Doing WHATEVERITTAKES To Standout


WHATEVERITTAKES WORKSHOPimage

I’ve met a number of photopreneurs in the last few months who are struggling with their business. After having gone bankrupt with the organization of the recently concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), you might as well consider my business as topping the list of photographers running business at a loss (in accounting terms). I’ve learnt so much (about business, life, marriage, politics, friendship & family) in the last 365 days than in all my previous years of living.

Photography for me as been a passion beyond what words can express. Ever since I got my first camera in December 1998, a sense of unconscious fulfillment seems to subconsciously overwhelm me whenever I take. pictures. Turning the hobby into a business has brought its challenges. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that photography is where I belong; Photography & I are here to stay.

At this junction, I challenge many photopreneurs in this industry (including those about to start a career in photography) to stop for a moment and ask yourself if you’re ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out in this seemingly crowded & congested business. What if you were told that shaving your eyebrow, (something most men reading this have never done in their life), would help take your business to the next level, would you do it? What if you were told that you don’t need an office or a business loan to get out of the financial mess you’ve gotten yourself into, will you believe that? Are you ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES?

Knowing that there’s no immediate plan B for me gives me no choice but to be more determined to make sure the legacy I leave behind, (as a businessman, father, husband, son & friend), can be likened to the impact Steve Jobs had on the technology industry. More importantly, I’m conscious of living a life that will hopefully lead men to the one that has given me a reason to live: Jesus Christ.

If your goal is to run a successful photography business, I invite you to subscribe to this site and watch out for more inspiring notes I’ll be sharing with you. For those that will like to take it a step further, you can register to be a part of the 7-hours workshop I’ll be running in 7 cities (October 23: Warri, October 28: Lagos, October 29: Ibadan, November 2: Lagos, November 5: Ilorin, November 7: Abuja, November 19: Port Harcort & November 12: Kano) in the country beginning October 23, 2013. It’s a one day workshop where I’ll be sharing practical steps you can take (a process of which I’ve gone through & presently going through) to build a world-class business structure. We’ll be discussing the following topics:

*Impact of Social Media Implementation (Facebook, Twitter, etc) on your business
*Financial Accountability and your Business
*Marketing Techniques of a Desperate Businessman
*Customer Service in a Photography Business
*Creating Multiple Streams of income as a Photographer
*& other pressing issues (as time permits)

Workshop fee is N12,500 and you can send a mail to info@elophotos.com for more details. For those that are looking at a more comprehensive training that includes the techicalities of handling a camera, plan to attend the last session of our 10-day course on Photography (November 25 – December 6, 2013) and you can get 30% off the training fees. Send a mail to info@elophotos.com (or add me on bb: 271e3bc8) for more details or visit our ACADEMY page

Get ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out.

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NiPHEC 2014 to hold in Abuja & Lagos


GREAT NEWS

Greetings photography enthusiast. First of all, we’ll like to apologize if you’re getting this newsletter for the second time on the same day. Our systems had a minor glitch (which has been resolved now) perhaps due to the excitement that has been brewing up regarding next year’s edition of Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference.

The good news about next year’s NiPHEC is that it will be holding in 2 cities in Nigeria: Abuja & Lagos. April 27-29, 2014 will witness NiPHEC in Abuja while the Lagos edition will hold from April 29 – May 3, 2014. We’re still ironing out the details and will keep you posted regarding venue and seminars to be made available.

Expect to network and learn from world-class photographers like Joe McNally, Jide Alakija, & Aisha Augie-Kuta among others. Other speakers will be announced hereafter. Registration for the conference will open in January 2014.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to our sponsors (Nikon Africa), attendees & facilitators who made NiPHEC 2013 a memorable experience. Next year’s edition will be greater. For those that attended this year’s conference and are still having problems with getting their certificates, kindly contact us at info and we’ll do our best to resolve it.

For more information regarding sponsorship for this event or if you have any suggestions or ideas that will help make the conference a memorable one, kindly send us a mail at info.

You’ve received this mail because at one time or the other you contacted us at eloPhotos or NiPHEC. If you’ll prefer not to get any of this newsletters from us anymore, we apologize for the inconvenience caused and we’ll appreciate if you could scroll down to the buttom of this message and click the “Unsubscribe” button.

