The WAZOBIA of Nigerian Photography

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Beautiful, warm, adventurous, intelligent, ambitious, beautiful….just a few words that describe each of the 3 ladies that constituted Set 9 of Basic Course in Photography. I was so impressed with their performance that I went out of my way to give them a photo session.

Let’s start with beautiful & fair Mona Lisa. When she called me on January 16 to inquire about the training, I thought she was joking when she told me her name. I mean, how many Nigerians would name their child Mona Lisa? Well, one did. I would later discover her personality to be as beautiful as her name. A pension funds manager, I would discover that she was well deserving of whatever promotions she had gotten in the last 3 years. Her love for photography is intoxicating and highly contagious. You’ll think she’s in love with a guy when she starts gisting photography. Oh by the way, she’s taken (sorry guys). Intelligent, daring, confident & artistic are qualities that describe someone named after the most talked about painting in history: Mona Lisa.

Take a look at Halima. A compact bundle of photographic passion, she was the one that “shot Wiz kid“. Meet her for the first time and she’s likely to give you her contact details if you’re a photography freak. She seems to have such high morales that will convince some Christians she’s wife-material. Teach her a camera trick and you’ll be surprised of the wonders she can do 10 minutes later. Her looks can be sometimes deceptive, revealing less of the creative juice that flows in her blood veins…..until you give her a camera. She can be mischievous too, albeit in an interesting way but that’s a topic for another day :). Bottom line, I’m glad I was privileged to have met this Northerner because her biography will be an interesting read when it is released in 2020 (possible title: the X factor) 🙂

Finally, to the only Yoruba lady in the class. Lamide joined mid-way into the session and mentioned that she didn’t want to waste anymore time in fulfilling her destiny in photography. I like people like that. Because she had missed a few classes, we had to do a quick makeup session for her in 5hrs. I was surprised how fast she digested the information. With her, there’s hardly a need to explain a photography term twice. Her commitment to learning and growing challenges me. I only wish she wouldn’t ping as much as she does during class. Either way, I’m proud to be associated with one of the lady photographers that will impact the industry in a few years. Check out her writeup and you’ll be convinced (you better be) of her ability to express herself not just with a camera but with words: Similarities between myself & AISL students

The pictures that ensued are beautiful not because of the photographer that took them but because the subjects are…….STUNNING. Their beauty made it easier for the Olympus e3 with 12-60mm lens to do its job. I refer to them as the WAZOBIA of photography. What do you think?
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Take your photography business to the next level

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Come learn what it takes to run a successful photography business.

Date: wednesday April 4, 2012

Time: 8am – 12pm

Venue: elophotos studios office
12b fagba crescent, off acme rd,
agidingbi, ikeja

Fee: N500

Facilitator: Seun Akisanmi

Send an SMS to 08101590358 to confirm attendance. Registration closes April 2, 2012

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The day Wiz Kid made me cry

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It happened on March 10, 2012. The job that inspired “A good reason to give an 80% discount” was finally happening. It was a family fun fair gathering of parents, teachers & students. At about 12:55pm, the MC (who coincidentally happens to be the president of the Parents Teachers’ Organization) shouted with extreme excitement on the microphone: “Boys & Girls, please welcome a Nigerian celebrity & superstar……WIZ KID”. Suddenly the students started screaming (in excitement) while heading with haste towards the main entrance of the school.

As if each student was bent on being the first to touch Wiz Kid (sometimes, I’m not sure if its spelt WizKid, Wiz Kid, Whiz Kid or Whizkid) you should have seen the desperation in their eyes. What surprised me more was the fact that the parents were even more excited than their children. With the students in the lead, the parents were not too far behind. They were running, screaming, shouting, & laughing SIMULTANEOUSLY. You would have thought Michael Jackson was the celebrity they were about to welcome.

It was at that very moment that my eyes began to leak water. No, my tear glands were not malfunctioning; I was just overwhelmed and SAD. As I watched the crowd hurry to the school entrance, the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. Watching the sea of heads, I was reminded of the inevitable day that my name will be mentioned in a roll call in heaven either by an archAngel or our Lord Jesus. The question that rushed through my big head was this: Will the host of heaven, along with Jesus, celebrate & welcome me with so much excitement and pride? Will Jesus announce to the hearing of all present that “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED“…. The tears kept rolling because I wasn’t sure of the answer to the question.

My eyes almost met with one of our photographers but I quickly ducked my head. I couldn’t afford to be “seen” crying. Throughout the 20-minute stay of the earthly celebrity (12 minutes of which was used to mime 3 of his songs from his album), the question kept ringing in my head. Regardless of whether or not he collected any compensation for the 12-minute performance, I pondered whether I would be compensated with so much heavenly value for my 33+ years on earth. It got me thinking and I started crying.

God, help me. God of heavens, PLEASE HELP ME.
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Need a Husband or Wife?

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So I was going on a stroll the other day with my 3.75 year old daughter when I suddenly realized that my neighborhood was filled with interesting & subtle advertisements people almost never notice. I was especially drawn to one that procured a “matchmaking” solution to those in dire need of a husband or wife. I decided to help them further propagate their gospel.

I hurried back to my office to grab my Olympus E3 camera with the 12-60mm lens & in 30mins I was through with the documentation of the pictures/advertisement that you’re admiring below. I thought it would be interesting if I were to be the official photographer of the wedding of the couple that meet themselves as a result of this matchmaker’s advertisement.

Don’t hesitate to holla at me if any of them prove to be authentic. Heck, I’ll gladly & wholeheartedly give you a 1.5% discount of your next photography business with us. Hurry, get your phones out and start calling the advertisers’ numbers. For those outside Nigeria, you might want to add the country prefix of 234 before the numbers. Wish you the best

N.B. No compensation has been made to me for this 2nd level of advertisement. Contact the solution providers at your own risk.
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The reason I CHARGED my wife

So it happened that my wife was invited for a breakfast interview by some producers at Kingdom Africa. They interview successful entrepreneurs that are role-models in the society. She’s the chief creative artist (CCA) at They asked her to bring a few pictures of faces she has “made up”. This is where I came into the picture.

