Meet Tamara: The Digital Creator Building an Empire from Photo Editing

#CreatorStories showcases the honest personal experiences of digital creators who monetize their knowledge of a skill and sell it on Selar. We share these stories every week to inspire you to create and sell a product out of your wealth of knowledge and be a part of the digital creator economy.

This week, we turn the lights on Tamara.

Let’s get to know her, shall we?

Can we meet Tamara?

My name is Tamara AIG, AIG is short for my surname. I had to shorten it because most people cannot pronounce but I am a digital creator, I create lifestyle and beauty content on social media.

I am also the owner of Presets by Tamara, I create and sell lightroom mobile presets for people that are into photography or into aesthetics generally.

I am also a graduate of Covenant University, I studied Information and Communication Engineering which is very far from what I am doing as a digital creator.

What was your career journey before you decided to be a lifestyle creator? 

I started creating when I was still in school. I was an engineering student, and that was just it for me. In school, I developed an interest in social media content creation and so I just started focusing on it right from school. I didn’t really focus on what I was studying in school. I was just studying it and found my interest and I decided to do it. And I’ve been on it since then.

What was it like combining school and being a lifestyle creator?

Honestly, it was a lot. It was easier when I was in the 300/400 level but became harder in my 500 level – final year. 

In my 300 and 400 levels, the pressure was not a lot, and I was not dealing with projects and trying to do a lot of kinds of stuff at once. I just knew how to balance my schedule. 

During weekends, when I don’t have classes I create content and edit. During class breaks, I will be editing content and posting stuff online. That was how I got to the final year. 

But in my final year, I took a break and had to stop creating content for a while until I sorted out most of my school work then I started coming back slowly.

How did you get into photo editing?

I have always liked aesthetically pleasing things. I was just a normal girl that posts on Instagram. I just liked pictures and colors and making my Instagram look pretty. Even in my room at home, I am always selecting colors and buying things based on their colors. 

When I got into Instagram seriously and started growing my following. One of the compliments I got was ” I love how your feed looks, I like how your pictures look, I like the colors, I like how you arrange your pictures.” 

I realized that people liked it and I decided to continue doing more of it to catch more people’s attention and get them to follow me. I started putting more effort into learning how to edit and playing with colors and giving my feed this aesthetically pleasing look. 

I learned editing on YouTube and Pinterest. Over time, I got better and received more compliments. Then I started learning how to edit with Lightroom. While learning, I saw lots of feed from international creators and it always looked nice. 

Most Nigerian creators didn’t really have aesthetically pleasing feeds, especially with the colors and everything. So I decided to do it as a Nigerian creator and see how it turns out. 

I bought some presets from International creators and started playing around with them to learn more about them. At some point, I realized that people were making money selling these presets and I thought since I was already getting a hang of it, I could equally start selling them. That was how I started. 

What made you decide to create a digital product? 

Apart from the fact that I enjoyed editing and creating aesthetically pleasing pictures, I wanted a side hustle as well. I wanted something that will still be giving me income even when I am not actively doing anything. 

I thought that I could use one stone to kill two birds. This is something I enjoy doing and people like what I do. So if I start selling all these things, I will be making money on the side without lifting a finger. It was a win-win situation for me. 

I can be making money in my sleep from something I enjoy doing, so why not? That was how I decided to do it. Besides, it won’t make sense if I don’t. 

Tell us about Presets by Tamara

Presets by Tamara are lightroom presets. They are photo editing online settings that are already pre-saved/created by me. 

They are pre-made settings saved as dng files as a picture. Once you get those pictures in dng format, you can transfer or download those settings from the picture to any picture you want. 

Once you have that saved on your device you can easily replicate the settings without touching anything, you just have to copy and paste on your own pictures and you have the feel for those pictures. 

Basically, that is what presets are, you don’t have to bother trying to edit anything, the settings are already pre-saved for you, and all you have to do is copy and paste on your pictures.

When did you earn your first money from digital products?

That was in 2020, two years ago. When I launched, I really didn’t expect people to take me seriously. I was surprised that a lot of people were interested in it. I don’t think I had a page for it yet, I was just posting it on my personal Instagram page and I posted a link on my bio and people were shopping for it. That was how I had to create a page for it. 

What’s the average amount you make from selling digital products?

On average I make 60 thousand from my presets apart from every other thing that I do. Some months are much because I have preset bundles where you can get multiple presets at once but at a discounted price and then you can buy them individually. Preset bundles are more expensive than buying individually. If I have 5 people buying preset bundles of ten thousand, that’s like 50k. It can be more. 

What is your sales strategy that other digital creators can employ for their digital products?

For presets, what I use for now is hashtags. I think of possible hashtags in my head if I’d want to buy a preset and then implement them in reality. I also try to post on Pinterest as well because I know people go to Pinterest to search for aesthetic posts.

When I post on Pinterest I attach the link that leads them to where they’d shop on my Instagram page. That’s a good strategy for presets. I drive a lot of traffic from there. I also run sponsored ads from time to time on Instagram. Those are the things I do for now that help me.

Have you considered being a photographer?

Yes. At one point I was considering it. I thought of it as a side hustle and not my main job. But I don’t think I want to put my focus on one thing because I have a very broad spectrum of interests.

My interests are circled around social media. Apart from presets, photography, and editing, I am into video content creation and influencing. I am also into social media management on the side. I started getting into digital marketing and social media marketing as well. These are some of them.

What’s one lifestyle myth that people need to do away with? 

Faking perfection on social media, I think it has to change. As a lifestyle creator, I am also guilty of that. Perfection isn’t realistic and I’m trying to be more intentional about not trying to look too perfect for my audience. It subconsciously puts pressure on the audience. It’ll take a lot to change but gradually I believe we can try to be realistic. Slowly but surely, it is something that can be done.

What’s one skincare routine that everyone should do? 

Cleanse, tone, moisturize, and sunscreen. Those are the four basic things even if you are not doing anything extra, at least cleanse your skin, tone it to balance the PH of your skin, and moisturize it so that your face will not be dry. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays which most people do not see as a necessity, but over time when you start aging, you will see your skin age really quickly as compared if you have used sunscreen earlier on.

Do you have any plans to pursue a career with your degree?

You never know what the future holds but personally I don’t think I have any plans to do anything related to my course of study. I actually think the path I’m on now is where my passion is for now and I will just focus on it for now.

What are your challenges being a lifestyle influencer? 

The biggest challenge so far is that I am a very introverted person and socially awkward and as a lifestyle influencer you will have to relate with people and go out to events a lot because you will get invited to kinds of stuff like this. So I had to start unlearning. 

Even now, it is something I am still trying to stop – sitting all by myself when I go to events. I am shy, I don’t know what to say, I stutter. 

But networking helps you grow especially in the social media industry – it is what will get you where you actually want to go. That is the hardest thing I had to deal with.

If you are not the social type, it will be hard to grow as a lifestyle influencer, you can’t really do much on your own, and you have to start unlearning and learning how to have people skills – interpersonal skills.

What advice would you give to digital creators in Africa who are inspired by you?

Go for what you want, just do it. If you sit and try to analyze everything you will see a million reasons why you can’t do it.

But if you start and be consistent, the better you become at it and that is just the reality of life. If you never start you will never get better and you will never be able to do anything. You will keep seeing excuses. So just do it and go for what you want.

Take advantage of your skill and turn your knowledge into income.