We look forward to hosting you at NiPHEC 2014. For updates, kindly follow us on Youtube, Facebook & Twitter.

Photographically Yours,
Seun Akisanmi, NiPHEC Convener

 

A BORING Writeup Without A TITLE


There is no better way we start off a new week at eloPhotos than with our usual sweet Monday morning devotion. It was a refreshing time of fellowship as we sang beautiful  praise and worship songs and had a brief exhortation from God’s word which was given by Mr. Seun Akisanmi. During the course of the devotion, he threw a question to us whether it was biblically right to engrave a tattoo on one’s body. As I expected, that created mixed reactions as most of my colleagues thought it was not morally right. My boss concluded by quickly saying that personally he feels nothing was wrong with engraving a tattoo on one’s body especially when it has the caption “Jesus Loves You”. His words arose some form of laughter but at the end I thought to myself that he could be making a good point.

At the end of the devotion, I and my colleagues were told by my boss that we will be required to design individually a 30-spread album from the last wedding ceremony covered and it ought to be ready by latest September 20. Honestly, the new assignment came to me as a surprise as I felt much unprepared. For a quick moment, all I thought of was the fact that I didn’t have a sound background on the use of Photoshop and Lightroom software’s for editing images and creating an album. It became apparently obvious to me that this will be a tasking challenge I have to face and hopefully overcome within
the stipulated time frame. I said to myself “so help me God”.

The day’s job started properly on a high note as we began the viewing and selection of the pictures we took during the Tunbosun and Dieko’s wedding ceremony. I discovered that some of the pictures I took were not “Tack Sharp”. For a moment I felt a little disappointed but my colleagues were so kind and thoughtful enough to offer me words of encouragement as there was room for improvement. Pardon me if I got you a bit confused with my terms: “Tack Sharp” is a photography term that simply means the images in a picture frame are still clearly seen even after zooming in.

At about 10:30am, a meeting was held to deliberate, brain storm and plan ahead of the second edition of Nigeria Photography Expo Conference (NiPHEC) that will be coming up in April 2014. In attendance were lots of prominent and established names as far as the
photography industry in Nigeria was concerned. Also present was the much talked about wedding photographer, Akara Ogheneworo. Honestly, I considered myself very privileged to have attended such a sensitive meeting. NiPHEC 2014 will be held in two major cities in Nigeria with the first three days of the conference being staged in Abuja from the
27th to 29th April 2014. Thereafter, the last four days of the conference will be held in Lagos from the 30th to 3rd May 2014.

The rest of the working week went so fast like a “tornado” with Thursday having the major highlight. Being mandated by my boss, Mr. Seun Akisanmi, my colleagues and I were motivated to put in our entries for the British council “Through My Eyes” competition that will be involving a pair; a creative writer and a photographer. The competition is all about doing 200 maximum words of creative write up accompanied with photographs to illustrate what is working now in our immediate community. After a few hours of brain storming, we eventually came up with a creative concept which will portray a comparison of the  orderliness of passengers entering the popular Lagos commercial danfo bus and the state government BRT bus. Executing the task was a bit of challenge in itself especially when we were shooting the BRT bus with passengers entering it.

The week ended on a colorful note as I was privileged to cover (alongside with my boss and the great Ronke Alao) a baby’s naming ceremony. This happened to be my first witness of a typical Yoruba child naming ceremony; trust me, it was indeed worthwhile. I got to the event venue an hour earlier, as it was schedule to start by 12:00pm. Funny enough the event didn’t start until about 1:00pm, something personally I wasn’t too surprised because of the “African man’s time mentality”. For me, the whole event was a good experience as it turned out to be fun-loving, interesting and it offered me the
opportunity to practice more and work on getting “Tack Sharp” images.

I have to drop my pen now and stop boring you with the details of my week. Until next week kindly note that this is Onodje Oshevwiyore and I am proud to be an Associate Photographer at eloPhotos Studios.

eloPhotos Office Policy Changes


We appreciate our clients and colleagues and are always thinking of ways to serve you best. We would like to acquaint you with some of our policies designed to serve you better.

1. To better attend to you and satisfy your needs, from henceforth we’ll receive  you at our reception area and not the editing room or studio.

