Say Cheese to Ben Kiruthi – Kenya’s Best Photographer

BY EVE CHEGE & ELI CHEP

Photography is certainly an art that has not lost its sheen over the century, and as millions of people seek to immortalize their portraits and experiences, there are handfuls that have chosen to take it up in its entirety, master it and share it with the rest of the world. People often define it as the art of painting with light, if so, then BEN KIRUTHI is the Picasso of photography. An experienced Kenyan photographer who is charming many with his alluring ‘light and play’ via the camera. He’s quietly cutting out a niche for himself in this growing industry. Through his work, he takes ordinary settings and scenery transforming them into extraordinary images. We bring you a look into his story, what inspires him, his creative process & his take on photography.

 Finally we get to meet the man behind ‘Weddings by BenKiruthi’. Ben, tell us briefly about you. 

I turned 30 years old this year. I am a born again Christian & a servant of Jesus Christ and totally sold out to His cause of humanity.  I am engaged to the beautiful Gathoni Mwathi, who is not only my best friend but also my business partner. I am a trained Electronics & Computer Engineer & I also hold a Masters in Entrepreneurship. Lastly, I am one of Africa’s leading wedding photographers.

So you studied Engineering in campus, did you ever imagine you would end up being a photographer?

After Campus, I got my first job in a telecoms company as a Network Engineer. My starting salary was a gross of KES 50,000. It was barely enough to meet my needs whilst I was frustrated & not happy working in an office. Thus, I enrolled for a Masters where I learnt how to start & manage my own business. Then I started taking photos & also started my own business. Once I was able to make more than my salary, I resigned & focused more on running the business.

Did you develop a passion for photography or did you study for it?

It was all a passion & labor of love. I loved taking photos & since I realized that there was no established photography, I decided to learn all by myself. So, every day I studied online while watching YouTube tutorials and practicing what I learnt.

How long would you say you’ve been a photographer and what’s the best part of your job?

This is my third year as a photographer. The best part of being a wedding photographer is that I am able to tell the love stories of two people in love & especially be with them on one of the best days in their lives.

‘Weddings by BenKiruthi’ has recently emerged as one of the powerhouses in wedding photography in a relatively short period. What can you attribute this to?

Well, thank you for that…I can attribute all my success to two sources. Firstly, God, without Him I would not amount to anything, He has been so gracious to me & blessed me in so many ways, I can hardly tell. All the glory belongs to Him. Secondly, I would attribute my success to my fiancée Gathoni, who has stood by my side all along, fighting along with me & always encouraging me & pushing me to always be my best in all that I purpose to do.

What’s your general focus when it comes to photography…is there specific stuff you like to capture?

My specialty is weddings. I shoot weddings exclusively. I love capturing the moments in weddings & using my images to tell the story between two people who are in love.

Tell us about your most memorable photoshoot

I once shot a wedding at the Nanyuki Airstrip that had about 40 guests. It was such a beautiful & intimate wedding and the emotion that engulfed the shoot location was so beautiful to capture. Definitely one of my best weddings to date.

Fashion Lifestyle for Seruya DesignsSo what have been some of the challenges that you have had to overcome in order to succeed in your business?

One of my biggest challenges was being able to get a market that appreciated my work and were willing to pay well for my services….secondly, was getting the necessary equipment to be able to perform & be the very best…which was very costly, I am still doing it though.

When did everything just go wrong at a shoot and how did you handle it?

One time whilst I was covering a wedding in Malindi, I dropped one of my key lenses & it broke as the wedding was just beginning. I was distraught since I was so far away from home & was unable to get any one to help me. Thank God I had another lens, which even though was not as good as the first one worked then eventually, turned out to be one of the best weddings I have ever shot.

What are the major challenges that face photographers in Kenya today?

  1. Purchasing of photography equipment, which is very costly.
  2. Getting a market for their photography work.
  3. Getting adequate photography training since as at now, there are no official photography schools in Kenya.

Photography has become one of the key things that a couple looks for as they plan their wedding. Why do you think this is the case?

Well, more & more the Kenyan bride & groom are coming to see that amongst all the things on their budget, their wedding photos may be one of the only reminders of their special day & they’ll have these photos for the rest of their lives to remind them of the day they got married. Thus, it is imperative for them to really consider their wedding photographer & get the very best of the best to cover their big day.

What advice would you give couples as they try and settle on a wedding photographer?

  1. Research, research, research. Take your time and visit, look at many photographers & their work before settling on any one photographer.
  2. Find out about the photographer’s shooting style that you prefer & then go ahead and book the one you prefer…if you can avoid it, cost should never be a condition to booking a photographer.
  3. In case you hire a wedding photography company to shoot your weddings, insist on finding out who will be shooting your wedding and also approve of their portfolio before you trust them with shooting your wedding.
  4. Find a photographer who you can work with since you will be spending most of your wedding day around them…get a photographer whom you like.

What part of your business do you enjoy most while working with couples?

Well, posing up the couples while shooting them & especially getting to capture their different personalities…Some are fun, loud, quiet, arrogant, have serious chemistry, some are just outright crazy…It feels good being able to capture all these different personalities through my lens.

Mac or PC Lover…why? What software is most important to you for your final images?

I am definitely a MAC lover…once you go MAC, you never go back! The clarity, quality of work is unmatched! For editing, I mostly use software known as Adobe Lightroom. It enables me to retouch my images quite fast & organize my images whose workflow is remarkable.

What’s one website you visit often?

http://www.dotunsblog.com

Is there anyone in photography, first locally, then internationally, you look upto?

Locally: Mutua Matheka, an architectural photographer

Internationally: Dotun Ayodeji, a wedding photographer based in Washington, DC.

If not a photographer, what else would you have been?

A missionary in some remote lands of the world sharing the love of Jesus with those who do not know about Him.

1002917_222343414600221_362976256_nFor someone out there who wants to venture into wedding photography, what’s the one thing you would advice them?

Well, keep God 1st in all that you do, work hard and never give up on your dream, in due season you will reap if you do not lose heart.

So Ben, what can we expect from Faithful Frames say in the next 5 years?

With God’s help I will be among the top 10 most sought after wedding photographers in the world & I hope to have trained thousands of photographers all over the world in being excellent & great photographers & also how to start & run a successful wedding photography business.

 Blog: www.benkiruthi.com/blog3

Facebook Page: Weddings by Ben Kiruthi

Twitter: @benKiruthi

Instagram: benkiruthi

BEN’S PROFILE

Ben Kiruthi is a wedding photojournalist. A wedding photojournalist is a person who takes photographs during a wedding using an alternative approach where images are captured spontaneously to emphasize moments and emotion. Much like photojournalists for the media, wedding photojournalists present the story of the day through their photographs.

I consider myself to be a photographic storyteller. I value shooting techniques that minimize posing and scene manipulation.

My goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible while capturing the reality of your wedding with little interference. I focus on finding moments during a wedding that happen naturally, rather than setting up portraits.

I began professional photography in 2010 January totally by mistake. I had just completed my Masters program in Entrepreneurship and I was scouting around on what to do, when I stumbled upon the wonderful art of photography. Since then I have been shooting and it is my goal to be the best that I can possibly be and each day take professional photography a notch higher.

I am a Christian and confess boldly that I am a follower of the Christian faith and a soldier of Christ, without whom I amount to no good!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. mariane says:

    Your blog has helped me sooooo much,with encouraging words that i needed like honestly when it comes to photography.am in love with capturing pictures and want to be as good as you but i dont know where to start thats my problem…am tooo scared

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