Great day! And welcome to another wonderful episode of Picture This, your guide to photography. Once again, I’m Seun Akisanmi, and I’m going to be taking you through what we have for you today.
We started on a topic we titled, “Starting Out in Photography” on Tuesday and we will be continuing from where we stopped. No need repeating what we talked about, but the next major point that I will be mentioning for a lot of us that are starting out in the photography industry is….. “When you have decided to buy your camera(s), try to make sure you are not buying from Nigeria!” It’s sad to say, but the reason I don’t recommend buying any of your serious equipment here in Nigeria is: I am yet to meet a seller/ retailer here in Nigeria that sells these cameras, flashes, and lenses etc with warranties.
That basically means if you buy a Canon, Nikon, Olympus camera, lens or equipment) and any of it develops fault(s) within a month or two, it implies nothing will be done for you. I say this based on the experience I have had. Whenever you buy anything, check the receipt and ask, “does this come with the manufacturer’s warranty?” Good luck with the answer you get.
Most of the equipment we have purchased in eloPhotos have been bought through Amazon.com You might say you’re not travelling to USA or abroad to buy these equipment, but if it means looking for a relative who is, you are better off buying these equipment through them. Amazon.com is not just the largest online seller of equipment like these, but there are lots of companies that sell these equipments with warranties.
In fact, I recently realised that a company like Nikon for example, actually offer a warranty of five years on some of their lenses and cameras. This means if you bought a camera from one of their authorised dealers, if anything goes wrong with it within a span of five years, that is not directly your fault of course, just return it and they will repair or replace and send back to you.
Personally, I have experienced the wonderful customer service of Canon. We have our own Canon Pixma pro 9000 printer, as most of the printing we do is done in-house. It got faulty about 6 months after I bought it. I called Canon, “I have this equipment, and it’s not up to a year that I purchased it and it’s faulty. What are you guys going to do about it?” After taking me through a series of troubleshooting steps on the phone, we still discovered we could not resolve it. So they requested I send the printer back and in fact, they had sent a replacement for the printer even before I had sent the one with me to them! It was really wonderful. They trusted me and kept to their word. That is unlikely to happen here. I have bought equipment here, recently I got an external flash and in less than 2 months it became faulty. In fact we have two faulty external flashes; and I am sure the company we purchased from locally will definitely not return our money or give us a brand new replacement.
So if you are considering buying any camera you have decided on getting, please do yourself a big favour; buy it from a company like Amazon.com or any online company that is considered an authorised dealer.
The next tip for those starting out in photography has to do with the ‘megapixels’ of the camera. I am sure we have heard a lot said about megapixels and cameras. Practically every 12 to 18 months, camera companies like Nikon or Canon come up with a new model that has more megapixels than the previous. The truth about all the ‘megapixels’ is this: the companies want you to believe that the higher the megapixels of the camera, the better the results you are going to get. To an extent this is not entirely true, and I want you to consider this when looking at the camera to get. The goal is not to get the highest megapixel camera and interestingly, the cameras with the highest megapixels are very expensive.
The fact that you need to ask yourself is, ‘What is the size of the prints that I am going to be making?’ If you are going to be making 5”×7”, 8”×10” or maybe 10”×12” print size, trust me, you don’t need a 15 megapixel camera or an 18 megapixel camera to do that.
The truth in my own opinion, is that for most practising photographers, especially if you consider yourself an event photographer, most of us don’t need a camera with more than 10 megapixels. I know in talking about this a lot of people will definitely get angry with me, saying “How can you say that my Canon 7D or 600D has this and I know the advantage?”All I am saying is it is one of the major things to consider.
I know a photographer who has a Canon 7D, a powerful camera by any standard. I think he even borrowed the money he used to purchase it. But he ended up only taking pictures that were being printed on 5”×7” paper. The truth about most of us starting out in photography is we don’t have all the money in the world.
If you are an advertising photographer, and most of what you will be printing is the size of a 5- storey building then by God, get the highest megapixel camera!
When someone tells me they have a $1,000 and they are just starting out, I usually don’t recommend spending up to half of it or more on the equipment acquisition.
You need to really plan well. Megapixels don’t always mean better quality always. In some situations, in combination with other settings, they do, but not always.
So make a wise decision and take my advice. Most of what I have shared so far have actually been some of my own experiences and also what I have learnt from the many mentors I have had both in person and the multitude of books I have.
I hope you are enjoying this show so far. At this juncture, we will feature a photographer that I respect, a great photographer in the making by the name of Lara Tiamiyu
Hello Everyone, My name is Lara Tiamiyu, I’m a photographer and also a model. I started photography as a hobbyist…. I could recollect that back then in school on campus, there was this guy who used to take pictures and I used to stare a lot at his lens, he had a very long lens then and I would wonder, wow, what is this? And even after the pictures were printed out; I would be like, wow, this guy is good!
I would always come round just to stare at his camera, especially the lens, but I never knew why I loved it then, I had no idea about it until after school. I realised that I spent more money taking pictures from this same [particular] guy, than even buying [lecture] handouts. I had many more pictures than my handouts.
My roommates then would be like “Are you ok? You don’t even have money to eat, you want to take pictures?” ‘Yeah, I just want to take pictures!”
I love moments, and beautiful things around me being captured. After school, I wanted to do photography but, I didn’t know how to start. I didn’t want just the normal photography shops I saw around that you go to and they have this blue background. They just take you, you stand, no action, no moment, they don’t capture anything! I didn’t want that. I wanted special photography. So I talked to a friend of mine, his name is Faith and he told me that he could talk to a friend of his, that might know somebody that can help or link me to a better photographer, in the kind of photography I want. He linked me to Ayoade Precious and I talked to him that I want photography so badly. I didn’t even go in search of a job after school, because I knew I wanted photography.