2. We respect your time and also know that you appreciate having our undivided attention when you come around. For this reason, we ask that you please schedule an appointment, (at least 24-48 hours prior to your visit), with our staff before visiting. As a result of having to shoot on locations or train outside the office (or sometimes in the office), fixing an appointment will help ensure that we attend to you promptly and also help us become more efficient at managing our time.

For further inquiries on our training an services, kindly send us a mail at info@elophotos.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you promptly. You can also add us on your BlackBerry (271E3BC8), Facebook, Twitter & Youtube.

Thanks for your cooperation as we earnestly look forward to serving you better.

 

My 1st Professional Wedding Coverage: Praise & Tosin Fowowe


WoW! It was 7 years yesterday (September 16, 2006) when I handled my first DSLR (Olympus e500 with 2 kit lenses) to shoot my very first wedding. It was the union of two of my friends Praise & Tosin. Going through my archives, I could easily see some improvements I’ve made over time in covering weddings. I decided to post the pictures unedited so everyone will know where the journey started for me photographically. I think the pictures we take now look nicer; perhaps the couple can hire us for the 10th Anniversary REUNION. Here’s to wishing Praise a Glorious Birthday and a Happy Anniversary. 🙂

 

My Best Pre-Wedding Shoot Yet: EWOMA & ROTIMI


So I had one of the best times few days ago when I shot Ewoma & Rotimi. Usually before any shoot I get a little nervous because most clients expectations of me seems too lofty for me to achieve. After cooling myself down with Gala and Ribena, the session started around 3:30pm after the last service in my church (Daystar Christian Centre). The major reason i decided on using the church compound for the location was because i was having a mild headache (perhaps from my nervousness) and I didn’t want to postpone the shoot or stress myself or the couple.

Rotimi who started out as a shy “groom” ended up performing beyond my expectations. I was assisted by my able colleague and Aliko Dangote Photographer, Michael Babalola and together we were able to come up with the pictures below. The camera i decided to use was one that i got in 2008 (Olympus e330 with a 50mm – 200mm lens) in an attempt to reaffirm to myself the idea of whether or not great pictures are made by a camera or by the camera holder. In this situation, i think the combination of my assistant (Michael) and the couple resulted in the following pictures. Let us know what you think.

Don’t Quit Until You’ve Tried 17 TIMES


Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So it happened that I finally got fed up of the rice and beans breakfast I had been having in the office for the past 3 months. On the morning of September 13, I asked my colleague to help me get yam and plantain so my stomach could experience a difference in atmospheric conditions.

 

He returned 10 minutes later and declared that no one was selling yam in the area. Apparently he had suffered a temporary amnesia else he would have remembered that you don’t report back on an assignment without results; you should always do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get it done. So it was that after allowing him to return my bowl to the store room in the office, I went to get the same bowl and secretly headed out of the office to seek for my loved & lost yam.

 

The first place I stopped by happened to be one of the hottest food selling joints in Agidingbi. They were so much in demand that even though the attendants shout and scream at the hungry clients, the clients still keep coming back often with an apology for making “Mama Put” angry. The attendant told me categorically that there was no restaurant in the area that sells yam. Apparently the attendant must have descended from the same lineage as my colleague that I sent to help me acquire the asset earlier; they seemed to be speaking the same language.

 

40 minutes and 14 mini-restaurants later, I became frustrated that I could not find one canteen that sold yam. Perhaps what my colleague said was true. Perhaps no one was indeed selling yam in the area that morning. Perhaps this was an opportunity in disguise for me to start a yam-selling business and call it “eloYam Canteen” with the slogan “Delivering HOT YAM, YOUR WAY” (or something like that). Perhaps my belief in the phrase “Nothing is Impossible” was overrated.

 

I decided not to give up. How will that make me look in front of my compatriots. That I do not practice what I preach. That going the extra mile will give you results beyond the average mind. I wasn’t about to give up.

 

Approaching the 16th canteen, it would seem that all hope was lost. The canteen had finished selling all the food they had and they were busy washing the plates. It was just 10:20am. Maybe I should just settle for rice and stew since that’s what is available everywhere. Afterall, it wasn’t as if I saw it in a vision that if I don’t eat yam and plantain that morning, the wife of my youth will run away with my 2 princesses to marry Bill Gates teenage son.

