Real Life

'I'm a 13-year-old professional photographer!'

This talented, snap-happy teenager is shooting for the stars.

By Aroha Awarau
Rose McMahon.

Working as a professional photographer is child’s play for 13-year-old Rose McMahon. When most girls her age are doing chores to earn pocket money, Rose is making a name for herself in the Tauranga area as a talented and sought-after snapper.

“After finding out when I was three years old that I couldn’t be a giraffe when I grew up, I announced I wanted to tell stories – and I found that I could do that through photography,” the youngster explains.

The talented artist was only 11 when she became serious about photography. But when she discovered how expensive a high-quality camera was, she cried herself to sleep. Determined to fulfil her goal, the next morning she found the camera she wanted online for $3000 and used her negotiation skills to nab a bargain.

“The owner felt for me, because he was also my age when he started out as a photographer, so he sold me the camera for $559. That was all my savings from my birthday and Christmas money, and it was worth every penny.”

 Rose recently shot her very first wedding.
Rose recently shot her very first wedding.

At first, the animal lover offered to take photos for local businesses for free. But when the quality of the pictures showed she had a natural talent, people started hiring her for professional shoots. A few were dismissive of Rose because of her age, but the youngster quickly proved she really had the goods.

“It taught me that I had to believe in myself if I wanted to get ahead,” she tells.

For the past two years, Rose has shot portraits and products for big companies. She was a stills photographer for the film The Z-Nail Gang and recently shot her very first wedding.

“The best part is seeing people’s faces when they look at their pictures for the first time. That makes me feel good.”

Rose’s father Alistair says he and wife Su-an are very proud of their teenage daughter.

 Rose's family are very proud of the talented teen.
Rose's family are very proud of the talented teen.

“She’s learning all the technical aspects of photography, but still likes to experiment,” he says.

Rose, who is homeschooled, uses the money she earns to buy camera gear and hopes to be a filmmaker when she grows up. But for now, she loves her job.

“Sometimes I do get terrified before a shoot, but I know I have to deliver, and that always sees me through.”

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