Arriving to his photoshoot with camera in hand, playing a catchy pop song on his phone and slicking back his hair, David Zhou is ready to make a new portfolio for his website.
Zhou, 20, helped co-found a premium fitness apparel company named Alpha Pack Fitness and does photography and videography for paying clients. He is also senior majoring in business at the University of South Florida.
Zhou’s eyes beamed when he remembered the reason why he wanted to help start Alpha Pack Fitness.
“We wanted to create a brand that had real meaning behind it,” Zhou said. “Something a community could come together for but also create clothing that was technologically superior but affordable.”
The Alpha Pack Fitness community is one Zhou said he has never seen before in other businesses. Alpha Pack Fitness sells clothing, but they are also a social media tool for motivating people, according to the website.
“The Alpha Pack Fitness community is a group of friends turned family who encourage me to stay healthy and positive,” Annette Rumas, an Alpha Pack Fitness customer said.
Co-founding a business at 18 years old was not the only task Zhou was completing. He said he also had an interest in YouTube, and would watch video bloggers share their lives with communities they had never met. So, Zhou began to bring his camera on every car ride, family gathering and even his prom.
“I will never forget shooting my first video for a client,” Zhou said. “Seeing how their lips just curled all the way up into a huge smile from my video was priceless.”
Zhou learned his craft by watching tutorials on YouTube. He began to make his own photography business after realizing it was a service people needed. He decided it would be a way to gain experience while bringing people quality products.
“I ended up compensating myself,” Zhou said. “I invested most of the profits back into better equipment, so I can keep producing higher quality photos.”
Today, Zhou is a contact for many USF organizations. He said that he records events such as sorority bid day, formal and recruitment videos. With a large student body looking for his services, Zhou said he is kept busy.
At the end of the academic year, Zhou said he was shooting graduation photos for more than 10 clients a day.
Zhou said that he is helping the world become slightly better, one business deal at a time. He is also thankful to his parents, who have put faith in him.
“I believe that I have made any sacrifice my parents had to make worth it,” said Zhou. “Everything I have done is in thanks to them.”