AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective

I was privileged to see the movie “After Earth” at Silverbird Cinemas courtesy of my boss. Though I am not a fan of science fiction, I enjoyed the challenge of having to “analyze” the movie and see it not just for its entertainment value, but to see it through the eyes of a photographer. I went with my colleagues and we had one major assignment; to do a write-up on what we learnt from the movie as photographers. Highlighted below are the lessons I learnt.

Life Lessons
• Fear isn’t real; it is only a product of our imagination. Even where danger exists, fear only has as much power and influence as we give it over ourselves.
• When fear is given a chance in our lives, it paralyzes us and causes us to make irrational decisions that may put us in danger and then cause more fear. More like a vicious cycle.
• From time to time, we need to step out of our comfort zone not just to achieve greatness but to avoid living a life of mediocrity bound by fear.
• Experiences from our childhood can either help us be better people but it can also hold us back from living a full life as adults if we do not break-free of beliefs that hold us back or based on any truth. We sometimes need to launch out rather than playing it safe especially as artists.
• Things are not always what they seem. There are always exceptions to what people generally believe. The character played by Will Smith, (I think his name was General Cypher), told his son (Kitai) that everything on earth is inclined towards killing humans but Kitai “found favor” with a large bird who rescued him and kept him warm on a certain night when earth froze up.

Photography Lessons
Apart from the life lessons that I learnt from the movie, I also had moments where I could see certain scenes differently due to my photography background.
Layers: Understanding the concept of layers in photo shop was one that took me quite a while during photo shop class but it immediately came to mind when I saw the virtual screens that the General flipped through to see his son’s location per time. The screens weren’t all images of the same location but to me it looked like slices of f a block and I believe, helped me understand layers more.
Getting/Thinking Out Of The Box : Kata had to get out of the box of safety that he was in and do things he never thought he was capable of doing instead of complying with the “rules”. This is an important lesson as an artist, to step out of the norm, break the rules, do the unfamiliar in order to advance in one’s career
• The movie also had interesting composition in some scenes and use of light.

by Ronke Alao
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So I decided to meet the parents of one of the most intelligent girls in my 8-year-old class. Well the meeting was more of a coincidence than a decision. We were privileged to be on the same bus heading to the same destination. As we alighted from the bus, I quickly approached the mum to talk with her.

“I’m DD’s class teacher and I just want to tell you that you have a very intelligent and smart girl as a daughter and she’s one of the best students in my class,” I declared. “I hope she’s appreciated at home?” She smiled and thanked me for the “nice comment” and just as I was about to go about my business, she called me back as if she forgot to give me something.

“I’ve been wanting to report DD to her teacher,” she exclaimed. “You see, lately DD has been a very disobedient child. I told her I’ll report her to you and would appreciate if you’ll help to talk to her.” I told her I’ll do my best and proceeded to walk to class with DD.

“So what is this disobedience thing I hear from your mum,” I quizzed. She was silent for about 3 seconds as if trying to choose wisely her next few words. She proceeded to pour out her heart in the 3 minutes duration of the walk to class.

“Don’t mind my mum. She wants me to be a doctor when I grow up and I insisted I want to be a musician. I’ve even written a few songs and my dad says that I’m not serious. They tell me I’m being disobedient because I’m not going to choose the career they want for me. Maybe my mum think I’ll fail at being a musician the way she failed at being a model. She used to be a model before you know. She used to model for my aunty’s fashion store when she was younger. All I know is that I want to be a musician when I grow up.”

I was shocked. This girl was talking as if she was 25. Even her dress sense was beyond her age; mature and elegant. Maybe she got that from her mum. Either way, I had no doubt DD was resolved to be a musician when she grows up. I had to caution her not to be argumentative with her parents when it comes to the issue. I told her that she should still harbor her dream for music and when the right time comes, even her parents will have no doubt that music is her passion. Or what should I have told her? I was a little short of words and would appreciate your input.

Anyway, we decided to come up with a 10days foundational program to help build a child’s dream of becoming a photographer when they’re grown up. For ages 7-19, the bootcamp will commence on August 12 and end on August 23, 2013. For more information, click here
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Photography Boot camp for TEENAGERS

It was day 3 of the largest gathering of photographers in West Africa: NiPHEC 2013. Time check: 7:48am. Sope’s mum drove him to conference venue to attend the seminar “Raising the NEXT GENERATION of photographers” in the rainfall that blessed the city of Lagos.

Sope was the 1st of 23 children around to learn the process of becoming a complete photographer from Afolabi Oloyede of 4labi4tos & Kikelomo Koleosho of Red19 Photography. I was challenged by the passion of this generation of photographers and encouraged by the support of their parents who brought them. The
children where so happy meeting Joe McNally and asked him questions on how they can shoot for a living like he does.

