‘GIRL BOSS’ SHOOTING
To be a successful PHOTOGRAPHER
While the field of photography is predominantly male, female photographers are making serious moves in the industry and defying the norm. Rizqua Barnes, a Cape Town-based photographer, is someone who has been at the forefront of the new wave of female photographers who have gained well deserved recognition and praise.
Currently, with smartphones offering high definition cameras, just about anyone can label themselves as a photographer. However, it’s the professionals such as Barnes who stand out.
The designated playing fields are social media platforms such as picture driven Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Photographers and bloggers compete for a spot in glossy magazines, newspaper and online portals.
The leading and popular photographer genres include general photography, socials, portraits, nature and fashion.
Carving your spot at the top is not easy, and like any other career, the field requires hard work, focus and individuality, says Barnes.
I first met Barnes about two years ago on live video sharing platform Snapchat. Her pictures of her daughter Nura melted my heart and her everyday life intrigued me. Her diverse professional portfolio on Instagram includes photos of models, personalities, fashion bloggers and just about every other thing that catches her eye.
Curious about how she became a photographer, I asked her: “When was the first time you picked up a camera?”
She said: “I was in Standard 5 (grade 7). I don’t remember what type of camera it was exactly but I got it from my aunt and it was a film camera. I borrowed it for camp.
“I was way too young at the time and never really gave it much thought. Thinking about it now, taking pictures is something that I have always enjoyed.
“My dad Fuad Barneshad a camera as well and was always taking pictures of our family. When I finished school, my sister Quanita loaned me her camera when we went on holiday and I took pictures of everything.
“I went on a paddling boat and the camera fell into the ocean… we still laugh about this today. Since then I am always super careful with a camera.
“I was always obsessed with sunlight, light and trees. There is a certain time during the day, the hour before sunset, when the sun shines on spots which are usually hidden during the day… the golden hour, it’s called.”
Barnes’s fascination with light and sunlight still drives most of her inspiration. Along with trees, rainfall and textures which comes from studying interior decorating.
“After class in varsity I will walk around town taking pictures of where the sun hit on tree leaves or puddles of water after rainfall.Even though I studied photography after interior decorating… my fascination with textures and fabrics is still evident in my work.
“I believe that interior (decorating) and photography goes hand in hand. At the time I never really thought about it like that but I see it now. My dad wasn’t too keen on me doing photography full time until years later,” says Barnes.
Now a fully fledged “Girl Boss” (#GirlBoss is a word referring to a woman entrepreneur), Barnes credits Facebook for propelling her career.
“I have been on my toes since the beginning of my career and I am still on my toes. Ever since Facebook happened, things have been happening for me and it hasn’t stopped,” she says.
“From weddings to engagements to 21st birthdays, matric dances and family
Always be patient with your clients and yourself.
Understand that photography becomes more of a life skill than a skill.
Be active on social media. Only you can hype yourself up. Make a fuss about everything. You are your brand.
Shoot more personal work, this actually keeps you sane.
Meet other photographers. Connect and share ideas.
Never stop building your portfolio.
Modest fashion blogger and stylist Nabilah Kariem wearing Twin Image Clothing.
Model Ashleigh Herman wearing The Design Warehouse