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Interview: Corporate Photographer Jurgen Banda-Hansmann

Corporate photography stadium
Corporate photography by Jurgen Banda-Hansmann

South Africa is knows as a beautiful tourist destination, but beyond landscapes and wildlife is a thriving land of business opportunities. South African photographer Jurgen Banda-Hansmann has taken up the mantle and is providing some of South Africa’s corporations with stunning images.

What’s more is that Jurgen’s photography business Jurgen’s Photography is expanding and taking him around the world. Let’s find out more from the photographer himself

Jurgen Banda-Hansmann
Jurgen Banda-Hansmann

FotoArk: How long have you been a photographer, and what got you started?

I started my business  about 3.5 years ago. I was working in the call center industry as resource planner and analyst. My then my boss resigned. After a long thought process, I decided not to apply for her position. As I achieved everything in the company I could

have, I decided to resign and start my business. Working as photographer was always my dream. It was the right time to do the jump.

FotoArk: You specialize in 3 genre’s, corporate, editorial, and travel. Can you explain the key differences you as a photographer experience in each one?

All photographic genres tell stories. It is what you focus, which makes the difference. Corporate photography tells the story of individual companies. Corporate assignments can vary from on location portrait sessions to photographing all aspects of a company, including headshots, production process, architecture, staff members at work, etc. I love those opportunities of telling stories, especially when my clients have a clear idea of what they expect from the shoot.

Travel and editorial photography are newer additions to my work. Travel photography allows me to tell the story of a location as I experience it, very personally. Often these are assignments, either from overseas or locally that a focus on Cape Town or South Africa. Interesting in between assignments are the photography of incentive events from overseas corporates.
Editorial photography assignments cover stories about specific themes and can range from portraits to photographing landscapes, cityscapes, interviews etc.

FotoArk: What’s the most challenging aspect of corporate photography today, and how have you overcome it?

Finding new clients was a major challenge. I joined a business networking organization (BNI). Since I joined, I learned a lot about networking and presenting myself. A good portion of my work is a direct or indirect result of networking offline and online. Twitter has been one of the most versatile online tools for new contacts and assignments.

Cape Town Panorama
Cape Town Panorama

FotoArk: Tell us what’s been the most rewarding thing to happen to you through your work?

Most rewarding is the experience of meeting people and learning about them. Earlier this year, I shot a story for a German magazine about people living with disability in Cape Town. The people, I met had incredible stories to tell.
FotoArk: You are currently based in South Africa, does the economy play a huge factor in corporate photography there?
Economy and corporate photography go hand in hand. When the economy growth is slow, I can see that in the number of assignments or size of assignments I receive.

FotoArk: What are the two most important pieces of camera equipment you use in corporate photography, and why?

I don’t want to sound smart, but it is my brain. Even with the best planning, you find yourself sometimes in situations, where you have to think on our feet. Flashlights and my tripod are the most important tools beside camera and lens.

FotoArk: How do you gain new clients in this competitive business? Do proactively advertise, or do you literally knock on doors?

I find a good portion of my clients via business networking (on and offline). Business networking is about creating relationships with other individuals and companies. The focus is on helping each other and not hard selling.

My website in connection with my blog, Twitter and Google ads also brings in some good leads. I spend a good amount of energy on

Corporate team photography
Corporate team photography

SEO (search engine optimization) for my website. Proactive inbound marketing describes best on how I find clients.

FotoArk: What advice would you give to someone just starting out who has a passion for corporate photography? Equipment, how to go about it etc.

First of all, you have to be passionate about it and have the patience and resources to go through the tough times. You need to know your photographic techniques inside out. You need to know your lighting and composition. Good camera gear is essential and I believe in keeping things simple. I work mostly with three lenses: 17-55/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 50/1.4
FotoArk: Is there a stigma that a corporate photographer needs a high-end DSLR and equipment to get work? Either way, what’s your take on this?

Good gear is important as a tool, but you don’t need the latest and best camera to get work. Your results count. The gear must be professional and reliable. I work with APS sized sensor DSLRs from Nikon (D90, D200). Bigger sensor cameras are in most cases not required in my field. If I need a full size sensor camera, I rent it.
If there is an equipment I really want to work with for most of my assignments, it is a Leica M9 with corresponding lenses. The camera and lens quality are outstanding and small. The less I have to carry, the better. At this stage, I don’t have enough of international travel assignments to justify the cost of that camera.
FotoArk: What would you answer if a client asked you this: “What makes you different from any other photographer?” (eg, why should we hire you)
Whatever and whoever I photograph, my aim is to reflect the soul of the person or place. What makes this person or place special? What is unique? I aim to dig deeper than just showing the surface. I believe when I understand the core beliefs of a person, a company I can create images that stand out.

Interested in hiring Jurgen for corporate photography? Here’s some more information:

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  • Do you currently sell your photographs: No
  • Do you currently offer stock photography: Yes, via my Photoshelter archivesWould you be willing to sell your photographs to an agency? Yes/No – Yes
  • Would you accept a contract offer for photoshoot: Yes
  • Where are you available to photograph? I live in South Africa, but location is secondary. I photographed an assignment earlier this year in Vancouver, Canada for example. “Have camera can travel”
  • Contact details: You can contact me via my website – or call my office during working hours (GMT +2) at +27-21-6805211 or contact me via Skype: jurgenphoto Twitter: jurgenphoto

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