She asked me to help her burn some of the pictures (attached herein with this writeup) on a cd so she could submit it. I gave her a bill of 62 cents (N100) and she blurted out “How dare you charge your wife”. I explained to her that the cd I was using for her needed to be accounted for on my income statement and that being my “wife” was not an excuse not to pay for a product. Besides, businesses prosper when friends & family pay for the services rendered to them. She was surprised but not shocked. She later asked me to make another copy because she made a mistake in one of the pictures and I told her that her total “charge” was now $1. She smiled.

For me business is business. I didn’t even charge her for the service rendered: the act of burning the pictures. I only charged for the cd. Come to think of it, I need to charge her for this advertisement of her works because you’re likely to hire her for your makeup needs after viewing the following pictures and visiting her website at

So can you please be the judge of this matter: was I wrong to have charged my wife $1?
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So I found myself at a high profile school a few days back and discovered that there are still many interesting personalities I am yet to meet on this planet. I would eventually meet one of them that faithful morning. She would turn out to be one of the members of the organizing committee of the fun fair we were commissioned to cover.

The concluding arrangement we had with the president of the committee was to come prepared to take and print pictures of the students & parents at the venue. I insisted that it would only pay us if we charge $6.25 (about N1k) per picture. The assumption was that if at least 200 of the school’s 900 students showed up and had their pictures printed, we would break even. Besides, it was an opportunity to exhibit our products & services to this class of clientele.

While setting up our stand, I was approached by this woman who wanted to clarify how much we will be charging for each 5″ by 7″ picture. I was of the opinion that I had finalized that before coming to the school at all. Apparently she wasn’t aware of the arrangement I had made with the committee’s president. I explained to her what we planned on charging and she asked me to justify why I planned on charging such an “outrageous” amount. She mentioned the fact that she was expecting that we’ll charge $1.25 per picture so that we would “make a lot of money” in the volume of prints that ensued. I explained that there’s a value we bring to the table and $1.25 wasn’t what I agreed upon as a condition for coming on board.

She replied with a question & a tone I would never forget: “WHAT VALUE?” I paused for lack of words. She was apparently expecting me to answer her question. As if I didn’t hear it the first time, she repeated the question: “WHAT VALUE?” Another 2 seconds of silence ensued from my end. How do you answer such a question posed to you by a parent who spends over $20,000 a year to send her 3 year old child to such a school. I thought she of all people would understand what “value” meant. “We don’t want value today, we want dirt cheap pictures,” she concluded.

I was shocked. I explained to her nicely that $6.25 was what we were going to charge and it would be ok by us if just a few parents appreciated the “value”. She would later leave my presence to argue and finalize with the president of the committee. I would later find out that $1.50 was what their official school photographer charges them for a 5″ by 7″ picture. I explained to them (nicely) that I wasn’t their official school photographer and that our pictures were worth more than the other photographer’s. Shouldn’t I of all people know what my “goods” are worth.

Fast forward to 6 hours later. I would be chatting with the same woman that didn’t want our “value”. Only this time, she would be paying us $12.50 to print two 5″ by 7″ pictures of herself and her son. Bottom line: it pays to not just know what you’re worth. STAND FIRM to affirm the value you believe your pictures are worth. You never can tell, the CRITIC that is presently “accusing” you might be the same CLIENT that will write you a cheque for your services.

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Dear fan, pls forgive us for watermarking our pictures in a distracting way

Dear fan,

Thanks for writing us to let us know how our watermark is distracting you from appreciating the beauty of our pictures. You also noted that our logo was too big and adds to the confusion. For this grave offense, I’m writing to express our sincere apologies while simultaneously attempting to give some explanations as to why that is so.

Please rest assured that it is not our fault that we watermark our pictures in such a way. In the beginning, it was not so. In times past we posted our pictures on facebook without any form of watermark or logo because we were so excited about the beauty that we thought existed in the pictures; so excited that we couldn’t wait to let the world know.

Our excitement was eventually dampened when we discovered that newspaper, magazine & media companies (e.g. This Day newspaper, Vanguard newspaper & Wedding Shakara magazine) hired scouts who scavenged social media sites (like facebook) in search of the same beautiful pictures that entertained you. Our initial goal was not just to entertain you; we wanted fans like you to see that we were capable of creating beautiful pictures like the ones we uploaded so that you will in turn hire us and thereby ultimately make a positive impact in our bank accounts.

It was to our disappointment however when we realized that these pictures were being used in ways that negatively impacted our financial balance sheet. I felt cheated. We felt cheated. After discovering what these media giants, sorry, media cowards….after discovering what these media cowards had done (I.e. using our hard-earned pictures without our permission or any compensation), we weighed our options: to sue or not to sue, that was the question.

Although many of my compatriots were in support of us suing the companies, we decided that we didn’t have the emotional stamina to withstand such suits. The second best option we were left with was to watermark our pictures in such a way that will make it a little difficult for these organizations to use while simultaneously expressing the beauty in the pictures to fans like you. Apparently, we seemed to have succeeded in the former intent while failing wholefully in the latter. We beg for your much-needed forgiveness.

As a way of showing how remorseful we are, our management & board have unanimously agreed that we reduce the size of our logo & watermark by 2% so as to make the pictures more fun to view. Please bear with us as this is a temporary solution to a national crisis.

On behalf of the team at eloPhotos, I apologize again for any inconveniences this might have caused your eyes and hope that you’ll still consider hiring us when you’re in need of world-class photography services.

Eternally photographically yours,

Seun Akisanmi,
MD, CEO, Chairman, Chief Photographer & Watermarker,
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Photographer of the week: Olamide Bakare

Transcript of the interview with Olamide Bakare of Alore Photography

How did you get into photography?
My name is Olamide Bakare, a graduate of computer science, Lagos State University. I am a photographer and also a web-designer. I love creativity. My journey into photography is a funny story. I was just going to study computer science, make money, marry and have kids and that was it. But in the course of my being a web – designer, I discovered that my clients needed certain types of pictures some of them could not afford. I could not get them online and I thought I could take stock pictures and sell and make money. I had a whole bunch of friends who were into photography and they were doing fantastic. I got one of them to take pictures of a clients office for the website. When it was done, I had to pay him for the pictures. So I thought “why not do this too and sell stock pictures and make money”. I also found that many people were taking the same kind of pictures. The same smiles and so on. I felt I could do it differently.
The day I finally went for the photography [training] course, I didn’t even plan it. It was way after the deadline. It had occurred to me that this course was almost free, and I said why not, instead of waiting another six months[by which time]I could have changed my mind.

