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industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
15 January 2020

South Thames College Student thrives as Photography Entrepreneur

Amaar Zafar

We spoke to Amaar Zafar who is studiyng Level 1 UAL Art, Design & Media Diploma at South Thames College about his journey as a Photograhy Entrepreneur. 

You are a successful entrepreneur and have your own Photography business as well as studying at College, tell us a bit about your business and what and who inspired you to start?

I’ve always been a creative person and through the years I was able to convey that in many forms. When I was 7, I picked up my first camera, a Sony point and shoot. I remember using it to take photos of things and people around me. Through the years I was always into photography and filmmaking, but lacking any good equipment, it was generally more a hobby. It wasn’t until December 2018, when I got a new phone with a better camera, that I really started to hone my skills and take things up a notch. I’d say the catalyst that pushed me into turning this into a career was the lack of options I had otherwise due to several things going on in my personal life, mainly my long-term illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Seeing photography as a way forward I channelled my time and energy into that, starting to use a DSLR a few months later in early 2019, to allow myself to improve and get to a level where I could make money from it. One of the people who inspires me is Peter McKinnon, a Canadian photographer/filmmaker who came from a normal background, but made it big in the industry, due to his passion and phenomenal work.

Your website looks great, and very professional.  Did you have to teach yourself new skills e.g. Website Creation in order to start your business?

In order to start my business, the biggest thing I had to learn was about presenting my work to the world and marketing, which is still something I struggle with, but am constantly improving on. I’ve done web design previously, so that part was a doddle, but having to narrow it down only my best and most relevant work was definitely hard. You want to find a balance between work that is relevant to what clients want to see and, whilst also looking great. Sometimes a photo will look great, but it doesn’t fit in because it’s irrelevant and not what clients care about seeing and sometimes, it’s the kind of photos a client asks for, but doesn’t look good on the site. People generally don’t spend long on a website, so you want to grab their attention quickly and make sure they like what they see.

What have you learnt from your course at South Thames College than can be applied to your business?

As an Art, Design & Media student, a couple of the things my course has taught me that can be applied to my business, is coming up with creative solutions to problems that occur and being able to better analyse my work. The latter is especially important as it helps me improve my work and objectively see what works and what doesn’t.

What is your favourite project you have worked on?

I’ve worked on quite a few different projects so it’s hard to narrow it down, but one that particularly stands out is Jalsa Salana UK 2019 (which was in August). It’s an annual gathering where over 40,000 Ahmadi Muslims attended this year in a small town outside of London. The event consists of speeches and the remembrance of God, with many outside guests such as, ambassadors, dignitaries, politicians and international press teams from across the globe attending to witness this annual event. I was fortunate enough to be part of the internal UK press and media team where I was able to take some amazing photos and learn a lot from other photographers with 20-30+ years of experience.

A close second would be my first time using a film SLR camera this year in late August. I bought a 35mm Olympus OM10 plus a couple of extra lenses for pretty cheap at a charity shop. To my surprise it worked, and the photos came out really well, especially for a first timer. It definitely gave me a newfound appreciation for film photography and forced me to think differently to when I use a DSLR.

What are your aspirations for your future and the future of your business?

My goals for the future consist of mainly expanding my business and getting more clients. I currently do freelance work and hope to take on more clients. I’d love to shoot at someone’s wedding as it’s something I’ve not professionally done yet and have wanted to get into for a while. I would like to get to a point where photography is my main source of income as I believe in the saying, “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work again...” That’s something I aspire for.

Explore Amaars work here:


 London Cityscape 10 11 19

Amaar Zafar