POV: You have a creative background with some knowledge of multimedia production. You're now looking to expand from the hobbyist life into starting a full-fledged professional studio of your own.
As a photographer-turned-entrepreneur, you quickly realize you'll need more than talent to turn your passion into a stable living that can provide for both your employees and yourself as the owner. But where do you start with no connections to turn to for guidance on all the logistical, operational, and technical aspects?
PhilSTAR L!fe saves you the trouble by getting candid with the celebrity-favorite Nice Print Photo team, which covered the ins and outs of the camerawork trade while sharing pointers straight from the photography business.
Read this simple guide to industry-grade photoshoots and same-day edits to find out how you can shoot your shot.
Capture natural moments
A photo, no matter how beautiful the setting and the subject is, loses its story if you fail to capture the moment. According to Nice Print Photo co-founder and chief executive officer Charisse Tinio, it's all about finding the right balance.
"With Nice Print, we're really not known to be directing too much. We want it as candid as possible. Of course, there will be parts of the wedding and the debut that you will have to direct, a few parts of it. But most of it, we want to tell the story as it happens. We wanna be able to capture it as it happens and not make it look like it's scripted," Charisse told L!fe.
The female executive said that special events like weddings don't require much directing since emotions come naturally and people cry even without cue.
Her life and business partner, Nice Print Photo co-founder and president Jibby Tinio, added that clients usually add their own flavor to the mix.
From there, they always try to adjust to the clients' personalities without imposing their own brand's style. "Their personalities have to come out. If they're funny, if they're quirky, if they're a bit serious. So we pattern it on that, even the choice of music for the same edit," Charisse explains.
Find the right angle
Similar to capturing the feeling and emotion, a photographer should also be able to focus on various elements including angles and lighting.
"In terms of lighting, from experience kasi you'll know na day-in and day-out that this location would be perfect at this time of the day. In the afternoon it's better outside, when toward the morning it's better inside because the light's too harsh," Sancho, Charisse and Jibby's son, told L!fe.
This was affirmed by Charisse, because of their 17 years in the industry, it's become muscle memory for their team to be at the right place at the right time.
"Basically 'pag 17 years mo nang ginagawa 'to day-in, day-out, you'll perfectly know. For example, we're in Shangri-La The Fort. Alam na namin lahat ng sulok ng Shang Fort, where to shoot with the best lighting or have the best sunlight shoot. We know the timeline, kung kailan namin sasabihin magpalit na si bride ng hair-up, hair-down. Somehow, mame-memorize mo na through the years," the CEO said.
Developing your team
Nice Print Photo's president said that managing operations efficiently is the first and necessary step to happier and more productive employees.
"Logistics din kasi is very hard," Jibby said. "So you have to prepare the drivers, lalo na sa mga out out-of-town. Give them enough sleep na kung masyado siyang puyat the night before, sa next day mo naman medyo late ang kaniyang call-time. So ibibigay mo siya sa mas later wedding or debut."
Rather than deploying equipment to team members as shoots happen, cameras and other technology are assigned directly to each person. This avoids the unnecessary headache of configuring camera settings on the event day itself.
"We assign them and we invest with the amount of money per person on their full battle gear kumbaga, from the lens to the flash, to the camera, to the body, laptop. Ipo-provide namin 'yan per person. They don't provide their own camera, we supply everything," Charisse explained.
This way, according to Jibby, team members need not scrimp and save up for low-end or mid-range cameras when Nice Print Photo is able to issue them the latest and highest-end devices. "Masira camera, sasabihin lang nila, 'Boss, palit na ko ng camera.' Palit, agad-agad. Hindi na sila mag-iipon for it, because their talent fee really goes to their pockets," Charisse summarized.
Update your equipment
Nice Print Photo regularly updates and upgrades its equipment, software, and other technology to keep up to speed with the latest industry trends.
"There's no take two. So we cannot afford cameras that will break down during the event," Charisse emphasized.
This is why Nice Print Photo has a quality assurance check at every step of its process. Even if the team has already checked everything pre-event, they still have reserve equipment including two to three cameras per person just in case, while backing up files every opportunity they get.