I did the course at DSAP – Daystar Skill Acquisition Program). It was a fantastic experience! A whole lot was taught and imparted in the ten days and we had people like Leke Adenuga, Seun Akisanmi, Dipo Odetoyinbo and a whole lot of other professionals [come over]. I had my own camera (borrowed from a friend) and took pictures with the last settings he had used and they came out nice. But I didn’t know what the whole thing was about the settings.
Within three days, I could handle the camera myself and decided what settings I wanted.

It’s been good, but when you learn things like this you have to go back and practice and research. Funny, I even had some video tutorial [in my possession] even before I went for the photography course. But after the course I went back to watch them, and I understood them better.

Would you say it’s been worthwhile financially?
When it comes to money-making part of this business, if you know what you are doing, you will be glad you are in the business. This is because when you are starting out in the business, you don’t expect a million bucks overnight unless you are seated next to God or you doing something fraudulent. But I tell you, 3-4 weeks after the course, I did a wedding job and I was paid. It was tiny but it felt good to do a job as a fresher and get cash from it. But in a very short time, I can command prices close to what some of my mentors charge.

In some cases I have had mentors who asked me how much they should charge, and I would be like, but I just started out, and you [the forbearers] ask me? So it’s been fantastic. When you do jobs that come out well, you won’t have to talk too much (because they speak for themselves) to get a new one. Some jobs I did entirely free when nobody knew me, but it helped to let people know what I can do. I still love the business, because apart from the money, I like the fun, the creative side, and I can do a lot of magic and it comes out nice! Forget editing, if you didn’t take it [the picture], it never happened!

Any Photographer you aspire to be like?
Internationally: from my small research, I was referred to the website of a Nigerian guy in the US, Dotun (can’t remember his last name) while trying to bid for a job. He is fantastic! I would like to do the kind of things that he does. Also, Jeremy, a white guy who takes a lot of celebrity pictures, does it in a way that every detail tells you something.
Nigeria, Africa: there are a whole bunch of people here. African photographers do a lot of arts and fashion in addition to the events like weddings. On the whole we have top notch people like the Kelechis [Amadi-Obi], eloPhotos and others who should be watching out right now because I am really gunning for their jobs. (laughs)

Could you share with us one of your most fulfilling moments in photography?
I had an encounter in Ilorin Nigeria where I was a supporting photographer for a boss at a wedding job, and after the reception the groom (whom I was assigned to) told me, ‘’I wish I had met you earlier!’’ I wondered, he had not even seen the pictures and I would have done it for free. He was a good straight up kind of guy with a bunch of nasty friends. But I made him come out of his shell because I needed good pictures. I cracked jokes and all that and he laughed and even danced better at the reception. It made be happy, because as a photographer you can be a friend to your client. What you give your clients they give back to you a hundredfold.

What will distinguish you from other photographers a few years from now?
Couple of years from now, the Ogas should be scared. I am a goal-getter and I do a lot of things differently from people. I don’t want to do what you are already doing. So I feel if my ogas don’t change what they do, in the next 20 years, Alore photos will be the place where you come to and your innermost desires come to life. Apart from taking regular pictures, the creative shoots and going the extra mile, making the client very happy is where we are heading.

Your worst experience so far?
I had a very funny experience. I had a Nikon camera to use for this wedding. Even though I am Canon person, but where I was trained, I know you don’t restrict yourself to one camera. On the journey to the location outside Lagos, the camera seemed fine. But on getting to the venue, on this camera that a professional uses, the menu button was stuck and not working. I was like ‘Heck no! I am not going to [have to] shoot this thing in auto [mode]. We tried to use all sorts of tools to free the menu button. Then it developed a mind of its own and the camera started cranking up my ISO. I was like “Oh my God!”

I didn’t let it get to me so I switched off mentally and thought, “just take the pictures”. The worst that will happen will be for me to use the “grainy” pictures as backgrounds when designing the photobook. So I started taking pictures. But when I got in to the room it would turn bright so I knew it was a fake. When the pictures came out, they were good! The guy designing the photobook ended up using a lot of my pictures. So at the wedding, if I had let it take over my mind I would have gone to a corner to start crying!
The deal is to learn to work with what you have around, and see what you can achieve with it. Be able to improvise. Don’t become too streamlined to any particular camera. What if you don’t have a fantastic lens? Thank God everything still came out well and we got paid for the job.

Any advice to people just starting out in photography?
If you are starting out, you have to be focussed: know what you want and take your teacher/mentor seriously, because he is speaking from experience. Even if you have to raise cash to start out by doing different stuff, know the kind (out of the different areas) of photography you want!

Secondly, move around with “good” heads. You may not have money to buy or even rent equipment, you might be lucky to get someone who will lend you very expensive equipment for free.

Then again, even if it is a one day training take it seriously if it is what you really gonna do. If you going to do the course like I did (at DSAP), I tell you, I know only a few of us from my set who eventually took it [photography] up. So think about it now, what is it you wanna do, maybe its another trade, maybe fashion, go and learn that one and don’t waste your time. But if you going to do this, take it seriously.

I have covered quite a few weddings, basically a lot of events and a lot of model shoots. Studio shoots and outdoor stuff, It’s been a fantastic experience as you meet a lot of different people who , some of them give you funny expressions, some want different things but cant do what it takes. When I was going through the course (DSAP) I had a different mindset. I wanted to do stock pictures, landscape because a lot of people around here were not doing that. I wanted to get into travel too, but in my research I found travel to be quite expensive, because you might have to wake up one morning and have to travel to Kenya, etc. Now who is going to pay for that? I will still try it out, from landscape to a whole bunch of creative stuff other people around here are not doing.

