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When holding a camera, she is a beautiful and focused photographer. In her daily life, she is an artist who pursues beautiful things. She is He Jie, an international wedding portrait photographer, and an alumnus of UIC’s Cinema and Television programme in 2011.

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He Jie, founder of VeraHo Production and a brand ambassador for Canon China

From being a photography enthusiast who loved to take photos of her classmates on campus to be one of the top entrepreneurs in the Chinese wedding photography industry, He Jie has created her own world, but she still retains the purest enthusiasm and passion for photography.

On 23 October, He Jie returned to her alma mater at UIC to present a stunning photo sharing session. Many students approached her expressing enjoyment by telling her that they would take an opportunity of an internship in her company.

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He Jie returns to UIC to give a lecture

Although He Jie did not pursue industries related to film and television in the end, she still thinks that the comprehensive ability she gained at UIC has greatly helped her photography career. The professional classes at UIC have allowed her to accumulate a lot of knowledge of aesthetics and composition, which she now implements into her work with portrait photography.

He Jie's family was not rich, she attended classes from Monday to Friday and then worked part-time on the weekends to cover her living expenses. While at UIC she planned photography activities, took portrait photos of people, took on an off-campus model work, and even created UIC's first model society called MCC (Model Cultural Club) with her roommate, she even held a grand Runway Show. She said, “There were a lot of students involved and they encouraged us and made us feel that we had really created an opportunity for our fellow students to bravely show their true selves.”

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He Jie (second from left) with Programme Director of CTV Prof Evelyn Mai (middle)

These experiences have provided He Jie with a wealth of knowledge, which makes her comfortable in her current role. "The vast majority of photographers have never been in front of the camera so they don’t know exactly how it feels to have their pictures taken. I have a strong understanding of being in front of and behind the camera, and this is what gives me a competitive advantage".

He Jie found that she was particularly good at communicating with people, and with the marketing knowledge that she learned at UIC, she chose to start her career in the wedding portrait photography industry.

After graduating from UIC, she was a white-collar worker at a cultural company in the Guangzhou International Finance Centre, waiting for a promotion. However, her love of photography and her personality made her realise that she was not satisfied with her current position. After He Jie took a photo for the company’s boss, which was put on the magazine, she then thought, “My work is not bad!”. As a result, she boldly resigned from her job and in 2013 she formally established her photography studio ‘VeraHo Production’.

In the past few years, she has taken her camera everywhere and photographed many places around the world including South Africa. She feels that this job not only brings happiness and a sense of accomplishment but also gives her the opportunity to travel around the world and to see different cultures and customs, while she records the unforgettable moments of people in different countries.

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He Jie has had opportunities to travel with her work

From shooting by herself to set up her own team, then turning the team into a company, and finally turning the company into a brand, He Jie said that every step of the journey has had obstacles, and the transition between each stage has had different challenges. He Jie's family did not support her at first, but she proved herself with her own efforts one step at a time, including winning a gold medal for the top wedding photography award at the ‘WPPI Global Wedding Portrait Photography Competition’. She became widely recognised and now she proudly tells her father "As long as you work hard, you will be the best!"

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He Jie on site

He Jie's view of entrepreneurship is that you should always look for things that have not been done before, and then slowly explore a way to create it. This view prepared He Jie for her pursuit into the wedding photography industry. She believes there is a new story for each new couple she shoots.

As one of the few female photographers in the industry, He Jie has a unique advantage in portrait shooting. Her mind is delicate and sensitive, and she can discover the unique temperament and beauty of the characters so that they can be presented better. In the future, He Jie hopes to shoot more of her favourite styles in the future, which will help create and develop her own unique brand.

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He Jie's photography work

He Jie often returns to her alma mater to participate in various activities, even for several years after graduating. She loves to share stories about her journey of starting her own business: “I hope that other UICers can do all the things they want to do. They have the best platform at UIC to pursue more interesting projects and activities.”

Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Lauren Richardson (MPRO)
(with thanks to the ELC)