Joseph Chege studied Biomedical Engineering at the Kenya Medical Training College, in Nairobi, and would have graduated last year had it not been for Covid-19.
He, like hundreds of his fellow students, still hopes to graduate and put his degree to work. But unlike most of them, Chege does not lose sleep worrying about his odds of securing employment in this harsh economy.
From a young age, he was always passionate about photography and videography and saved every shilling he could, did all sorts of menial jobs to further his passion.
In 2017, with a capital of Sh150,000, he ventured into the industry and shortly after established Wisdomediamax Complex Production.
“I used to save cash from high school set books acting roles, sometimes I would work in construction sites, and save pocket money as well and other menial jobs I did,” says Chege who began as an actor and a film editor in 2016, before venturing into photography.
“Photography is fun. It is a field where you are able to enjoy what you do. And again, you are free, you are your own boss. It also pays well,” says Chege, whose studio is located at Dagoretti South.
He has so far invested Sh350,000 to acquire the best equipment, which coupled with his marketing skills and talent, have seen his business grow.
He has learnt to leverage the power of social media platforms. “That’s where we meet and arrange for locations. And I get some from referrals by clients I have worked for before,” he adds.
For normal photography shoots, he charges Sh800 per person for unlimited pictures.
“For events like birthday, pool parties, baby showers and others, I charge between Sh6,000 and Sh10,000, depending on the circumstances and location.”
For drone photography, he charges Sh12,000. The photographer adds that he charges Sh35,000-Sh150,000 to shoot during weddings, live streaming services and other events of such kind.
“I do video shooting, video coverage and filming, all at not less than Sh50,000,” he says.
He advises that for one to venture into professional photography, he or she ought to have at least Sh250,000, if huge expensive equipment and tools are not needed.
Does he worry that the ever sophisticated smartphone cameras could one day drive him out of business? Not one bit.
“Most of them (clients) know the worth of a picture by a 4K solution camera that I use.”
Covid-19, he says, has affected his business. With the health regulations that ban gathering, his took a profit hit especially during the October to December festive season.
He has cut a niche for himself in the imaging industry, albeit he has not studied photography, videography nor cinematography.
“I haven’t studied any of those in any institution. I am self-taught photographer, videographer and editor, with a passion and discipline and motivated to learn,” he says.
He reveals that on average he makes Sh4,500 per day during weekdays, and up to Sh35,000 during weekends when there are a lot of events.
Some of the challenges that he has encountered, include being arrested photographing in areas that are restricted. He also has to deal with clients who won’t pay the full amount when the work is already done.
In addition, he says that having few equipment, when a job requires him to have several is also a challenge.
For anyone who would like to venture into photography he advise: “It’s good, it’s fun, it’s a hobby and it also pays as a business. Be humble with your clients. Find some good equipment that satisfies your clients and most of all, market yourself in a good and respectable manner. Put God first.”
Chege hopes to become a great film producer and build his brand to greater heights.He also intends to create jobs for upcoming photographers and cinematographers “in the best way I can.”