Meet Ayesha Onyekwelu, owner of Bedazzled Photography in NYC. Ayesha’s focus is wedding and lifestyle photography and she is a Nikon girl all the way. She shoots RAW with her left eye, manual focus, and although she used to use TRA, she now prefers to use her own lightroom presets as well as Leah Profancik’s presets, with Kubota Magic Sharp MCP actions for her storyboards.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
Hmmm I didn’t find photography, it found/followed me. I started out as a lawyer but with a father who loved all things photography, I took pictures as a hobby. One day, I took pictures as a guest at my cousins wedding and the bride preferred my pictures to their hired photographer. That’s when I knew I had to start thinking seriously about pursuing this. It is still not yet my full time career since I am a lawyer by weekdays and a photographer by evenings/nights and weekends but very well on my way to make a 100% switch :).
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Networking with photographers. Practicing as often as you can. I also take out time to go and shoot for the love of photography and not for clients to refresh my creativity/edge.
What makes you different from everyone else?
I wouldn’t say I am that much different than everyone else, but when I take on a client, I view my clients as myself and my friend, and shoot them the way I would want someone else to shoot me, I almost always become friends with all my clients.
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
hmmm I don’t know that she is up and coming but I love Angie Monson of Simplicity Photography.
One item you can’t live without?
My Crackberry (Blackberry)
Your best bokeh image and why?
There is something about this little boys look of glee that I love so much, it makes me smile everytime I look at it.
Why did you want to be included on The Bokeh Pot?
Why wouldn’t any photographer? LOL. On a serious note, it is a great site for photographers and clients.
Hmmmm I have many but they change with time, but the one that always stays the same is -A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
I am a romantic… I love “Pretty Woman”
Where do you find inspiration?
Magazines, People Watching, Fabulous Photographers Blogs, Talking to a couple about themselves… just the most random stuff can inspire me.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
LOL.. well I think me 🙂 because without me my business cannot exist at the moment.
Do you use a second shooter?
Sometimes depending on the size of the wedding.
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
email me and share your website and/or blog, lets talk.
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
I am sorry but I have several hahahaha. Lacour Photography because they tell stories through pictures like none other and are so humble at it. Angie Monson of Simplicity Photography because her colors are sensational and make me want to keep looking, Michael Colon because he is simply too cool for school. Josef Isayo because his concepts are fantabulous.
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
OSP and PPA. No awards yet but hoping for some really soon.
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
Purchase my Nikons and not worry about how broke I would be after I swiped that card.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Follow this if it is your passion. It is one of the most gratifying things I have ever done in my life and I just wish I had found it sooner before I spent a gazillion bucks in law school.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
Hmm, I don’t think I have done anything magnificent. I have been incredibly blessed to have wonderful friends and clients who keep referring me.
Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)? If for, who have you had the most success with?
I am yet to do a paid advertising but I am not against it if it brings business to people.
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Grabbing a bite and going to shoot just for fun and learning from each other.
Anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for this feature, I am incredibly honored.