RE: 12 Nigerian Photographers


How do I start. I’ve gotten very interesting & controversial feedback (including the one in your heart you’re yet to express) from the list of 12 Nigerian Photographers to watch out for in 2012 (CHECK IT OUT). Like I mentioned clearly in the writeup, it is a very biased opinion on my part that is based on reasons that might not be logical to many; they’re not even logical to me.

Although I got “Thank you” messages from the people who made the list, my intention was originally not to encourage or inspire them. Many on the list might not look like anything at this moment but I was taking a big bet (with myself) that they’ll manifest within 12 months. And I didn’t receive any form of compensation for the PR either.

The people who made the list could in many ways be likened to the 12 that made the disciples’ list of Jesus; most were not people who you think should be chosen. Infact I have many photographer friends that can be on such a list. I definitely hope you’re not angry with me for not including you.

In my opinion (there goes Seun again with his opinion), if a photographer looks at the list and murmurs within that he/she is better than some of the names mentioned, that photographer did not deserve to be on the list. As much as many people will disagree, current technical ability was not a mandatory condition for making the list. My very-biased analysis of the photographer’s HEART was a big condition.

To crown it all, it’s not an ALMIGHTY list. In fact if you ask Jesus at the moment to write such a list, none of the names might show up. I would definitely hope that my name would show up if Jesus was the author, but I wouldn’t be upset if it didn’t.

I’ll be more concerned to make sure that my name shows up (& remains) in the BOOK OF LIFE. Just like there’s no guaranty many people’s name will remain in the book of life forever, there’s no assurance these people will still be in the industry come December 2012. The idea is just to watch out for them.

So next time we meet in person or online, please don’t be angry with me for not including your name. I’m just being a politician and it’s just my biased opinion. Better still, for a more comprehensive list of people who I think you should watch out for in 2012, check my Facebook list of friends. Last time I checked it was over 4700 and still counting. So forgive us our trespasses as we forgive………

Please, please, don’t be angry with me. PLEASE

Lessons From a Family Portrait Session


On December 21, I got a call from a gentleman who referred to himself as PA (initials for his name). We were recommended by his colleague at his workplace, Mobil Producing Nigeria. We covered the wedding of the daughter of his colleague last Christmas (i.e. 2010) and he loved the pictures enough to refer us. Majority of our clients call us because their family, friends (or enemies) recommended us.

“Do you do home service”, PA asked. My response? “You just spoke my language.” We scheduled the shoot for Dec 28 & I explained to him right there on the phone what my minimum charge for home sessions was ($300 as of the time of the telephone conversation…..& could have gone up as at the time you’re reading this :>). I didn’t want to drive for almost 2 hours to get to his house only for him to tell me that was beyond his budget. He was ok with the bill. I was happy that he was ok with the bill.

I took a sample size of one of the 13″ by 19″ frames I’ll be delivering because he wasn’t familiar with sizes & dimensions of frames. He would eventually choose the type of “standard” frame that will go with the 2 pictures he wanted. I packed my camera bag about 3 hours before we set out. Under normal circumstances, this was too late. I teach my students to always have their camera bag & equipment ready at least 12-24 hours before a location shoot. Thankfully I did not forget anything.

I made sure I ate breakfast before leaving for what usually ends up being a 6 hour-minimum ordeal (3 hours roundtrip for transport & 3 hours for the session). I never eat at a client’s house before a shoot, even if the client insists. I’m usually very anxious to get the main job out-of-the-way & receive a cheque than to sit down and be “making myself at home.” Sometimes I wonder if clients really mean it when they tell you to “make yourself at home.” I’m sure they wouldn’t have been happy had I ordered chinese food or pounded yam in an attempt to be free in their home. Anyway, I told him that a glass of water would be ok by me and my two assistants nodded in agreement to my requisition. Most clients that we do home sessions for are usually nice enough to offer food & drinks. In fact there is usually a 98% chance that I would end up enjoying a session with a client that offers food & drinks: they’re usually pleasant to work with.

It was interesting that though he was living in such a beautiful house with his wife & 2 children (maybe the family just moved in), there wasn’t a beautiful family portrait in view. Maybe it was in the master bedroom upstairs. All I know was that I was about to make their “living room” come alive with beautiful portraits. And, boy, did we get beautiful portraits. Like most of our family portrait clients, they wanted a high level of privacy with regard to their pictures; hence the reason you’ll see none of it on the internet except you’re a friend of the family and they give you the password to their viewing folder on our clients website (www.eloclients.com).

Before we started the shoot, I explained to him once again how the whole process works. The family changes into 2 or 3 attires (preferably matching in colors), we take as much pictures as their energy will permit, we upload the low resolution pictures on a passworded folder at http://www.eloclients.com & they choose the ones they’ll want us to frame or print for album(s).

With a glass of cold water quietly going down my throat, we began setting up our Bowens lighting equipment while they changed into their first attire. I always choose a spot or corner to put our bags or other small gadgets. It helps us easily account for anything we might have taken to the location.

Usually the first 20 minutes of the session usually doesn’t result in any “framable” image because the family is still trying to adopt to this stranger that calls himself a photographer.

I don’t just tell them to pose this way or that way; I engage them in conversations that will bring out the expressions that I want. To the 10 yr old boy, I would ask him how many games he has on his Playstation or what he thinks of the cartoon characters “Pinky & the Brain.” To the teenage girl, I would ask who her favorite R&B or pop artist is: Beyunce or Rihanna. And before you know it, you can hear the humming lyrics or Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” To the father, I would talk about how lucky he was to have gotten a lady as beautiful as his wife. I would tell him how beautiful his house is & how I would one day love to be able to afford the BMW 750i that was sitting in the garage. To the mum, wife & mother I would start by complimenting her on her looks or whatever she’s wearing (shoes, perfume, jewelry, etc). I would tell her how lucky she is to have a wonderful husband like hers. Usually & in most cases, all parties end up giving me the facial & emotional responses that translate into great & framable pictures.

I enjoyed the session and once again had to respond to their offer of hospitality: “What will you eat or drink?” “Malt will be ok,” I responded and my assisstants nodded in agreement.

I don’t know why but at the end of most of our sessions, I would not get a cheque unless I ask the client for it. Either they forget (yeah, right) or like the conductor in the average Lagos “Danfo”, they want me to forget. HOW CAN I FORGET. I asked for the “small rectangular” piece of paper and he gladly gave it to me. He ordered for an extra frame and I was glad I was about to start the new year on a really high note.

I was so happy with working with him that I offered to give him three 5″ by 7″ complimentary frames for his office. He was happy. My assistants were so happy with the level of hospitality received that they forgot the sample albums we took there. Now that made me unhappy because it will cost me un-budgeted funds for transportation for something that could have been avoided. I guess they learnt their lesson: never leave a client’s house without everything that belongs to you…..including the cheque. NEVER

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Changing Faces


By the mention of Changing Faces I know some of you are reminiscing (if you are in that age bracket) about an R&B all female(?) group that laced the nineties with some of their widely appealing songs. Ok, I forgive you. I had chosen this title for this post before It occurred to me too. (I know I have easily given you a clue about my age too)
Well, it so happens that this music group has as much to do with this write-up as does playing an Elvis Presley song at a ten year old’s birthday today! I can see you keeling over in laughter.
Indeed a ten year old whom I shall call ‘K’was having his birthday and this post is about that story and not the music.