 

But I reluctantly decided to try one more time. It was then I noticed another “undercover” canteen just 2 buildings from where I was standing. I had passed that building over 10 times in the last year and did not know that it housed a canteen. I asked the woman washing plates outside if they had yam. “Go inside and buy it” was her response and I was almost doubting she heard me correctly. I thought no one sold yam in the entire area. I asked her again and she blurted “Go INSIDE”.

 

Entering through the doorway that was only wide enough to allow one slim person enter per time, I met a crowd of about 8 people waiting to get their portion of dream food. After waiting for about 2 minutes, I decided I did not want to waste my time to queue up for 15 minutes only to discover they didn’t sell yam. So I just shouted to the women selling the food “Is there Yam?” A mixture of doubt, surprise, fulfillment and happiness enveloped my soul when she replied in the affirmative. Finally I FOUND YAM. Finally YAM FOUND ME.

 

You should have seen my facial expression when the attendant opened the pot of boiled yam and began serving me my portion of destiny-fulfilling yams. I was elated. So elated that I decided to spend the entire N180 I brought to give myself a yam and plantain treat (normally, I wouldn’t have spent more than N100). Funny enough, if the person in front of me had ordered N200 worth of yam, the canteen would have run out of yam to sell consequently making me to relocate to my yam-filled village of Abeokuta. Thank God there was still yam for my soul.

 

Getting back to the office, I narrated my ordeal in search of the long lost yam. It seemed quite weird to some of my colleagues but I think the message was successfully passed across: DON’T TELL ME SOMETHING IS IMPOSSIBLE or UNACHIEVABLE. Infact, if anyone working with or for me strongly believes that its not possible for them to do what I ask of them, that might be the last time we work together.

 

I’ve learnt in my few years of experimenting as an entrepreneur that whatever you put your mind to do or achieve will come to pass if you’re persistent and especially if God is working with you. So except it is the JAMB exams you’ve unsuccessfully passed in the last 16 years, never give up at trying until you’ve tried 17 TIMES. That’s my new motto. That’s my renewed way of thinking.

 

Anyone up for some yam?

 

Shooting Aliko Dangote’s Daughter


English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 - Ali...

English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 – Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Nigeria, during the African Fellowship Programe with Young Global Leaders announcement at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org /Photo Matthew Jordaan matthew.jordaan@inl.co.za (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I got a call from Aliko Dangote last month, (I am not name-dropping); he wanted to know about our wedding packages. Realizing it wasn’t a prank and I was really speaking to Dangote, I adjusted well in my seat and faked a cough. I gave him a price using a multiplying factor of
17 times our standard price. Now I know you’re dropping your jaw in surprise and thinking, “This guy is a thief” but my dear, it’s Aliko Dangote. If he is calling me, it can only mean one thing, he already made up his mind to hire us. A person like him won’t waste time window shopping. Forgive me, Dangote wasn’t the one getting married; his daughter was. The wedding was scheduled to be a two-part event; the traditional wedding at his hometown in Kano and the reception on his yacht the day after.

After a couple of emails back and forth, the contract was signed. The flight and hotel itinerary for me and my two assistant was sent. I got a shocker on getting to the airport; we were all booked for first class. Now, I know you are wondering if flying first class is really a shocker. For a first time flier, flying first class turned out to be a pleasant surprise and only a thoughtful client would do that.

I should have known the airport scenario was preparation for good things to come. We were checked into the penthouse suite of 5-star hotel in Kano (can’t remember the name now). Now for the Dangotes, this is how they roll but for me and my team, this is the best treatment we have gotten so far from a client in our entire photography career so you can understand our excitement.

Whoever came up with the statement “ Money is the root of all evil” I am guessing has never been to Dangote’s house. The house, sorry, the edifice is a 16-Bedroom mansion (yea, I counted), two executive living room and a standard living room. The dining room is the largest I have ever seen, an Italian exquisite design which can sit twenty-four people at once. I know you can wait to see the pictures now but indulge me, I have not even gotten to the best part yet.

The bride’s room is spacious like Maracana stadium but not as big though. Taking her portrait session there was absolutely amazing; super beautiful bride plus beautiful room equals no serious editing.

