I started this photography journey thinking that I will never be as good as the others but then down the road, I realised that I do not have to compare my work to anyone…
Nicholai Ioritana Amituana’i is a young Samoan making a mark in the world. Here is one talented young man, who will not say ‘no’ to a challenge, eager to learn and share his experiences through the lenses of his camera. He found his passion through photography and spends his spare time in China taking snapshots of people in their cultural environment. That’s not all there is to this spirited young man.
He is from the villages of Lalomanu, Sataoa and Vaitele Uta. We first met Nicholai through a simple Facebook message. Two things stood out from his introduction: He wanted to be a part of the team and he aimed to broaden his skills through volunteering his time and talent. He is currently studying marketing at Hebei Universtiy, China.
Unlike most university students who like to spend their time relaxing on the beach during mid-semester break, Nicholai packed his equipment with the mind set to work! Here is a budding photographer who jumped at the chance to take part in the first Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show 2016 (SSFS16).
With little experience in fashion photography, time and supervision, he took front stage with other young photographers. Whitelight Photography, his social media brand produced highly polished, beautiful crisp photos of every fashion collection on show. There is a cinematography appeal to his photography and warm, generous personality. Today it’s Samoa and China, tomorrow he might be a most sought after international photographer and trailblazers in the industry.
We catch up with him as he juggles, school, work and life.
When did you first pick up a camera?
My first time was when I could afford my first camera. Although it was my first time holding one I swear it felt like I have been familiar with the art many years before. My life was complete!
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been a photographer for the past two years.
Inspiration behind your work:
I am inspired by the natural environment and surroundings as well as people. I am mainly a portrait photographer and love taking photos of people because I aspire to bring through emotions and stories with the human appearance. My biggest inspirations come from other photographers in Samoa that bring forth beautiful yet breathe taking stories through their images with the use of our natural island surroundings. High Fashion Editorial Photography is a big influence of what kind of photographer I want to be in the future.
Nicholai Amituana’i portraits
Colour that represents you
Black. I know it’s not a colour but I can’t change it, I have to go with Black.
Found out about SSFS through:
.. a photography page I am a member of. They were looking for photographers to participate in the show, so I got in contact with the founder, Enid Westerlund and confirmed a spot.
Lessons from being a photographer at the SSFS:
Being self-taught and especially an amateur photographer I saw Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show as an excellent platform for me. To challenge myself with the skills I have. My photography is mainly focused towards portraits and being involved with a fashion show was way beyond my wheelhouse. Unlike Portrait photography SSFS taught me how to be on my feet in an environment where everything is on the spot and under an immense amount of pressure.
From the beginning of the show until the last model walking off the runway, you had to be snapping away in order to get the images you needed. It had me prepared, not only equipment wise but also mentally since this was my first time shooting a fashion show. It all ended well and an experience I’m sure glad I did not miss out on.
Best part about being involved in a show like SSFS:
I got to experience another genre of photography that I never thought I would get myself into. After the SSFS, I can gladly say I would do it again and again because it’s a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of people and also work alongside some of the most talented photographers on island that I looked up to since I started.
Have you done photography work for a fashion show before? Tell us about your experience?
No, Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show was my first ever Fashion Show job.
Would you recommend SSFS to other aspiring photographers?
Advice to other photographers.
Yes of course. I started this photography journey thinking that I will never be as good as the others, but then down the road I realised that I do not have to compare my work to anyone. Just as long as I know within myself that this is my work and what I put out to the public is my imagination coming to life, in a still photo. That is the only thing I need to worry about. Today was Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show, tomorrow it may be
Fiji Fashion Week, and who knows, down the line New York.
To any aspiring photographer in Samoa who are passionate to get their work recognized, I highly recommend you take every opportunity to take the little dream you have and make it into something better than you thought. Samoa Sinnet is the kick start you need in order to gain experience and be amongst other aspiring artists that are on the same journey as you.
Have you received more photography jobs after you’ve photographed SSFS?
Yes I did. Once the SSFS organizers released the photos (from the show) on social media I received a lot of messages regarding photo shoots. It was a big thing for me because I haven’t been doing this for a long time and the exposure that SSFS set out for me was quite extraordinary. We are in the 21st century and social media is a big platform for any given business. With the help of SSFS, putting my brand out there in the public as well as my work, I think that’s where I get all the jobs from.
Biggest challenge as a photographer
My biggest challenge right now is not having time to do as much photography work as I should. I am well on my third year of University in China, which is my first priority at the moment. For now I am only doing photography work when I go home for school holidays from July to September. Also while here in China, only occasionally I go out and take some photos when I have the time. Another challenge I have is with equipment, as every photographer struggles with the same thing, this profession is not cheap. Therefore we just have to work with the equipment that we have and saving towards that expensive lens that you’ve had your eye on for the past year.
Next step for you;
I will be finishing off school in a year’s time and my main goal is to further expose my business and brand with many projects I have in store. The main aim is to work towards securing a good customer base with the help of my Marketing degree. I can take the knowledge I have to help build my photography business to where I see it should be, in the next few years.
Also, I have always wanted to work as a High Fashion/Fashion Editorial Photographer, so that is the long term goal. In the near future I want to be producing flawless work and take all the ideas in my head and make a living out of it. Doing what I love which is
Any other fun facts about you that you’d like to include.
I am very good in Marketing, so if you’re hiring give me a call!.
You can follow Nicholai on social media:
Facebook: nicholai ioritana amituanai
Instagram: Whitelight Photography
If you’d like to be a photographer for Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show on July 14th, 2017 Taumeasina Island Resort:
Contact SSFS on their Facebook page
“Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show” or by email email@example.com.