I recieved a late call to help cover ‘K’s birthday the previous evening and by now I knew next to nothing about the client, except the address of the venue.

By photog instinct I reckoned a high FPS SLR camera would be useful to catch kids in their own world and at some point a fast lens would also come in useful if the rare opportunity ever came to take relatively still shots up-close that could be used for portraits. You know children are hardly listless when we adults are already exhausted. By now I can hear you guessing my age. Well let me fill your imagination with more: I knew by now I would be doing a lot of kneeling and squatting to get really good shots that would capture the world through a ten year old’s eyes and my back was going to pay dearly for the exercise.

I arrived at the venue even before the client or their guests were present, studying the light situation in every part of the room. I opened my camera bag and my jaw dropped when I discovered I had only a 50mm prime lens and two camera bodies! Nooooo!

    I cant go to desired wide angle with this!

When all those blessed little things start jumping all over it would be total disaster! Till this moment, it remains a mystery how I had swapped lenses into the wrong camera bags while getting ready to travel to the venue. Fortunately the ‘official. Photographer arrived shortly after and I teamed up with him and the rest as they say was a ”downhill ride”.

But when the official photographer pointed at the client’s family vehicle pulling up to the venue entrance I knew this was the opportunity to capture the celebrant’s expressions at the beauty of the venue, the decorations, cake and eagerly waiting friends.

Confined by my equipment selection error, I quickly trained my sights to frame through the viewfinder on the SLR now fitted with 50mm prime lens. I was cautiously aiming to capture his face as he came out of the car but it appeared he was looking downwards and just being led by his parents.

As they approached the entrance where I already knelt shutter-button ready, waiting to snap up the moment he looked up, it struck me, that as this was his birthday, there was no need telling him to look up and smile, or was there ? But since he wasnt, as soon as he got close enough, I called his name (I had been told his name) to try to cajole him to smile for the camera. He looked straight through my lens and his face changed. He parted his lips to form a smile, and I could tell immediately. – ‘K’ was special – meaning he had special needs as he suffered from muscular dysfunction that made him almost unable to prop his head up and form a straight smile. But he was so happy at they way I called his name, I knew I had touched a chord in his soul that would vibrate for long and kneeling down had paid off because at his eye level, he had looked into my camera with glimmer in his syes that could warm up anybody’s heart.

I knew then immediiately that his facial expressions though largely mixed because of his condition, could not hide the joy he was radiating.

As I lowered my camera for the first time after the first set of shots, I watched him hurry to be among his friends and pose for another picture. I reasoned that ‘K’ was well aware of the difference in his appearance. But seeing that it did not hide his. happiness made me think that in spite of it all I wouldnt change a thing about him for that singular moment I captured on camera. I saw the real him in spite of his rapidly changing facial expressions, knowing that he will grow into a fine gentleman and he will be happy.

So as I put the viewfinder up again I felt tears trying to come up, but held back. And that I did until the event ended…..

While many of us would rather trade our imperfections and if we were ‘K’, the real treasure is in who lies within….. No changing face can beat that!

FIRE YOUR WEB DESIGNER: A workshop on designing, hosting & maintaining your website


website

Image by tourist_on_earth via Flickr

This is a 4-hours workshop on how to design and host your personal or business website. At last, you have no reason whatsoever not to have your own personal portion of the internet. In this workshop, you’ll learn:
1. How to buy & maintain your own http://www.yourname.com domain
2. Secrets that your Web designer does not want you to ever know
3. How to position your website to be easily discoverable by Google, Yahoo & Bing
4. How to administer & change content on your website within minutes
5. How to host your own domain for N2000 yearly
6. How to drive traffic to your website
7. How to link your site to your Facebook, LinkedIn, tweeter, yahoo, Google + & messenger account
8. How I fired my web designing/hosting company & saved over N100,000

Fee: N15,000 (fee includes lunch, 1yr domain name registration and hosting & 1 year free technical support)

Date: Friday January 27th, 2012 OR Saturday January 28th, 2012

Time: 9am – 1pm on Friday OR 11am – 3pm on Saturday

Venue: Agidingbi, Ikeja (Details will be sent to registered participants)

Facilitator: Seun Akisanmi, eloPhotos

At the end of this workshop, you’ll have your own personal website (e.g. http://www.lagbaja.com) up and running on the internet. We’re so sure of the value you’ll be getting that we’ve backed it up with a 100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE. If at the end of the workshop you’re not satisfied, we’ll give you a FULL REFUND.

Registration ends on January 23rd, 2012 or when a class limit of 20 has been reached for each day. Payment can be made into our GTB account: eloPhotos Studio Enterprises 0007361345. Send a text message to 08101590358 to confirm your payment & registration. You will need to bring your laptop in order to participate. For further inquiries, you can contact us on 08101590358, 08120129149, or send us an email at info@elophotos.com

Don’t just take our word for it, read the testimonies of previous participants

The workshop made it easy to own, maintain and update my website. If everyone out there has access to this kind of information, even a pepper seller can have a website presence. Funbi Ogunfowote, Kakadu Photography (www.kakaduphotography.com)

The workshop was an eye opener because I realized that the guy previously hosting my site was using the same platform I was taught & charging me 5times the cost. I don’t need him anymore because now I administer my site myself. Thanks to Seun Akisanmi for the wisdom shared. Lara Tiamiyi (www.laroyalconcept.com)

I would very highly recommend this workshop to everyone who wants to take his or her business beyond the shores of Nigeria especially photographers seeking good and sensible information aimed at developing and managing their domain. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable you are with the computer.  The workshop offered serious practical instructions for business owners. We were taught the detailed step by step approach in making our website & how to drive traffic to the site. Big kudos to eloPhotos for organizing such a workshop. All that is left is for me to decide on the pictures that I want to showcase on my website. Michael Agwunobi, Nobis Photography

Now I understand that you can start little and achieve great result after this short but effective course website designing/hosting. One doesn’t have to spend much to get your works to be easily discoverable on the internet. The knowledge was worth it & has enabled me to FIRE MY WEB DESIGNER. Michael Adebiyi, Michael Adebiyi Photography

The web design seminar was an eye opener. It made a mountain turn into a stepping stone for me and I think having a website can’t get easier than the opportunity the seminar unlocks. Olalekan Emmanuel Okeowo, Made Photography (www.madefotos.com)

Don’t procrastinate any longer. REGISTER TODAY.

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12 Nigerian Photographers to watch out for in 2012


English: Hotel photographer and a hotel guest ...

First of all, please note that the photographers mentioned here are in my own opinion. There are photographers that I know deserve to be on this list & if your name isn’t here, PLEEEAAAASSSSSEE don’t take offense.