Another interesting thing that fascinated me about this job was their timeliness and orderliness. The event started at the exact time stated (9am promptly), a few meters away from the Olympic-sized swimming pool and within three hours, the traditional ceremony was done. We had the couple’s session and family portrait at the artificial resort in the compound.

The reception was held the next day on his yacht. I don’t need to describe it (ii.e. yacht) because I won’t want you to start cursing your luck. The event was a more advanced version of R Kelly‘s ‘Happy People’ video. It was a suit and tie event and trust me when I say the rich Hausas sure know how to clean up nice, they really do. I had lots of fun shooting this wedding and just when I fixed my super wide angle lens (Canon 8mm- 10mm lens) on my camera to take a panoramic shoot of the yacht, I heard
someone call out my name. Tayo! Tayo!! Tayo!!! I turned around to see who it was; it was my mum staring down at me on the bed, wanting to know if I was not going to the office today. “So I had been dreaming”, I asked myself.

I am supposed to write on how my week went at eloPhotos Studios but the week had been on pause mode because I am still waiting by my phone and expecting Aliko Dangote to call me to cover his daughter’s wedding.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a Dreaming Photographer.

A Photographer’s Passion For CREATIVITY


The word “Passion” means a very strong feeling about something that arouses affection towards that thing. It expresses itself in enthusiasm, overwhelming interest and a strong drawing in the direction of that thing. Passion is the tonic for ingenuity and creativity.

Most people like to talk about their passion, but how creative have they made their passion work for them? How passionate are you about your photography and what you engage yourself in daily? This brings me to focus more on creativity which has been one of the values being imbibed in us at eloPhotos Studios.

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, being creative involves the use of skill and imagination to produce something new especially a work of art. Creativity is the ability to make something new. The dictionary added that creativity and originality are more important than technical skill. Do you have any ideas? You are the creative one. God is a creative genius. Deuteronomy 4:32 is one place in the Bible that talks about God’s creativity.

Looking back at the way most of us grew up, I remember some of the things I created back then; match box car, broom and nylon kite, paper plane and boats, etc. One thing I know, we all grew up creative but somewhere along the line we lost that ability. What happened? You may ask! Conformity had set into the minds of most of us. Also, the way our community has changed who and what we were born with made matters worse.

We all have the ability to be creative; we were born with it and it is still in each and every one of us. Few things I have come to know about creative people is: 1) they are well informed,
2) they are out-of-the-box thinkers, and
3) they have modest intelligence.

Creative people see things in a multitude of ways, as they provide creative atmospheres. They are open to creativity even when they seem to be playful. They are inquisitive, always asking for more. They think BIG and even allow others to fail forward by giving them chances to try again. They are intentionally creative. These are some of the reasons I am in love with eloPhotos, seriously. Ask my colleagues if you think I am joking or not serious.

In addition, without creativity, you become stuck in a rut. You need a constant stream of new ideas to remain competitive in the society because your market is changing every day. You need to understand the processes of being creative; know what the problem is, research and identify the possible solutions, determine how to create new combinations and decide which alternative leads to a new idea. Create your action plan and JUST DO IT.

Remember not to just create a plan; plan to execute it. We need to produce better creative solutions if we want to attract & retain more clients. Most people have mistaken creativity for innovation. Innovation is the implementation of what is created. Creativity is the process while innovation is the act. Let your creations become innovated. Thank God I had a creative week this last 7 days at eloPhotos. Looking forward to a new one to get more knowledge and ideas to improve my Present & Future LIFE.

I am Awosanmi Emmanuel and I am photographically creative, thanks to eloPhotos.

 

The Daunting Challenges of CAPTURING MOMENTS


“It is never advised to cover a wedding ceremony alone, in a worst case scenario go along with at least one assistant”. These were the words of Mr. Seun Akisanmi to the 2013 D-SAP set 11 photography students. It will be an advice that would come handy sooner than I thought.

After covering the engagement and wedding ceremony of Tunbosun and Dieko alongside my colleagues, I now realize that there are lots of challenges and stress I would surely have faced if I had gone alone.