Final words to every one “watching” (or reading)
If you have to come out from the crowd, and be at the centre stage, be creative, be determined and follow your dreams!! You will be fine!

Olamide Bakare
Alore Photography

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A photo session with Yinka

Yinka is an interesting personality. A fan of our page on facebook (, she was one of the chosen winners of a mini quiz we did in february. She came over-prepared for the session. The first 10 mins of the session proved she was a little nervous but she eventually expressed herself freely the moment I asked my two assistants to leave the studio. I hope the pictures gives you an idea of how adventurous she can be. Enjoy

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Everyone I shot was a celebrity

Every one I shot was a celebrity!! I do not have a gun and I certainly cannot fire one. But the camera is my weapon and when it shoots, I still remain an innocent citizen. Yeah I know, those catchy blog headliners. That said though, I am merely reminiscing about my experience during the AISL (American International School Lagos) PTO- organised fun-day on the 10th of March 2012.

I guess I did not think too much about the event before it happened. I was there as an assistant to elophotos studios to cover the event photographically. However after the experience, I got color blocked! Maybe it’s the fact that the event was so colorful and the fact that it was a school! All I had been accustomed to from having attended a mission school growing up were different shades of “gray”.

Anyway, it was quite an opportunity to see again the true meaning of a rhyme I learned in those mission schools:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red or Yellow, black and white;
They are precious in his sight;
Jesus Loves the little children of the world

LIke you might have seen from an earlier piece I wrote from covering a 10th birthday party, I don’t get too excited about covering child events, but this was different. Many nationals from all the continents were here represented, in this school. And one thing is common to all of them, everybody loves fun! I saw that beyond all the different prejudices we are brought up with; we all are really the same underneath and once again I appreciated what it meant to be truly free.

The children were the celebrities, who sang, mimed and danced and played their hearts out! Oh yeah there were side attractions like Banky W and Wizkid who performed a DJ mix of his most popular tunes getting massive air play on radio and all that. But it was the kids I loved most. Their smiles and laughter were just too precious. The laughter, the fun, the hearty shrieks of children ecstatic from jumping over every thing and anything, the slides, the games, the trampolin, the video, the mountain “challenge” simulator, the red carpet, the stretch limousine and so much more; it was fun all the way.

I think the greatest kudos however is to the parents. The fact that they took time out to have fun with their kids this way is just priceless. *Sigh* you made me wish I was a kid again!! Or maybe I should start planning to have my kids. Either way, the celebrity kids were fun to shoot and I would gladly do it again anyday.

Adetunji Oremosu
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The day I shot Wiz kid

Anxiety, anticipation, excitement are words I can use to describe how and what I felt when I was told that we had an event to cover. I had an idea because of the article I read about “reasons to give an 80% discount”. As much as I was given an impression that its on a probability basis, something deep within gave me the confidence that it would be my first field experience.

I arrived the office as early as 7am and I saw preparedness, organization, articulation and for me that was enough to motivate and inspire me for the day and it meant “ready for business so give it your best”. I was given a uniform which every photographer would wear and it was unique and was definitely going to draw attention to us: “we are not crazy, we are just different.” We had ID’s too so as to be admitted into the venue.
I had confidence in me but trust me, there was nervousness lingering. I asked God for wisdom and direction on this journey I was about to embark on.

We arrived the venue at about 9am and immediately,my teacher Mr Seun Akisanmi went in and put things in place for us to be admitted in with all the equipment we brought to make us deliver. We set up and brought out all the cameras we would use. We were 6 photographers and I think by default we all went around to study the environment so as to be strategic with producing the perfect pictures for the end result: a 50-page album.

I picked up the Olympus e330 wit 50-200mm lens. Although it was heavy, I knew it would help describe the event in photos even to a lay man as long as I was behind it 🙂 . I started testing it & was trying hard to get used to the camera (that is the advantage of going to the venue early enough, a point Mr Seun will always buttressed on). It took me about 30mins to get a grip of the equipment. At some point I even had to ask Mr Seun why I couldn’t focus and he told me that the fault was peculiar to the lens and I needed to take precaution by turning the camera on and off anytime I noticed it. Asking questions is important; it saved me a lot of stress of trying hard to figure out what I did not know. At this point when I was sure I got a grip of my camera, I couldn’t wait for the event to get started..

I loved the way the school was built. I loved the environment & couldn’t help but take some pictures of how the names of the teachers were designed and placed in front of their classes, how they used art to pass certain information to the students. Its the type of school every enlightened parent would want to send their kids to (even though I ain’t sure of what the fees are).

The event started and so did myself and my camera. I covered the stage performances by students along with the students having fun on the playground. There was a lot to eat and a lot of games to play as long as you purchased tickets worth the amount. (I would have loved to be a part of that but I was there to cover it).

I was impressed and could only imagine what the organizing committee went through putting all that together. With my imagination, I just wanted to be able to be a part of the team that will describe in pictures all that happened on this day.

Then the arrival of Wiz kid! I wondered why the love for this guy is so alarming. The kids left the premises (along with most of the parents) to welcome Wiz kid at the main entrance. I just stood upstairs with my camera waiting for him to come in. I really wish I was there to welcome him too but my team mates were there and I believed they won’t miss out anything.

Thank God for the lens I was using, I could capture every moment from where I was standing at the 3rd floor. At some point, I had to come down to the 2nd floor in order to get better close-up pictures. While he performed the kids were all over him, dancing and singing along to the songs he sang (even the parents had fun and danced along).

I was amazed at the way the white kids sang along perfectly (you can’t seize to wonder how often they listened to Wizkid’s album). It was beautiful and the more I took pictures, the more I was overwhelmed with excitement. Soon enough the performance ended and he had to leave but we did get a lot of pictures of him (along Banky W who kept giving him eye contacts to either follow him or do one thing or the other).

When Wizkid left it seemed that was all on the agenda they waited for because all the excitement seemed to end. But thank God for the field where the kids could not help but explore and express themselves with different games.

