Standing out in the crowd: Student starts local photography business

Written by Gillian Smith
 | Wednesday, 06 August 2014 16:43

In a time of “selfies” and Instagram, one Duxbury student is taking back the art of photography.

Louis NeJame, 16, is a junior at Duxbury High School who is well on his way to becoming a entrepreneurial businessman. A couple of years ago, NeJame bought a camera that was equipped with video and still photography capabilities. Interested in shooting videos, NeJame started exploring the various capabilities on his new camera and discovered an unexpected love for still photography.

“After a little while with the camera, I said, ‘Forget about video, I want to take pictures,’” he said.

Not having taken a photography class, NeJame set about teaching himself the basics of digital photography through YouTube videos and internet tutorials. Everywhere he went, he took his camera with him, snapping photos of everything from Duxbury Beach to candid photos around town.

“After a while, I figured I should look into making money off of this hobby,” he said.

Through a family member, NeJame connected with local photographer Betsey Campbell, who took an interest in his work.

“She explained to me that there is a gap between high- end photography and iPhone photography,” he said.

NeJame discussed his interest with Campbell, who gave him some advice about finding a niche and working towards a particular goal. She took down his information and a month or so later he was contacted by Kim Panton, owner of Rock, Paper, Scissors on Depot Street. Panton was interested in hiring NeJame as a photographer for a birthday party and he was surprised.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “They took a real leap of faith with me and it was great.”

With his first professional experience under his belt, NeJame knew that he wanted to follow through with build- ing a photography business. He reached out to several people around town who he thought might have some good advice for a budding businessman. All in all, he sent out about 40 emails. He received about a dozen in return.

One such reply came from local author and illustrator Brian Lies, who is well-known for his “Bats” books. Lies took an interest in NeJame and asked him to take photos for his upcoming book tour. After meeting with Lies and his wife, Laurel, NeJame said he received invaluable advice, as well as a surprise.

“He asked me to take pictures of him and his “BATS- mobile” and it turns out that the photo I took will now be on the poster for his tour,” he said. “I was shocked and honored.”

After taking the initiative and reaching out to several people in town, NeJame learned that one of the most important things to do in order to ensure success was to net- work. He set about building a Web site (louisnejame.wix. com/lmnp) for his business and started making connections around town with local photographers and business owners. Over the summer, he said he has been overwhelmed with the amount of support he has received.

“It’s amazing that people in town will take time out of their busy lives to help some random kid who likes to take pictures,” he said. “It’s incredible.”

Looking forward, NeJame said he plans to continue transforming his hobby into a business. He can be found at various spots around town, especially at Duxbury Beach and even in his own front yard, where he says it all started.

“I taught myself how to use the camera by taking pictures of flowers in my front yard,” he said. “I like the challenge of trying to do something that you don’t see too often. Something that stands out in a crowd.”