According to Jibby, there is no such thing as overpreparing when preemptive preparation eliminates all the "redundancy" of a chaotic system. He even meets the company's team leaders every Monday to "pre-prod" events scheduled that week, ironing out details like the number of vehicles needed and their respective destinations.
"Every Monday din, kung ano 'yung mga glitches namin during the week before, we discuss para ma-avoid namin. Small, manageable problems na kailangan naming i-address," Jibby related.
Satisfying your client
Nice Print Photo is well aware that it's in the business of preserving once-in-a-lifetime memories for its clients. That's why, according to Charisse, if you did your job right the first time, the clients will come back for future occasions.
"That's really what sets us apart. 'Yung after-service. Photos mo mabilis, album mo gagawin agad, may sasagot sa'yo 24/7. Hindi 'yung mahihirapan ka mag-follow up. As a photo and video company ang strength niya hindi lang 'yung araw ng shoot. That's just the beginning for us," the CEO enlightened.
Nice Print Photo has single, dedicated account managers for each type of occasion to consolidate clients with similar needs. This paid off in the long run with regular clients who booked them for debuts later on returning to them for other personal milestones like weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties. All of which they were able to track thanks to an in-house software that they invested in.
The company deploys around a hundred people regularly. It has eight independent teams of 10 to 12 people, consisting of photographers, assistants to the photographers, videomen, assistants to the videomen or lightsmen, on-site photo editors, on-site video editors, drone operators (if availed as part of the package), and drivers. This is on top of a centralized office complete with the same capabilities performing segmentized tasks like downloading files, applying filters, and cleaning cameras.
"Meaning to say hindi kami nagtitipid sa tao. If there are a hundred people on-site to shoot, we have another hundred people in the office na gumagalaw day-in, day-out," Charisse clarified.
Scaling your business
Find your best angle and hit it with your best shot. After all, the big picture starts with you.
Nice Print Photo admitted that 17 years ago, it didn't have the same army of specialists and vault of equipment as today. In fact, they had a previous film photography development business that eventually died due to the digital revolution.
Rather than giving up, they soldiered on and adapted to the times. They used their initial experience to address an entirely new market: events coverage.
"We said if we want to stay in our core competence, which is photography, videography, and all that, then we would stay here but find a niche where we can stay long. That's why we agreed...a photo-video service. Because we felt, kahit gaano ka-high tech ang photo, you would still not do your own photos," Charisse recalled.
Fast forward 17 years later, Nice Print Photo is no longer just focused on doing business. It's now looking to leave a #Legacy.
Realizing your vision
Just like a photographer shouldn't direct a client too much, you should also be flexible with the direction you wish to take in the long term.
Between the six years that they ran their previous business and the 17 years they're celebrating with Nice Print Photo, Charisse and Jibby are humbled by their growth as individuals and as a team.
Many of their employees from their former enterprise actually continue to be with them in their current venture over two decades later. One employee who started as a runner is now one of their top photographers, now able to fund their children's education at exclusive schools.
The dynamic duo sees the company's leadership as complete since Charisse handles the marketing side while Jibby handles logistics and operations. They realized during the interview with L!fe that they got their own plot twist in the form of Sancho, who will turn 17 in 2023, the same year as their beloved brand.
Their firstborn son now forms the third member of their terrific trio, with Sancho focused on Nice Print Photo's creative aspect while his parents handle the business part.
Charisse concludes with her favorite part of their brand's 17th-anniversary celebration: "Seventeen years, my husband and I, we've been doing this as a duo, as partners in everything, partners in crime. On the 17th year now of Nice Print, sabay 'yan eh, our eldest son, who was also born the same year as Nice Print in 2006, is also now turning 17 years old. And we're just so blessed that he's already joined the company. So I guess the slogan there is 'strong as a duo, even stronger as a trio,' now that Sancho is going to be onboard with us with so much passion and so many new ideas to bring to the table. Because he's young, he's idealistic, he has all these different perspectives in life."
@ratzielsanjuan Same-day edit of a #samedayedit featuring the #niceprintphoto ♬ Summer day - TimTaj