Brandon Best shares his path to success as a photographer and owner of Elite Visions Photography.
When did you know you wanted to be a creative industry business executive?
I have always been fond of photography. Growing up as a child, my dad owned 35mm and Polaroid film cameras. I think he just had the cameras for family vacations and special moments. However, that’s where I fell in love with it. I always had a disposable camera around in my younger days. I have scrapbooks of 4×6 pictures from high school and college. Photography allows to you capture moments of time and save those memories forever. I received my first DSLR camera as a gift in 2009 and that’s where my photographic journey started.
Describe three highlights of your journey in your chosen field.
Many people don’t know, but I started my career in wedding photography and still shoot quite a few to this day. The first time I booked a destination wedding (2011) was a big highlight in my early journey. It gave me validation that clients thought that my work was good enough to not only book me as their wedding photographer, but pay for my travel accommodations as well. Since then I have traveled to different countries multiple times a year to shoot weddings for clients.
In 2013 I developed B.N.S. Image Consultants with my two business partners/fellow photographers Marco Nunez and Shalisa Humphrey. We develop photographic marketing campaigns, and we specialize in school, corporate, and event photography. Some of our clients include Chicago Public Schools and General Electric (G.E.).
My first newsstand magazine cover publishing in 2012 was my most exhilarating experience by far. When I first saw the magazine in the grocery store I bought 6 copies. The cashier looked at me and asked why I was buying so many. I showed her the credits inside the magazine and showed that I was the photographer for the cover shoot. For a whole month, whether I was in a convenience store, airport, or bookstore, I saw that magazine cover. It served as motivation to keep going in this business.
What three things help you to find inspiration?
Locations – I am a very visual person. New and fresh environments help inspire me to create great photographs. I could be walking down the street and see a random parking lot or building and will take a photograph of it. My phone is filled with new potential shoot locations across the city.
Other Photographers – My social media is full of photographers I admire and respect. Constantly seeing great work keeps my motivated to make my next shoot better than my last.
Great Models – A model who is serious about their craft and is well versed in posing definitely helps the creative process flow. A great model can give you what you creatively need with you having to give much direction. Once the model and photographer are on the same page, the opportunities are endless.
What two things motivate you to create big ideas?
Myself. With all the great photographers that we have today, you will get lost in the shuffle if you focus on competing with others. Focus on building and developing your craft and making your next shoot your best shoot.
Seeing great work from others. In photography, you have a lot of peers that can create fantastic visuals. Viewing these fantastic works of art fuel me to increase my level of creativity.
Describe your creative method for sharing your vision with people who hire you.
My process is relatively simple and organic. I sit down with my clients and discuss their goals for the shoot. I want to understand their motivation and ultimate end goal so that I can make their ideas come to life. For indecisive clients, I typically will put together a shoot board that gives them potential ideas or concepts. Once I have a good understanding of what the client is looking for, I will start scouting locations and put creative team together that will bring their vision to life.
What creative study habits do you have for continuing to push your creative limits?
I am a student of photography. I constantly read photography articles/books and fashion/glamor magazines to stay well versed on the lighting techniques, model posing, and general photography information. A lot of people have conformed to perfecting one type of photography, because that is typically what you have to do to get ahead in the photography industry. I live on the other side of the box, I strive to be well-versed in many different genres whether it be fashion, glamour, or weddings. Putting photographers in a “single genre’ box ultimately stifles their creativity because you are forced to live within defined creativity guidelines. Stifling creativity stifles art.
What recognition or award would you like to receive?
I honestly don’t need an award, I’m here for the love of photography. My awards and recognition come from my clients who keep coming back and referring me to others. This has continued to grow my business every year since it’s inception. If someone wants to recognize me then I will be honored, but that isn’t why I’m here.
Name two books that you recommend to others and why.
Who Moved My Cheese – It is a book that opens your perspective on how to deal with change in your work and in your life.
48 Laws of Power – If you have to ask, you should probably read the book.
The three favorite songs from your three favorite musicians
I am a former DJ, so to pick 3 is very hard; my music tastes are all over the place. I’ll give you an old school song, and all time favorite, and current song.
“The Payback” – James Brown
“What’s Wrong” (featuring Zacari and Kendrick Lamar) – Isaiah Rashad
“Imaginary Players” – Jay-Z
If you could collaborate with two creatives in any field who would it be and why?
I would love to work with Snoop Dogg. He seems like he enjoys life, he exudes great energy, and he is a great businessman. He has survived in an industry where many have only lasted a few years. I would love to get his perspective on many subjects if I ever got the chance to work with him.
I would love to work with J. Cole. I think he is a very conscious dude and that is exuded in his music. He is one of the few people that has not conformed to what the industry norm is in music. He has created his own lane and is representing it well. He is also from my home state of NC!
Finish the sentences:
Creativity begins … when you decide to not follow the set norms and decide to just be you.
The response to my craft is … amazing! People constantly show me love on my various social media sites. I feed off of the positivity and strive to create more work.
My legacy will be … a great one. #StayTuned
See Best’s work below in the gallery.