Most of the photographers mentioned here are actually new in the industry & might not be known by many at this point. Their future is so bright that you’ll need sunglasses to view them. Also, I’m not being compensated for mentioning them. Most of them didn’t even know I was going to write about them.

Although they all have their weaknesses, I’m looking beyond that and presuming they’ll address them in the coming year. One common characteristic of every one of them is the fact that they don’t have a backup plan for 2012; its either photography works out for them or photography works out for them. I like that. I like people who burn bridges and put all their energy into whatever they’re doing.

Therefore, in no particular order of importance or priority, I present to you the 12 Nigerian photographers that are about to threaten the reign of the top names in the industry in 2012….. Get Ready.

1. Shola Animashaun (www.sholaanimashaun.com)
Forget Kelechi Amadi-Obi, forget TY Bello. If it was legal to steal a photographer‘s portfolio, I will gladly steal Shola Animashaun’s entire collection. His clientele & portfolios in comparison to mine makes me look like an intern. Let’s just say if I’ve spelt PH, he has spelt PHOTOGRA. An award-winning photographer, he was the official photographer for a number of celebrity shows in the past few years including Hip-Hop Awards & MTV Awards.

With the resources he has on photography (some of which has been useful to me) you’ll be angry with him for not presently running a Photography school. He says he wants to completely spell PHOTOGRAPHY before starting & I insist he shouldn’t wait for the perfect scenario: just start. Visit his site, follow him on twitter & Facebook and see why I want to be like him when I grow up.

2. Adio Olla-lekan: Made Photography (www.madefotos.com)
This guy is the undiscovered “Whiz kid” of the photography industry. He even looks like him too. He’s just less than a year in the industry and has taken pictures that I wished I took in my 3rd year as a photographer. Hence the reason he considers himself MADE. Just call him Mr MADE. I love one of his slogans: Forget Superman, trust MADE. Now, isn’t that catchy? Well, I think it is anyways.

He’s someone who will prove to you that it’s not all about the camera but mainly the person handling the camera. Although his website is just over 1 week old & might not have enough pictures to make you spend over 10mins viewing, watch out for him in 2012 and you will be ……………… (Fill in the blank in December 2012)

3. Lara Tiamiyu: La Royal Concept (www.laroyalconcept.com)
One of the best female photographers I’ve had the honor of working with, Lara is in a class of her own. Her beauty might be what will make you ask for her complimentary card but once you see what she can do photographically, you’ll definitely want her to be your lifetime photographer. Let’s just say if she covers your wedding, you can rest assured that award-winning images will inevitably be the results.

She’s one of the very few people who I can ask to cover an event on my behalf and not worry about what she’ll deliver. Her touch is almost……ROYAL. After her recently concluded exhibition at Eko Hotel, you can’t but wait to see what she’ll be up to in 2012.

4. Samuel Ijiyokunola: Living Memories Photography(www.livingmemoriesng.com)
Now this guy is interesting. In less that 6 months of starting, he has covered over 6 major events (5 of which are weddings), made over N500k & does not yet have a camera he can call his own. Call him a businessman, he’ll rather use $50 to rent a camera than to use $1000 to buy one. Give him a bag of cement & 3 months and he might as well present to you a completely built house. He’s very diligent and I won’t be surprised if he buys his first house in 2012 from the proceeds of photography. Though his website is not complete yet, stay tuned to his channel in 2012 and you’ll be surprise on how far a good business mindset can get a photographer within 12 months.

5. Olamide Oluwagbemile: Lamzy Photography
I can still remember the first day she walked into our training academy. I was teaching a class and almost forgot my next line. I thought to myself “Who is this model & what does she want with photography?” 3 months later, she would eventually turn out to be one of the most interesting students we’ve ever had. Her pictures are reflections of who she is: BEAUTIFUL & STUNNING. Although she doesn’t have a website yet that will convince you of her potentials, watch out for the next TY Bello in 2012.

6. Babatunde Ogunjobi: JOBI PHOTOS
A Unilag graduate of Physics, he decided to pursue his real passion 1 year ago. So far he has no regrets. When he presents to your wedding album, you’ll be amazed at his ability to make your wedding more beautiful than the wedding day itself. One of his strength is in album design & I’ll gladly give him any album to design on my behalf (although he still thinks he doesn’t know much). You can check back by the end of January for the link to his website that he has been working on.

7. Lilian Novo Isioro, Novo Images (novoimages.com.ng)
By the time 2012 is over, it is photographers like Lilian that will prove to Nigerians that what a man can do photographically, a woman can do better. Her passion for photography goes beyond the pictures she takes in the day; she even dreams about photography when she sleeps. As I write this, I just finished answering her question on what default settings to put her Photoshop in & the time is 1am. Her looks is to her advantage also; she’s likely to win a bid for a photography job with her looks alone. Hey, that’s my opinion. She doesn’t ‘hustle’ to take pictures; she takes her time. We’ll have the whole of 2012 to see how much territory she’ll cover. Guys, fasten your seat belts because Novo Images is on the horizon.

8. Afolabi Oloyede, 4Labi 4Fotos (www.4labi4tos.com)
His specialty is children photography. I mean he has photographed more children than Ansel Adams photographed landscapes. With the patience and endurance he has for children, he’s bound to emerge as the official CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC of NIGERIA. His present challenge is in trying to sort out the pictures to showcase on his new website. Give him until January to resolve that. He might not look like it but be on the lookout for the guy that firmly believes “anything is 4ssible.”

9. Dipo Odetoyinbo, Black Child Photography (www.blackchildphotography.com)
Dipo assisted me in the training of 59 new photographers in October, 2011. He’s so competent a teacher that I felt comfortable coming to class late many times; I knew he will take charge. He happens to be my mentor in all things fashion. His dress sense is so “successful” that its hard to believe that he’s just over 3 years old in the industry. His photography is as breathtaking as the designer blazers he has in his collections. With a training academy in the works for 2012, he’s bound to be a potential mentor for the floodgate of photographers that will troop into the industry come 2012. Watch out

10. Shade Ishola aka Sha-Sha, SazzyE Photography (sazzyE.shutterchance.com)
If you ask me, I think this lady is not on planet earth. She has such an interesting mind of her own that makes her…..misunderstood. After forsaking the destiny of a fashion designer, she’s bent on making it in photography or else….. Her hunger and thirst for righteousness photography will definitely get her somewhere if she hangs on. Even if you think her gallery is not enough to wow you at the moment, be on the lookout for the top lady fashion photographers in 2012. I’ll be on the lookout for her myself.

