Olivia is a NZIPP Accredited Professional Photographer based in the Wellington region of New Zealand’s North Island.
Hi Olivia, congratulations on your recent success of becoming NZIPP Accredited. Can you please tell us about yourself, your childhood, where you live and how you first developed an interest in photography?
I live in Whitby, Porirua with my husband Hamish and two gorgeous boys Tom and Henry. I grew up in the beautiful Wairarapa and went to Massey University in Palmerston North where I gained a BBS (Comms). Not long after graduating, I moved to Wellington and was employed by BNZ as a Junior Business Analyst in the technology department. My career was predominantly in technology until I was expecting our first baby and my husband bought me my first DSLR camera. Since then photography has always been an interest and I joined local camera clubs and slowly built up a bit more knowledge. One day a friend of mine Olivia Spencer-Bower (Christchurch photographer) encouraged me to reach out to the NZIPP Wellington crew and I was fortunate to be welcomed with open arms, I have no doubt everyone wondered what on earth I was doing! I enjoyed coming to the regular coffee meetings and occasionally sharing my recent photos of my kids.
What kind of clients make up your client base?
I work with Jo at Jo Frances Photography, we photograph newborns, children, and families in our studio and outdoors.
What do you like most about being a photographer?
I love working with different people and the variation in our day to day work. Photography frequently pushes me beyond my comfort zone and as much as I dislike it at the time, I also find it so rewarding to come through the other side!
What are your other passions?
I love being active. I am a member of a local gym which I have to refrain from going to daily. Over lockdown I started using the virtual cycling app “Zwift”, which is like gaming for cyclists! I have my bike fixed to the smart trainer and a TV and the trainer emulates the inclines/declines/drafting off other riders. I love how it emulates road cycling and now have a weekly cycling meetup with some of my old training buddies and we jump on Zoom so we can chat at the same time (this is vital for us!!) Before I had children I was always training for some sort of endurance triathlon event and always had to fit work hours into my training hours!
Whose work has influenced you the most?
NZ – Esther Bunning (I remember attending her workshop at PSNZ about 7 years ago!) Jo Frances (of course!), Richard Wood (I love his storytelling), Angela Jury (her newborn work is amazing!)
International – Sue Bryce, Natasha Ince, Karen Alsop, Paulina Duczman
How do you practice and improve your skills as a photographer?
I am still very new in the industry and I find that every day I am learning something new. I am so fortunate to be working with Jo and her knowledge and willingness to educate has been insurmountable to my progress as a photographer. I try to pick something in every shoot that I could improve on next time. I also entered IRIS for the first time this year and learnt so much from the judging that I will be back again next year for sure!
What was the best advice you were given when starting out?
Your first 10,000 photos are your worst!
Are you currently working on any personal projects?
No, but I definitely should!
Why did you join NZIPP and begin the path to becoming Accredited?
I joined NZIPP because I saw the opportunity to learn and grow amongst some of NZ’s most talented photographers. My journey to become Accredited followed through from there 🙂
Anything else you would like to add?
If you are sitting on the fence about getting involved with NZIPP I strongly recommend that you do it! During IRIS I witnessed something very special. In many creative fields, exclusive cliques form and newbies are not welcomed. But in NZIPP, during the awards live judging and the award finals night, there was so much celebration and excitement for each other’s success – it was so heartwarming too.