By Grant Moyo
Puzzle Moment Pictures founder and head photographer Ricky Kamota ascribes the high status his company is acquiring to impressive service delivery, staying at par with the latest global trends, and moving along with the evolution of photography. With a fast-growing clientele listing of companies, public figures and ordinary individuals propelled by telling stories through photos, Kamota says he has never hesitated to recognise the power of networking, utilising word of mouth and profusely posting his work on social media platforms.
Born and raised in Bulawayo, Kamota disclosed his potential in photography through taking pictures with his phone. He established Puzzle Moment Pictures in 2018 after he had taken photos of specific families who saw the potential and encouraged him to consider transforming his hobby into a lucrative career.
As he got exposed to the professional world of photography, Kamota discovered that using a mobile phone had its limitations unlike working with a photographer’s camera which came in handy as he could change lenses to obtain high-resolution images which he could edit with ease.
“I always loved shooting pictures with my phone and editing them with an application on the phone, that’s how I grew. I remember taking shots of a Mazoe Orange Crush bottle and spending the whole night staring at the images,” Kamota said.
“I also recall how I enjoyed editing pictures using Microsoft paints, one of those old in-built applications in computers. The passion that I had was too much, it even got intense when I started watching YouTube videos of other prominent photographers showing how they shoot and I was like ‘if these guys can do it, I can also do it’. That’s where the love grew basically.
“My career was influenced by particular families who were impressed by the photos I had captured for them. They kept on reminding me of how good I was and how wise it would be if I become a professional photographer.
“This came at a time when getting into the business side of photography wasn’t on my mind, I was doing it for fun, back then I was doing everything for free, out of love, learning new things almost every day, it was so exciting. When I eventually became a professional photographer my first camera was an old Canon EOS 1 000D, since I was never used to big cameras I thought this was the best. Little did I know I was going to own much advanced cameras at a later phase.”
In the pursuit of depicting real-life events through lenses, Puzzle Moment Pictures largely focuses on indoor and outdoor photoshoots listing portrait, motion and editorial photography for private as well as public functions like weddings, fashion shows, lifestyle shoots, and corporate events, to name but a few.
Confronted by an overwhelming response, Kamota works with a crew who assist him in setting up, taking pictures, editing and looking after the equipment during and after events.
“I work with a team, teamwork reduces work overload, hence the service delivery is reliable,” Kamota said.
“Basically, when we are working we exchange roles depending on the event and circumstances. For instance, in preparation for a photoshoot while one sets up the lights I will be setting up the cameras and lenses. We help each other to bring up the backdrops, we also prepare poses depending on the type of shoot, occasion and what the client wants.
“We normally do portraits for beauticians and boutiques who sell makeup and lipstick, among different types of beauty products. We also do portraits for companies who need head shots.
“Among other several types of photography, we also do editorials. These are planned shoots for magazines and advertisements where there are stylists, designers, models and makeup artists collaborating for some content. Capturing special occasions and memorable moments as well as taking pictures that interpret love, happiness and the good life is part of our day-to-day business.”
The self-taught photographer, who has grown to be a sought-after lensman, acknowledged that his company is giving photography a new meaning with expressive capturing of human beings that also gives priority to props, backdrops, lighting, colour gels, makeup, clothing, and poses as a means to not only celebrate beauty, but to also express emotions conveniently.
“I use props so that our pictures stand out and we can be different from other photographers,” he said.
“This is important, since I’m in the business side of photography I want to use a prop such that the next potential client who is going to see the picture will say ‘I also want that’. If we don’t use props, then our pictures are all the same and there is nothing unique that distinguishes us from other photographers. Props are to attract clients and to enhance or add value to the picture, they are also valuable in setting the mood.
“Puzzle Moment Pictures is changing the way locals view photography. A good example is the life-changing shoot with Zimbabwean actress Mbo Mahocs where she was covered in gold. Every detail was purposely used as symbolic representation. So, for the whole theme we used a brown backdrop, glitters that were gold, and also a gold crown. Gold represents pureness, a representation of Mbo Mahocs’ rebirth. A birth of a new person who has recovered from dispiriting impediments.”
Kamota pointed out his hunger to learn more as the outstanding element that makes him unique. He admitted that despite all the positive feedback he still experiences negative criticism but he takes it as a reminder to continue improving his talent and skill. The photographer noted social media as the driving force for his endeavours.
Unlike the usual strike-a-pose approach commonly associated with photography, Puzzle Moment Pictures is investing time to assess clientele requirements so that it provides services that are specific to clientele needs. These work ethics foster efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and sound management of the business subsequently strengthening the performance of operations.