At one time it looked as though photography studios would completely vanish from high streets across Germany. Therefore, the idea to open a new chain of photography studios seemed absurd in an age when everyone uses their smartphone to photograph everything and anyone. But the former ISM student Christian Hamer is proving a lot of people wrong with his company PicturePeople GmbH. He is currently in the throes of opening up the 23rd branch in Germany; seven more are planned for this year alone.

Almost everyone tried to talk Christian out of bringing his photography studio concept to life. Luckily, the 34-year-old stuck by his guns and even gave up his safe job as a management consultant. "Research showed that the market is fragmented, less than professional and in severe distress," explains Christian. "In other words, the best time to establish a business and to give the market a wake-up call." No sooner said than done – he opened the first PicturePeople photography studio in his home town of Bochum in 2008.

PicturePeople offers modern, emotional and creative photography at affordable, transparent prices. Customers call at the portrait studios without an appointment, select the photographs they want and take them home - fast, easy and hassle-free. PicturePeople has also enjoyed initial success outside Germany. "Since January we have been operating several photography studios in the Netherlands through a Dutch subsidiary. Our aim is to become the market leader in the Low Countries," says the entrepreneur.

Since that date, the company has grown rapidly. It currently employs over 170 photographers and members of staff. The concept is as simple as it is convincing: Even though his father has also enjoyed success in the photography industry, Christian initially went down a different route. "I was involved in student management consultancy during my time at ISM," he explains. "I used business symposia to come into contact with various consultants, completed several work placements in the industry and wrote my thesis on restructuring. This resulted in me applying to restructuring consulting firms." And to good effect – after his MBA course in Australia, he started his professional career in corporate restructuring at Ernst & Young.

Two years later Christian joined the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior consultant. But the ISM alumnus felt the job did not provide the long-term perspective of taking a company forward. "We came up with some great concepts and ideas, but their realisation was always entrusted to someone else." The development of his business idea for a photography studio concept saw him go from consultant to company owner. And Christian could not be happier with his new surroundings: "I love my work and the success. There's nothing better than having the freedom to decide which projects you take on and with whom."

"I never wanted to be a theorist, but to discuss and experience practical examples of theoretical concepts. ISM provided me with the ideal platform to achieve my goals."