The economist who has made a fortune out of the camera lens

When Valeria Nassolo left Makerere University where she had graduated with Bachelor’s degree in economics, her focus was joining the NGO world.

 To this, she got a job as a field assistant that she loved but as fate would have it, Nassolo would later find love in the camera lens.

“When one project with the NGO ended, we would sit for several months without getting another. We would go for more than five months while seated at home. One day, I went through a self-realization test. I told myself I can’t continue living life like these getting jobs and then sitting down for many months waiting for another project,” Nassolo says.


She says while in deep thoughts, the idea of doing photography came in handy since she at least had some knowledge about it.

“By that time, every time I had a new hairstyle or new dress, I would go to the studio to do a photoshoot. I was always someone who always used to be in photoshoots. I realized many other people were like me and I would make a kill out it,” she says.

According to Nassolo, while still at the NGO, she was always the one behind the lens to take colleagues photos but also photos for reports in the field.

“I was always the one taking photos as the communication people would be giving me their cameras. I was also the one taking photos used in the reports.  I realized I loved photography and it was something that I could do.”

She says that had a part time job at a vocational school that was also teaching photography, and here, she applied to study photography.

“While I was still studying, I realized I didn’t have to wait to finish school before I could start working. Armed with 50,000 I went and got a business logo,” Nassolo says.

This marked the beginning of her professional photography journey as on posting it on social media, she got business.

“My first client had a birthday party and contacted me. Since I didn’t have cameras, I went and hired from school. I also came with someone that I thought was better than me and they would help me during my first gig.”

Nassolo says whereas the photos from her first job were not so good, the client loved them and she kept on building the skills as days went by until she became a senior photographer.

 She now owns Val Media Consultancy, a company dealing in photography and videography.

“I am an events, potraits and documentary photographer. I photograph weddings, introductions, conference, parties and anything to do with studio photos as well as documentaries,” she says.

Nassolo says she has been able to make new friends but also build an organized life.

“I have been able to buy myself land and built myself a business. Photography has given me a life to live in finances, people, connections and many other things”

“I have been able to make it by realizing that every customer who comes to my space leaves satisfied. I also check on my customers to see if they are satisfied with my services but to also ask them on what to add.”

She says whereas she uses social media to market the company, most of her clients come in as referrals.


As no business is without challenges, Nassolo says she has faced a number of challenges as a female photographer.

 “When some clients call and realise it is not a man, they ask whether I will handle the wedding for the entire day.  Many times, clients don’t trust females but they later appreciate when they realized you have done good work for them,” she says.

Nassolo says some times female photographers are bullied by their male counterparts but she insists she is used to that.

“Sometimes there is intimidation from male photographers but with time you gain confidence and cant be intimidated by them. Sometimes you want to learn something from male photographers but it is challenges due to the way they see you. However, you have to keep your ground to overcome all these and the males get used.”

She says she has dreams of starting a media park outside Kampala to be used for photography, destination weddings, accommodation, honeymoon and academy where with students with passion about photography can spend many months to learn about photography

“ I want to help other people passionate about photography learn the skills. I want to have a media academy where students will gain skills in photography and videography but also where weddings can be organized.”

Nassolo also has a piece of advice for fellow youths.

“Youths should find their passion and go for it. It will always be worth it. Chase your dream. There will be many challenges but never give up.”

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