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Meet Sho Niimura

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sho Niimura.

Hi Sho, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My story starts in Hawaii when I attended a summer nature camp as a 9-year-old in 2006. My mom bought me a disposable camera to capture my daily activities there. From that young age, being able to freeze and capture little moments forever became an amusing concept to me.

As I grew older, I picked up skateboarding as a hobby, but in my freshman year of high school I injured my ankle badly which made me unable to skate. I still wanted to hang around my friends, so my solution was to pick up my first digital camera and for an entire summer, I captured my friends skating. This is when I discovered my joy for videography.

During my senior year of high school, I was able to go on an outer-island trip to Maui with my close friends, and with my Canon Rebel T3i I discovered my new love of capturing nature and its beauty. From then on, I knew photography and videography would be my lifelong passion.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college in Chicago back in 2016 where I realized I could earn income doing photography and videography. I was booked as a photographer for fraternity and sorority events for small amounts of money (which seemed like a lot to me back then). In my early college years, I was inspired by a fellow photographer who had just started pursuing photography and videography as a full-time career. During my senior year, he gave me the drive to pursue bigger gigs and clients. I was able to work with companies such as Nike, which still blows my mind to this day.

After graduating in 2018, I committed to freelancing full-time and work was consistent. I moved back to Hawaii from Chicago at the end of 2019 and was in talks with a media company to work full-time under them as a content producer. Around the time the COVID pandemic exponentially grew, I was hired full-time. Unfortunately, I was furloughed during the majority of the year as many businesses shut down.

Fast forward to 2021, I was re-hired. I learned a lot, but I became burnt out and confused with the direction my life was taking. In June of 2021, I decided to quit my job and move to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time career in freelancing again. I love the concept of being my own boss. It has been about half a year since I’ve moved to LA and I am still getting adjusted to the speed of life and workflow, but I am extremely blessed and excited to be here.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My biggest obstacle is definitely burnout. When working in a creative industry, it’s hard to stay creative 24/7 and to always produce work that I am proud of. Sometimes I just need to take a break from everything, pick up another hobby, go on a trip, etc.

Oftentimes I find myself not even wanting to pick up my camera because I instantly associate that action with working. In order to combat this problem of mine, I try to go back to the reasons why I even started shooting. My passion for this art stems from my love of freezing little moments, emotions, and experiences into a single image or video. Traveling to epic and beautiful locations with friends for fun reminds me of that first trip that I took to Maui where I couldn’t put down my camera for even one second.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a photographer and videographer based in LA. As for clients I work with, I try to keep myself on my toes by diving into different industries. From sports to food, I’ve tried many different types of photography/videography. I’ve worked with clients such as Nike, the California Tourism Board, Corona (the beer company), Turo, etc.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
One of my first inspirations who really took my photography and videography to the next level is Nolan Omura (www.instagram.com/nolanomura). He is a master in underwater photography and because of him, my love for capturing landscapes and underwater scenes grew exponentially. This friendship also led me to make many new connections in the photo world.

As mentioned earlier in my story, another person that heavily inspires me is Shaun Baluyot (www.instagram.com/shaunbaluyot). He is the reason I was able to turn this passion of mine into a career during my college years. Not only did he give me the push to pursue freelancing, but he taught me a lot about the business side of the creative industry.

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