We have received a number of inquiries on giving these children more training and exposure in photography. So we decided to squeeze one into our training schedule for this summer.

The camp will hold for 10 days (9am-3pm daily) and will introduce the children to basic camera operation, exposure & composition principles etc.

Date: AUGUST 12, 2013 – AUGUST 23, 2013 (excluding weekends)
Venue: eloPhotos Academy, 12b fagba crescent, off acme rd, Agidingbi, ikeja.

The tuition for the camp is N75,000 (includes a complimentary Canon A2500 camera for student to take home). Registration closes August 2, 2013

For more details email us at or call us on 08023008873, 08101590358 or 08120129149

Together let’s make your child a world class photographer.

For ADULT Sessions, CLICK HERE for more information


Day 1: Introduction to the world of digital photography

– What is photography
– The history of photography
– The future of photography
– Why photography is a lucrative career

Day 2: Getting started (for digital photography, few things you need)

– Digital Camera (mobile phone, point and shoot, DSLR
– Computer (purposely to edit images with editing software like photoshop, lightroom etc)
– Personalized research via goggle, books and photography materials
– Get a mentor in the field

Day 3: Introducing your digital camera

– Different types of camera and their advantage and shortcoming
(a) Consumer camera (b) Prosumer camera (c) Professional camera
-How does a Digital Camera takes pictures
(a) how the image goes in
(b) how the photo comes out
-What does this button do
(a) Power switch (b) Shutter release
(c) Zoom (d) Manual focus
(e) Memory card port (f) Battery port
(g) Data port and AV (audio and video). ports. (h) Power adapter port
(i) Status display

Day 4: Getting into the menus

– Picture quality (JPEG or RAW)
– Shooting mode
(a) Creative mode – Manual mode, Program mode, Shutter priority mode, Aperture priority mode
(b) Automatic mode – Auto mode,Portrait, landscape, Macro, Sport, Night.
– Flash mode
– Aperture or f-stop
– Shutter speed
– ISO or sensitivity

Day 5: Getting into the menu part 2

– White balance
– Bust mode or single mode
– Focus mode, etc

Day 6: Taking care of your digital camera

Day 7: Composition

– Portrait
– Landscape
– Events

Day 8: Documentary photography

Day 9: How to market your passion and convert it into money

Day 10: Grand finale/Project Implementation

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Photography Workshop with Obi Somto

Photography Workshop with Obi Somto in Lagos | Fashion and Portrait Lighting on a Budget | email with subject “LAGOS WORKSHOP” for more information

Within the 5 hours Obi will be spending with you, he’ll share tips and tricks which he has gathered from years of experience in photography.

The aim of the workshop is to show you that you don’t need all the lights in the world to make great photographs, with one speedlight or even the sun and a simple reflector, you can create stunning images.

This is basically Obi giving himself to you and letting you rip whatever you want/can from his BIG brain. The workshop will be fully practical and interactive, its more like a hang out session with him as he shares photography knowledge. He will have a model present and you get to go with him through his workflow and do some shooting yourself.

He will go through Gear, software, workflow and different light situations (available light and flash light). He will also talk about your role as an artist, finding your voice (if you don’t already have one) and a bunch of other things.

He’s decided to have a weekday class and a weekend class for your convenience, both with the same curriculum.

After the 5 hours you will hopefully walk away inspired and reassured that you have what it takes to move your business – and your life – in the direction it needs.

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A Remembrance to Remember

Last week, I was privileged to cover the 1 year remembrance ceremony of a client’s husband. The location was a private cemetery for the RICH situated at Ikoyi, Lagos. It was a time for me to think on the legacy that I will leave behind.

Two things happened that will make me remember the day beyond the remembrance that was happening. First, I was denied a FOOD PACK. I don’t know why photographers are usually treated as non-entities by caterers at parties. Perhaps it has been as a result of how photographers have packaged themselves in time past. Perhaps if all photographers were wearing Gucci and Ralph Lauren suits, we would be given equal treatment as guests. I guess I shouIdnt have ignored my conscience earlier in the day when I heard the words “Borrow your friends suit to wear to the occasion”. Perhaps they wanted to serve the dead folks in the cemetery that’s why I was ignored. Painful thing was that I watched as they packed 8 extra packs of food to take back home. Anyway, thank God the energy I got from my N50 gala was still in me else I would have filed a petition for being mistreated as a “guests”. Wait a minute, I wasn’t a “guest”; I was a VENDOR.

Second thing that caught my attention was the fact that even in death, you could sense that some people were more appreciated than others. Or so it seemed. How else will you explain some “clients” buying 20 by 10 ft space while most others bought 7 by 3 ft. I looked at the burial ground of the former GTbank MD and couldn’t help but think that the impact he made in life was proportional to the large space he was given.