Despite the passion I have for modelling, [that is in-built, natural, I love modelling a lot] but besides that I wanted to be a photographer. Ayoade told me that he knows someone who is a good photographer in his church. So Ayoade introduced me to Seun Akisanmi and I went to his office and it all started from there.
And I was so impressed when I got to his office and saw books and was like, ‘Wow! You can learn photography by reading a lot of books. That was four years back and all the way it’s been very interesting. He told us to read more books, do research and it’s been fun, I’m telling you.
That’s because this is what I wanted to do and nobody had to tell me to do it.
My major challenge when I started out was getting cameras to work [with]. It’s not funny! When somebody trusts you to cover their wedding or an event that doesn’t happen twice. I went to a couple then and they were like, “Are you sure you can handle our wedding [photography] and really give us what we want?” And I said ‘Sure, I can!’ even though I didn’t even have pictures to prove.
They gave me the contract and to God be the glory it was wonderful. But the major challenge was getting a camera. To a layman photography is expensive and you should know that now. On this particular day I could remember, I had to cover a wedding. I had informed one of my colleagues that he was going to lend me his camera to use. But I was surprised when I called him a day before and he was saying, “Aww, Lara, I’m sorry, I can’t give it to you, it’s not available…” I said, ‘You should have told me! Who do you expect me to call now?’ I called someone else and it would take five hours before I get to him.
When I finally arrived the the venue [of the wedding], I was tired and exhausted. So where was the strength [I needed] to cover this event? How am I gonna tell the couple that, oh, I’m so tired? And it’s so gonna be obvious in the pictures, (because an image is all about the expression the photographer has in him or her. There is something about reflecting i.e. pictures reflect. To me, any mood I want my subject to be in, I reflect it to my subject. If I’m not happy, it’s going to tell in my pictures. I have to be happy to get those moments I want.)
I spoke to myself, ’Lara girl, you have to work. I don’t know [how] the strength just came from within! I started taking pictures and my God, it was wonderful!
Also apart from getting a camera to work with, when I started out; one of my biggest challenges was: GUYS! To me while I am on field working, my eyes always go to and fro not because of any other reason than, I don’t want to miss any moment. Like if there is woman behind me dancing who is so, overjoyed and I have to catch that moment. I have to watch everybody and so my eyes [could] come into contact with a guy once or twice and in his mind, he’s just thinking that the [female] photographer is admiring him.
I’m not! I’m only working and that is the way I love to do – My eyes are always everywhere. So if you see a female photographer looking all around, do get insulted and don’t think she is tripping. No, she’s not.
There was this particular day, while covering a wedding; one of the groomsmen liked me and I didn’t know anyway. My colleague overheard the discussion between him and one of the confetti ladies.
He was like, “I like that photographer! I might even ask her out” And she was like “Are you Ok? You are tripping for a photographer? Please don’t!”
When my colleague told me, I wondered, are photographers not human? Can’t they be admired for what they do or be taken serious? Why is it so? Please we need to change that perspective. We have many people who went to school of medicine or law and end up becoming photographers. That is what they have passion for and not the profession they tried to get into. So if you see [photographers] please learn to appreciate them. Anything you can’t do, appreciate people who do it, because you don’t know how to.
You could be a doctor and I’m a photographer. While I don’t know anything about giving injections if I gave you my camera, you can’t handle it. So respect me for that – Thank you!
I had been working on how to get to my [kind of] clients, the people I really want to work with. Some might not want to give you a check of two hundred thousand for pictures and they’re like”is there gonna be gold in the pictures?” That has been a challenge [too] really.
I wanted to do an exhibition at the Palms shopping mall, that was my target, but it was way expensive. So I talked to Seun Akinsanmi about it and he called me that the British Council was organising an exhibition at Eko Hotels and I had two days before entry closes. I wasn’t ready with my pictures and I did not have any [required] equipment. But the strength came, and I went around to get everything [needed] done and luckily, I had the exhibition and it was successful! It was a dream-come-true that was so rewarding.
I met people that on a normal day, I won’t have opportunity to talk to one-on-one, like the commissioner of tourism. Some of them came to my stand and La Royal concept to them was just a name. They asked “do you run this?” and I said Yes and they marvelled at a young lady like me doing something like this. Through that I got a contract to cover Calabar Festival. I t was a big one, and if I had not done that exhibition I would not have got the contact. I was really happy about it.
My dream wasn’t to have a big studio and be running it. I actually wanted to help and work with others to achieve their dream, in spite of the fact I didn’t know how. At this point, it’s changing, and La Royal Concept is not just about photography. Later on, in about five years, we are going to be adding a spa and salon in a mini-complex. The spa and the salon are all about beauty and photography is all about beauty and moments. I love moments a lot and I love capturing moments.
For those starting out, you really have to have a passion for it, and when I say that I don’t meant just liking it or just because of the money. If it is because of the money, I daresay you are heading for regret . You are gonna get out of it before you know it. So you need to do what you have passion for because at the start you are going to encounter challenges. It’s your passion that gives you the strength to move on, so without the passion I don’t know what could happen. God knows best. But please let your passion direst you. Do what you love to do and what brings smiles to you each time you do it. Each time I handle a camera I forget my sorrow. I forget everything behind me and I am always smiling. A client once told me I have been watching you and behind the camera you are always smiling. The inner happiness is there, it comes from within and it reflects. Pictures speak. If you are happy doing it, you may not mind of they are not paying your money and you never know what the free job is going to fetch you. If you are happy doing it.
So that’s it for today’s episode of Picture This, your guide to photography.
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