He Ditched 9-5 Jobs For Photography & He Couldn’t Be Happier!

Isaiah Maghanga (Photo Courtesy)

By Tabitha Makumi,

Isaiah Maghanga has one of those young faces that can easily pass for a 23 year old. “I am used to people thinking I’m 21 or even younger,” he confesses after trying to guess his age “I am actually 30,” he says with a smile.

Unlike most high school graduates, Isaiah didn’t know which career path to follow. This he shares when we meet  at a popular eatery in Karen.

What did he do? “I ended up pursuing a one year Graphics Design Course with the hopes that it would satisfy my artistic nature.” He did this with the hopes that by the time the course was over, his career path would be much clear.

A smart fella, he landed a scholarship with a UK University to study Interior Design.

"The first job I got after coming back was with an interior design company where I worked as a consultant.”

But soon that changed.

"After 6 months into the job I decided to quit since I wasn't cut for this kind of thing. I can't do 9 to 5 plus I am not an office kind of guy. I find that things get monotonous pretty fast in such jobs."

His father thought him to be a confused young man. He was worried that his son didn’t have any direction in life. Isaiah laughs as he reminisces on the old days.

"He couldn't understand why in the world I would quit my job. He would spot an advert in the newspaper and pressure me to apply for it."

"Eventually I got a job and I remember the person introducing me to the team saying something close to  "This is Isaiah and he is here in efforts of trying to find himself …"

Did he ever find himself? I probe.

"I recall coming across some fantastic wedding photos and I was impressed and thought, ‘This is it, this is what I want to do with my life.

And he did it again

"I quit my job, this time it was after 4 years and I decided to pursue photography."

With no education in photography, no camera, no studio, nothing….Isaiah says he felt at peace with this final decision.

"Of course people couldn't understand and some would ask, "unaquit job upige picha? …They would then ask me if I had any experience in photography and I would say no"

He admits that it was a stupid thing to do but, "I feel that photography was a calling. It was what I had been looking for all along.

Using his savings, Isaiah recalls that he purchased his first camera a Canon 550D for a tidy sum of Sh170, 000 which helped him launch his own company dubbed I6 Photography and Creatives

"My thrill is in lighting where I employ a technique called Strobist photography which in layman’s language is where shots are done using off-camera flashes strategically positioned to a subject," he explains.

"I started off with taking pictures at events such as weddings for free since I needed to create a portfolio for my work and to show guys what I can really do

Interestingly, he recently worked in an official State House photo shoot and wait for it, he did it for FREE! "

"It was not the first time to offer my services for free."

"But of course you can't be doing free work all the time because you have to put food on the table. The young photographer has been able to provide employment for others in the process.

"I have a portable studio where I work with a team of two permanent employees and a few trainees.

While he makes an average of K’sh 50, 000 per wedding, and around 8,000 on personal and corporate shots, Isaiah is confident that this is the path he was looking for all along.

What’s his advice to those who would like to pursue photography?

"Don’t look at those who have been in the industry for long and start comparing yourself with them. In doing so you will find you can't measure up and you will get discouraged and maybe quit. Shape your own path"