Bright Sparks

FJ & Sumari Potgieter • Eye Poetry Photography

February 24, 2017
Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter

Meet FJ & Sumari Potgieter. The dynamic duo behind the uber successful wedding and lifestyle photography brand, Eye Poetry Photography. Virtuosos of note. They are talented, passionate and charming to boot. They are the exceptional husband and wife team who love to capture love.

Responsible for the gorgeous photography on Hello Smart Blog, we are very honoured to collaborate with these two marvelously gifted artistic minds every month and also VERY proud to call them our friends.

We introduce to you, the splendid FJ & Sumari Potgieter of Eye Poetry Photography.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter

FJ Potgieter

  • Name: Frederik Johannes
  • Surname: Potgieter
  • Age: 26
  • Profession/Life’s work: Don’t think we have enough lines available. I’m a business owner/Entrepreneur/Photographer/Social Media Marketer.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter

Sumari Potgieter

  • Name: Sumari
  • Surname: Potgieter
  • Age: Two years ago I was still 23!
  • Profession/Life’s work: Business Owner, Social Media Entrepreneur, Photographer

Eye Poetry Photography • Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • Sumari Potgieter

So, what’s your story?

Where were you born?

FJ: Where all the good people come from – Kroonstad

Sumari: The windy city, Port Elizabeth

Where did you go to school?

FJ: Blouskool

Sumari: Diamantveld

Where and what did you study?

FJ: Studied Law at Kovsies

Sumari: I studied at a few places, amongst others Kovsies.

What was your childhood dream?

FJ: To become a “Dominee”.

Sumari: To save animals and feed the hungry people of Africa.

What was your first job?

FJ: Working at a recycle plant to make money to go overseas.

Sumari: Working as a photographer for a photographer.

Advice that shaped you career?

FJ: It’s a quote from my under-14 rugby coach that really stuck with me. “Good, better, best, never shall I rest till my good is better and my better is best” And then something I learnt along the way that really helped me “Always challenge the status quo”

Sumari: There might have been advice, but nothings comes to mind. To me, walking on a bridge in 2015 that I was about to bungee jump off changed my life! It made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to no matter how scary it is. By the way, I’m DEAD afraid of heights!!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

FJ: The six alarms on my iPhone and the need for coffee.

Sumari: FJ reminding me that we need to leave for Crossfit in 5 mins.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter

What motivates you?

FJ: People who say I can’t.

Sumari: We set goals every year. Personal and business goals. They are quite intense and it forces me to get up and work hard for what I want everyday. I love the feeling of ticking them off the list.

How do you spend your down time?

FJ: I love spending time with my wonderful wife, we love good wine, good food and travel, we always try to travel whenever we get half a chance (We’re visiting Ireland in May) . I love a round of golf (never get time though).

Sumari: We don’t really have a lot of downtime. With both our businesses we work during the week and on weekends we photograph weddings. This gives us the opportunity to take breaks for longer periods. This is normally when we travel.

What does success look like to you?

FJ: Being on Tony Peng’s Instagram. No actually I feel that I made it, now that I’m on Hello Smart Blog (wink) Success is not something I see, it’s something I feel, it’s that feeling you get when you’ve done something and get to enjoy the reward, the smile on your face, the joy in your heart.

Sumari: Being able to achieve goals that I set out for myself.

What sets you apart as an influential man / woman in business?

FJ: The will to succeed, good relationships, hard work and adaptability. And always being innovative.

Sumari: The Fact that I have FJ, and I’m not just saying that. I have never been pushed so hard to reach my potential than the way he pushes me. He also always reminds me to not stress about anything, but leave my worries in Gods hands. To be honest, every single time I have done that, God has provided more then I ever could have dreamt of. But it goes without saying, you still need to work really hard.

What are the valuable lessons you have learnt in business?

FJ: That it doesn’t come easy, you have to work your ass of for it.

Sumari: COMMUNICATION is key! Whether with clients or with people working with me in the business. Being honest about a situation is so much better then the apology you could avoid later on. It’s also the biggest struggle, because no one wants to disappoint clients.

What makes a great photographer?

FJ: Luck, a good eye, the ability to see light, good equipment and adaptability – you always have to adapt to new market conditions and to new trends.

Sumari: Making yourself adaptable to new trends. That is probably one of the biggest down falls of so many photographers. “Timeless” was also once a trend;)

Give me 3 words that describe you best?

FJ: Competitive, Adaptable, Friendly

Sumari: Competitive, Loving, Passionate

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari PotgieterEye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter

What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?


