then made to bring the CST brand to the Sultanate before CST Brunei was launched last February.

The Brunei Times