FocusNBlur is the team to beat when it comes to wedding photography in Ghana. For most couples, a wedding with their gears involved would definitely mean energy, great photos and memories to last a lifetime.
The household brand is led by Mr Enoch Boateng a.k.a PKDCB, a graduate of the University of Cape Coast whose love for capturing romantic moments led him to conquer a genre a number of photographers consider troublesome and chaotic.
With passion, sheer grit and professionalism, he sits on the throne as king of the jungle; reigning supreme.
In this exclusive interview off the back of his latest partnership with Facebook and Instagram Creators, PK tells us about how he creates his epic moments, his vibe and the humbling path to success.
Enjoy the vibe!!
Braperucci Africa: Good Afternoon PK
PK: Good afternoon
BP: When people see the name Focus and Blur what do you want them to think about?
PK: When people see Focus and Blur, I want them to see a vision, someone or something, a community that is really focus oriented, that has a purpose and that will do anything to make sure that goal is achieved, void of every distraction for that matter blur in the name is also important. So focus on the most important things in life; your vision, your goals, your aspirations and blur all the obstacles that come with it; it can be your past experience, anything that has really brought some down-toll effect in your life, you need to just blur all of them and look forward.
Can You tell us exactly what you do at Focus and Blur?
PK: I am the creative director and the founder at Focus and Blur. I foresee everything that comes in and out of the company which is bookings of events, studio sessions, photographer’s activities, retouching activities and whoever works in every department and I make sure that everything is going on smoothly.
I’m like their lead so everything that happens here passes through me first and our structure is in a way that we have a business manager, a creative director and all these people’s activities are run by me before anything else goes out.
We have our lead photographer and the videography department which has their own lead videographer and whatever they do has to end up to me before it’s deployed.
Five years ago you transitioned from working in an agency to becoming a photographer/entrepreneur. How was it?
PK: Five years ago I was with an advertising agency, then still had an experience or I was still doing photography but it wasn’t really a full-time thing, it was one of those things I was passionate about; trying to still do what you love. Remember I even did the first Braperucci Logo at that time.
My true love was advertising and art and so I was playing with the tools that will help me create my art so I was doing graphic designing and then developed my graphic design skills and I took up photography to add to it. I measured the two and told myself that I think I want to pursue more photography to tell my design story or communicate better.
I didn’t quit graphic design, I actually limited it for in house use only; it wasn’t commercialized. And so that was basically how the transition was and it was quite smooth because they are all art and they in some ways play along with each other.
How do you get your clients to relax and trust you with an image or portrait?
PK: I think you first have to feel your client.
I believe strongly in a very good connection where you get to understand your client’s point of view. I believe photographing someone especially in a portrait just like you said is more like photographing their soul. To me I feel like I need to photograph how you feel, once that connection hits, once there’s that synergy, you’re good to go.
How to make them relax is actually to understand them and it starts from the beginning process of booking where clients call and come with a brief.
Weddings are romantic but its so fast-paced and involves so many people at once . How are you able to translate the picture in your mind even in the chaos to real life??
PK: That is a very good question and that ability requires constant practice of the use of creativity. In typical Ghanaian weddings, you might not have seen the bride’s home before and even when you go and see the place, you realize that the setup is everywhere, guests are sitting all over the place then you realize that everything you planned is gone. This is where your professionalism and instincts have to be in play; immediately you get to the spot, you’re thinking of what to do to get a beautiful picture. There is a term for it, boundary scouting.
You’re going around the premises scouting and spotting places that you can do several things and this all happens on the wedding day.
You now have to play with everything present at the premises and there’s no rehearsal. You begin to boundary scout and then you create unique and different ideas and this comes with constant practice and feeding your brain with so many inspiring and unique images, images that are thought provoking and different.
You might even spot one corner and just picture what you saw in a movie and do the same thing, so the things that you feed your mind play very well on the day when you’re trying to create something unique.
Till you finally get to your desired image, what is the process like?
There’s definitely going to be a limit to what you can achieve at a place. It’s not because you see a beautiful image in your mind so it should be beautiful in the outside world. That’s why you need to have options; in your mind, you might want to do the best three concepts but you have six concepts, if you’re able to kill all six then fine, but if you are able to do the best four or five or even three that are powerful, then you’re good to go.
You’re also dealing with human beings; you cannot push them to a limit where they feel uncomfortable. Most times, I ask clients whether they are comfortable especially when I push in different ideas or concepts because if they don’t feel comfortable, they might also look awkward in the photo so there is therefore a limit gap. Experience has also taught me that you can get so many different ideas from one concept and with experience comes the creative boost that allows you to create different concepts.