I must say that I was hungry and hoped that I would get a bit of all that was available to eat but because I was there to cover the event, I just had to ignore that and focus on my job. At intervals I met with my colleagues and we encouraged each other to just keep on keeping on (we were tired and just couldn’t admit it because we had to “cover” the event till the end. Despite the odds, I must say it was a great experience for me and I look forward to doing another pretty soon.

Thank God for the training, my passion, imagination and of course the Olympus e330 with 50-200mm lens which helped me capture most part of the funfair/Carnival.

Halima Abubakar

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30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 2

Lesson 2:………………..ok I must admit that I’m a little blank here as to what this lesson ought to be. Here’s where you help out a brother in need: suggest a title. All I know was she was making some beautiful music that will make any father (earthly or heavenly) smile. Enjoy

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Similarities between Myself & AISL students

American International School Lagos had their annual fun fair this last saturday March 10, 2012. I was there to take pictures as a backup photographer with Elophotos, my elder in the industry. Before now I used to think I was 60per cent pako & 40 percent but-tush. Well I was in for a surprise when I found out I had similarities with kids I considered 100 per cent but-tush. (•͡.̮ •͡ )

Wizkid! Wizkid!! Wizkid!!! Those were shouts from the kids the moment it was announced that the celebrity artiste of the day had arrived. Well I didnt shout like they did; its just that I couldn’t request for an autograph & no pictures for me with the stars (Banky W & Wizkid) as it was my duty to take pictures of the day’s event. 😦

“Sing pakurumo! Sing pakurumo!! They shouted at Wizkid, imagine my surprise to think that children of this calibre could even pronounce d word “pakurumo” not to talk of the fuji dance steps they added to spice up the moment. Well I sang along too but not without my camera, I just couldnt dance like they did. Who says “pakurumo ko joo dada” is razz?? Winks

Running around without shoes: A little while after the fun day took off, there were kids running around barefooted (not just Nigerians, even including “white” kids). Really!!! That was the expression on my face I would never have thought such kids would run around without shoes. Well I did pull-off my jelly sandals as I also got tired of wearing them at a point. Nobody looked at me as if it was weird because if American International School Students could do it, then I could. 🙂

Posing for pictures in the Limo: As part of the fun fair a parent loaned the school a Hummer Limousine for the day. Jeeeeeez!!! Everyone including parents wanted to catch a glimpse. They all took turns posing & taking pictures in the Limo. Well just like Wizkid sang “Dont Dull” guess what I didn’t, I took pictures posing in the Limousine. If they could do it, who says I cant. Abegi snap my picture joor. 🙂

Enough said. I had fun knowing that I had so many things in common with a class of people I though I wasn’t in their class.

Abiola Oladeinde
Lgld Belle Photographie

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It was a great experience for me on the 10th of March 2012 @ American Int’l school. I was meant to assist a friend to cover a wedding but I turned it down to grab the other opportunity. The first reason being the fact that children photography is my specialty and passion. Secondly, it is a privelege for me to be part of elophotos crew that will cover the event.

What a memorable event! Maybe because I wasn’t privileged to attend such a school in my younger days.

I learnt two lesson from two differnt parents at the event.
The first encounter was at the playing ground section of the fun fair. It was an Indian girl who was climbing the “mountain”. I heard her sreaming “daddy! daddy! I can’t make it further again”. She was looking down at her dad and I could see fear all over her face. The lesson of this story is the response of her father gave. He said, “no matter the difficulty you encounter when climbing a mountain, keep looking up….To make it to the top, you need to keep on looking up not down”.
The word sank into my heart and gave me an insight to ponder on. In the conclusion of the story, the little girl didn’t get to the peak of the mountain but she still made double advancement compared to where she wanted to stop earlier.

The second lesson happened at the exhibition stand where my boss (Mr Seun Akisanmi) was printing pictures for the parents of the children. A woman came there to print some pictures for her child that were snapped in the ‘Hummer stretch limousine’. While waiting for the pictures to come out, her daughter walked up to her and was pointing at something else she wanted mummy to buy for her. The mum understood her her body language and she frowned at her saying “you don’t buy things because you have money but you buy things only when you need them”.

The event is over but the two advice these parents gave their daughters still keep ringing in my heart. My conclusion was that if I wanted to sustain the riches that are about to manifest in my life, I must have the mentality of the “rich”. Selah

By Afolabi Oloyede,
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30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 1

We begin this series by showcasing wonderful and life-teaching moments in the life of the superstar supermodel Anuoluwapo. Here we watch her as she teaches us the practical lesson we ought to learn from Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going

Or better yet, let’s call it “Project OCCUPY CHOCOLATE”. Enjoy

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Lionel Messi: An Inspiration

I’m not a football fan but thought this would be inspiring to anyone in any profession. Got it from one on my BB contacts. Enjoy

Lionel Messi is a delight to watch playing football. Messi plays for Barcelona FC. He is a three-time Fifa World Player of the Year. Five days ago, he scored five times (a Champions League record and also a personal record). Yesterday he scored another two goals. Messi scored 53 goals in 55 matches for his club last season. He already has 50 in 43 matches so far this campaign. Many people believe he is one of the greatest football players the world has even seen.

But Messi has not always been successful.
At age ten , Messi faced a major threat to his future footballing career- a growth hormone deficiency. This would limit his ability to cope with the physical demands of football.

Messi needed growth hormones or he would have stopped growing at 4ft 7in. His father’s health insurance was limited and couldn’t cover the expensive treatment.

The story changed when Barcelona offered to pay for the hormone treatment in return for Messi signing for them aged just 13. Today, Messi is scoring, Barca is winning and both Messi and Barca are happy and successful.
Few lessons.

1. Employers need to see the gold in their staff. In that physically- retarded boy with health challenges was a star of the future. Invest in your staff

2. Your health challenge could seem to be a huge problem, but help is on its way.

3. Nothing limits you. Till date, Messi is relatively smaller than his mates, could be weak but he is still playing excellent footbal. You have no excuse

4. God compensates for your weaknesses. Messi is short. As a result he has a low center of gravity. This makes it difficult for him to fall down easily. Messi has short legs, but they are fast too

5 Finally, don’t make judgement based on today, consider the future. While Messi was playing as a kid, he looked 2 years younger than his mates. If Barca had judged him based on that, they would have lost gold.