The wedding of Tunbosun and Dieko turned out to be one of the biggest ceremonies I have ever witnessed. It also happened to be my very first Yoruba wedding ceremony I have witnessed. What even makes it more exciting was the fact that I was not attending as an invited guest but rather I was there to cover alongside my colleagues the photography aspect of the event. For the first time in my life I was in an event where I saw all manner of food and drinks but was not interested to eat because the task of capturing every moment required me to be fully alert during the course of the event.

On Thursday morning I went with my colleagues to photograph the bride and groom engagement ceremony. It was indeed an amazing experience as I had the opportunity to shoot the bride as makeup was done by the makeup artist. The engagement ceremony took place at the Olubi Hall Cele-Okota road, Isolo. The hall was well spacious and air conditioned with invited guest fully in attendance. They all sat in round tables that were covered and designed with white cloths. It was quite fascinating for me in photographing the guests especially during the engagement rite proper.

On the day of the wedding proper, it was the sound from my alarm clock that woke me up. At that moment, all I could think of was the big wedding event that was ahead of me. I quickly committed the busy day’s activities into God’s hands by saying a word of prayer. Almost immediately, I took my bath and got dressed in sky blue jeans and yellow shirt. Preparing breakfast was not an option on my mind as I was kin on getting to the groom’s hotel before time.

Just before the church wedding ended, I and Toye Peters quickly headed for the reception venue to capture the decorated hall. The reception venue was at ICAN Centre in Lake View Estate, Amuwo Odufn. On arrival at the reception, I noticed the entire hall had been beautifully decorated with each tables and chair covered with white cloth and designed with lovely flowers in water glass vest. I thought to myself that the interior decorator had done a very good job. I and my colleague started photographing the entire hall. Starting with the main stage where the couple will be sitting, to the cakes, decorated tables and chairs and the main walk ways.

During the course of the event, I captured guest sitting, walking, coming in and out. I also photographed the caterer’s food, drinks, and so many seemingly “mundane” things. The invited guests were all well-dressed mostly in traditional Yoruba attire that was so appealing and colorful. As I photographed, I just can’t help but noticed how cute and lovely the ushers in the reception hall were looking. Each wore a nice and simple black short gown with a flower ribbon pinned closed to the left chest. I thought for a moment that these pretty ladies must have been carefully selected for this job.

The wedding finally ended on a merriment note as I and my colleagues ate and drank to our satisfaction while we enjoyed the sweet melody of the music that was being played.

On a final note, my experience at Tunbosun and Dieko’s wedding ceremony was worthwhile and amazing. I was so privileged to be part of the team that covered the photography aspect of the event and the job of capturing moments in a ceremony is quite challenging but exciting.

I’m Onodje Oshevwiyore and I plan to spend the next 15 years of my wonderful life as a PHOTOGRAPHER.

How To Write A Great Profile About YOURSELF


So a few people have approached me over time to ask how to write their profiles. Each one had apparently read mine and wondered what a wonderful job I did. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with such a “resume” without the help of a few people. This isn’t for everyone but if you feel the need to have a profile to market your personal brand then this might help. The costlier alternative will be to hire a profile “expert” if you feel my process is too daunting a task for you to achieve.

First, get at least 6 people to help out on this journey to “profiling” destiny. It helps if half of the people don’t know you as much as the other half. Now ask them (in a kind manner ofcourse considering the fact that you’re not paying them any currency) to write down 6 sentences they consider to be true about you. Note that at this junction, some of what they might write down are considered “prophecies”; they’re realities that have not fully manifested in you yet. For example, you might be considered to be “kind” by your acquaintances and “too generous” by your close friends. It depends on who you’re asking.

Collate all the sentences about you and review and edit for accurate information. Note that you want the profile structured in such a way that it promotes you as a human being (not an angel) that people will love to meet and work with. If you’ve gotten to this point, you should get enough data to work around creating a profile like the one my team did for me (appearing below this article). Once you’ve collected their “answer sheets”, make sure you get them LUNCH to replenish the energy they dispensed during the tedious task of exercising their brain in order to help your personal brand.

Once you’ve done all these, give your final review copy to someone you consider to be a creative writer to review for you. It helps of course if the person is your friend so that you don’t get charged much for this “review” session. I don’t mind reviewing it for you if you can send it to info@elophotos.com along with a BlackBerry Q10 or a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone (to my physical address ofcourse…before some clown “emails” me a phone).

