TNBT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BEHIND THE LENS OF STARLIGHT IMAGERY
A passion for excellence is what Colossians 3:23 speaks of: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (NIV). To have this kind of enthusiasm for all things isn’t just a challenge but it is a key to success and a strong principal for giving glory to God. TNBT witnessed this quality in Claud Williams, owner of Starlight Imagery. The Managing Director is the brains behind the amazing aesthetic images produced by Starlight. Claud has captured and brought to life the talents of Tunday, Guvna B, Victizzle, Akemi Creative and many more through his sharp, characterized photography. Being the President of Loughborough ACS as well as a Gifted Photographer and Driven Entrepreneur was more than enough to impress TNBT. Claud had a chat with us and broke down the fundamentals to launching a creative business and how his faith has helped shaped his dream.
IF you have a desire to pursue leadership and a creative vision read on...
So tell us about StarLight?
What I want to do with Starlight is make it a proper photography brand. What I mean by that is the same way you think of trainers you think of Nike. People will think of Starlight when they think of photography. It’s not about me personally. I want it to be a photography brand rather than just another photography company.
Photography I love it because it’s just a way to express myself. I'm the kind of person that loves challenges. I give myself something new to do every day. Photography by far is one of the biggest challenges of my life. Even though I have been doing this for a while now I wouldn't even say I'm half way of learning what there is to learn about photography. I wouldn't even say I am 10 percent to be honest. I love learning and I love to challenge myself. I love the reactions from people when they see my work. I actually like making people smile.
For anyone wanting to launch a creative business what's your advice to them?
Just actually get up and do it. Stop talking about it, stop thinking about it, just do it. Just actually make a start. Every time you have an idea. Write it down. You can have amazing ideas you'd be surprised how many times people can just forget these. Every idea you have, tell somebody as well. That way they can tell you if there are faults in your idea or something. Also when you write it down, you force yourself to think about things logically
Any other tips?
I'd also say if you are a Christian definitely pray about it first. I think that was one of the first problems I had with my business because I do get very excited about it. When I first started, I kind of jumped into it I didn't spend a lot of time praying. Nowadays when I do something I actually spend time praying and I even fast about it as well and I make sure it’s the right thing to do.
How can young people get ahead in business?
Remember talk is cheap.
Your word is the most important thing in business don't make promises you can't keep. If you can't do something and you don't wanna say no then just stay quiet. Don't say things that aren't going to happen and just be confident. Get out there networking is the most important thing. Most of my customers have come from people recommending me. As much as I put loads of effort into marketing and all of that none of it really matters compared to someone telling a friend hire this person. Spend time networking and make lots of connections with your customers.
Is there anything that frustrates you about your work?
When people underestimate the amount of work you put into the photos. Sometimes I will be at an event and the customers won't understand why it takes so long. They expect as soon as I get home to upload the pictures on facebook. It doesn't work like that. That’s within my power but they will never get the quality they are looking for. Like when I'm doing a picture I will try to remove every single blemish from someone’s face but at the same time try and make it look like it wasn't photo shopped that’s not an easy thing to do. Most people don't realise I spend twice as much time editing than actually taking the pictures in the first place.
What is your Dream?
I wanna be the UK's most successful business person. I want to be one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Wow that’s amazing. So how does your faith fit into your life, basically what does being a Christian mean to you and how has it impacted your life?
Being a Christian means everything to me. Impacting my life...? It is my life. There’s no two ways about it. I'm a Christian before I am anything else. Anything else I'm doing it doesn't matter. If you don't put God first then I'm wasting my time. Because all of that can pass away. I could wake up tomorrow morning and God could say go and be a waiter and if that’s what I'm meant to do, then that’s what I'm meant to do. I'm wasting my time otherwise, put God first make sure you strengthen your relationship with him and I can promise you he will look after you; the bible says 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.' I know the scripture but sometimes I don't always act on that but recently I decided to go back to basics and start focusing on God first before anything else. I can tell you literally last week I started praying and fasting about everything again before the week was done I had three more customers. So rather than spending time actually going out and looking for them myself, God will actually bring them to you. Look after you faith and God will look after your business.
As a Christian do you find that people make perceptions about you?
Going to uni was a different experience obviously because people haven't known me from the beginning but yeah people learn quickly. Like my advice to people going to uni for the first time don't change who you are, be yourself from day one otherwise people will run into problems. So because I was myself and I've always been confident that I am Claud, I'm a Christian, it’s what I do, people will respect that.
How can churches reach the youth?
I'm an old fashioned person in that sense you don't really need to change anything. Tell them the truth. We run into problems when we start going down all these other avenues especially this whole prosperity gospel thing that’s going on. I might want to be a billionaire one day but that’s not whats important. Its not the most important thing. If you tell someone to come to church to get money or if you tell someone to come to church because your life will be better then you are lying to them because that’s not what the bible teaches at all. Jesus even told you if you come to church you'll loose almost everything you will gain more though; new family, you'll gain friends, treasures in heaven but to tell them you'll gain things in this world is a lie. Be honest with them. I would say show them how their life will be better.
Can Gospel music make a difference?
Like I am a massive fan of music I listen to Gospel music mainly Gospel rap. I'd say definitely if you have some of that...I know not all churches believe in that by the way, if you don't that’s fair enough but if you do play some of that to them. Some of the artists can relate better to the young people than we can. They might have been in situations that we might not have been in. Don't compromise you don't need to do anything more than you're already doing. Because the Gospel is the most important thing. God doesn't need us to do favours you know what I mean? Its all set in the bible, get someone a bible, tell them the truth break it down for them and that should be fine.
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