The Business of Food Photography in Nigeria
When I decided to begin a career in food photography, I had it in mind that I needed to monetize my skill for my benefits and the new industry. I understood the needs and people were on the lookout for individuals who had this skill. So, while taking classes on how to grow creatively, I also took classes that would educate me on the business behind food photography. Bear in mind that food photography is very new in Nigeria so clients are gradually embracing paying a large sum of money to just photograph “food”. I will be laying out useful strategies that has helped me win new clients.
During the start of my food photography business class, my instructor made a clear distinction between beginner, intermediate, and professional skill levels. You need to honestly understand your skill level and the value that you bring to the table. Clients are always on the lookout for professionals but even as a beginner, you could come off as a professional in the way you interact with your client. In my short journey, I discovered that people are willing to pay regardless of your skill level as long as the value matches the amount of money they pay. For instance, as a beginner, you have an entry-level camera with a kit lens, you could charge a client fifty thousand naira for seven dishes including providing minimal props and one background surface for a shoot. Some clients can make you feel intimidated because you’re using an entry-level camera but remember that it’s not by the camera but the quality of work that you deliver.
Read also: Understanding Food for Photography
One of the most thriving industry in Nigeria is the cake industry. Nigerian bakers are super creative and exceptional in what they do and they need those eye-catching photos to acquire their next client. If you’re looking to start in food photography, this should be your number one target market. Do they need your service? Yes. Are they willing to pay in exchange for value? Yes. The cake industry is big but small in the sense that every baker is familiar with each other so if you do good work, you’re likely to get a referral from the baker you worked with. This is also a good way to build your portfolio because you can be friends with a baker and he/she would allow you to photograph other products. If the photo is mouthwatering, you can add it to your portfolio.
Finding new clients as a beginner will be extremely difficult but you have to be driven by a sense of purpose and value. Attending the big food events like EatDrinkFestival, GTBank Food and Drink Festival, Food Souk by Eventful, and so on would have been the best way to find new clients but due to the pandemic, strategies have changed. If you’re reaching out via social media, your profile should have all the necessary details that distinguish you from all photographers. Every potential client you reach out to will need education about your service, don’t be afraid or irritated to answer cliché and unusual questions. A simple message template will go a long way in helping you reach out to more clients in a day and when you don’t get a reply, keep it moving, it’s not the end of the world.
Lastly, pray. Pray that God should open the doors of opportunities for you and your business because you’re a creative and you live in Nigeria.
Hi! I am Anjola Awosika and I love food. My love for food birth the idea to photograph it. I am self-taught, a graduate of YouTube. I started shooting food professionally in 2018. Since then, I have shot hundreds of dishes. Currently, I work as the official photographer for Livvy’s Twist Cake Company. Also, I have worked with notable chefs in Nigeria like Chef Fregz including SMEs in the food industry. Storytelling and creative innovation are my forte. I am passionate about the food industry in Africa and I want to be among the game changers. I live in Lagos, Nigeria.