11. Deola Oludimine, Freez Photos
If there was an award for the fastest album designer, Deola will win 2 years straight. After a recent trip to Kenya where he trained some youths on Photography (courtesy of the Redeemed Christian Church of God), he’s considering starting what he calls Freez Business Institute. I wish him well. With another training engagement booked for Zambia in March 2012, he’s bent on making Photography an enviable profession. His website, freezphotos.com, should be up & running by the end of January. Stay tuned

12. Damilola Kuku, Supzie Xpression
With a stature that will make potential clients think she’s still in secondary school, Damilola’s specialty is bent on getting some mouths remain wide opened. When she recently told me she wanted to specialize in Nude photography & New Born, I was taken aback. Its one area that few Nigeria photographers dabble into. Apparently (according to her) there is a high demand for such pictures and not enough supply. May God help her in meeting the demand. Although I am yet to see a picture she has taken, I’m taking a big gamble that she will stand out. I pray she proves me right else my prophetic photography career might be over before you know it. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of her canon 5d kit, you should be anxious to see what will become of her in 2012.

13. Seu….., sorry I forgot it ends at 12

********************************************************************************************
So that’s it for my biased opinion of 12 Nigerian photographers to be on the lookout for in 2012. It has already been labelled interesting, political & funny. What do you think?

 

 

The Premiere of PICTURE THIS


You’ve been asking which TV station will be airing PICTURE THIS. The mystery ends now as we reveal the channel we decided to air the program. Suggestions & comments should be noted here or sent to picturethis@elophotos.com

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And the award for THE WORST GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to…


English: Fingers Crossed

Image via Wikipedia

It was a few years back. The wedding was a few hours away from our Lagos office. We were recommended by the bride’s sister & did not meet the groom until the day of the traditional wedding.

The traditional wedding was slated to start by 12 noon. Usually 95% of traditional weddings we’ve covered do not start on time. The start time for this traditional wedding would break all records. After waiting for the arrival of the groom for what seemed to be an eternity, the groom finally showed up about 4 hours late.

I was so curious to meet such an interesting groom that would arrive that late for his wedding. I was more curious to know the reason for the lateness. If my memory is right, the reason wasn’t cogent enough for me to allocate a portion of my brain to it for remembrance.

I finally got to where he was waiting to be called in by the family of the bride. I was shocked. It was the first time I would meet a groom that was drinking alcohol & smoking at the same time on his wedding day. Maybe he was nervous. God knows. He was a chimney. He would brag about how many packs of cigarettes he could smoke in a 24 hour period. I should have checked the Guinness Book of World Records; he should be there somewhere.

With a bottle of whiskey on his left hand & a cigarette bud on his right he quizzed me. “So you’re the sucker that wants to empty my bank account,” he asked. “Your pictures better be worth it.” I assured him that he would not be disappointed. I thought to myself the type of husband he would be. If we were to go by first impressions, this wasn’t it at all.

Anyway, the traditional ceremony was over by 6:30pm. As I was going back to where I lodged, I decided to stop by the nearest atm to get some cash. You would not believe who pulled up right ahead of me. Guess again. You got it. The very groom I met a few hours earlier. He was going back home and pulled over at the sight of a lady in front of the bank.

He started asking the lady the usual questions: Where are you going, What’s your name, etc. I was shocked all over again. I thought this guy just got married. For heaven’s sake, the evidence was still fresh on my Olympus e500 dslr. Within 2 minutes I was surprised to see the lady write on a piece of paper what seemed to be her phone number. She gave it to the groom and he promised to call her.

I watched from a distance and would have been caught red-handed had I given into my instincts to bring out my camera to record the moment. He smiled to himself and had the look of someone who just got another trophy. That should count for another record in the Guinness Book: shortest time to get a lady stranger to give you her phone number. It would have taken me at least 50 minutes.

I asked myself why he decided to get married at all. I would later find out that the bride was pregnant and he had no choice but to go to the altar. Or maybe he loved her. Who knows.

Well the drama continued the next day. It was the church wedding. He arrived about 30 minutes late. With eyes all red & a tired look he apologized to family members for his shortcoming.

I later learnt that his bachelor’s party was the night before and he had the experience of his life. He went to bed drunk and woke up late. His best man who was supposed to be his ‘alarm clock’ was also a co-culprit. They finally got to the wedding and I was happy it wasn’t a scenario in which the groom changed his mind. Maybe it would have been better for the bride if he had changed his mind. I don’t know.

He was able to win the praise, admiration & forgiveness of the pastors when he donated a “large amount” in dollars for the church’s building project. The way the pastors prayed for him was almost a sign that he was guaranteed to make heaven. The pastors were happy, he was happy that they were happy & I was shocked all over again. “What a groom,” I thought to myself.

The award-winning moment finally came when the pastor was about to JOIN the couple. “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife……” While the pastor was still speaking he looked back over to where his best man was sitting. Winking at him, he signalled with his head that the best man should take a look at his hands. His two hands were positioned at his back and looking at his fingers, I got the message he was trying to send the best man: HIS FINGERS WERE CROSSED.

“….till death do you part,” the pastor concluded. With fingers still crossed, he replied “Yes I do.” Can you believe that. Crossing his fingers, smiling and making such a commitment. I was shocked all over again. I never knew a groom like that existed.

For those of us that might not know the meaning of crossed-fingers, it signifies a high level of unseriousness when a promise is being made. In other words, if I were to cross my fingers and promise to cover your wedding at no cost to you, DO NOT TRUST ME because I’M JUST JOKING. That was what the groom was saying: DON’T TAKE MY WORD TO THE BANK.

So it is to that effect that I present the award for THE WORST GROOM OF THE CENTURY to ……. Well, he knows himself. I don’t want to be ambushed on my way to work tomorrow for mentioning names. May God help his wife. May God help all the grooms & husbands out there making promises with crossed fingers. May God help us all.

If you were the photographer that saw his fingers crossed, what will you do?

Goodbye to Pictures on Facebook


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It is with a heavy heart I write this. As at 3am on December 20, I completed the deletion of over 90% of our pictures on Facebook (facebook.com/elophotos) and our main site http://www.elophotos.com. I felt that was the best decision to take at the moment.

I got a call on Dec 19 from a client friend that we covered her wedding 2 years ago. She had just been presented with the maiden version of a new magazine, Wedding Shakara. Her wedding pictures were printed in the magazine and she was calling to find out if I gave them the pictures. Apparently they had downloaded the pictures from our page on facebook where we had it showcased for the bride (with her approval and permission) & her friends to view.

The pictures were used without the permission of the photographer or the client. There has to be a professional law in Magazine Publishing 101 that states the unauthorized use of pictures. Maybe I’m missing something.
The client was shocked; I was disappointed. I was disappointed because this is not the first or second time this has happened in the past few weeks. Just a few days ago we had a potential client visit our office only to be surprised that we were the ones that photographed the much publicized picture of a girl, my 3 year old daughter, fetching water with a waste bin. The client had recently seen the pictures in a newspaper without any photo credits.

It is painful because the unauthorized use of such pictures increases the probability of a client not trusting the photographer; especially if a privacy agreement prohibiting the unauthosized use of such pictures was signed in the first place.

I remember another client that called a few months back to ask if I was the one that gave the Style magazine (This Day Newspapers) her picture for use on an article. She didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t give them the permission to use the picture; especially because the magazine imprinted ‘photo by elophotos’ at the footnote of the picture. I would have thought that a media outfit like This Day/Style Magazine would have sought permission before using such pictures.

