I’m here to share a brief story about me and how I got into photography. I got into photography as a hobbyist. I love to appreciate the beautiful things in my environment and anything that amuses me and stimulates interest.
I like to come out in the morning to appreciate the brightness of the day. I like to see people’s faces and see when they are smiling or even frowning. It was with the thought of how to capture those moments in a way that lasts, that the urge set in to get myself a camera to try and have a record of the things I love and appreciate.
I remember while in secondary school that I was the one preferred to take pictures whenever the need arose. Without anyone telling me what to do, I could take better pictures than my peers. So I continued from there, got myself a camera phone, and kept taking pictures, tagging my friends showing them to people. In fact I influenced my friends to start taking pictures, as they fell in love with what they saw.
As time went on, the need to start fending for my own needs came with responsibilities. But I never wanted to settle for a salaried-paid job. I can be stiff-necked about that and would rather take time to learn [a skill] to add value to myself. So I opted to learn graphics and did a whole lot of other things for my personal development.
Still I had growing needs and responsibilities and after a wide search I resorted to taking up photography as a career since it had always been a passion. If you ask me, there is nothing bad in turning your passion into an opportunity that will pay your bills.
I needed to take it to the next level and not just get onto the streets saying I am a photographer. I knew it was more than just buying a camera. I knew I needed to get trained to become an authority in this field. And I knew that if I wanted to excel, this relied on how much I knew about the business. So I went everywhere I could, did research online for materials and magazines to equip me with more knowledge. A friend brought an application form to me for a skill acquisition program. I promptly filled it and applied and that was how the race began.
The skill acquisition program was a two-week program and it was there I met great photographers like Mr Seun Akisanmi, eloPhotos boss and I learnt everything I know from him. I got the knowledge I needed on the job and started my own outfit – Made Photography.
During the course of my training other great photographers such as Shola Animasaun, Damilola Elliot, Michael Adebiyi and one person I mustn’t fail to mention, Leke Adenuga. Mr Leke made me realise that photography is serious business that is full of endless possibilities and that the only limit you have in photography is- YOU.
I have had a lot of challenges in photography. The major one: STARTING OUT. You need to be creative, you need technical know-how. You need to be spontaneous. You need to be business-minded and know how to get to your clients and convince them to patronise you because you are capable of delivering [even more than] what they need.
It’s not an easy task. You have to be up and doing. Think and do a lot of research. It takes all that and more. You need self confidence. You need to be sure that you can deliver in your own field. Not that when you get hired and you can’t present quality jobs to your client.
The most interesting part is when you present your clients with their pictures and they go, ‘Wow!’ and they fall in love with you because of those pictures (even though it was something that came out of your natural passion and you even know you could do better than what they already seen), that is a very encouraging high point.
Bringing joy and happiness to people is invaluable. That people really appreciate what I am doing keeps me going.
The next 5 years for me in photography? MADE photography will already be a household name. Even kids will be saying ‘I’m made, I’m made!’ It will be really interesting! Creating a beautiful image for photography and helping people understand its essence from behind the camera to the finished product is my goal. And when that happens; people will be saying Made was behind that.
The whole essence of photography is to make you see the beauty in the world & the universe, not just in an imaginary way…. making moments last forever. Freezing moments and making people want to keep [and treasure] those records with which they make reference to the past is what photography does. Imagine you have a lovely grandma that you grew up with And when you don’t have her any more, maybe 5 years after, you still have a picture of her when she was smiling, or when she was playing with you….it’s like she’s still with you. That is what photography does. It brings back memories that you want and makes them stay with you.
My advice for upcoming photographers is you need to love what you are doing. Give it your best. You don’t want to be in photography for the wrong reasons (e.g. If it’s what your parents or friends want you to do). If you don’t have a passion for it, there will be frustration when the pennies you earn stop coming or the people who were your reason for doing it are no more there. But if you truly love photography, you need to take it to the highest heights. Learn all you can and be an authority in it. You stand even before presidents to tell them what they don’t know about photography, because of the information you have.
Olalekan Emmanuel Okeowo
MADE Photography, http://www.madefotos.com
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