Daniella James has loved taking photos ever since she got her first camera at 8 years old.
UCOL’s Bachelor of Creative Media has helped her develop her photography skills to a professional level and gain expertise in graphic design and videography.
Daniella came to UCOL from St Peters College (Palmerston North) after receiving a UCOL Excellence Scholarship to help cover her fees.
As part of her degree, Daniella worked on projects for real clients through UCOL’s Workhub. One of these projects saw Daniella and classmate Luke Turfrey create a short documentary for Save Our River Trust, drawing attention to the level of pollution in the Manawatū River’s Foxton Loop. Daniella also designed logo concepts and prototype websites for the Trust.
Daniella says the experience of working with real clients got her ready for entering the industry.
“The Workhub was really cool and prepared me well for the industry. I learnt a lot about working with different types of personalities, working in a team, putting together good plans, and setting and meeting deadlines.
“I loved working with a lot of different people who I might not have had the chance to meet if I wasn’t at UCOL. It was really helpful to be able to get my name out there and build contacts that can lead to more work.”
Another memorable project for Daniella was the cookbook and prototype app full of healthy, cheap recipes she created.
“I targeted it at students and anyone else who wanted to eat healthy but on a budget. I incorporated my Italian culture and family recipes, and made tutorial videos for the app which showed how to prepare the meals.”
Daniella credits the Bachelor of Creative Media for building her confidence in presenting her work and ideas to people.
“I wasn’t very good at getting up in front of people and doing presentations at the start, but it’s something you had to do in class and it’s something you have to do in the industry all of the time. The more I did it in the class, the more confident I felt.”
During her studies Daniella also picked up jobs assisting wedding photographers. These were great learning experiences for her, and she now spends part of her time doing wedding photography by herself and with Toni Larsen Photography.
“I love wedding photography because I enjoy interacting with lots of people and being with people on their special day.”
As well as doing freelance design work and working in hospitality, Daniella has recently started a new job at UCOL, project managing and developing creative content for a new website showcasing industry projects, internships, and work experience completed by UCOL students, and the value these experiences provide for local businesses and communities.