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Ms Gay, originally from Nelson, has been living in the resort for 11 years, but it was when she was driving Sir Peter Jackson's photographer, Pierre Vernay, while the movie was being shot in the resort that she became "inspired".
"He's an amazing photographer and I was driving him around and I quizzed him - I'd always thought about it and he said `Mon cherie, it's the perfect job for you'.
"I went out with the money I'd made over that six weeks ... and I bought the gear."
Ms Gay began teaching herself four years ago, but after two years decided to work towards a diploma, which she achieved.
Working part-time, Ms Gay let her business, Still Vision, grow slowly while gradually increasing her equipment.
"I wanted to make sure I had the equipment to achieve the job. I've just been quietly building that."
Last year, Ms Gay entered the New Zealand photography scene with an inspired, artistic and beautiful collection of New Zealand musicians and their tattoos.
Called "Ink of Aotearoa", the photographs were compiled into a calendar and doubled as her "national debut".
"That was ... 'Here I am, this is what I do'."
"I was working at Collective and hiring their space or working from it one day a week, but I wanted to give Still Vision more of an opportunity to grow and be available more than one day a week and have a studio space as well."
Ms Gay decided to begin the search and fell in love with the first space she looked at, on the first floor of The Chester building, next door to the Queenstown Winter Festival offices.
"It's definitely a lavish expense for the business because 70% of my work is on location, but I so need it.
"Last year it was all about my [portfolio] and letting people know I'm serious about what I do. I'm passionate about it and this year ... it's all about the business.
"Especially with the whole digital development, photography is changing - what people want, what people like and what you can give them is changing.
"I want to be able to give people what they want. That's why I've given Still Vision the motto 'Your Shots, Your Style'.
The Still Vision studio officially opened on Friday night and Ms Gay said the response had been overwhelming.
"I'm confident that it's something Queenstown ... doesn't have and I'm looking forward to being able to fill that kind of gap in the market."
In addition to launching the studio, Ms Gay is also working on her next exhibition, focusing on the more traditional Ta Moko, the Maori tattoo.