But then again, maybe the fault is mine. If the pictures had been watermarked, potential users would have contacted us directly for either purchasing the license for use or getting the appropriate permission for publicity. Even with the concept of water-marking ones pictures, we’ve had our water-marked pictures used on a cd-jacket cover that was used to sell cds.

Perhaps the rules might be different in the journalism world. Perhaps the unwritten rule is that “if the picture is available on the internet, you can download and use to your satisfaction.” Perhaps there are other laws I am unaware of with regard to pictures & copyright. Will somebody please enlighten me on this matter. This Day, Wedding Shakara, anyone….please enlighten me.

I guess I should stick to uploading client pictures to passworded galleries online. That might help curb this a little. Either way, it is to this effect that I had to delete over 90% of our pictures on facebook & elophotos.com (including the photo album of the Superstar, Supermodel ANUOLUWAPO).

I apologize to all our fans that will miss all the pictures. We will attempt to watermark all the important pictures and re-upload them to our website before the end of January 2012. Apparently this is something we ought to have started years ago. Forgive us our trespasses as we continually learn the art of this business.

Although I know that water-marking the pictures still won’t stop those that are bent on using them, it will at least reduce the unauthorized use of such pictures. I just wish there is a way facebook could provide the option of not allowing some pictures to be downloaded. Till they get around to doing that (if they have done that already, please write me and let me know how to activate such features), I’ll stick to water-marking and using sites like Smugmug.com or wordpress.com that provide the type of security I need.

If you’re a potential client reading this, please understand that this is the reason you’re not seeing as many sample pictures as will make you convinced we’re capable to meeting your photography needs. Just give us a call & we’ll arrange a meeting for you to be able to view as many works as your time will permit. Either way, our site (elophotos.com) will once again be pictureful before the end of January, 2012.

And the award for the most ROMANTIC GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to…..


The pastor had just finished preaching the usual sermon on LOVE. The next item on the agenda was not on the agenda. It was a surprise. The minister brought up a lady that was to sing a very special song dedicated to the bride from the groom. The bride seemed surprised because it wasn’t in the to-do list of the planned wedding.

The lady began to sing. I think she was related to Beyoncé, Whitney Houston & Celine Dion because she sang with so much grace, anointing & talent that….

“Like oil upon your feet,
like wine for you to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on you……”

She sang with such grace and anointing that I I felt goose bumps all over me

Suddenly but not surprisingly, I witnessed the bride’s face leaking water. She was touched by such a romantic gesture. I was capturing the moment from a little distance off with my 50-200mm lens on an olympus E1 camera. I was shooting at the 200mm end of the lens.

The bride’s face was leaking, the groom was smiling, the atmosphere was romantic & I was crying. Wait a minute, I WAS CRYING. I was so touched by the beauty of the song and the groom’s gesture of love that I thought the song was dedicated to me. I’m sure even Jesus must have wept at the sound of such a beautiful voice singing such a beautiful song; only that it wasn’t dedicated to Jesus or the photographer. The teary session lasted for about 15 seconds for the bride & 45 seconds for the photographer.

Anyway I thought that was really romantic of the groom. Although that was back in 2007, I have not met a groom that pulled off such a surprising romantic stunt till date. And the award for the most ROMANTIC GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to Dr. LANRE AJAYI

Hope the romance is still as hot as I witnessed it on your wedding day.

The best act after the curtains closed.


I met her and her dashing handsome groom-to-be about a month before the planned wedding day.   I came to a quick conclusion that she really knows what she wants and how to go about getting it. I sensed she would not let any chance to tweak every thing into shape pass her by.

I guessed that if you positioned everything in perspective, she must be quite meticulous, thus far, and creatively so. For a start, if she wasn’t tall her groom-to-be compensated adequately. If she was tan brown-skinned, her groom was more than three shades lighter.  That she was careful to choose what represents her well was not left in doubt – here she was with eloPhotos about talking the wedding pictures.  

I couldnt help imagining if she had a role to play in Hollywood movie,

she would probably do well as a producer/ director and actor at the same time.

When the day finally came, I got to see that begin to play out.

By now we had gotten through with post vows photo-shoot the day earlier in her beautiful princess A-line gown with the debonair groom. That previous day, We had to work on the groom to bring out the smiles we needed for the great pictures for the larger part of the shoot, but while the chief executive director was fully on hand to ensure that happened,

the bride played her role(s) effortlessly

It was the traditional engagement ceremony on this second day that was the main event. As our job was to make sure every moment was well captured, I did more than a little bit of exercise, and my colleagues can testify. That It was a warm West African day wasnt any help either. May God bless photographers. I was very conscious that it had become humid under my shirt, from the aerobics, but we dont give up, we go on.  

I found out as the ceremony progressed that the bride’s mother was actually from my hometown, but I wouldnt let that out at this time, because that new level of familiarity could become distracting from the main focus, my lens on the right subject at the right time.

I was so devoted I thought.

The bride was playing her part well, because she always seemed to know where the cameras were and as soon as she knew they were trained on her, she had ample poses and smiles for our shutter buttons to splurge on. Fashion shoot? No. Top wedding photography in progress.

Just as I was heaving a sigh of relief that the MC had brought the ceremony to its logical conclusion, I felt somone tap on my shoulder. I had only managed to draw my last ounce of strength or so I thought to close my camera bag zipper.  Then my colleague broke it to me that, just outside the venue, some close friends and associates wanted to have pictures taken with the couple.

Nooooo! If this wasn’t fair to my ears, I was sure the bride would be even more tired than I was and the groom too.

Gosh we already had soo many pictures taken!  
‘Well I didnt sign up for this,‘ I thought. When I got to the spot where the fun melee was coming from under my colleague’s supervision, what I saw hit me like meeting an unexpected old friend on the bus.   The groom was all smiles,  really, radiant glowing smiles. This was priceless, as it didnt come out as brilliant during our shoot the day before. When I surveyed the brides face too, I could see some inner light had been switched on. Oh my goodness, these were great post-reception pictures I would be missing forever!

On their own my fingers began to fumble with the zipper on my bag and in a flash the camera was out and snapping away in tandem with my colleagues.

It was awesome

and sooner than I imagined, the tiredness I was feeliing dissipated. Many times the groom literally swept the bride off her feet and cuddled so close to her you could feel the love through the lens.

So although we almost had a script we followed when working with this bride so that ‘every moment captured’ was not in doubt, but some of the best moments came through when the curtains had been drawn on the whole movie! And we were there to capture it!

