The Business Side of Photography
One of our meetings was graced by Mrs Adesuwa. She came in to give us a wholesome idea of what it takes to run a successful studio. She was the General manager for “Studio 24 Nigeria” for several years and currently owns her own studio in Gwarinpa, Abuja called “Studio Xtra”. She is also a winner of the “You win” award. It was an amazing meeting, she spoke with decades worth of experience
Here is a very brief summary of her talk;
“The Nigerian government is starting to take Photography quite seriously, by next year, photography will be part of the subjects students can register for during their WAEC examinations. The photography landscape is about to change with 13-14 year olds receiving professional training in photography. By the time they are ready to enter the job market they will be masters of the field and not come in as novices or amateurs.
To really sell your product make your suppliers give you unique products, let them supply a certain version or alternative of their products to only you. This gives you an edge over other photographer sourcing their own products from the same place.
A lot of people rush into owning a studio and rarely have a firm grasp on what it entails. The most important aspect is the HR management, have you employed the right people to run your business with you. Are you giving them adequate training? Do they even know the objectives of the company/business? Hiring the right people takes patience and knowing what kind people you want to hire is also very important.
Look the part, if you are expecting a customer to pay you N100,000 for a job don’t approach them looking like N10,000 will change your life.
One of the main reasons for photography is the purpose of recording an event in a visual and story telling format.
For example, at a wedding people will come to eat, dance, wear their finest clothes, rejoice with the couple and all sorts of merry making. 24 hours later, all of it is gone, the music, the food, the laughter and everything else is just a memory that will gradually fade out with time. But the photographs act as a vivid reminder of the event and a good photographer’s work will contain more detail than any guest’s memory.
Having a mentor is also vital; they will lead you and help you avoid common mistakes. Your mentor doesn’t have to be in the same field but the most important part is that they are accessible.
Photobooks are becoming the norm as an add-on to most photography packages, right now every photographer should be thinking of the next thing that can add value to their service.
Questions from the audience
1. How can you change the mindset of the average person to recognise quality pictures?
Ans: Don’t focus on changing their mindset, focus on making the quality of your work the best. In the sense that anybody will be able to recognise that your work is different from the typical or average.
2. How to get the most from your mentor?
Ans: It is your job to keep the relationship fresh and fluid, therefore arrange to meet regularly, minimum of once a month and prepare for each meeting. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, if you are being a bother they will certainly tell you.
Ask questions, share ideas and ask for constructive criticism.
3. I don’t really have a specific interest in photography but I enjoy art and can easily understand the message the photographer is trying to convey, what can I do with this?
Ans: currently you can’t do much with this, you have to go back and decide what art “you” want to create not appreciate or interpret. Read books as often as possible, they will show the possibilities of you talent.
A full transcript of her talk is available on request.
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