4 Things To Consider Before Engaging a Photographer for your Fashion Business in Nairobi

1. CLIENT SERVICE

Client Service is the essence of good business relationships. It goes beyond; ‘just doing your job’ it is about going beyond what is realistically expected of you. It does not mean complete submission to your commissioner or customers, but rather it means providing an experience that they are willing to pay for. It is about appreciating your clients, turning them into fervent referral sources and lifelong clients who stick with you not only because you do great work, but because the value you bring to them goes far beyond just your service. As a fashion boutique, we try to consistently work with people who do good work, however, over time we've realised that we should also be consistently working with people who not only do good work, but who we would happily refer and recommend. Remember it is about having a real relationship, if your photographer does not engage with you in a real personal way, then they are just another vendor, and should be easily replaceable with better, if not more affordable options, such as do-it-yourself, not-so-overproduced photography.

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2. EDITORIAL INTEGRITY

Your photographer should know the law, or at least be amenable to know the law. This area is tricky. Who owns the rights to the images once they are taken? Can the photographer use those very images for their own personal ventures; can the work you used in conjunction with an influencer you commissioned be used on another platform, without acknowledgment? These are all issues that need to be ironed out before you employ your photographer. Common practice is that, the commissioner, in this case, your fashion business, commissions the photographer for work, therefore you own the images and permission from you, the commissioner, should ideally be sought, before seeing your work on another platform.

 

3.  ABILITY TO MAKE SUBJECTS FEEL COMFORTABLE OR AT EASE

Fashion photography can never be rushed. We know what we are talking about when we say, it can never be rushed. Fashion shoots can get pretty close, personal and often times not everyone is comfortable with going ahead with it. The number of times members of a project team will back out or say no is higher than you'll probably expect. To make the subject of your shot comfortable is a real art. Mario Testino has been known to be one of the photographers that puts whoever he is photographing at ease, a skill that budding commercial photographers can model success from.

 

4. COACHABILITY AND SELF - DIRECTION

Self-direction is not critical but it is necessary. A self-directing photographer is quite helpful especially, one who knows how to direct the human form/ anatomy and more so understands movement in garments made of diverse fabrics. A discussion prior to the shoot is helpful in gauging your photographer's level of skill. As a startup with limited resources, it will always be tricky finding the right photographer within your budget, as the more self - directed the photographer is (whether that's in form of having their own team of art directors and assistants for the shoot), the more likely they are to charge higher prices for the commissioned work. It's equally helpful to team up with photographers who have experience in budget allocation for clients, as adaptability to a client's budget is also a financial skill that most advanced photographers have been able to harness through experience. If you have to direct your photographer, ensure that they are coachable enough to listen to your client needs. Remember, you are the client therefore, your needs should be the focus of the project. Frequent and flexible dialogue/communication really does go a long way, as both the photographer and the fashion business team members do come out of the process learning a lot from each other, so it's important for you , too, as a client, to be open to ideas from the photographer themselves.

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