Daystar 2011 Christmas Carol in Pictures


I had fun at the just-concluded carol concert at Daystar Christian Centre. My back aches too. Was so excited about uploading the pictures that I figured they did not need any extra editing; they look just fine to me. Multiple award-winning music guru/professor Kunle Pinmiloye really did a great job in partnership with the best choir in the world, HEALING STREAMS of GOD. Well done. I took about 5900 pictures & after 4 hours of sorting them out, I was able to narrow them down to about 160 really nice ones. Equipment used: Olympus e520 with 50-200mm lens, 14-54mm lens (ISO 400) & Nikon D2X 85mm lens (ISO 250). Enough written, enjoy viewing

Finally, eloMakeup joins the blogging community


After weeks of negotiations, we’re please to announce that our sister company has finally agreed to join the community of bloggers. Truth is, they have so much beauty & makeup tips to share that it would have been unfair to mankind if they had not come onboard. Check them out at elomakeup.wordpress.com & let them know what you honestly think.
First it was eloPhotos, now it is eloMakeup; watch out for eloFashion

I LOVE Photographing Funerals


Hear me out. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not that I enjoy seeing people bury their loved ones. It’s just that……how do I explain myself without shooting myself in the foot? A few months back, I got a call from my superstar father. Twas one of the few times he was sad on the phone. “Your uncle passed away this morning” he said. I was shocked. Shocked because I called him (my uncle i.e.) a week earlier to say hello. he was 63. There wouldn’t be any wasted time in burrying him. Funeral arrangements were made for two weeks later. There wasn’t a serious budget for photography so I wasn’t contacted to submit a quote. By now everyone in the extended family had known me to be someone who doesn’t offer free photography services to family members; they usually don’t appreciate it. The D day came and I told my dad I would be covering the day in pictures. Although he had gotten someone else, he was grateful I offered. I had my reasons. The major one being the fact that I love photographing funerals. My wife hates the fact that I love it but I just love it. And here’s the reason why: it gets me thinking. I’m thinking of the fact that I would die someday. There you go again rejecting “death” in Jesus name but the truth is we will all die someday. Sometimes I wonder which is better: going at a good old age (defined by many to be 80+ yrs) or going when you’re between 40 & 80. Just thinking out loud. And the fact that it gets me thinking makes me take stock of my life. I’m asking myself “what does it profit a man if he photographs the whole world, gets paid the whole money, drives the best cars, marries the most beautiful girl, buys the most beautiful houses…..& looses his soul”. When my uncle was being “laid to rest” I wondered…..so this it. This is how I will end up one day. His children were in tears, the wife was tearfully praying, the Reverend was preaching and I was thinking. Thinking and photographing. Photographing so the moment will not be forgotten by….. Thinking & Photographing….& then my eyes started leaking. They always start leaking water whenever I see the loved ones of the deceased crying. I’m taking the pictures, I’m thinking & I’m crying. I knew some of the reasons why the wife was crying. And then I thought to myself again….that when I go down 6ft under, & people shed tears for me, it should be because they will be missing a representative of God on planet earth. So I came back from the funeral refreshed like I just got back from a vacation. Refreshed to live a life that will be worth crying for when it is no more. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t charge you my standard fee if you need my services. Its just that I love photographing funerals because it gets me thinking…..thinking of life beyond the grave

You Don’t Have The “Rights” 2 Exhibit That Picture


So I was at a colleague’s exhibition stand on December 6 at Eko Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. The turnout of potential clients that showed up at the exhibition was impressive. While I was busy admiring some of the pictures being exhibited, a young gentleman walked into the exhibition booth. He had been drawn from afar by the picture of a beautiful model on a runway. Apparently the photographer was one of those commissioned to take pictures at the recently concluded MTN-sponsored Fashion show in Lagos, Nigeria. The pictures were “WOW” & the photographer decided to exhibit about 10 of them. One of the pictures stood out among the rest and it was the one that caught the attention of the gentleman. While he was admiring the model’s picture, you would not believe who showed up. Take a wild guess…..guess again… Twas the model herself. I couldn’t believe it myself. Twas then I was reminded of how “pictures” have the tendency to LIE. Looking at the the picture, I would have sworn by my beautiful wife that the model was 6 ft 2inches; in real life she was just about 5ft 8inches or there about. She looked bustier in the picture than in real life. Hey, I’m just describing what I saw (stop looking at me like that). She was fairer in the picture than what I was seeing in real life. Dont get me wrong, it wasn’t as if she was not beautiful in person; its just that there was a noticeable difference. Infact the reason I knew she was the model was because she told us when she got to the exibition stand. “That’s me” she said. And I was like “get out of here” (jokingly ofcourse). She was actually excited that her picture was being exhibited. Up till that moment she had never met the photographer and had no idea whatsoever that she’ll meet her “other self” being exhibited that very day. She was so happy that the photographer decided that the exhibited pictures will be given to her at the end of the exhibition; kind of like a severnoir. And then she was off; off to see other creative artists in the exhibition hall. It wasn’t until after she left that the gentleman I mentioned earlier asked the photographer why she was exhibiting someone’s pictures without the person’s permission. The photographer was attempting to explain to him that she (the photographer is a lady) had the right to showcase the picture considering the conditions under which it was taken (a fashion show i.e.). Apparently the gentleman was the type of guy that likes to win every argument he gets into (in which case I would be mistaken to refer to him as a gentleman). He should have studied law. Come to think of it, maybe he’s a lawyer…because he was almost shouting “You Don’t Have The “Rights” 2 Exhibit That Picture. If I was the model’s agent, I would sue your a**.” For him, the situation got personal. I had to caution my colleague to keep quiet and just admit to him that what he’s saying is true….if not, I could have sworn the gentleman was already loosing his temper and anything could happen. I know at least one of the party here is wrong: either the photographer or the gentleman or both. Question is what do you think & what would you do if you were the photographer that’s being accused? for daily photography-related tips and articles, visit elophotos.wordpress.com

Can I Have Your Complimentary Card?


So it happened after attending the opening day of the British Council-organized exhibition at Expo Hall, Eko Hotel on December 5. I just left the venue and was going to the nearest bus stop to get a ride home. Suddenly, a blue Honda Accord car pulled up beside me and the driver, a lady in her late thirties, yelled “I KNOW YOU FROM DAYSTAR, CAN I PLEASE HAVE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY CARD?” I was first taken aback because I had never met her before. Instinctively I reached out for my card in my shirt pocket and handed it to her. I didn’t even get her name. The whole drama was over in about 10 seconds. As she drove off, I thought to myself “what if I didn’t have my complimentary card on me?” I was actually very lucky in this scenario as I don’t ALWAYS go out with my wallet where I keep my cards. It is something I’m working on. It is something we should all work on. I could have missed a big opportunity to get a job. Although she hasn’t hired me yet, I’m very optimistic. Lesson to be learnt: always have your complimentary card on you. ALWAYS. You never know who may ask for it.

