In the next five years, Marvin Bienaime envisions the Bienaime Agency will be one of the top international creative companies providing photography and video services for major high-fashion and lifestyle magazines, music artists, professional athletes, talk show hosts and more. He says, “I’m all about growth and expansion,” he says. Having started his business at age 22, he felt like he was ready to experience being a young, Black successful entrepreneur in America.
He adds, “Both of my parents, who were born and raised in Haiti, never really got the chance to live the ‘American Dream.’ I wanted to change that and I have.”
The most difficult thing he has found about entrepreneurship is when politics play a role in deciding whether he’s the right fit to shoot a campaign.
“These days, unless you’ve been referred by elites in the game, you’re pretty much invisible. Nobody wants to take a chance on new creative minds these days. Also, developing ‘tough skin’ in some situations can be challenging, but it’s necessary to survive in this industry,” he explains.
Read what else he has to say.
Share the experience when you knew that photography was going to be the way you earn money.
To be honest, I never expected my photography work to take off the way that it did. I have a huge following on social media and without their support, I don’t believe I would be where I am today as a photographer. I remember back in 2011 when I first started doing professional photography, I was so focused on trying to fit in and be like every other photographer instead of trying to stand out and find my own niche. When I witnessed how my work kept consistently going viral on social media, I knew this was going to be the way that I would earn a good living.
What should a client expect from working with you?
Be open to constructive criticism, because it’s truly coming from a great place. If you’re not ready to read harsh comments under your photos from random people on social media, think twice before agreeing to shoot with me. I’m being honest. Most models can’t handle the backlash but have to understand that it comes with the territory. Also, expect quality images that can possibly direct-book you a major campaign or an appearance on TV.
What do you look for when deciding on which models to work with?
I always know it when I see it. It’s just one of those moments that hits you in the face when you come across a stunning person. [There is] a “wow!” reaction that’s inevitable. I also like working with models who are not afraid of rejection. You might go through a million “no’s” before hearing that one “yes.”
What makes for the best client to photograph?
I like working with an individual who brings good energy on set. A person who isn’t closed-minded and willing to step out the box artistically. I’m a creative, visionary artist and I expect my work to reflect that.
What other projects or business ventures are you working on?
Right now, to be honest, I’m just focusing on photography and videography. That is currently where my passion is at the moment. It’s what’s on my mind every day when I wake up. I do hope to start photographing major magazine covers and campaign ads for famous professional athletes.
What’s the best way that people can follow your work and contact you?
I’m on my Instagram everyday @marvinbienaime. My Snapchat screen name is @bienaimeagency, or simply visit www.bienaimeagency.com