The untold secret of starting a photography business

Turn photography as a hobby into a career
With my sharing, I wished to inspire, empower and support any new photographers or anyone who are looking into making photography as a career. This could not be easy in the beginning but it could be a dream come true turning your passion into a career. Just perseverance and time will make it happen!

I AM a never-say-die entrepreneur who started my photography biz The Colourful Faces Studio in 2005. Before that I was working at a Talent agency as a Booker cum Makeup Artist drawing a pretty good payroll. At my workplace, I meet many models and talents for photo shoot at the agency everyday. After doing make-up for them, I learned to operate with simple lightings at the photography studio and pick up some photography tips from other photographers along the way. After working there for 3 years, I made a bold decision to come out on my own to set up a makeover photography studio thinking that I have the advantage of being a make-up artist and I have knowledge of operating a photo studio.

In 2005 I registered The Colourful Faces Studio, borrowed S$13K from a great man (now my father-in-law) who wasn't very supportive of me opening the studio back then but nevertheless still loaned me the money to buy equipments for the studio. I rented a 500 sq feet space for S$1200 at the 2nd level of a shop house in Smith Street. It wasn't easy for the 1st 9 months. Considering myself new in the market, nobody knew my business existed at the 2nd floor of the shophouse and I didn't even know how to do any marketing, I was struggling to pay S$1200 rental and even have difficulties feeding myself. My back then boyfriend Dean (now husband) was helping to pay rental from his little profits from doing long hours small business at Chinatown. Everyday we were eating bread and curry puff with Milo. One day we were sitting together, hugging each other and crying. Dean started questioning if he had made the right decision in supporting my bold decision. He is always supportive of all the things I wanted to do even till now. I was also questioning myself if I have made the right choice in quitting my good pay job and opening a studio, facing 4 walls and eating air. I even have difficulties paying my home ultilites and household money to my family. My family was suffering with me.

At my wits' end, I offered free makeover photo shoot to all my friends and even friend's friends just to create human traffic to my studio and at the same time building portfolio. Once the word was out, out of a sudden my studio was filled with people coming everyday. At our 6th month into the business, many kind friends introduce me paid work and I was really blessed to meet with some business people giving me work and doing collaboration and roadshows with me. Dean and I were working till late everyday, i was busy editing photos and at the same time learning to build my own website and SEO optimization while Dean was accomanying me and doing admin stuffs for me. We start to earn some money from my business and be able to have spare money for decent meals. I started patronising a vegetarian shop just below my studio and I love the organic healthy food they served there. Being a buddhist and believing that accumulating good karmas from being a vegetarian and hoping for a better life for myself and my family, with my love for animals and I couldn't bear to eat animals meat anymore, I turned into a vegetarian from then on. Till today ,I am a 11 years VEGETARIAN and still counting and I am at peace with every living being