Q & A with Zandile Vilakazi

Q & A with Zandile Vilakazi

When did you start Bucket List Studios?

24 August 2016

Was it always in your “bucket list” to start this business?

Absolutely! That’s how I came up with the name for my business. Everything else that I came up with didn’t quite work and I didn’t want to name the business after myself. Bucket List felt so right, and I always get compliments for the name. Bucket List Studios is a vessel for me to tick things off my creative bucket list and hopefully have clients add me and my business to their creative bucket lists.

Tell us about the experience of picking up the camera for the first time and taking a photograph. When, where of who was it?

It’s so funny…I didn’t really have the “defining camera moment” that most photographers typically would have had. Photography was the last thing that fell into place in terms of my creative career. I’ve just always wanted to create amazing commercials. I knew that from the age of 11. Videography is my first love and my main source of income. I didn’t even think I would do photography. It just somehow found me and fell into place beautifully. I have plans to incorporate my videography into my social media platforms.

What was your first professional photography job?

It was a hair and beauty expo in 2012.

You recently photographed the actress, Gail Mabalane, how did this come about?

Yes! We met in August last year on Facebook where I was the official photographer for Instagram Week. The very first thing I said to her was “you’re the reason I cut my hair back in 2012”. We then spent that whole day getting to know each other. She then asked for my card before she left.

What was the brief?

Gail is currently doing something different with her social media platform and she just wanted to bring in a professional photographer for the imagery. Her Instagram is very personal and authentic, and she wasn’t going for a whole production. I’m a natural light photographer, so her brief and my style are very compatible.

How was working with her?

Gail is amazing! She’s not only interesting, but very interested. I really love how she nurtures and protects her personal life in this time and age of oversharing. We spent more time chatting than we did shooting. I recently met her husband and beautiful children and they are such incredible people. What you see on her social media is exactly what you get in person.

Have you worked with other celebrities?

Not yet.

According to your websites, you do, portraits, corporate, baby showers, engagements, weddings etc. What type of photographs do you enjoy taking the most and why?

Weddings are my favourite! I must be the most emotional photographer, because I’m pretty much always crying while I capture the bridal couple moments. I’m always in awe of God’s work in bringing so many lives together. Earning a VIP seat in the union of two lives is priceless.

Have you taken fashion photographs?

Not really. I have a friend from church who is a fashion model. She has a business called Show Model Academy where she runs excellent workshops. She reached out to me to capture the posing workshop. What a rush and a challenge! I felt stretched creatively and it was such an incredible experience for me. I don’t consider myself a fashion photographer, but I would not turn my back on it if an opportunity presents itself.