Are you comfortable with people labelling you as a wedding photographer or you don’t mind, since you’re making the money?
PK: I think that photography itself has so many divisions that a single person can’t do alone. I prefer to be a master of something than a master of none because I’m just doing everything. If I am to be known as a very good wedding photographer, I think I am lucky to be known as such because it’s not easy to be known to be good at anything.
You could be a portrait photographer, baby photographer, landscape photographer and every other category you could imagine but what are you being known for? I feel like you should create your own path and let people know that, this is who you are.
Wedding photography came to us a bit easier because of our personal lifestyle; we are a bit more energetic and fun and happy people and we always want to laugh and smile with people and it’s not everybody that can do what we do. Some are also good for portraits so if you’d rather go to someone for your portraits, that’s fine.
Not to say we can’t do portraits because we have a Lifestyle studio where we do portraits and all that but wedding photography is like our flagship and this is what we are really into big-time because we love doing it. In both ways, it helps the ecosystem and spreads the money around.
Speaking about the money, 2020 was a tough year for everyone and for a brand like yours that is event-based how did it affect you ??
Thank You Corona for making 2020 look so crazy for everyone but 2020 taught us a lot as human beings.
It also was the point that everybody really had the opportunity to sit back and look at so many things; where you’ve come from and where you are, where you really want to go and if it’s even worth it.
2020 was all about health and that was good for the whole universe, I think it made us consider certain things. For business, we had our own challenges when the corona hit and the business went down, we had so many meetings in house considering how we were going to overcome this challenge.
Events had to be postponed so many times which was good because we here at Focus and Blur didn’t have to refund some money so it was good for us. The only challenge was that; we didn’t then do a lot of events in 2020 as compared to other people that took some other strategy to do their events. We stood firm on our grounds, believing what we really stood for and still placed our values first by supporting clients especially when they’re ready to change their dates and make new bookings.
Even though it affected us, we were okay because we were able to also take care of ourselves; we built this studio in 2020 when Corona hit and it was a time for us to consider certain things because we’ve been moving around a lot filming a lot of weddings and we didn’t have our own studio space to do our pre-wedding photoshoots and for the couple and for the family shoots and all those things. We decided to build a studio for ourselves during those hard times to at least let people have some family time in the studio with family portraits. Maybe people might call us terrible business people but we are just artistes and we move with the thought of art and it hasn’t been bad as a matter of fact, this studio has saved our face and has even given us a lot of booking than we could ever think;
Well, it wasn’t that bad for you, you got two of the biggest cheques in 2020
PK: Well Yes. Yeah so we had two of the biggest events in Ghana in 2020 and I think it was just God’s plan.
Would you describe those two events as what has catapulted your brand to celebrity status?
Well, I think its been bits of everything; every decision taken, every prayer answered for us to get to wherever we are today because I don’t think whatever we did in the past, if the brand didn’t show it was that good, we wouldn’t have gotten the next big things to the extent that we did Liberia just three weeks ago.
So it’s everything because Liberia would now put us on the International front and then would you say that, it was these weddings that put us on the international front ?, I would say Liberia did. I think it’s at every stage and how you’re grateful and how you still want to push and make something new happen, that will take you to the next big stage and at every stage we’ve been grateful, honestly.
How do you feel about competition in the space that you’re in?
PK: I think it should be looked at in two ways, there are people that do this for sole commercialization of their work and they’re people that do this because they’re pure artists. I think If you’re a pure artist, you don’t believe in competition, you believe in creativity but if you commercialize, then you believe that someone else is making more money than you or someone is creating something more than you. I don’t believe in commercialization, I believe that art comes first. Appealing to your client is a priority, you should book me because I can give you what you want, not because I am cheaper than the other person.
So Are you cheap?
PK: I think It’s very subjective, depending on who thinks it’s cheap or expensive; any figure can be expensive to someone but to another who may have prepared for that is okay.
Which photographer(s) do you think has provided the biggest source of your own inspiration? If you could have one photographer take a portrait of you, who would that be?
PK: Well, I love my Ghanaian photographers. I would let Kojo Sticks do that. Kojo Sticks is my assistant and he is our lead photographer here and I’ll choose Kojo Sticks because I see a mirror of myself in him. Everything that he does or what he has accomplished now, is something that I have seen myself do and even the things that he wants to do marvels me so he is someone I will really want to photograph me. As of now, the photographer that has provided the biggest source of my inspiration is Jidekola. Jidekola is a Nigerian wedding photographer, As I speak now, he is just that guy for me, if I have a wedding I will make him shoot.
