Freelance photographer Alicia Lin, 24, captures memorable moments. The fulltime architectural designer discusses what it's like running a side business.

A brief description of the business
Alicia Lin Photography is a photography service run by myself with the assistance of my boyfriend, Daniel. I capture weddings, family portraits and events in a spontaneous and story-telling manner.

In addition to this, I do documentary and fine art photography, and have participated in several exhibitions in Auckland and Christchurch.

My wedding packages range from $1000 to $3000, while portraits and family photos are charged on a hourly basis.

Advertisement

What inspired you to start this type of business?

The business started purely from the passion I have had since I was 17. Throughout university, I tried all different kinds of photography including tourism photography, wedding assistance, and fashion photography.

I did a two-month internship in Brussels with international photojournalist, Justin Jin, who works for National Geographic, the New York Times and Der Spiegel.

That experience really got me into photojournalism and telling stories through still images. Eventually I thought of starting my own brand, and officially launched my photography website in the middle of last year.

I don't do photography fulltime. I'm actually an architectural designer from Monday to Friday, but I operate the business on the side as it is my passion and what I love to do in my spare time.

Where is the business based and where do you operate from?

I am mainly based in Auckland, but I do travel for occasions.

I just did my first destination engagement photo shoot recently with quite a bit of travel around the North Island. It was super fun travelling with the couple and I would love to get more opportunities to travel both nationally and internationally.

In the past I've done a few shoots for family and friends when I was studying and interning overseas in Europe and Asia.

Photographer and architectural designer Alicia Lin.
Photographer and architectural designer Alicia Lin.

What makes your photography business different to others?

My photography has a strong documentary approach.

I don't like those pure, sleek and perfect moments. Instead I try to capture spontaneous and in-between moments when people gaze, talk, laugh or cry.

I'm always searching for interesting people, stories and aim to give my clients different experiences during photo shoots. Whether it's a wedding, engagement shoot, family gathering, or graduation, I always try to get people to grasp their own emotions and to have as much fun as possible.

Every person should have their own story through the photos, so when looking back at them in 10 years time those images will tell a narrative and you'll laugh and cry with your own visual memories - that's what I aim to do.

What is the most challenging thing about running the business?

I am running the business part-time on a weekend basis so depending on the jobs I get, sometimes I need to spend most of my weekend shooting and editing photos. It can be a challenge juggling both a full-time job and the business, especially when it comes to editing, but not in terms of photo shooting.

Also, the work is very seasonal - busy in summer, quiet in winter.

You use analogue film to take photos, how is it different to shooting in digital?

I started film photography in high school. For me, being in a darkroom developing stills is one of the most fascinating and mysterious things about photography.

Taking photos from an analogue camera makes you value each click when releasing the shutter. Therefore you always think before you click - it trains you to think fast.

An analogue photograph, taken on a Leica R6.2 camera.
An analogue photograph, taken on a Leica R6.2 camera.

How competitive is the photography industry?

We're in a digital age where photos are taken easily and sometimes with mass production on digital cameras. That's why I choose to use analogue for myself.

It's always good to go back to the old styles and slow things down with limitations when it comes to photography. I'm thinking of introducing analogue photography into my business - it would be beautiful to have weddings and couple shots recorded on film.

What is the best thing about running Alicia Lin Photography?

Doing wedding photography was always my dream job, and it feels great that I can live my dream. Being part of a client's big day is one of the happiest things you can do. And being able to use photography to tell those stories is even better.

The best part is I get to be outside, talk to people and click the shutter when I feel the right moment - it's definitely more exciting than an ordinary weekend.

What advice do you give others people thinking of starting a similar business?

Be simple and just do it. If you're really passionate about something, you should consider turning it into a business, or doing it as a job. Don't be afraid of working with what you love - you won't overkill your passion. Instead, you'll get more momentum and learn a lot more than you think.