We had the good fortune of connecting with Sylvester Agbahiwe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sylvester, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I am extremely proud of what I’ve built here at S.O.A. Digital Imaging, however I will never make the mistake in thinking that I did this all on my own, it has always been a collaborative effort. Over the years I have networked and built great relationships with several companies, various families, event planners, local social media influencers, fashion bloggers as well as other creatives. These relationships have been able to help me grow this company to where it is today; however, the relationship that has been the most influential is my relationship at home with my wife Krystal. Whenever I am out of town working, shooting here in Houston or just working late at night editing, she is always picking up where I have left off. She works full time yet that doesn’t take away from her taking care of home; which isn’t easy as we have two kids under the age of four. She has always and continues to make my photography life easier and remains my number one fan. To put it bluntly, without her, there is no S.O.A. Digital Imaging. So to reiterate, the most important factor(s) behind my success is successful relationships that I’ve developed over the years and the strong relationship I have at home.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always been into taking photos but I never envisioned that what was once a childhood hobby, would blossom into what it has today. One year (several years ago), I said this would be the year I take my photography seriously. So for Black Friday, I went out and bought a “real camera.” At the time, I thought was all I needed. One of my brothers is a lawyer so I got him to create an LLC and that began what is S.O.A. Digital Imaging as we know it today. I started off shooting friends and family for free, trying to get better professionally while also getting my name out there. I sought help from Henry Adegbite, a well known Houston Photographer/Videographer who helped me with not only photography equipment etc. but also the business side of things. Quickly I figured out that my “real camera’ was actually quite limiting once I actually knew what I was doing. After a while, I started charging a little here and there and I would use that money to eventually buy better equipment. Before I knew it, I started getting inquiries from referrals and everything took off from there.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Houston is definitely a place to visit as there’s just about something for everyone. Whenever friends Or family come in town, I always make sure we hit up Houston’s Restaurant (their Hawaiian Ribeye is to die for) or Steak48. I’m not a big beef eater but when I do, it’s one of those two places. Brunch is always good at Liberty Kitchen, Snooze or The Breakfast Club but the place to visit that has something for everyone is definitely Turkey Leg Hut. It’s more than just a restaurant, it’s a whole vibe. I love sports specifically basketball and though there isn’t an sports with fans right now, I’d make sure we were able to make it to a Rocket’s game.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Like I said earlier, I definitely did not do this on my own and I owe an immense amount of gratitude to a lot of individuals; probably too many to mention. But if I had to name anyone it would be Henry Adegbite (@henrodagreat). Henry was extremely influential in my development as a photographer and he taught me a lot about the business side of being a creative. He and his brother run a successful Film Company (Visual Influence – @visual_influence) that shares a passion for creative storytelling. I would also like to thank the Phillips & Ghebremichael families. They were my first paid clients and after shooting them, I had all the strength and encouragement I needed to believe in myself and my business.
My personal photo is courtesy of Charles Baldwin of CHB Photography (@chb._photography) and the personalized mask is courtesy of John Ross Dike of Still Visionary (@still_visionary).
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