Jonathan - Capturing Moments

Jonathan Williams

Freelance Photographer

BA (Hons) Media and Communication

Jonathan’s exciting career as a photographer to the stars kicked off within weeks of graduating. Thanks to the experience he picked up at BCU, as well as his excellent networking skills, Jonathan is thriving in his career as a freelance photographer, videographer and TikTok content creator and is now working with huge names in the entertainment industry, from Maya Jama to Cardi B.

“I always wanted to attend university but BCU wasn’t my first choice. I grew up in Birmingham and thought it would be boring to stay in my home city for university and live at home. BCU was one of my five UCAS choices, but I missed both open days. At the last minute, the university put together an informal, unofficial open day for three potential students, including myself. I was sold after the first 10 minutes of the day. The course sounded incredible, the lecturers were fantastic, and the facilities were beyond impressive. I realised BCU was anything but boring.

I remember walking around the campus, feeling like this was the perfect place for me. My desire to move to a new city had prevented me from giving BCU a chance. The next day, I changed my plans and made getting into BCU my only priority.

Without choosing BCU, I don’t know if I’d be where I am today. Thanks to the facilities on offer, I was able to hire a professional camera every day, which allowed me to master my craft and prepare for the industry.

Media and Communication was a great course for me. Every module I picked was taught by a fantastic lecturer who was exceptionally skilled within their chosen field. They were patient, friendly, kind and, most importantly, supportive. It felt like every lecturer I had genuinely wanted to see me succeed.

Studying the module Enterprise and Commercial Photography in my final year gave me the confidence to start my career as a freelancer. Enterprise taught me how to write business plans and invoices, build a personal brand and create a website. Commercial Photography taught me the basics and helped me become comfortable using any DSLR camera.

Two weeks after my graduation, I found a steady-paying freelance gig with Flight Club Darts. I bagged another gig with B:Music alongside Electric Shuffle two years later. Since then, I’ve worked alongside some great companies like Paramount, Shutterstock, Netflix, and Spotify and photographed celebrities like Maya Jama and Cardi B. My current role involves photographing events, portraits, headshots, and products alongside some retouching.

A few note-worthy projects I have been involved in include the MOBO Awards, Wireless Festival, Parklife Festival, Reading & Leeds, All Points East and a few events for BET UK (Black Entertainment Television). However, the project that I'm proud of the most would be the GRM Gala. I've produced some of my best work at the past three Galas.

The fact that I’m a confident, professional photographer that big brands want to work with is still a shock to me, because I haven’t always believed in myself. During the first weeks of university, I was introverted, pretty quiet and lacked confidence. However, after the first semester, I noticed a gradual change in my personality and overall well-being. I had lecturers and friends who made me feel valued and developed a craft that I was passionate about.

I began to have faith in my abilities and envision my future career. Three years later, I was confident enough to deliver a speech at my graduation as the valedictorian. In the past I’ve avoided networking events and shied away from building my personal brand because I underestimated myself. Sometimes, it's down to comparing yourself to others; sometimes, it's imposter syndrome. However, the support from my lecturers, family and wider BCU community has helped me grow and realise my potential. At this stage in my career, I’m the most confident I’ve ever been.

Whenever I'm asked if I went to university, I take great pride in saying I went to BCU. Maybe it's because I'm from Birmingham but being a BCU Alumnus means a lot. It’s the place that has not only catapulted me into my chosen industry, but has helped me to thrive in it.”