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A photo session in “Senegal”

One interesting thing about this profession is the name we’re seldom referred to: artists. To an artist 1 + 1 is not always equal to 2. In light of that “creative” fact, let me first be clear on one thing: this session actually didn’t take place in Senegal. But the title got you inquisitive enough for you to decide to click, right. 🙂 Mehn, I’m good. Ok what really happened was that I had a session with a citizen of Senegal and since I was in the presence of a Senegalese (I hope that’s what they’re called), I figured I was in Senegal.

It all started about 9 months ago. While exhibiting our works at the Shoprite mall in Surulere (you might want to consider that location for an exhibition), I met a potential client from Senegal. We met on a saturday and she wanted a photo session the next day because she was traveling back to Senegal on Monday. Apparently she had been searching vigorously “all over the world” for a photographer that can take GOOD black & white pictures. First of all, I didn’t know black & white pictures were difficult to take. According to her, she hadn’t met a photographer that pleased her in that aspect. So she saw our b & w pictures at the exhibition and fell in love with us.

I drove to her hotel on sunday afternoon and we had a 30-minute session at the pool side of Southern Sun hotel, Ikoyi. The three framed pictures she eventually ordered practically covered 90% of the cost of exhibiting at the mall. Talk of a quick turnover. It was just as if I didn’t “spend” any money to get this client. To my surprise (really, I was surprised), she loved the pictures.

Fast forward to March 4, 2012. After attending church service, I picked up my BB and got a message @ 2:06pm from this wonderful client of mine:

Hi, in lagos at southern sun, some colleagues would like to take some picx like me…are u available?

Ofcourse I was available. I was planning on resting but decided to reschedule that task. 3 hours later, I found myself at the hotel once again. Same swimming pool section, same spot.

I thought her friend, Fatim, was gorgeous. I told her how pretty she was and was told most Senegalese ladies are very beautiful. The session lasted for about 20 minutes and she ended up choosing the following pictures in black & white. We talked for an hour after that and I learnt so much about Senegal.

I was of the notion that she was 25 yrs of age when she suddenly showed me a picture of her 3 children, the oldest being 18 (so don’t even bother asking me for her bb pin). I was shocked. We talked about marriage, family, life in Senegal and if you had met us there you would have concluded we were great friends.

Now, under normal circumstances I’m very shy when it comes to relating with women but photography & my camera has been a self-esteem booster. Now I can boldly talk to any lady as long as my camera or complimentary card is nearby. After delivering the printed pictures, I was given an invitation (not on paper though) to come to Senegal to photograph her family. What a honor. That definitely meant she loved them.

Pictures taken with Olympus E3, 12-60mm lens, 50-200mm lens, Nissin Flash & a few kind words of affirmation.

N.B. If you consider yourself an “international” photographer practicing in Nigeria, it makes sense to also open a dollar & GBP account. You never know what currency your client might pay you in. Enough said, enjoy

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40 pictures for the price of 10: Another photographer’s dilemma

So it happened again. Another scenario where a photographer excitedly forgot to have a written agreement. Each time I hear stories like these, I get increasingly angry at the way photographers engage in unprofessional conducts. In most cases, the client is not to be blamed: put the blame on the photographer that has not earned the title “professional”.

It all started with this particular client that wanted a photoshoot for her upcoming book. The photographer billed her $125 (N20k) for the session and agreed that 10 high resolution pictures of her choice will be edited and given on a dvd. The session lasted for about 4 hours after which the photographer gave the client 150 low resolution files on a dvd for her to choose 10 from. Apparently, the client was over-satisfied with the quality of the pictures that came out of the session: so satisfied that she decided to choose 40 pictures. She then called the photographer that her husband wants 40 pictures edited instead of the “verbally” agreed upon 10 pictures. The photographer explained that it will cost extra. The client laughed it off and insinuated that the photographer did not just take pictures for a living but apparently had added comedy as a multiple stream of income.

When the photographer told me this a few hours ago (& I hope both parties are reading this), I wasn’t upset with the client: I was upset with the photographer that did not put into writing an agreement that would have considered common scenarios like these. We seem to be quick at collecting “deposits” from clients but we forget that there ought to be a written agreement before any money changes hands.

Always put it in writing. Write down everything and anything that could prevent both parties from having unnecessary arguments. Even if it’s your uncle or sister that hired you, at least do yourself a favor by writing down the expectations of both parties and send a copy to the client’s (your uncle or sister ie) email for confirmation. If you don’t know what to put in an agreement, google “Legal forms & agreements for photographers” and you can start from there. Better yet, check out a copy of our sample agreement for wedding clients.

Stop blaming the client for “cheating” you or being unreasonable and start being more professional. Either that or some of us might as well start implementing plan B: an 8am – 5pm salary job in any organization that can offer to give us our daily bread .

It’s your call
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How to save 25% off your printing cost

So if you’re a photographer based in Lagos & you print your pictures at 5D Imagery, this is for you. Two days ago, my colleague printed a few 5 by 7 pictures at their ikeja branch for N40 each. Upon arriving at their surulere branch yesterday he discovered that it costs just N30 to print the same pictures. Why the difference in price for the same product? Apparently, there aren’t enough customers patronizing their Surulere branch so they decided to “charge” a lesser fee for printing pictures in order to attract more customers.

Whether or not this is a logical or strategically wise decision, I don’t know. All I know is that if I were printing all my pictures at their Ikeja branch prior to now, I would quickly switch to go to their Surulere branch just so I could save 25% or more on my printing costs. I’m guessing other print sizes will be cheaper too. I just hope the quality of customer service wouldn’t be “cheaper.” Either way, hurry now before they end the promotion as a result of a “leak” in information.

Reporting live from agidingbi, ikeja, this is your faithful photo journalist.
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My Mother Clocks 15

Yes, she really did. My mother was born on february 29, 1952. So technically, she has only witnessed her birthday 15 times. Kindly pause for a moment and give her a “hip hip hip hurray” 15 times. I’m serious.

