Are you updated on the trendiest wedding photographers in town? Well, Reels & Stories is definitely one of them. Talk about the most hyped wedding events this season, famous Bangladeshi actress & model Bidya Sinha Saha Mim, recently got hitched & guess what? Reels & Stories covered her wedding reception. Navid Kabir, one of the two founders, along with Kazi Mushfiq, through photos & videos, artistically depict a couple’s love story. During an intriguing conversation with Navid, he shared his story of coming this far and building a business with us at TINDS.
TINDS: Please tell us a little about yourself?
Navid: I grew up in Rajshahi and finished college there. In 2016, I graduated from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology. Reels & Stories was never really my plan & I never even imagined my hobby would turn out to be my profession. I had a semi-DSLR camera back in school that my mother had given me; I used it occasionally but never felt I had more potential in this creative field.
TINDS: How did you start Reels & Stories?
Navid: When I came to Dhaka for my undergraduate studies I used to get a small allowance from my family as I was still unemployed. Since my expenses were much less in Rajshahi, I had no idea how much more expensive Dhaka would be. The pocket money I got was not enough to run my day to day expenses. It was difficult to spend beyond my necessities & as a university student, it was tough to cope up when hanging out with friends or going out. Many of my friends were tutoring but I was not mentally ready to take the responsibility of tuition besides my own studies. I had to struggle for a while but I still managed to save some money. I tried very hard to convince my parents to help me buy a better camera & gears for professional photography but they were worried I won’t be able to concentrate on my studies if I started photography. However, I finally convinced them & promised I will be focused on both. Ironically, when I took upon my passion of photography again, I actually lost concentration on my studies but somehow managed to do better in my last years & got done with my undergrad.
TINDS: When did you get your first client?
Navid: Although Reels & Stories was set in motion since 2018, I got my first client back in 2013 after getting my first professional gear. It was a friend’s cousin who came from abroad to celebrate his wedding reception in his hometown Comilla. My friend requested me to capture only bride & groom moments. I intended to do the work for free but the client was so happy with my work, he handed me an envelope with five thousand Taka. I was really happy, not for the money but the way I was treated. Soon we started getting more & more such offers from my university seniors, friends & relatives.
TINDS: Please share about some of the struggles you have had to face?
Navid: So my biggest challenge was to buy expensive gears. I firmly believe that I could do much better if I could purchase better equipment earlier. Once my partner & I got our hands on the new equipment, we were on board! I feel like we are not treated with enough respect by most clients, especially big ones. Many of them treat us as if we are objects, as it is not an admirable profession in our country yet. During events, it seems very easy for the clients to mistreat us. There have been many such occasions where they misbehaved with us terribly. However, this trend is slowly changing and most photographers now come from educated families, which is increasing the industry’s respect. My team is also now bigger than before and more robust so now the problem is slowly fading. I really hope the industry continues growing so that we can earn that level of respect.
TINDS: How did the pandemic affect your business?
Navid: The Pandemic hit us really hard at first, but we survived because before we used to have the wedding season from November to February. Due to the uncertain lockdowns, events were now more dispersed. What we could earn in 3 to 4 months during the wedding season was now coming in throughout the year but we eventually adjusted to the change. We also customized our packages & included more intimate settings as people kept their weddings smaller & more intimate, typically at home, during the pandemic era.
TINDS: Who are your clients mostly?
Navid: Our clients are mostly future brides from the middle & upper middle class families, but also from the upper class. Approximately 98% of our clients who reach us are the brides. Grooms contact us rarely.
TINDS: Where do you see Reels & Stories in the near future?
Navid: My long-term goal is definitely to expand beyond Bangladesh & gain international clients. We have already gained a lot of popularity in our country so now it’s time to go bigger! In fact, our team member Sohel is already in the United States now to cover an event. I want Reels & Stories to be renowned around the world so that we can cover events in various countries.
Where to find Reels & Stories?
Instagram: @reels.stories or https://www.instagram.com/reels.stories/
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