Steve Newsteys : “Having a camera in your hands does not make you a photographer.”
Published Sunday, July 19 2020 : Steve Newsteys by theSystem *
Tell us about your background and how you got into your job?
Well after film class back in 2015 i started working at my dad’s studio and my passion in photography grew in a big way. Worked there for 3 years and later started my own company as a freelance photographer.. And here i am growing strong.
What made you drop film and focus on photography?
Well, film is wide, so i narrowed down to cinematography (camera works) so i am still in film…. Just for clarity i do photography and videography which in this case this is all film work.
What type of photography and videography do you do?
I am so much into events, product and modelling.
“Having a camera in your hands does not make you a photographer.” – Steve Newsteys
Tell us more about it ….
Well, i do weddings which is one of the most type of event people are investing in of late. It is evident that people are after quality.
Product photography is also a line where people are advertising there products online for better sales and to give a clear picture of the product to the clients.
Modelling goes hand in hand with product photography whereby mostly models are showcasing products..
Sure , what challenges come with those fields of photography?
Many clients don’t understand that quality reflects the cost so many clients are after low prices but on the other end they still want high quality which can’t work in most cases.
We are still not to the point where people appreciate photography as a profession and a paying career and as a matter of facts having a camera in your hands does not make you a photographer..
The cost of shooting esp in the streets is also very high ie. flying a drone in kenya is insanely expensive..
So how do you earn your clients respect as a professional photographer and how do you get them to pay your ask, or do you compromise the quality to accommodate their bargain?
I will always go for quality which takes time to get clients but the fruits you get after getting referrals from the same clients -it’s sweet…. So quality first because clients will bring themselves steadily there after.
When you say “having a camera in your hands does not make you a photographer..” what does that mean and how do you define a proper photographer?
Being a professional in any field is quite deep.. You’ll have to understand your work inside out, you can work and deliver whether the conditions are conducive or not.
As a professional you ought to know which equipment to use where how and when…. And finally give a master piece. So my point remains intact having a camera in your hands does not make you a professional photographer..actually having a less superior camera in my hands does not mean i cannot deliver but I know how will be the first priority is though I’m not advocating for lame equipment’s.
So what you are suggesting is that it takes knowledge and experience to be a photographer , well how does one know that they are or could be a photographer what was your personal experience ?
The process is gradual, there are different levels of photographers so you progress with time..you charge as you perfect on your skills.. So i personally charge in regarding my quality of work..
Do you think at this point you can compare to the best photographers within Kenya or how do you rate your skill on a scale of 1-10?
I’d give myself a clean 8 out of 10 still learning and i believe i have a room for perfection.
How do you arrive at that number , and what is remaining for you to hit that 10?
I arrived at that number coz i have worked under great photographers and filmers so i know the value of the 8. What’s remaining is mostly investing in equipments which is a big deal coz it costs a fortune.
Has the pandemic affected you in any way and what challenges are you facing during this period?
Yeap the pandemic have slowed down almost everything… Events are limited, and most people got no money which in this case they are our very clients though at the end of the day i am still getting something.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
For now I’m working on a mega project😊whereby I’ll be starting up a new studio early next year.
Where are you working from at the moment and tell us a bit about the studio you are working on?
For now I’m doing alot of outdoor shoots and events though i have my office around banana town..
The studio will be one of a kind around the place of set-up whereby it will serve the people looking for quality and professionalism.
You’ve got an extensive portfolio that includes a variety of works in weddings, regular people and fashion. What’s your favorite thing to capture?
People with a tale to tell and memories to remember….Updating people’s archives by a click of the shutter is simply amazing..those smiles and the bonds 😍😍
Do you find it challenging to balance personal and commercial projects?
It’s not challenging aslong as i work professionally..ie.. Time keeping, working with agreements and all that.
Now that anyone can publish their work online and showcase it to the world, how has that affected the photography industry?
That is an opportunity for brand growth and a source of knowledge whereby we can learn from each other and know what’s new in photography.
Has your personal approach changed at all as a result of photography’s evolution?
Yes I’m always doing my research in photography it’s a journey not a destination so i always sharpen my skills.
How do you see your brand evolve in the next ten years ?
My goal is being among the top brands in the region and have more branches.
Finally what advice do you have for emerging creatives?
The power of a humble beginning is priceless, trust the process, invest in your skills ,equipment and brand. Always remember that you attract the class of clients who are after the class of service you provide. charging cheap to get a million clients cannot and will not sustain you in this field. work to upgrade your quality and charges will rise coz i bet in the first place professionalism and passion brought you here.
This interview has been edited and condensed for purpose of clarity and precision, we value your time.