Building a sought after photography business in South Africa: Q & A with Lwazi Hlophe

Image By: Lwazi Hlophe

Seasoned photographer, artist and all round legend, Lwazi Hlophe took a moment to let us in on how he creates his most inspired work in photography and how other photographers can do the same. He built his and ran his first business, Brush Images, for nine years before rebranding as LWAZIART which has evolved as much as the artist himself.

Lwazi Hlophe of LWAZIART

How long has your venture been in existence?

Brush Images Photography ran for nine years from 2005 to 2014. I now work as LWAZIART.

Lwazi Hlophe

How can clients make it easier for you to help them with their photography needs?

The most important thing is to make time to meet and work on a brief.  

Lwazi Hlophe

Many photographers and creative people tend to have challenges with getting paid by some clients. How have you overcome this hurdle?

I work on a contract with my clients and that ensures a 50% upfront payment, which is mandatory. No work can be done without this document and the required deposit. In my opinion, it’s a question of respect and perceived value for both your art and yourself as a creator.  

Lwazi Hlophe

How do you protect both your work equipment?

I watermark my images. There are also apps that can help to track your images online. I do not have a lot of equipment, as it is expensive to buy and insure. I am a minimalist in my approach to photography. When I do work that requires more technical equipment, I hire what I do not have and the client carries the cost.

Lwazi Hlophe

What was your most favourite project to work on?

Image By: Lwazi Hlophe
Image By: Lwazi Hlophe Of LWAZIART

Working on Y Magazine was the highlight of my career.

Lwazi Hlophe

Why was this more special than anything else?

The requirements were clear, I had access to South African A-listers and award-winning musicians like Black Coffee, DJ Fresh and many others whom I could photograph the way I wanted to. I knew it would lead to even more work. I now have one of the most collectable portfolios of South African youth culture.

Mostly though, it stands in my work because it became an ongoing project for 16 years.

Lwazi Hlophe

Who were your most inspiring clients?

Michael Angelo International

Black Coffee

United Nations

The Raphael International Hotel

And many others


How can photographers learn to “see” the perfect shot before taking it?

Keep your eye inside the view finder. It’s the only to improve the craft.


Are you currently working on an exhibition? If so, when and where is it?

I am working on “Moments between the Music”, my second solo exhibition, which will be in October 2019.

Image By: Lwazi Hlophe
Image By: Lwazi Hlophe LWAZIART

What is the one thing that defines your work? Your signature.

I strive for my work to look timeless.


What would your advice be to beginners with basic equipment on taking beautiful, compelling and memorable pictures?

Get to know your camera better and observe.


Lwazi Hlophe’s work has played a role in how South Africa’s youth culture is perceived, from a photography perspective, and he continues to mould his craft in a way that keeps us following his Instagram posts. Please watch this space for more details about his upcoming exhibition and follow LWAZIART on Instagram.

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