She’s a jewel. She has made so many investments in my life that I don’t think I’ll be where I am today if not for her. Should we mention the multitude of times she has taken me to different pastors for prayer & deliverance in my younger & troublesome years? Or should we mention how she successfully convinced my dad to send abroad for my university education? Or should we mention how she visited me in the USA during the christmas of 1998 and bought me my best christmas gift till date: a samsung film camera.

She’s been a blessing. And I use this medium to celebrate her at 15. Thanks for investing the film camera. The photography industry will forever be grateful to you.
Attached are a few of the pictures I took at the celebration. Try not to smile too much at my early days: I’m still innocent & cute 🙂

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What’s the family price?

So I got a call from one of my dad’s friends. She was calling to make inquiries on how much we would charge her for covering her sister’s forthcoming wedding. I explained to her that our packages start from $2000 and was surprised when she shouted back at me the amount I mentioned. That’s when she asked me “what’s the family price?” I explained to her that I don’t give discounts and she was really surprised for the second time.

For me this was business and one way or the other we all belong to a family. Whether it’s the family of God, church family, family of your enemies or one’s household family, the fact that I’m associated with you one way or the other should not automatically translate into charging less than our standard package. To me business was business.

The fact that you know the CEO of Coca-cola, MTN, Guinness, or Exxon-Mobil does not mean you would pay lesser for their services than what every other person was paying. If that was the norm, then having family as one’s clients would not make one’s business profitable.

As I explained further to her, she was shocked that I would talk to her that way. I wasn’t rude and she knew it: I was just being real with her. As she laughed on the phone she shouted “Mr Seun Akisanmi, is that what it has come to?”. I told her that giving discounts will not benefit me as I do not want to be 70 yrs old before I make enough money to buy a house. I’m not greedy but just think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if I buy my dream house this year. I’m fed up with being a tenant: its high time I own my house.

I told her that its not good for my business if I give her a discount for the wedding day and someone else calls me later to book us at our “standard rates” for that same day. It won’t be good for my business, family or no family. I told her that it isn’t a bad idea if I’m giving my dad a monthly allowance of $6000 considering all he has done for me & it is with the money I make that would enable me to do that. She laughed.

I asked how much her budget was so I could recommend another photographer I can vouch for. She said she had no budget. I hate when potential clients tell me they have no budget. Usually it implies that they don’t value photography enough to “plan” for it. She concluded that she’ll call me back in 24 hrs. Its 24 hrs after the 24 hrs and I still haven’t gotten the call.

In my experience, the concept of “family price” is one that isn’t too good for business in the long run. How do you eventually convince them that there’s no discount when they come again and again.

Although it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to offer “family price”, its something that tends to backfire more times than you would expect.

Its your call

N.B. Its ok to share this on your facebook wall or twitter if you’ve ever been asked that question: “WHAT’s THE FAMILY PRICE?”
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A Photographer’s Computer

So I just got a Hp laptop for our office. We needed a fast processing system that could help with the video editing we’ve been doing. Up until now, we’ve been using a colleague’s system whose specifications could handle hd video editing. It was also a coincidence that the topic we discussed yesterday with the present weekend set of BCP (Basic Course in Photography) was the Digital Darkroom, with emphasis on the ideal minimum components of a photographer’s computer. So I decided it will be nice to share with anyone considering getting a system for their photography business.

The following are the 3 major specifications to look out for when purchasing a computer system:
1) Processor Speed. Its ideal to get at least a Pentium 4 processor. Nowadays, we have faster processors like Dual Core, i3, i5 & i7 with i7 being the most expensive and fastest processor I’m aware of. The faster your processor, the more likely you’ll be saving some time while in your “Digital Darkroom”. The processor on the system I got is i5. Good enough for me

2) RAM. Also referred to as temporary memory, it is usually measured in GB. Ideally, you should aim to get a system with a minimum of 2GB memory. The more the pictures you want to be editing in Photoshop, the larger your RAM ought to be especially if you dont want to be waiting a few seconds before your system responds to an action. The memory on our new system is 6GB. I was aiming for 8GB but I can live with 6GB for now.

3) Hard disk space. Although its very possible to work entirely with an external harddisk, an internal hard disk with a minimum of 100GB is ok to start with. The more space you have for storing your data on the system the better for you, as long as you remember to BACKUP YOUR DATA. The hard disk space on the new system is 750GB.

So that’s just my opinion of 3 of the important specifications to lookout for in a system. It also helps to make sure you’re getting a new system (especially when it comes to laptops because they’re more delicate and fragile than desktops) so as to take advantage of the warranty options. Hp has been known to deal with systems under warranty to the customer’s satisfaction. That’s one other reason I eventually settled for them for our second laptop in 5 years.

One other reason I settled for a laptop instead of a desktop was because of the option to get extra laptop batteries that could give me up to 6 hours of work without external power. With that, I have a quieter option to fueling and using my generator. Just search on for a 9cell or 12cell battery for your laptop brand/model.

It’s your call. Choose wisely

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Dsap Photography Students’ Exhibition Pictures

Attached are the pictures that will exhibited at Daystar Christian Centre on March 2, 2012 by 10am. All pictures taken b students after 9 days of photography training. Which one do you like the most?

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FINALLY, Photography training for Dsap Set 7 comes to an end

So for the past 9 weekdays, we’ve been busy training a class of 67 students that decided they wanted to be professional photographers. Together with Mr Leke Adenuga (QF), we were able to teach what we felt would be enough for a good foundation in photography business.

Daystar Christian Centre started this project in 2010 in an attempt to reduce unemployment in the society by teaching people “how to fish” instead of giving them “fish.” For Mr Leke & I, this was an opportunity to impart on the next generation of photographers in Nigeria. I can only hope & pray the students would make good use of the opportunity they were blessed with. Time will tell.

Attached are a few of the pictures taken we were in class. I’ll really appreciate it if you just acknowledge how handsome I look in the pictures 🙂

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Photographer of the week: Dipo Odetoyinbo

Transcript of the interview session with renowned Photographer, Dipo Odetoyinbo (Black Child Photography)

When did you KNOW you wanted to become a Photographer?
My journey into photography has been a love affair. I have always been artistically inclined. I’ve been into fashion, I’ve done a bit of drama and I sang for a long time. It was when I went to serve in Kano state, on the way from the orientation camp to the village where we were posted, there was this beautiful scenery. The journey lasted about an hour and was over in the blink of the eye. It was the beauty of the scenery that struck me and I felt I had to capture that beauty. I guess that was where that ‘knowing’ first started because I knew I wanted to share this beauty with the whole world.