Marketing Your Photography (Part 3)


In line with the marketing discussion I wrote about yesterday, I thought it is imperative that I explain how I was chosen for the job in the first place. Before I proceed, I feel its important I address some of the responses I’ve gotten in my previous write-ups. Some people have insinuated that I’m using this avenue to brag unnecessarily about my achievements & challenges so far in photography. If you’re reading this & think along the same line, you’re badly mistaken. My major reason & goal in doing all these write-ups is to educate & enlighten the loads of photography professionals that are either just starting out or have been around for a while; thereby ultimately raising the standards & raising world-class photographers. I will continue to write about my experiences every single day as long as I’m sure it is blessing the life of at least one photographer. So please, indulge me as I continue to proclaim the gospel of photography according to apostle Seun Akisanmi :>). Back to our gist on marketing your photography. Apparently there was a meeting that was held 2 weeks before I got the call. Present at the meeting among others were 3 key executives: the general manager of transcorp hilton hotel (we’ll call him GM), the public relations officer of the hotel (we’ll call him PR1) & the public relation officer of transcorp international (let’s call him PR2). When the subject of photography came up, someone suggested they use a veteran photographer (someone that had been in the photography industry before I was born). PR2 objected vehemently against the notion. He outlined the importance of giving the “younger generation” a shot at the job. He mentioned that there’s this guy that he has worked with, Seun Akisanmi, and he’s able to deliver photographically whatever was needed. You might be wondering how I met PR2. Well, he was (& still is) a friend of my father. You see, in 2007 I approached my father and told him about the type of clientele I wanted to cater for. I asked him to give me the contact details of 15 people that he knows that fit my clientele category. PR2 happened to be one of the contact details he gave me. I decided to do ONE complimentary photography job for each of the contacts. If they loved my work, I figure I’ll bill them my standard fees for subsequent jobs. Be careful though when implementing this strategy as some people tend to take advantage of you just because you did the first job complimentary. They usually figure that you ought to be giving them complimentary photography services for life. Choose wisely the type of clients you want and let the terms be to your own advantage. I’ve turned down many clients that are trying to get a 2nd complimentary job. Most times it is not that its completely “complimentary”. In the case of PR2, we covered his father’s burial in late 2007 and gave him a whopping 80% off the bill: he ended up paying N50k, enough to still cover my cost of production. So he loved the album so much that he recommended me at the meeting in question. By now some of you are thinking “it’s because of your dad that you’re getting all those jobs & not because of your technical skills” (you’ve forgotten I can read your mind). Well, maybe you’re right; its because I have a father that has “connections”. I also think everyone (YES, including YOU) has someone like my father who knows someone who knows someone that is your potential client. It could be that security man in your neighborhood. You never know. Start by sending a text message to every single contact on your mobile phone. You never know who will call you to hire you; you never know until you let everyone know what you do. So PR2 loved my work, I got the call & the rest is history. Marketing moral of the story: do whatever you can do as soon as possible to amass your first 100 clients-database. If you please these 100 clients (in technical skills, creativity & customer service), there’s a 90% chance they’ll recommend in a meeting that you have no idea has already begun. Trust me, have faith & let the marketing begin.

Marketing your photography when there’s not enough money to market your photography


We continue from where we stopped last week on a subject that a lot of us shy away from: MARKETING. It is important to first note that you should not wait until you’re “broke” (resource-wise or client-wise) before you start marketing your business. It should be a continuous & deliberate effort that should be spurred by a detailed business plan. Most importantly, I think this might benefit more of the creative professionals that are just starting out in the industry. One of the topmost challenge faced by newbies is financial resources that “seems” to be insufficient to take the business to the next level. If you ask me, I think this is a blessing in disguise. Far too many business owners start with the notion that you actually need money to make money. I beg to disagree. This was one of the bottle-neck mindset I had prior to starting and running eloPhotos. After encountering people like Sam Adeyemi, Myles Munroe, Kelechi Amadi-Obi & Bishop Oyedipo, my mindset was be altered forever (for good ofcourse). Put simply, to make money, we need KNOWLEDGE. I learnt from all these mentors (among others) the importance of using what I had presently to get to where I was going (in the future). It is with this mindset I share one of the “marketing” efforts I’ve undertaken that has yielded enormous returns. It is also an attempt to answer the question many photopreneurs have asked (& are still asking): how do you market to your potential clients when you don’t have money? Thank God you asked. I’ll use the example of the exhibition we had in 2008 at transcorp hilton hotel, Abuja, Nigeria. We held a 5-days exhibition at the lobby of the hotel in November 2008. Prior to that time I had concluded in my heart & mind that the type of clients I wanted to cater for were the type that patronized a luxurious hotel like the Hilton: the elite of the society. These were people that were happy & willing to pay between $300 & $3000 just for a room per night. I desperately wanted to understand the logic behind the thinking of such people; hence my decision to cater for their photography needs. Besides, meeting the photography needs of these class of individuals is likely to enable me achieve my financial dreams in record time. Or how else do you think I’ll be able to buy the BMW 7 series that I’ve been dreaming about. Yes, I’ll love to be able to afford the best things life has to offer. Back to transcorp hilton. So I got a call from the public relations officer of the hotel asking me to come for a meeting in Abuja to discuss at length what it will take to have me “shoot” them. That meeting will go on record as one of the most interesting meetings I’ve ever had. I flew to Abuja with the 7am flight, met with the man for 30mins (during which I showed him some of our printed works), and came back to Lagos with the 4pm flight. By the way, I didn’t have much on me but had someone “loan” me money to be able to attend the meeting. I’m usually not an advocate of borrowing money to meet your needs but I felt strongly within that this was a meeting with DESTINY & I had to do whatever I can to be there. Upon concluding that the hotel was the place I wanted to exhibit my works, I wrote the management to find out what the ongoing rate was. This was in March, 2008. I was shocked when I was told that it costs N150,000 (approximately $1,000) per day and I must book for a minimum of 7days. You do the maths. That was so much money that my bank account did not have at that moment. Heck, I didn’t even have money for 1 day & they had the guts to tell me I had to book & pay for 7 days. But then I held fast to what my mentor, Sam Adeyemi, once said: “if you desire it long enough & believe in it long enough, God will fulfill your heart’s desire in due time if it is His will.” So during the “negotiations” I was asked how much it would cost Hilton if I were to photograph the hotel for their 2009 calendar. I explained to the gentleman that for such a BIG hotel, it will take me not less than 7 days with my team to adequately photograph every major part of the hotel….and that it will cost them N150,000 per day after which I’ll present the high resolution soft copies on a DVD. Funny right? Truth is I had never done such a job before talk-less of charging that amount. I can’t remember clearly but I think talking with Kelechi Amadi-Obi & Ade Plumptre gave me some courage as to how to charge. It was at that moment I discovered that the hotel didn’t want to spend that much for the job. Such an irony: they charge some guests as much as $3000 per night and still felt that my photography fee was on the high side. So it was at that moment the idea crossed my mind…u know kind of like when a bulb lights up on Tom’s head (in Tom & Jerry). I proposed that I can still do the job for them (despite the fact that they felt my fee was ridiculous) & in exchange for the shoot, they’ll give me their lobby for 7 days to hold my exhibition. You should have seen how fast he accepted my proposal. Before you know what was happening, he brought out a calendar and was asking me: “So when should we book you down for the exhibition?” We concluded the deal based on what my secondary-school commerce teacher will call a “trade by barter”. I didn’t have the money to exhibit (or market) at their lobby, I offered my services in exchange for the exhibition space & voila (as the french slang goes) I did my exhibition. Ofcourse they will later call me to say that the government needed the lobby for 2days out of the days I chose……either way, I ended up with 5 days of exhibition, sorry 5 days of marketing my products & services to the type of people I felt could afford it. And that “marketing” effort will go down in history as the most successful we’ve ever had. And it didn’t cost me a dime (or kobo or cent or…..). So the moral of the story; if you think very well (pray & fast if you have to) there’s always a way you can market your photography without having much financial resources. Trust me, there’s always a way…..

