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  • 'Go For It, Don't Second Guess Yourself And Follow Your Dreams' Says Bachelor Of Photography Student (And Proud Country Girl) Keoni Simon

Hailing from the Mornington Peninsula and at just 23 years old, PSC's second year Bachelor of Photography student Keoni Simon, has done a lot. Straight out of high school, she started a double degree in food and nutrition, and commerce. However she soon left to work in retail where she worked her way up to manager. But the excitement of her new role didn't last and she just couldn't bear to go into work anymore. Now she's starting a new journey by turning her childhood passion for photography into a career.  

Read about what pushed Keoni to finally pursue her life's purpose, why she was second guessing herself when making the BIG decision to return to tertiary education, and how her wedding photography business one the side is taking off.


Image by Keoni Joy Photography

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am from the Mornington Peninsula and studied VCE at Dromana College. I have grown up in one of the most beautiful places in Victoria and have always been an active person enjoying what the world has to offer. My partner, dog and I love to camp, stand up paddle board, four-wheel drive and travel. My dog, Zara (an English Staffy) is my baby who is treated as a human and acts just like a human. My family and I have always been outgoing and active, basically spending every summer on Phillip Island in the sun. My parents and partner are extremely supportive of all of my life decisions, they just want to see me happy and succeed, which is not what I was doing in my 7am to 5pm job working more than 50 hours per week.


What did you do when you finished high school?

I studied a double degree in a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science and a Bachelor of Commerce for six months until I realised that university study at that point in my life was not for me. I left and continued my casual position in retail where I found myself and enjoyed what life had to give. Then I was promoted in my retail job to a managerial role. I was trained for over a year, and working at six different stores all over Melbourne in just 12 months. I met amazing people, learned an immense amount of life skills and grew into the person I am today.


Image by Keoni Joy Photography


When did you realise you were not happy being a retail manager anymore?

I was a retail manager for four years in total until I came to a halt. I couldn’t get out of bed. I was always ill, tired and angry. I hated every minute of my 10 hour shift which had an immense impact on my mental health. It became time to prioritise my health and happiness over the dollar figure in my bank account. It was certainly not an easy decision but what made it easier was the support and love my family and friends showed.


What made you take the leap and enrol in the Bachelor of Photography course at Photography Studies College?

It took me such a long time to decide to go back to university. The main reason is everyone second guesses themselves before they make the leap of faith. Money is hard to earn but very easy to spend, and the thought of trying to save for a house, run a small business from home and enjoy life when I wasn’t working full-time concerned me immensely. Finally I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for the Bachelors because my partner and family were extremely supportive. I also realised that I am only 22,  and thought 'What's another three years if it means I will be happy?' And I wasn't keen on the alternative which would have been being stuck in a job I hate. 


Image by Keoni Joy Photography


Now that you're going into your second year of study, are you confident that you made the right decision?

Yes, I'm so glad that I finally made the leap of faith. 


What excites you about studying photography?

I'm excited to learn everything! There is so much more to photography than just pressing the shutter button, which I don’t think people understand. I'm also excited about PSC's overseas photography trip this year and being able to major in Commercial Photography in third year. And I'm excited for the support and the memories also made with PSC's community so far.


Image by Keoni Joy Photography


What advice can you give others thinking about applying for the Bachelors at PSC?

Go for it, don’t second guess yourself and follow your dreams. Happiness is more important than dollars in your bank account. Although money is important, you can make it work. You will find other ways to make money whilst studying. You can do this. Take the leap!


Have you always loved photography?

Yes, I have always loved photography ever since I was young. My Mum literally filmed absolutely everything my brother and I did as we grew up. Until the age of 21 every birthday, Christmas, Easter and other milestones are on film, both stills and video. It’s amazing to be able to have the opportunity to go back over and look at our life, especially moments where we were too young to remember. I recall buying my first camera when I was about 11, I took it everywhere and took photos of everything and anything. Then I bought my first professional camera in 2016 before a family holiday to Hawaii, which was just before I started my small business Keoni Joy Photography.


Image by Keoni Joy Photography


What type of photography do you like the most, or are you still exploring a broad range?

I love photographing weddings and families. Portraiture is definitely my calling, although I do enjoy a semi-posed portrait. I also love documenting events such as weddings and parties. I love to capture emotion. I also enjoy landscape and nature photography, which is more my hobby, but I love enlarging a beautiful landscape into wall piece.




Bachelor of Photography Mid-Year 2020 Learn More