Tell us more about your career in photography and the challenges you experienced.
I studied Microbiology in the University of Ibadan, but from my second year I knew it wasn’t it for me. I needed to do more with what came to me naturally. I needed to do a little more self discovery. I had good grades and all that, but I knew art is where I am really very good at. That very point, I decided to make it a career. I started out as a hobbyist taking pictures of landscape and nature and a few portraits. I started posting my pictures and it seemed people liked it and wanted more. A lot of people asked me to come and take their picture and I said no, no.
I was so strong and I had to do something about it because even as an amateur a lot of people felt I could take it professionally. I decided I could, but I didn’t know what the business side of it will take. Although I had been into business before I knew running a business wasn’t simple. I knew I could do whatever it takes and that I could imagine myself still doing this at age seventy.

The challenges I had are the same that faces most of us artists. The case of doing something you love so passionately, but when it comes to the end of the month it’s not like someone is going to pay you. The real challenges were the business side: how do I create this beautiful work of art and get someone to pay me for it? I also came to the point where I knew I had to do something that was relevant to as many people as possible. Art is a medium of self-expression but I found after a bit of research that I had to be more relevant.

Who were your mentors when you were starting out?
It’s funny people can inspire you but you haven’t met them personally. I have largely been self taught. But I read the works of so many great people for inspiration. I read a lot of Bryan Peterson’s books and Scott Kelby. I knew more of what was going on the international scene for a year of so. But since I was to be based here in Nigeria, I needed to know what people around here were doing. I met Mr Leke Adenuga of QF and he showed me quite a bit of how to go about the business side of it. Also through HO9 I met Kelechi Amadi-Obi, I met Barret Akpokabayen, and a few others & they have been very instrumental in helping me out.

Getting into wedding photography, I remember meeting Mr Seun Akisanmi who really showed me the ropes of the business side (before that I had made many blunders!) and it was like a corrective measure. I also had a few assists from Michael Adebiyi, who went with me to some weddings and would help cover some and he was really instrumental.

Which Photographer on earth do you admire the most?
Strictly speaking Work and personality wise, one of the people I admire most is Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Just looking at his works alone has been so inspirational. It’s because of the aesthetics and the fine-art. Meeting him one-on-one has also inspired me and because he makes me feel like I can do it too.

Tell us your worst photography experience so far?
I think I have had so many experiences that have made me re-consider this business. I remember a few years back I was called for a series of jobs by the same client, a party, portrait session, two events and so on. After we spoke he deposited some money into my account, promising that he will pay the balance later. So I focussed on delivery and I did all that I could, including getting a make-up artist for all the coverage. So when I delivered everything and it was time to get my balance, he started dragging.

The mistake I made was that I did not sign a contract with him and delivering all without collecting much. I had invested my own money for a lot of the work and it [must have] seemed like I had a lot of money and I had made my profit and that was why I still had so much balance to collect.
That has been the nastiest experience so far and till date I have not collected that money.

What is that one WOW “client” experience that you wish could be repeated with all your clients?
I won’t site one client in particular. I have several clients who have become big-time marketers for me. That just really excites me; when you work for somebody and they go out of their way to ensure that every one they know hires you, if they can afford it.

How far are you willing to go with this “Photography”?
Like I said , it was a love affair for me initially, and I didn’t stumble into photography just like that, but I made up my mind that whatever it takes I am going to make it work. I believe it’s finding out your own niche and doing what makes you stand out and not doing what everybody else does. So many people are coming into the industry, (that’s good because it gives it a prestigious look) but having so many more graduates who are leaving their degree and coming into the business, shows that it is such a fantastic industry and it requires differentiation and stating in your area of strength for it stand out.

Why should a client hire you amidst the sea of photographers in Nigeria?
For me I like to ask a lot of questions and find out a lot about the client to be able to fashion out what works for them to bring out the best. A lot of people want to look exactly the way some of my works appear and I have to explain to them why I took the pictures they’re looking at in a certain way. I think my attention to detail stands me out. For my pre-wedding shoots, I usually want to go all out.

Are you affordable?
I think I am quite affordable. That is relative, because I have a lot of very good work out there that I am sure of. So I have created different packages for weddings. On the average it starts at $900 (N150k) and goes up depending on the options that go into the package based on what the client needs. It all depends on what the client needs although we have a whole gamut of packages that cover what clients usually expect.

What is your advice for newbies coming into the industry?
I would say spend time learning and training. It’s not every one that holds a camera that is a photographer. Learn how to take pictures, learn the art and very importantly learn the business side of it. The business aspect of it is very important to whatever it is you are doing.

Assume you wake up on Feb 20, 2020 what will your dream day look like?
I have always loved travelling. I guess it would be the day I get a call from South Africa to come do a shoot there. I said South Africa because a lot of photographers are trained there and peoole still come from all over the world to get their training there. By then , I would [want to] have an outfit that has really grown and I would have a lot of people under the same umbrella and I would have branched out into a few other fields I won’t mention now. Photography is the good foundation for the other things that come with it.

Any plans for a training platform for apprentists?
I keep getting phonecalls from people saying they want to come learn photography, but I have learnt that talk is cheap! Then I remember approaching one of my mentors once for that kind of request and I had to do a re-think when I realised I wouldn’t have the kind of time it was going to require. I had to look for another way around it. So as much as I love to create a platform for others, not everyone fits in and even though you have just a few rules, they take it for granted. I love to share knowledge so I have an internship program right now but that can’t accommodate many people, but as time goes on I intend to take on more people.
Black Child Photography is a Visual Communication Outfit geared at providing our esteemed clients with high quality images that speak to the viewer and passes across pre-planned specific messages to targeted audiences.
Telephone: +234 80-2360-1026, +234 80-9056-9305

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