Latest in our series of interviews with African Creatives, we caught up with the amazing photographer and entrepreneur, Shine Gabienu, he is the Director at ShyneBellz Studio. He talks to us about the business of photography, his challenges and advise to upcoming photographers. Let’s dive right in.
Kindy tell us, who is Shyne ?
Firstly, I want to appreciate Grafrica for this rare opportunity. My name is Shine Gabienu, the first child from the family of six; my mum (a woman), my dad (a man), my little sister and two younger brothers. I have lived all my life in Lagos, attended Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education in Lagos. Studied Insurance at the University of First Choice (UNILAG).
Why and when did you decide to venture into Photography as a profession?
My love for photography can be traced back to the days I worked as a Graphic Artist at a sign and advert company in Lagos some few years after my secondary school education. I was able to learn photography fully in 2013 when I was in my 3rd year at the University of Lagos. A friend introduce me to Mr. Dare Onasanya (Bafot Studios), one of the producers of ‘Kid Say Nigeria’.
Although I started as a cinematographer and I still shoot videos for weddings and events, People know me more as a photographer.
From 2014 till date, I have been providing professional photography and cinematography services to a wide variety of corporate, educational and private clientele. We have also successfully trained some awesome photographers who are doing great in the industry.
As it been a rewarding Career so far?
Although we are not there yet, photography will open doors of opportunities for you to visit some exciting places, meet new people also put food on your table. So I can say it’s been rewarding and we still look forward for greater rewards.
What are the challenges faced so far in your journey as a photographer?
Some people don’t seem to appreciate photography. They just feel what they are paying for is a picture. But in actual fact, what you are paying for when you employ the service of a photographer is his creative ability, time and hours spent on taking and editing each photograph, equipment maintenance, just to mention a few. Because they don’t seem to understand these, they tend to price photographers low.
Another challenge is the continuous rise in cost of photography equipment.
Photographers need to constantly upgrade gears but because of the unstable and continuous rise in prices, we have had to make do with what we have for a long time or at least till things get better.
Some other challenges like collaboration with other creatives. For example a top model or makeup artist will rather work with the big names than working with an upcoming photographer. Unstable power supply cannot be ruled out as well .Those are the challenges I can think of for now.
Just like in almost all careers, there is specialization; which aspects of photography did you specialize and why?
ShyneBellz studios is a team of passionate photographers. So we are one stop photography service provider. Our area of specialization includes, but not limited to:
- Events/wedding photography
- Fashion/lifestyle photography
- Commercial photography
- Documentary photography.
When did you establish ShyneBellz Studio and how many employees do you have?
ShyneBellz has been in existence taking amazing photos since 2014, but was incorporated in 2016. Presently we have the creative director, assistant photographer, editors.
How do you handle Customers/clients who do not want to pay good money for a quality work?
Well, I would say it’s not every job or client that is yours. But once we see that you truly appreciate and value our services, we may agree to render our services on some certain terms. That does not say you wouldn’t pay at all. Every of client is important to us though.
How do think a photographer can build a profitable and sustainable business?
By not lowering your standard of service delivery, by consistency and by qualitative investment.
What do you think the future of photography is, considering that everyone now is a photographer with a smartphone?
Well that has been a challenge also. I remember a client called for a get together birthday shoot. After the long talk and everything I gave her a price then she said “Hahh! Is it not just to come and take some pictures and it’s just a get together, nothing elaborate”. Then she ended her statement by saying, “never mind, I will use my Iphone instead”.
Smart phones are very good but when you have a serious event you can’t use them. You‘ll need the services of a professional shooter to cover your occasion.
What will be going through your mind as an event host, if I appear with a smartphone to cover your event as a photographer? I am sure you will say am not serious!
Who are the mentors/Role-models that you look up to in the photography industry?
Our father, the award- winning photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi. I admire his level of creativity and humility; a very down-to-earth personality.
Karl Taylor, a UK-based international commercial photograper. And there are other amazing photographers both in Nigeria and beyond that we tend to draw inspirations from; the list is endless.
What are the tools you use always to ensure that your pictures come out great?
We use our creative instinct, and of course we have our DSLR cameras and light modifiers to help bring our creativity to life. We use editing software like Photoshop, Light room, etcetera, to help polish the photos before final delivery; whether in hard copies (photo book or print out) or in soft copies.
Tell us the various types of photography services rendered by Shynebellz studios and the minimum fees charged per service.
We offer photography services in the following areas;
- Events & Wedding photography
- Portraiture (Individual, family and group)
- Fashion and lifestyle
- Commercial photography (photos for advertisement purposes)
- Sport photography
I can tell you that our prices are pocket friendly. More so, we give discounts to all our consistent clients
What is the advice that you have for prospective and upcoming photographers?
Acquire knowledge about the Craft and never stop learning. Be persistent and patient because photography demands time and creativity.
How can you be reached?
You can see our portfolio here.
Facebook: @ShyneBellz studios
Linkedin/Twitter/ Instagram: @ShyneBellz