‘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

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

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

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

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

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.

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