Every Photographer’s Dream Client


We covered their wedding in 2007. They’re quite an unusual couple. Usually we get a call from the bride-to-be asking about the different wedding photography packages we offer. In this couple’s instance, the call came from the groom-to-be. I was surprised & not too expectant. This was because ALMOST every groom-to-be that called us (and still calls) to make inquiries about our wedding photography packages usually DO NOT end up hiring us as their photographer. If you ask me why, I’ll attribute it to the fact that men are more logical in their thinking than women. The average EMOTIONAL woman does not see anything wrong in spending $20,000 for the photography coverage of her wedding. On the other hand, the average LOGICAL man thinks spending $1,000 for the same coverage is a blatant waste of financial resources. This was especially true for a large percentage of the clients I was meeting between 2006 & 2008. So you’ll really have to forgive me I was surprised that Deji called to ask what it will take (financially) to cover his wedding. Upon further investigation, I would discover that we came highly recommended by his bride-to-be, Yinka. Apparently she had inferred that it was either we cover the wedding or the wedding will not hold (at least that’s the version I choose to believe in my head). He was bent on pleasing his babe & after presenting a bill of N160k we covered the 2-days celebration in the city of Ibadan. I was awed at the high dignitary level of hospitality I received from their families when I got to Ibadan. I almost felt bad for charging them at all considering how well they treated me. Maybe I had met enough people that thought I was ripping them off by charging an UNGODLY amount for a wedding coverage. They proved to be different. They pampered me. Especially the family of the bride. I was overwhelmed. But what has overwhelmed me more is my relationship with the couple in the last four years. They’ve moved from just being “clients” to being “friends”. More importantly they’ve become my photography marketers; always quick to recommend me to their family members & colleagues that needed world-class photography services. Truth be told, I can’t tell you specifically what I’ve done to deserve all their referrals (over N430k worth of referred jobs if my accounting is right). From “CLIENTS” to “FRIENDS” to “MARKETERS”. They’re every photographer’s dream client. Their wedding clocked 4yrs on December 1, 2011. I was thinking of surprising them with a beautifully composed poem by midnight but I fell asleep. So this is the best I could come up with. Here’s to wishing Deji & Yinka Aliu many more years of joy & celebration. Its been great knowing you guys. Your friendship has made my photography career (especially) more fulfilling. Thank you for being every photographer’s dream client. Happy Anniversary

N.B. Yinka presently runs an event management company, OLIVE EVENTS. Serious enquirers can contact me for more details on hiring her services :>)

A LESSON FROM THE MOUSE


Got this from a friend online

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”The mouse turned to the pig and told him “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.” The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.” So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many! People came for her funeral; the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry. God bless you BIG Pls Share your thoughts.

Marketing your photography (1)


 

I have met a lot of professional photographers that have challenges making money in this industry. They ask me, “How do you cope? There are a lot of photographers and it seems I’m not getting a lot of jobs…” One of the major issues I feel a lot of us have is, we focus more on showcasing our work for our friends and colleagues to see, and we do not focus a lot of attention on showcasing the same work to potential clients.
One of the marketing tools I have used is EXHIBITION. For a lot of us, at least those based in Nigeria, many times when we hear that a photographer is having an exhibition, are thinking, “Wow! That guy has made it, he is very good” and all that. It actually doesn’t take a lot to do an exhibition. Many exhibitions we’ve witnessed of great photographers here in Nigeria or abroad are situations where someone saw the great photographer and invited him to showcase his work to the class of people that will like it. An Exhibition is a necessity for every photographer, especially when you add the word ‘professional’ to your type of photography. If you are not been invited to have an exhibition, invite yourself.
The exhibition style of marketing has worked for me the most, and over the last few years, we have had at least one exhibition a year. At these exhibitions we showcase our work to the types of clients we like. In Nigeria, we have had exhibitions at the Silverbird galleria, Palms shopping Mall, the Shoprite Shopping Mall, Surulere and even in one of the most prestigious hotels in Abuja.

Deciding the type of clients that you want to reach is probably one of the most important things to consider when deciding to do an exhibition. For our exhibition in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, considered to be about the most luxurious hotel in Nigeria, I decided that I actually wanted to cater for the elite of the society. It occurred to me that the ‘big boys’ came maybe for just a couple of days to have meetings or conferences and paid large sums in this hotel to rent auditoriums or rooms to sleep in for a night or two. These were the people I wanted to cater for, who could pay for the kind of photography I do. Then I contacted the hotel and came to an agreement where we eventually had a 5 day exhibition, and till date it has been the most successful exhibition I have done.

I came to the realization some years ago that many of the people who commented on my pictures on social media were not the kind who would be able to pay my photography fee. I concluded that those who could, mostly did not even own Facebook accounts as they are too busy to even keep one. While I have nothing against social media, you just need to be sure that your online presence and use of these platforms actually results in the kind of income you want. Sometimes a lot of people even thousands can comment on a great picture of yours on Facebook and none will call to hire you for your services. Even with almost 4,000 fans (whom I like to consider my admirers) following my page on Facebook, most of my real clients don’t come from there. Funny? That’s why I decided not to put too much of my energy there. I needed to get to them where they congregate or meet and I wanted to go meet them there with my work. That was one of the major reasons we chose Transcorp Hilton.

So you must map out the reasons for your exhibition and the type of people you want to attend your exhibitions. A good place to start is shopping malls. I learnt this from one of my mentors in the United States, a photographer Rick Ferro mentioned that he holds at least three exhibitions in the major shopping mall in his town every year and these exhibitions account for most of his income in photography. If you are based in Nigeria for instance, places you could contact include Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Eko Hotel & Suites, and the shopping Mall in Surulere (a new shopping mall with a cinema). Others are Palms shopping mall, Transcorp Hilton (this one could be costly; as at 2008 when we had our exhibition it was valued at $1000 a night – “Ouch!” and you had to book for seven nights minimum), luxurious hotels in Lagos as long as the type of clients you want are the ones who visit them.

You could consider even your church youth programs, or if you love children photography, children’s day is good day to have an exhibition. In fact, dates for your exhibitions must be strategically chosen also. I usually ask my hosts when they have the most visits. So having an exhibition in a shopping mall at Christmas, for instance, is strategic. And note that for every exhibition we have done in these strategic places at these strategic times we have covered the cost of our exhibition by the amount of prime clients we get. So without over-stressing it, an exhibition is important to marketing your photography. And you don’t have to wait for someone to come do one for you so, plan one for yourself. We continue this discussion tomorrow.