Two young men join hands in setting up a thriving photography business
By Brenda wambui
Every photographer discovers his or her passion in a different way. Maybe they started taking photos with a toy camera at a tender age, or they accidentally became passionate about the art by photographing their own children. In whichever way they might have begun their journey, it’s important to feed their inspiration so that they don’t lose that joy. Some photographers get excited about composition, while others are fond of the technical skills. Nevertheless, all diehard photographers share one thing in common; a passion for the art of creating photos.
Dream Spaces Architectural Photography specializes in architectural, interiors and real estate photography. This is a relatively unique line of photography in the country. The firm takes on an activity driven session that promotes an enjoyable experience. This yields quality images that will be valued for years to come.
They shoot both interiors and exteriors and use a blend of natural and artificial light. In a relatively new market that is fueled largely in part by word of mouth. The biggest key to their success is providing an excellent client experience. They keep the sessions hassle-free and focused on communication. “This has created a connection with our clients, helping us to create authentic images,” says Henry Odhiambo, the chief executive officer.
In their research, Odhiambo and his partner, Stephen Mukhongi, realized that there was need for quality photos to market real estate and interiors. The market was and still is over crowded with many people offering photography services, although only a handful specializes in interiors and architecture. They specifically came in to bridge the gap.
The unique value proposition of Dream Spaces is excelling in customer service. The firm offers its services mainly on a flat rate basis depending on what kind of property the customer wants to shoot. After the shoot, they send the image files that have been edited and made available in an online gallery. Consequently, clients can digitally download the files. “We also provide clients with an unlimited use license,” Mukhongi says.
Most of their clients include architects, interior designers, property developers, real estate agents (realtors), hotels, resorts, restaurants, guest houses, holiday homes, franchises, malls, go-downs and institutions such as educational and health facilities. They have consistently engaged a few notable companies such as Crystal Valuers Ltd, Imperial Housing Ltd, Eunimark Agencies amongst many others in the country.
Dream Spaces is not very old in the game. The firm turned one year in April. However, within that short span of time, it has been able to learn the ropes of the business. Indeed, the two young entrepreneurs have learnt how to price their services to fit their clients’ needs and budget.Many Kenyans are still unfamiliar with architectural photography. Some even think that the firm sells property. Its office switchboard is often jammed with calls from people looking for house or office space to let. “We do not send them away, instead we link them up with property agents or owners,” Mukhongi remarks. This happens a lot of times since the firm always shares its work in all its social media platforms.
The uniqueness and quality of its service has enabled Dream Spaces to stand out. The firm has made it easy for its clients to sell their property using high quality images. According to Mukhongi, a property that is valued at Kshs. 70 million needs to be captured well in order to demonstrate to prospective customers that it is truly worth the price. At the end of the day, an investor will easily take his time to visit the property and maybe acquire it. “Creativity needs to extend beyond the lens. Find creative ways to showcase your work and make it visible,” Henry emphasizes. The two entrepreneurs talk openly about what they want to achieve in the short and long term and hold each other accountable on what they are doing to achieve that goal.
One major obstacle that they face a lot of times is the fact that cameras on cell phones are constantly getting better and hence offering stiff competition to professional photography. Some people are also not aware that architectural photography exists. Moreover, in most of the high end hotels, professional photographers are still hired from other countries even when the local ones can easily perform such jobs.
By the same token, running a photography firm requires skills and a lot of patience in order to generate profit. “ Sadly also, some members of the society perceive photographers with some little contempt since they think their job requires little or no training,” laments Mukhongi. “Some people erroneously believe that merely clicking the shutter release button in the camera makes them professional photographers,” he adds. The duo’s work has been overly successful over the past few months due to aggressive research on new market trends locally and abroad.
Tips to young entrepreneurs
According to Odhiambo, the young entrepreneurs should not allow their fears to overwhelm their desire. “Fortune favours the bold and you can never know what you are capable of unless you try,” he points out. He also advises them to leverage on the resources at their disposal and be keen on acquiring knowledge