But what if I’m not as rich or popular as him? Would I be privileged to be buried in such a private luxurious cemetery. Does the ground I’m being buried matter at all?

These were questions that ran across my mind as I looked across the sea of marble tombstones. Anyway, I guess the important thing is to live a life that will make our creator say wholeheartedly “Well done, thou good & faithful servant”. Till that day comes, I shall continue to preach the gospel of photography that has been entrusted unto me. ************************************************
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Invitation to connect on LinkedIn

From Seun Akisanmi

Editor-in-Chief at NowPictureThis Magazine


I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Seun

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The Controversial Wedding of the Century

Now Picture This. While relaxing in your apartment in ikeja, you receive a call from someone who called himself Segun Lagbaja. He’s calling from London and attempting to book you for his forthcoming wedding in August. He had seen the album you did for a client 2 years earlier and had vowed to use you ever since. After a series of emails sent back and forth between both parties, he settles for your most expensive package for a wedding coverage: a whopping $13000 (N2,100,000).

Like most clients you’ve had in times past, your only chance of meeting the couple before the wedding is when they arrive Lagos 7 days before the union. While still recovering from the shock of finally having someone order for your most expensive package, you receive an alert from your domiciliary bank account: $7000 had just been wired into your account with the balance to be remitted once the couple meet with you shortly before the wedding.

With the funds arriving in your bank account at such a time as this (especially when your account balance is nothing to make you smile about), you proceed to use about $4000 to settle some of your outstanding overhead. You were even close to giving a testimony in church for such a breakthrough job.

Fastforward to 7 days prior to the wedding. Segun just called to inform you he just arrived at the International Airport in Lagos. He seems to be more excited about you covering the event than any client you’ve come across. He informs you that he’ll stop by your office to meet his wedding photographer since your studio is close to the airport. Besides his hotel is situated in Ajah, a 1hr journey from the airport.

“Sola & I will see you shortly”. You could not wait to meet the beautiful bride that won the heart of a groom that values photography enough to invest such an amount. Your waiting is about to end.

Finally, Segun walks in. You easily recognize that it was him with the type of ride he drove. Especially when you looked through your window and saw the luggage in the Toyota Prado he drove into your compound. He’s accompanied by 2 other individuals.
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You exchange greetings and he immediately gets straight to business. “I only have 10 minutes to spare as my aunty is waiting for me to pick her up in Lekki,” he exclaimed. He brings out an envelope and counts $5000 cash to add to the deposit he had already wired. You had never seen so much $100 bills in your presence at any given time (except maybe in the music videos you often watched on tv). You were caught in between emotions than ranged from shock to excitement. ‘This is going to be an awesome wedding’, you thought within.

Your excitement seemed to come to a halt when he introduced you to his bride-to-be. “Meet Sola, my sweetheart”. Apparently Sola was one of the guys with him in the studio. Your shock was evident by the fact that you were unable to utter any words for the next 10 seconds. This will go down as you first ever “same sex” wedding coverage.

At that moment an article you read in Punch Newspapers a few weeks ago came to mind. Apparently the House of Representatives just passed a bill that prohibits same sex marriages. Besides the fact that each of the “partners” will face up to 14 years in jail, any vendor (photographer, decorator, event planner, makeup artist, etc) that is a part of making the wedding a reality will face up to 10 years in prison. However the bill will become law once the President of Nigeria signs and approves it.

Suddenly your heart begins to beat faster. You weren’t sure whether to tell Sola “nice to meet you” or just to keep quiet. Herein lies my questions: Will you still go ahead and cover the wedding especially when you consider the fact that you’ve received over 90% of your photography fee and spent about 30%?

What will you do?

Feliciting with Feyishayo

So I decided to give one of my colleagues a portrait session. Since we had been busy organizing a photography conference that gave me little time behind the lens, I decided it was time for some practice.

Feyisayo had been one of the key core members of the NiPHEC team that made the conference a success. She was responsible for the keeping in touch with facilitators and speakers of the conference. Her customer service skills gave me more reasons to sit back, fold my hands and watch everything work out well. She handled her tasks so well that I don’t think I would have done a better job.

She started her internship program at eloPhotos about 6 months ago and has developed herself to the level of being on the photographers I’ll miss when she starts fully on her on. Oh, wait a minute, her internship program ended few hours ago. With a 1800-seconds photoshoot, a 180-seconds prayer/blessing, a 7-seconds hug and $2.50 gift (“You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen), I sent forth our latest eloPhotos Academy Graduate. Thank God our paths crossed.

The following is a summary of the session I had with her. Equipment used: Olympus E3 with 50-200mm lens, 1 Bowens 500 light source with an 8-sided 72-inch diffuser.

What do you think?
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