  • Starting two businesses.
  • Booking an international wedding.
  • Actually getting married!


  • Being the co-founder of two businesses before the age of 25.
  • Joining the IGNITE group in New York for their social media summit.
  • Booking an international wedding
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:


  • It’s okay to make mistakes
  • You’re never to old to learn.
  • And don’t ever be just normal.

Sumari: The harder you work the harder you can enjoy life.

Hidden talent:

FJ: I’m a brilliant singer (though Sumari would not agree), I’m also a pretty decent cook.

Sumari: Winning at Rummikub

What other photographers, creatives and entrepreneurs do you look up to?

FJ: As entrepreneur I really look up to Steve Jobs, his ability to be different and following his own path really inspires me. Another is Richard Branson, his saying ‘you have to work hard but have fun along the way’ is something I really believe in and something that really changed a lot in the structures of our businesses.

As photographer I really looked up to Christine Meintjes, not always her photography style, but the fact that she taught me that photography is 80% business 20% photography, that is a piece of advise that really helped shaped us. She was one of the persons that really challenged the status quo in wedding photography in South Africa.

Sumari: I really admire Steve Jobs life’s work. He never followed the norm, and he built an empire that honours that. That opulent feeling of luxury you get when you open any new Apple product is also one thing I learnt – Apple doesn’t just sell an amazing product, they sell an experience.

What is one characteristic that you believe every entrepreneur should possess?

FJ: As long as you work hard the rest will come.

Sumari: Adaptability. You need to be able to adapt to new trends in the industry to keep up.

What advice would you give someone starting their own business?

FJ: Just do it, don’t sit around dreaming about it, that is time wasted. You’ll never get it perfect, so start doing it now, you’ll figure it out along the way. Look at Apple, every year “it’s the best iPhone yet”

Another tip I learned along the way is you have to do what others don’t want to do, to get what they don’t have. But for me, being your own boss is the most satisfying feeling ever, you work for yourself and you determine your own success.

Sumari:  Turning your passion into business will force you to focus 20% on that passion and 80% on business. Being a photographer is 20% about how good your photos are and 80% about how you do business. Having a solid client experience system will help you to focus on other parts of your business.

Working along side your spouse can be pretty challenging – why do you think the two of you make such a good team?

FJ: Competitiveness, we are extremely hard on each other in business, and it is as if our minds are connected, one will come up with an idea and the other will just build on that, we both have different skills, and I think we really compliment each other in that way.

It’s not easy everyday, some days we want to kill each other, but it’s sure as hell worth every single second. But one piece of advice I can give someone thinking they want to work along side their spouse is that you have to be able to draw a line between work and your personal life.

Sumari: That which the one lacks, the other one has in abundance. We are each other’s strongest critics, but also each other’s loudest cheerleaders. It also helps being in business with your best friend, someone you never get tired of.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter

FJ’s Favourites:

  • Colour: Grey
  • Food: Food fired Pizza
  • Drink: Good Wine/Coffee
  • Sport: Rugby
  • Sport persona: Bakkies Botha – for his fierceness. Roger Federer – For his calmness and great sportsmanship.
  • Photographer: Myself, that’s like asking who’s your favorite auto body repairer? LOL
  • Entrepreneur: Steve Jobs / Richard Branson
  • Brand: Apple
  • Happy place: Next to my wife
  • Band: Mumford & Sons / Heuwels Fantasties
  • Car: Audi
  • If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Jacob Zuma – I would ask him what the *%#$ is he thinking. Also Steve Jobs – I wish I could spend 1 hour with him, just to learn the way he thinks. He had such a brilliant mind.
  • Quote: Work hard now, so you can eat the cake later.
  • Book or Magazine: Weg.
  • Online inspiration: Mashable / Social Media Today / Adweek every morning when I wake up, and then News 24, till I see Zuma’s name then I stop.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter

Sumari’s Favourites:

  • Colour: White makes me feel good!
  • Food: Any form of curry
  • Drink: Wine
  • Sport: My families own Hartenbos Olympics
  • Sport persona: Novak Djokovic
  • Photographer: Nadia Meli
  • Entrepreneur: Steve Jobs
  • Brand: You could say I’m an Apple person.
  • Happy place: Struisbaai
  • Band: Mumford and Sons
  • Car: Audi
  • If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? My grandmother, she was quite the entrepreneur.
  • Quote: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do – Steve Jobs
  • Book or Magazine: Any Deon Meyer book.
  • Online inspiration: Any quick hair tutorial.

Eye Poetry Photography • FJ Potgieter & Sumari Potgieter



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