This Malaysian grandma quit her corporate job to become a photographer


  • Living
  • Wednesday, 09 Feb 2022

Siti Aminah has chalked many milestones in her career as a photographer. Photos: minmohd

When Siti Aminah Mohd Ramli gave up her comfortable job as an executive secretary in 2015, many people were surprised, especially when they found out it was to focus on photography.

She had been working in a Kuala Lumpur-based government- linked biotech company for 13 years and quit shortly after giving birth to her son.

She had dabbled in photography since 2010 but the mother of four was willing to take a gamble and start afresh as a full-time photographer.

There is still the perception that photography isn't a priority and people aren't willing to spend a fortune on priceless images, says Siti Aminah.There is still the perception that photography isn't a priority and people aren't willing to spend a fortune on priceless images, says Siti Aminah.

“Photography was always something I enjoyed as a hobby and quitting my day job allowed me time to work on my skills.

“My family members also played a big role in pushing me to pursue my interest,” shared Siti Aminah, 47, adding that her husband, assistant manager Azlan Low, also 47, has been very supportive of her career transition.

“Another reason I resigned was because I wanted a change from my 9am-5pm office job.

“I decided to pursue photography because I enjoy capturing images through my camera lens,” said Siti Aminah.

Azlan enjoys spending quality time with his granddaughter Siti Maryam.Azlan enjoys spending quality time with his granddaughter Siti Maryam.

It was a decision that paid off in more ways than one.

In six years, the grandmother of one from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, has made much progress in her new career.

The lifestyle and documentary photographer has won a few online photography competitions, and has also been featured in online articles such as “57 Women Photographers to Watch in 2021” (shootproof.com), and “5 Photographers on Capturing Images that Connect” (shutterstock.com).

However, she admitted that it was no walk in the park to launch her home-based photography business in her 40s.

Siti Aminah is determined to capture those rare moments of genuine emotions and feelings through photography. Siti Aminah is determined to capture those rare moments of genuine emotions and feelings through photography.

As a budding photographer with no background in business and marketing, she struggled to set up connections and secure a client pool interested in her work.

“When I first embarked on my new career, lifestyle and documentary photography were still relatively new as opposed to wedding photography.

“There is still the perception that photography isn’t a priority and people aren’t willing to spend a fortune on priceless images.”

Shortly after launching her home business, she started a personal photography project, uploading one image a day for 365 days.

A few months into the project, online photography company Offset Shutterstock sent her an offer to join the firm in 2016 as a contributor, marking another achievement for the self-taught photographer.

Siti Aminah's father Mohd Ramli Sutan inspired her to venture into photography.Siti Aminah's father Mohd Ramli Sutan inspired her to venture into photography.

Siti Aminah credits her father for exposing her to photography when she was young.

“Growing up, I moved around a lot because of my father’s work with the Malaysian government, and he used to take photos to capture our life when we lived in Kuwait and Sarawak.

“My father influenced me a lot, and he is probably one of the reasons why I got into photography.”

Out of the many photography styles, she enjoys taking photos of newborns, children and families, seizing those rare moments of genuine emotions and feelings through her lens.

“I like to capture raw emotions, and capture moments as they come.

“It’s been a very interesting journey documenting vivid and memorable images using my camera,” said Siti Aminah, who shares her photos on Instagram (minmohdphotography).

During the stay-at-home period, Siti Aminah spent most of her time capturing photos of her five-month-old granddaughter Siti Maryam Sheikh Muhammad Haziq.

‘The boy and his dinosaur’ is one of Siti Aminah’s treasured photos.‘The boy and his dinosaur’ is one of Siti Aminah’s treasured photos.“The pandemic has been tough on many Malaysians, and more so for those of us in ‘unessential’ services like photography.

“With Covid-19 being so highly transmissible, it’s understandable that clients want to remain cautious and stay safe. But the silver lining is that I’ve been able to spend quality time with my children and granddaughter.

“It is a whole new experience, me as the grandma being able to capture the moments with my granddaughter. It is a treasure that I cherish and an experience that will stay with me for a long time.”

Siti Aminah encourages people to remain optimistic and positive about making a leap of faith in terms of their careers.

“I believe if we are doing something with passion, it will pay off. The key is persistence and perseverance. Be brave and don’t give up. Taking the first step is key to moving towards your dream,” she said.

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