We’ve seen that you’ve started something called “true worth” could you tell us about it?
PK: True Worth is an educational platform that was created as a community for every young creative, especially photographers looking at our field. So we can inform, educate and share ideas with young, upcoming photographers about what is really out there in the world in terms of managing your brand, finances and everything else that the young entrepreneur will have a challenge with.
True Worth is that point to let you know that you have a particular value and just as the name depicts, you have your own worth and don’t downplay it. We set out to do a proper seminar last year but unfortunately, we couldn’t because of Corona but then we did a session on Instagram live where we interviewed all those who were supposed to be on the panel and we had an amazing time on Instagram last year.
How are photographers who are very key visual storytellers harnessing the power of Social Media for their brands?
PK: First off, I think it’s at the marketing and selling point where now it gives us a bit more of a louder audience for people to see what really we are doing. With that, you know that, whatever you’re putting out there, you’re literally selling yourself so you have to be careful what you put there and how you market yourself. It’s made it pretty simple for us to be in the market and as a medium, it’s also a very good point to tell stories.
We should be very humanitarian about it as photographers because we are storytellers and anything that affects society should be told through that space because it’s the same page that everybody watches; it’s huge, we have so many followers and so many people reposting and the likes, so it should be used for a greater cause. As wedding photographers, we are also using it our way getting to share the love with the world and we get to share how people are really happy with each other, how their lives are going, where they started from, where they are now, their babies and all that and that gives life hope and actually lets you know that all is not lost and anyone can also own such a life too.
If you would go back and talk to yourself when you were starting, what advice would you give to your young self?
PK: My advice to my young self will be, trust me, you’re not doing anything wrong and you’re exactly what you wanted to be so just keep doing what you’re doing, keep going hard and it’s only going to get better, you will see.
Mental health awareness is key to the success of every creative, on a personal level, how are you doing?
PK: It’s been stressful for me and it’s funny but since April, I’ve been really considering my health and I travelled to Liberia and I fell very ill and I had to come back still ill and trying so hard to battle this illness and it took a long toll on me till just some few weeks ago. It made me think about so many things; what we do as photographers, the pressure is really high and we need to take time and make sure that we have health because health is wealth. If you make all that money without good health, the money is all going to fix your health so I’m taking lots of time to really take good care of myself, especially rest more because that’s the only way I can keep sane now.
What’s the biggest challenge your brand is facing at the moment?
PK: We’re actually having a phase in structuring and that is my biggest challenge right now. We are putting up this structural system together and it is a bit of a trial and error till it works and that’s the challenge we are facing now. It’s just structuring because we believe that we need to have a whole structure or system that has to work without depending on anyone.
You were just interviewed by Facebook as part of its creators, congratulations on that
PK: Thank You
What other success stories do you have to share?
PK: I’m just being interviewed by Bra Perucci which is amazing but when it comes to success stories I believe my success is always in the honor given to me when I’m to photograph any event. Every single day we pick up a camera to be part of somebody’s event is, to us, a success, because we deem it as an honor. Apart from that, getting to do a destination wedding is an honor, we have some few stuff
coming in like a franchise in other countries very soon.
Have you ever been star struck by a figure you’ve had to photograph?
PK: I got starstruck very early in my career, previously when I was photographing for a company called One Photos and they gave me the opportunity to shoot a lot of rich people, went to a lot of rich homes and that was when I was very young. You get star struck when you see all these rich kids or you’re literally shooting some big diamonds and it gives you chills or makes you freeze a little bit. Those experiences back in the days helped when we really began to focus and blur and I realized that, I might be standing close to maybe the President and I became more relaxed when I matured. It’s the experience; when you have more experience, professionalism really sets in at a point and you should know that, whoever is a star there is expecting you to do your job so you have to put everything aside and make sure you get the job done.
You keep mentioning International, what are your plans of expanding?
PK: Like I said, we’re doing some franchising and we are going to the UK, I think we are actually there, we are just left with one or two things. We’re doing UK, Belgium and Netherlands and these are all franchises and we have something in the US which is not fully fledged. I think what is helping us globally is because of this digital lifestyle where you don’t necessarily need to be there to make it happen. Once the person understands what the brand stands for and you are fully convinced that this person can deliver for you on a level, you just create that franchise and make that person take over. We are doing a few of these takeovers very soon and you should see them around.
Thank You so much for having us here today. It’s been eventful and insightful because we’ve picked your brain on so many topics and we’ve been able to also understand the aspirations behind the brand and the essence which you are running on and so we are also excited about it.
We are hopeful that our readers will be able to understand you, love you what you do and obviously book you some more.
Check them out on Instagram.com