Listen, in the ever-growing gig economy, millennials are finally taking that leap now, more than ever, on betting on themselves. For most creatives, the traditional 9-5 work routine is getting old, and they’re searching and longing for that flexibility, freedom and personal fulfillment. Luckily for Toronto’s own, Topb0y, aka Zamour Johnson, taking the plunge and ditching his PR and Marketing job allowed him to turn his hobby of photography/videography into a fun, lucrative business.
1 – When did you get into drone photography?
I got into photography/videography in general just over two years ago. I basically got into it because I was looking for another hobby to pick up while I was working my 9-5. I was working at a PR firm for about 3 years up until that point and was going through a lull in my life since I felt like I wasn’t doing anything better with my time. I ended up doing a lot of research online and studied a lot of other photographers on YouTube and the rest is history.
2 – You’re not just selling pictures, you’re selling your skills, knowledge, and expertise. How do you communicate your value to potential clients?
I think the way I’ve been able to communicate my value to clients is by not only SHOWING them past work that I’ve done but having the luxury of speaking to the client with the knowledge of what it’s like being on THEIR end. Having worked in both a Public Relations and Marketing firm, I built up enough knowledge to understand what the client is looking for from the freelancers they work with. This means that whenever clients reach out to me or vice versa, I know how to navigate those conversations properly and effectively.
3. What are some of your favorite/memorable shots you’ve taken?
I have two shots, in particular, that stick out the most to me which are these two here:
I like these two shots, in particular, the most because they perfectly encapsulate my style of drone photography.
4 – I saw your work with Nike, dope footage! Can you tell us how that came about? Were they the first big brand to reach out to you? Who else have you had the opportunity to work with?
My work with Nike came about because I was simply in the right place at the right time. In the summer of 2017, I was walking by the waterfront in Toronto and came across this basketball court:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BZWVt4plOJV/. When I flew my drone up to take a photo of it, I realized that it was a Nike court and thought it was amazing so I posted it. Fast forward a year later and I was at a bar with some friends while leaving, I bumped into some girls who were asking to have their photo taken and my friend recommended I do it because I’m a photographer. Upon hearing I was a photographer, one of the girls asked what my Instagram was as she was always looking for new photographers for her work. Turns out, not only did she work for Nike, but she was also in charge of the whole campaign around the court that I photographed the year before. From that point onwards we built a friendship/business relationship and I’ve been doing work with them ever since.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Foot Locker, Sony, Red Bull, Starbucks, and DQ.
5 – Has drone photography allowed you to travel? If so where, what was the experience like?
Yes! I recently had a gig with a very wealthy family from Nigeria whose husband was celebrating his 40th birthday. As a result, his family along with 30 of their closest friends booked a trip on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship “The Symphony of The Seas” which also happened to be the LARGEST cruise ship in the entire world. I ended up getting to travel to Miami, Mexico, Honduras, and the Bahamas off the back of my photography.
6 – I’m sure you’ve got some healthy competition in your field. What makes you different from all the other photographers/videographers out there?
I think what’s separated me from my competition is not really focusing on my competition. I’m a firm believer that there’s enough food for everyone to eat. In other words, it’s easy to get caught up as a freelancer believing that every other person in your field is taking money out of your pocket when they get a gig you could have done also. But at the end of the day, there’s always going to be work available.
7 – Big fan of the WNTT podcast, where you alongside your co-host Ryan aka Mr.KOA, talk about relationships, life, and many other engaging topics. Do you guys plan on coming to the states for live shows?
We would absolutely love to come to the states for a live show, but it really comes down to whether or not we have a large enough audience in the states to warrant something like that. I know based on our analytics at the moment, we do have listeners in the states which is great, but until we build up a larger audience there it wouldn’t make sense. That being said, doing a live show in New York would be dope!
8 – When it’s all said and done, what legacy do you want to leave behind for people to remember you by?
I want people to remember me as someone that was approachable in all aspects of life. I’ve learned in my time freelancing that it can be very lonely at times and competitive, but I’ve resisted against that mentality by being open with people about my methods and techniques.
9 – I’m sure I’ll readers will want to connect with you. Where can we find you and also view some of your work?
You can find me on Instagram: @Topb0y or my website www.topb0y.com