Outstanding Nigerian Photographers: My Story

I was born in St. Nicholas Hospital on the 31st of October 1978. Apparently my dad had just passed the final stage of his ACCA certification (after attempting it 5 different times), my mum just got promoted to Supervisor level at the bank which made them able to finally afford their first car: a Volkswagen beetle. They were grateful to God, hence the reason they called me OLUWASEUN….
I’m the 1st of 5 children born to Akinola Benjamin Akisanmi (an accountant) & Omolara Florence Akisanmi (a banker).
I finished secondary school at International School Lagos, UNILAG in 1995. And completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting/Business Administration in 2003 from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois USA. My love for photography began in December 1998 when my mum came to visit me in the university, asked me what I wanted for a Christmas gift & eventually bought me a Samsung film camera. When I eventually came back to Nigeria, I decided I was going to start a career in photography. My professional photography career started when I got my first professional camera in 2006. I was inspired by the teachings of Pastor Sam Adeyemi whose church, Daystar Christian Centre, I started attending. He encouraged us not to wait to be “employed” by an employer in the Labour market, but we should “start with what you have”. I took his advice and decided to start a company & get paid for what I love doing. If I had not gotten into photography, I would have been in the I.T. industry (software & hardware engineering or eCommerce). I enjoy writing poems, teaching sunday school classes (ages 8-9) & eating chocolate (mars, twix & snickers). I’m married to Ofure and we have a daughter, Anuoluwapo. My dream is to establish a world-class photography institute where people can come to learn & appreciate photography as a profession or hubby. I also plan on raising/training 10,000 professional photographers by 2015. One of the major challenges I faced when I started out was that I wasn’t taken seriously by family members. In a way, It was a motivating factor as I was bent on proving them wrong; that I could actually make it in life as a photographer. It made me develop a passion for reading books in order to get the right foundation. The other major challenge was having to defend my charges to clients who would rather pay a musician N1 million than to pay a photographer N100k. It made me determined to be the best that I can be so that I would eventually be worth the N1 million photographer that clients would hire for their weddings. Most of the mentors that helped my photographic foundation were photographers abroad whose books I read (over 20 photographers). Some of the Nigerian mentors that have been of great help to my photography destiny include Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga, & Ade Plumptre.
I specialize in weddings, portraits & any photography job that requires a high level of innovative creativity. Name of our studio is eloPhotos Studios although most of the job we get are on location outside the studio. My advice to young photographers is that they make sure they get the right foundation especially if they want to build a successful photography business. One of the things they can do to shorten their journey to success is to attach themselves to a photographer they respect (& is successful) for a minimum period of 3 months. They’ll be glad they did. I’m yet to win any photography awards. Nigerian photographers that I recommend include Michael Segun Adebiyi (www.michaeladebiyi.com adebiyimichael1@gmail.com), Dipo Odetoyinbo (of black child photography), Shola Animashaun (www.sholaanimashaun.com). My name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi & this is my story.