Northern California-based Rachid Dahnoun is many things: a photographer, a director, an adventurer, and an outdoorsman. But the man who — at least in normal times — travels more than 200 days a year believes his business card should simply say “professional packer.” It’s one thing to be able to play Tetris with your belongings and squeeze clothes, toiletries, and food into compact, portable luggage. It’s another thing entirely to do the same with what is often unwieldy (and expensive!) camera equipment. To mitigate these travel-related challenges, Rachid has relied on Manfrotto gear for decades. And when I say relied on Manfrotto gear for decades, I mean he literally continues to use the same equipment he purchased long ago.
Manfrotto products have been in my kit since the very beginning of my career. I purchased one of their small tabletop tripods back in college (about 20 years ago) that I still use today. They have always made really high-quality gear that can withstand the test of time. I literally use their products on every one of my shoots. I use their small lightweight solutions in remote wilderness locations and use their more robust solutions on my large advertising productions.
An accomplished visual storyteller, Rachid has worked with some of the top publications (National Geographic) and commercial clients (Microsoft) in the world. As such, he’s an in-demand name when it comes to brand ambassadorship. He’s been in the game for years now, but recently began representing Manfrotto, the company he’s been championing his whole career.
I have been a Lowepro brand ambassador for eight years. Three years ago, Manfrotto’s parent company, Vitec Group, acquired Lowepro. The following year I was invited to speak at Photokina in Cologne, Germany on behalf of Lowepro and Vitec Group. While I was there, I really got to know the crew over at Manfrotto.
When my contract renewal came for Lowepro, it also included an offer to represent Manfrotto. I’ve always loved their products and they also represent some of the best photographers in the world.
Take one look at Rachid’s landing page, and it’s easy to see why Manfrotto wants him as one of the faces of their brand. It’s a perfect marriage, really — a talented, versatile creative who isn’t afraid to set up in a precarious location needs the kind of gear Manfrotto is selling.
I know that they gravitated towards my astrophotography and my versatility as a director. These days, I spend equal time working on stills and motion. That likely made me a great fit to introduce their new hybrid travel tripod, the BeFree 3-Way Live Advanced.
It’s just a really great piece of gear. Finding a travel tripod solution that allows you to shoot both stills and video simply didn’t exist up until now. The BeFree 3-Way Live Advanced allows you to shoot both in a lightweight package that straps right to your pack.
As part of promoting the gear, Rachid and a small team traversed Lake Tahoe — one of the photographer’s two home bases — shooting imagery and putting together a short video that can be seen on Manfrotto’s social media pages. https://www.youtube.com/embed/O9dq2INjjok
We shot the entire campaign in one day. There were several days of pre-production and about four days of post. Due to the pandemic and safety protocols, I kept the crew really small. It was just me, my DP Sean Davis, and my friend Jack Valera. I brought in another talented Lake Tahoe creative, John Considine, to tackle the video edit.
The video and still imagery both perfectly highlight the need for light, manageable equipment. One false step and the photographer is at risk of breaking their gear — or worse, injuring themselves. That’s why hybrid tripods like the one Rachid is promoting are a necessity. And when you can use this equipment to get shots like the ones Rachid culls, it’s clear that you belong in a group of top photographers.
Manfrotto’s attention to detail, engineering, and craftsmanship always shines through in their products. I need high quality gear that gets the job done without fail and their products have always lived up to that standard.
But my favorite part of becoming an ambassador is sharing my work with the Manfrotto community. Being able to showcase my work to Manfrotto’s global audience is a huge opportunity.
To read more about the Befree 3-Way Live Advanced, click here.
See more of Rachid’s work at rachidphoto.com.
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