Since the 1980s, Shayne Jeffares has had a camera in his hand most days - usually as part of his job as a school class photographer.
He says he was lucky to be given an opportunity.
"Someone took a chance on me and I started in the photographic industry when I was 17."
Shayne says the chance he got when he was young changed his life and he wants to give something back to the community to motivate and inspire local youth - which is where Fotofest comes in.
With his wife Cath and three professional trustees Shayne has developed Foto Iwi Trust, a youth platform based on creativity using visual digital media.
In 2012, Shayne and Cath owned a café and gallery in Napier.
The gallery was photography-themed and ran a national photography event similar to Fotofest.
The couple closed the business as the building needed earthquake strengthening and decided they wanted to focus on using their skills to introduce youth to photography through workshops.
This year the Hastings District Council gave Foto iwi city activation funding for Fotofest.
Shayne said he wants to bring people into the CBD and create a week-long photography event for everyone to enjoy.
Fotofest will focus on local professional photographers, hobbyists and filmmakers.
The festival will also include national exhibitors, workshops and talks.
He said that Hastings is becoming recognised as having a diverse and vibrant art and café culture.
"I would like to see Fotofest become an annual event; photo festivals are huge, worldwide," Shayne said.
He wanted the exhibitions to celebrate diversity, and the multicultural and Chinese associations have sponsored some local photographers.
"At Fotofest, there will be something for everyone, whether you are into taking photos or just want to look around. The week will be full of family-friendly fun; kids are encouraged to participate and join in a photography treasure hunt," Shayne said.
"If you like taking photos, you can enter competitions or if you aren't into taking photos, you can look at about 20 exhibitions and listen to creative workshop talks," Shayne said.
Workshops will be held by Hawke's Bay's top commercial and fine art photographers, an adrenaline sports photographer filmmaker and an award-winning sports shooter.
One of the talks will be from Jeremy Bright of Taupō, who will speak about taking photographs in Russia and Ukraine.
Another New Zealand photographer, James Foy, has taken images of endangered African animals set against a black background. He hopes to inspire others to help be the voice for these wild animals.
Some of the country's top music photographers will be displaying their From the Pit exhibition, a collection of images of Kiwi musicians playing live in New Zealand.
The photographs are mainly taken from a small area between the band and the crowd where authorised snappers can find the best angles to record the musical action.
The highlight for Shayne has been communicating with photographers he hasn't seen for years and working through the festival process with the council.
"It's been a lot of work and next time I would like a bigger organising team to help and bounce ideas off," Shayne said.
"I'd love Fotofest to be an annual event and roll it out to about a month."
Fotofest is based in Hastings and runs from Friday, September 30 to Friday, October 7. More info at www.fotofest.nz.