For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

Being your own boss: Photography
By Charlotte Beever
Being your own boss: Photography

Zuleika Nelson, 28, from Southeast London, has turned her passion for Photography into a full-time career.

“So, I guess I just developed a love for it. And then I realised I was actually good at it. So I decided to just let the wind take me as it did.”

Zuleika’s love for photography began unexpectedly. After being expelled from high school, she found herself having to choose from the remaining available courses: performing arts, photography, and music. She chose photography and quickly discovered a talent and passion for it. “My teacher was very inspiring and pushed me to pursue photography,” Zuleika recalls. “He said if I didn’t end up pursuing it at some point in my life, he was going to come find me.”

After completing levels two and three in creative media at college, Zuleika enrolled in university to study photography. However, she soon realised that formal education wasn’t the right path for her and dropped out. She used her student loan to buy a camera and started her journey as a photographer.

Without a clear starting point, Zuleika began by reaching out to friends and family, asking to shoot for them to build her portfolio. “I started putting myself out there on social media and at networking events to promote myself,” she says. “It took a long time, but I’m glad I did it that way.”

Pursuing a creative career often comes with its share of judgments. Zuleika faced scepticism from her family, particularly her mother, who questioned why she didn’t pursue a “normal” job or return to university. However, as her business began to make her money, her mother’s perspective changed. “There were a lot of people who didn’t think it was going to work. But I just had to keep the faith and keep pushing.”

Running a business as a self-employed photographer isn’t always easy. “It’s quite hard because you are effectively self-employed, so it’s not a stable salary,” Zuleika explains. “I understand why a lot of people give up on the dream, as I have been quite close at some points.”

Zuleika has learned the importance of personal branding in her business. “As a photographer, you are your brand,” she says. Instead of marketing your photography, market yourself as anybody who can pick up a camera and take the pictures that people would want. It’s all about the person you are booking and whether you are comfortable around this person.”

She emphasises the significance of showing her personality through social media. “I’ve decided to post my personality, and although bookings are slow, people are getting to know me for me. Then they can recommend me to whoever does need a photographer.”

I find this sound so funny, i had to use it 😂 #byzeee #photographer

♬ come hold this back – laicositna.

Zuleika’s advice to others wanting to start a career in photography is straightforward: “Just start. Don’t worry about the equipment, money, or people. If you don’t start, you will never know. You will figure it out. Allow yourself to just be you, and the rest will work itself out.”

Check out Zuleika’s Instagram:

If you want to find out more about How to be your own boss check out: A self-employment guide: How to be your own boss – Werk (