‘We’ll Raise The Bar In Professional Photography’
The Vortex features correspondent, Manasseh F. Paul-Worika speaks with James Kalada Hope, an indigene of Asari-Toru local government area in Rivers State and a graduate of Psychology from the University of Port Harcourt. Hope is the Chief Executive of Crystal Photography, a professional photography outfit in Port Harcourt.
Tell us about Crystal Photography.
Crystal Photography is an agency that offers professional photography services. We render indoor (in-studio sessions) and outdoor services for occasions such as, birthdays, weddings, beauty pageants, convocations, etc.
Inspiration behind Crystal Photography.
Crystal Photography was birthed put of love for art, portrait painting and photography. As child, I loved paintings, arts and pictures and my elder brother had a camera that which was always at home. On countless occasions, I would go out with his camera, take pictures and paint them. It went on and my parents encouraged me to learn professionally by enrolling me in a Photography school during my long vacations.
In the higher institution, I worked and learnt from Photographers and it spurred me to push for more. As a youth corps member, we were introduced to several skills we could learn as part of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) initiative of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). I opted for Photography class because of my passion for the business and that really helped me improve my skill.
One other thing that inspired me into starting Crystal Photography is the economic situation in Nigeria. The rate of unemployment and poverty is alarming and we can’t depend on the government to provide jobs for the teeming youths.
What can the government do to tackle unemployment?
Truth remains that the spate of unemployment has led to many vices in the country like, armed robbery, kidnapping, etc. The government should focus on building industries that would employ graduates. They should also create conducive environments that will make businesses thrive.
How long have you been in this business?
I started professionally in 2017 after my National Youth Service. Crystal Photography is 2 years old.
How does Crystal Photography operate?
I advertise Crystal Photography on social media platforms particularly on my Whatsapp Status. I showcase jobs that we have successfully handled to give our prospective customers a feel of what they can get by choosing us. We have a High Definition Photo studio where people who want in-studio pictures can come for their shoot and also choose beautiful locations for those who want outdoor shoots.
What challenges do you encounter?
My biggest challenge has been erratic power supply. Because of the work we have to do, we need constant power supply. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We spend so much fueling our generator set and it affects us badly.
How do you manage business and social life?
As much as I can, I try to balance things up. When its time to work, I put in a 100 percent and avoid any distraction. But in my leisure time, I relax with family and friends, watch football matches, play games and ensure I get the best of that moment. But I respect each time. If its work time, nothing distracts me. And when its time for social activities, I enjoy every moment of it.
Aside photography what else do you love?
I’m a football enthusiast. I’m passionate about football. I’ve always wished to be a professional footballer. It’s a natural gift and I’m working to excel in football as I excel in photography.
How has your business helped you?
It has helped me to be independent financially. Now, I can do what I want for myself and family. And yes, my business gives me a sense of fulfillment. I find joy and relaxation doing this business because it is what I love and have passion for.
What are your projections?
I’m working with my team to kick start Crystal TV. What we tend to achieve with Crystal TV is showcasing events, occasions and social activities in the city of Port Harcourt. And then Crystal Photography will move into Videographer and Cinematography very soon. We just ordered a drone camera that will aide professional video coverage of all occasions and activities at affordable rates.
How has competition from others influenced you?
Port Harcourt is a big city, one I’ll call the next entertainment hub of Nigeria because of the caliber of events organized in the city. This is one of the reasons we have a lot of photography establishments. The consciousness that there are many other persons that render same service like I do gives me reasons to improve on service delivery and creativity. I ensure that I improve each day to avoid lagging behind. In all, the competition from others has spurred me to up my game.
What makes you stand out?
I’ll say good customer-relations skill, keeping to time and creativity. I hold my customers in high esteem. I ensure I give them the best for their money, keep to time and give their events a touch of class with captivating photos. The truth is, outside making money; you need to make a good name. No one would associate with someone who treats him or her badly.
Advice to youths waiting for white collar jobs
For those talented in different areas, it’s time to get working. Get something doing. You can learn painting, designing, photography or any other thing that can earn you a living. Relate with people who are professionals in a skill and learn from them.
With this, you’ll have something to fall back to, instead of engaging in criminal acts in the name of waiting for white collar jobs. Start from somewhere; don’t fold your hands anymore.
Advice to young entrepreneurs?
To every young person who has decided to take a bold step towards developing their skills, I’ll advice you to remain devoted and committed to what you do. Look for someone who can coach you to become better. Be humble; learn all you can and ensure you acquire all needed. Finally, don’t be discouraged by your small beginning. Celebrate your small wins and keep striving for greater heights.
Is Port Harcourt Business Friendly?
The opportunities in Port Harcourt are enormous. As one of the biggest cities in the country, Port Harcourt plays host to many companies, establishments, events and occasions that bring people from all walks of life to the city. Any one serious about excelling in business will key into the opportunities in Port Harcourt. Port Harcourt is business friendly and there’s no doubt about that.