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Standing tall at 5 ft 9, Rosette Soares towered over the male photographers in all the weddings that she photographed. In photography, she found her passion and also discovered that she had a knack for reading people, a gift that powers any photographer’s canvas. In our series on women entrepreneurs, she gives us a peek into a day in her life as the Founder of FotoButik.
As a Libran, I’ve always been interested in many things. Hence after school, I dabbled in many work possibilities until I settled into Marketing. Being people oriented, marketing was a very interesting field to be in and meet new people. Having completed my Masters in Psychology, I find it amazing to see the variations in human behaviour and am curious about reading people. Marketing was fun because I had to build a story around a product or service, I had to be creative, introduce customers to it (public relations), get them interested in being loyal followers (marketing) and so on. Sure enough, I spent around 5 years doing that kind of corporate job. Then it got stifling, the waterhole gossips, the head honchos and politics trailing down the hierarchy, the slow learning, constant struggle to hold onto your seat, endless report making, and doing absolutely nothing new other than your job. I got restless and yearned to do something more creative. So I took up a photography course.
At the time of the class I was using a ‘point and shoot’ camera but had classmates with DSLRs who would team with me during assignments. I can’t thank them enough. Making friends in the process, we began photographing. I started a Wedding Photography Facebook page and within a week, landed an inquiry and then another. Our little group thoroughly enjoyed all the work coming our way but my friends were professionals in their respective fields and didn’t have the entrepreneurial streak, so they soon trickled back into their jobs and are doing very well in their careers today. We still meet and photograph stuff together.
On the other hand, for me, I was going nowhere in my dead-end job and hence I moonlighted on the side as a wedding photographer. Now, no one expected a 5 ft 9 girl to be a photographer, especially at weddings. I mention my height because I would tower above the average male photographer at 5 ft 2 or 5 ft 5 (on the brighter side getting me some good aerial shots). The guests would be pretty shocked too, seeing me among the betel leaf chewing photographers. Slowly, word spread and I got a ton of inquiries. Obviously I was overwhelmed but I couldn’t manage all of them alone so I would hire students who loved photography, and would mange their time for 4 to 8 hours a day. And so, FotoButik Photography had arrived!
I couldn’t manage all projects so I would hire students who loved photography, and would manage their time for 4 to 8 hours a day.
We complete 3 years this month and so far we have successfully completed 45 weddings, 12 engagements, 20 baby shoots, 4 maternity shoots, 15 baby showers, 30 social events and now recently ventured into product shoots.
I am what you call a night bird, I prefer working late at nights. That kind of calmness is really motivating. Editing usually happens at this time with some good music.
During the day, I schedule meetings with potential customers, visit the lab to get the book made. I carry a notepad with me always – ideas strike any time (especially when I’m driving) and I want to be prepared. For my meetings, I have a separate book that holds all customers’ details, with timelines, deliverables and deadlines. Everyday tasks are scheduled in my iPhone with reminders so that I never forget anything.
The most interesting part of my day has to be when I meet new people, which has me learning new things every single day. I love to read so I follow blogs and Facebook pages on entrepreneurship, photography, inspiration and other initiatives. Being an entrepreneur has really opened up my mind and empowered me to be a better person. I’ve become more organised and have picked up good behavioural skills from people I’ve met. I do many interesting things everyday. Today, for instance, I designed an entire 20 page Fotobook in 3 hours flat! I meet so many wonderful people — I met a fantastic person,also an entrepreneur and a new mom who can’t wait to have her pretty 3-week-old daughter photographed by me!
I carry a notepad with me always – ideas strike any time (especially when I’m driving) and I want to be prepared.
What thrills me the most about my work is the idea of delivering what was committed, much before the deadline. In terms of challenges, people negotiating just before the final payment. As wedding photographers, you are the last to get paid, so even while no one remembers the decor, food, DJ or the makeup artist or even the dress designer, it will be your money that will be negotiated because you are the one delivering at the end. It’s a major turnoff also when the customer isn’t equally committed to design their book and it is too time consuming when they keep changing their minds mid-way. There are also no fat paychecks.
The highs are plenty, though. Being your own boss, flexible timings as I work from home, opportunity to do something new every day and sleeping soundly because you have achieved something today.
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