My Career Story from Computer Scince to Photography Anny Robert GVA Growing Up Vs Adulting

My Career Story: From Computer Science to Photography

Once a week we share career stories to help people learn practical tips that can help them build successful businesses and careers (click here to see more) and today we follow the journey of Anny Robert, a visual artist whose career story took him from Computer Science to Photography.

When he is not editing, Anny can be seen sharing his beautiful work on Instagram (@anny_robert) and Twitter (@iamannyrobert).

He also owns Studio X (@studi0_x on Instagram), a creative studio for rent in Lagos.

I hope you enjoy his story.


My Initial Plans

I knew I wanted to study Animation and Graphic Design before I got into the university but it wasn’t available anywhere as a course so I had to look for something close.

I considered Architecture but backed out when I heard it was a 6-year course 😂 and went for a 4-year course in Computer Science instead because I thought I would get the chance to learn Animation and Graphic Design.

Wrong choice. It was just coding, core maths and science. They gave us a crash course in Graphic Design once in my fourth year and that was it. 🤦

In 200lvl, I decided to learn Graphic Design from a friend who had design experience and as I learnt, I put up my work on Twitter and Facebook.

People who saw my work sent design jobs my way and I started making some money from it.


How I Got My First Job


Someone referred me and I got the job.

It was for the role of a Graphic Designer at an ad agency for my IT period and when it was over, they told me that I could come back after school, so I did.

I had another job on the side but I stayed at my first job for a year before leaving for the second, then I spent three years at a fashion label before going into photography.


The Credit Alert That Changed My Life

The switch to photography was something I considered when I made a lot of photographer friends and realised we used the same tool, Photoshop, but I did not actively pursue my interest until I saw an alert on a friend’s phone.

It was a downpayment for a wedding she was supposed to cover and wow 🤯.

To get that amount, I would have had to do 5 graphic design jobs. 5 jobs for 50% of her fee for 1 job.

I was already thinking of my next career step because, in the grand scheme of things, Graphic Design alone seemed small so this was perfectly timed.

She used to ask for my help sometimes with Photoshop and that made me think ‘Look, if she’s asking for your help, there’s something there, there’s some potential’, so I started honing my photo editing skills.

I would take raw files from my friends, edit them and then show them to get their feedback before putting up the final pictures on my pages, giving them due credit and adding that it was edited by me.

It took a while before I started taking pictures because I knew that post-production would be the hardest part for me, so I focused on building that skill.


Things That Helped My Career Development

My knowledge of Graphic Design fast-tracked my progress. While most people had to learn to use photo-editing software, I could sit behind a person who was editing and understand the process without asking a lot of questions.

It also opened a world of possibilities for me because the ability to infuse graphic design elements into my work transforms it and gives it an edge.

Another thing that helped was the network I built in school. My school was predominantly filled with people who lived in Lagos and their referrals got me most of my early jobs.

If I was a proper Lagosian and if I was more socially active, I believe I would have known more people and I would have done better.

Someone who works with me is currently having problems getting jobs because he moved here from a different state to learn and he knows no one here. It gets frustrating because he doesn’t get called for a lot of jobs.


I’ve realised that people have to be in certain places speaking for you to get you opportunities.


What It’s Like Being A Photographer in the COVID-19 Era

Corona has changed a lot of things. There is more time but our internal clocks are out of step and there is so much content being pushed out online.

This means that as a photographer, you have to fight to break through the noise and unlike before, you can’t say “Oh, it’s morning, by this time to this time, people are doing this and this is the best time to post”.

Everything is now scattered, people are waking up at different times and consuming content differently.


It’s like an amusement park with so many rides. The wow factor is lost and you have to find ways to keep putting out your work without getting lost in the noise or oversaturating your market to the point where you stop getting reactions.


It’s leaving a lot of photographers feeling stuck.


Expectations Vs Reality – Photography

People tend to make jokes about the perks of working with beautiful women but that’s not my story. It might be different for others but not for me, I don’t think I give a lot of room for that.

It is also seen as a really exciting job because you know, the constant slew of ideas and all.

The truth is, it is exciting but it has its up and downs, there is an insane amount of pressure to maintain a good name.

When people book a shoot, they’re excited and they have certain expectations.

You have to live up to your name and it is burdensome because you have to deliver every time and continue creating beautiful work.

This means that you’re always worrying about how it will turn out and even though there are so many things that contribute to the success of a shoot, in the end, it’s left to you to make it all come together because you’re the pro.

There is no room for slack.


My Biggest Challenge

Right now, I think my biggest challenge is getting bored with the process.

I have pushed myself for years and challenged myself to do better, to be better, and I am at a point where there are not a lot of things that I know I cannot do.

The few things I know I cannot do are not the type of things my clients require from me, they are the kind of things that other photographers would ooh and aah over because for the most part, only they would understand the amount of work that went into creating it.


The Future

In the future, I would love to take a step back from the expectations and pressure of the job.

I want to be able to work in my own time within the industry but in a different capacity.


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