My name is Maneemejai and today I want to share some tips on how to enjoy and have fun at work. My parents were teachers in a mountain village and I grew up surrounded by nature in rural Chiang Mai. Photography always fascinated me. Although it was very expensive, I was so excited when I had my own camera for the first time.

Taking photos of friends and activities at school made me really happy. Even up until University, I still kept taking photos again and again. I never took photography classes. The knowledge I've gained was from secretly reading in the library, buying photography books and studying them as if they were school textbooks. I highlighted the books like I was in a lecture, mentally absorbing the science and theory behind photography and how cameras work. This meant that I practiced much more frequently. I believe that we have to be one with the camera as it conveys our perspective, we’re then able to express ourselves through the photos and those photos then communicate with others.

The one word that describes portrait photography would be ‘life’. It may not be happening in the present anymore but the photos keep memories alive. I was fascinated by this unique quality and found out how pictures can communicate, send messages or create a deeper meaning for people. I like how pictures can look into your soul. Imagine we have the ability to take a photo of someone which shows their true personality and they’re proud to see themselves in our work, it’s such a pleasurable feeling.

“Move your head a little bit,”
“This is good! One, two, three…”
“This position looks better”

I first started in fine art photography. When I was learning, my teacher always said that fine art photography is a reflection of our true selves. This means that decision-making is always down to us. Whether we’re satisfied with something, if we like the clothes being worn or are content with the chosen location. We do the majority of the work ourselves. But with commercial photography, decision-making isn’t just down to us; direction from team members and the brand has to be taken into account as well. As a collective team, we work together to produce a unique piece.

For anyone who wants to become a photographer, I would like to share five tips that you won’t find in any textbook.

Point 1 is to assess yourself.

By assessing yourself I mean, assessing your work, your thoughts, your happiness and your wellbeing. Constantly review these things to understand how we’re feeling about each of them. Looking back through past photos to analyse if we like them or not and identify mistakes so that we can keep improving. This helps to improve our work and helps us grow as photographers.

Point 2 is to be conscious in the present. Whenever we hold up a camera, it’s our soul that helps present what is in front of us and portrays it in the form of a picture. Imagine if we don’t really focus on what’s in front of us, it’ll be obvious that we didn’t put our heart and soul into doing it and the photo will look dull.

Point 3 is communication skills.

This point is very important as we’re no longer working alone, we have to work with a team of people. Taking everyones wants and needs into account and making the decision of how we want the work to be produced takes a very high level of communication skills.

Point 4 is everyone wants their unique style

As per point 4, everyone wants to have their own unique style. Well, this comes from our own true identity, we have to try and find our strengths, what we’re really interested in and what we’re actually good at and then develop those strengths and skills to the best of our ability.

For point number 5, I’ll be talking about health.

As a photographer, quite a high level of fitness and flexibility is required to get the angles that you or your customer wants. Resting is also very important in photography; if we don’t sleep well, our work may not be produced to its fullest potential.

To conclude, I would like to give the following advice to anyone who dreams of becoming a professional photographer; if you don’t enjoy and aren’t having fun whilst working, you won’t remain in this job for long.

To find the balance of happiness and joy will always be up to you. I might not be able to tell you all the details but you’ll be able to find the right way of leading a life of joy and happiness that works for you and fits you best. Practice as frequently as possible and I hope you’ll find your true self soon.