There you have it. You’ve created a profile that should represents a mini-resume of your life. With this you can update your “About Me” section on your social media platform. Let me know if this FREE profiling seminar helped.

Here’s what my team of 6 came up with about one Seun Akisanmi. Enjoy.

Seun Akisanmi is a talented, creative, God-fearing, teacher and educator with an unusual business mindset. His passion for photography was ignited after his mum got him a Christmas present in 1998: a Samsung camera. After many years as a hobbyist, he ventured fully in a career of professional photography in 2006 when he founded ELOPHOTOS STUDIOS (www.elophotos.com), an outfit that delivers world-class photography services. Since then he has covered numerous events and projects, one of which included the photography coverage of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja for their 2009 calender.
His unique selling point is his gentle and calm personality and the ability to add a touch of creativity while capturing every moment of an occasion.
In 2007, he began attracting a number of people some of which included photographers that had been in the industry for a while. They wanted to get the same results that he was getting in the management of his photography business. Subsequently, he began quarterly seminars where photographers gathered to discuss their challenges and were educated on the art & business of photography.
A photography facilitator in Daystar Skill Acquisition Project {Dsap}, he received his Bsc in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois, U.S.A.
In February 2010, he established ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY (EA), an institute with a vision of raising world–class photographers. EA offers basic and advance photography courses for intending photographers and hobbyists. The results have been mind–blowing.
Over the years, he has been able to build a photography team while he runs his busy schedule, usually between Abuja and Lagos.
He left his position at eloPhotos Studios in December 2012 to start Seun Akisanmi Studios, a premium imaging brand providing creative & stunning documentation of life, people & places.
He is happily married to Ofure who also shares in his passion for photography. Together they reside in Lagos with their 2 beautiful princesses, Ebenezer & Anuoluwapo

 

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career


I almost couldn’t believe it was already Thursday. I mean, what happened earlier in the week? it’s not like I was in a coma or anything, the week just flew by very fast. I do remember now.

My boss (SEUN AKISANMI, for those who don’t know by now) had hinted at the fact that I was forgetting important details easily, so was he. In fact, he had ordered a Memory Book, (no kidding, he really ordered a book that teaches how to improve one’s memory). The book had not been delivered yet so I did the next best thing; I went on a BEANS diet.

How would eating beans everyday improve my memory? I had no clue, but somewhere in my pretty little brain, I believed it would. ‘More protein, less starch’ kind of thing so the beans marathon started on Monday. I had beans for breakfast three days in a row. I also had half a portion of beans for dinner on two of those days.

The beans I had for breakfast was not any kind of beans. It is the type called Ewa Agoyin. For people who never eat outside or grew up in a palace, Ewa Agoyin means nothing but for those of us who grew up in a place like Agege, Lagos, you know exactly what I am talking about.

I had a few friends while growing up who I have lost contact with but Ewa Agoyin is one childhood friend that I still get together with. Whenever we hang out, it is as though time never passed. So, you can imagine why this beans diet wasn’t a huge challenge for me.

Whether my memory diet worked or not is debatable. I believe it did to an extent but I had to put a stop to it on Thursday. I was tired of what this childhood friend was doing to my marriage. It was making me speak to my husband in a language I normally don’t speak. By “speak”, I don’t mean talking with my mouth (let him that readeth understand). For the reader who is still having trouble understanding, the beans diet was making me make noises through the posterior of my anatomy.

As I thought about what beans had done to me that week, I was glad my embarrassing moments were in the privacy of my home and in the presence of my husband. What if those moments happened while I was out on a job?

Imagine you are shooting a portrait session of a couple in a quiet location. You already have them in your award-winning pose and you know the angle from which you would be taking the shot. It would require you getting in the squatting position. Your clients are all smiles, they have their pose right and everything is playing out just the way you envisioned. You get in the squat position and just a fraction of a second before you press the shutter, you let out a batch of violent-sounding fart. One so loud it drowns whatever noise your shutter might have made.

It’s almost painful to imagine for me. I think that would be a perfect moment either for the ground to open up and swallow me or for the trumpet to sound and rapture takes place.

Perhaps you think my feelings are exaggerated. Only a man would feel it wasn’t such a big deal. I remember once having a teacher that habitually farted in class and would simply say,”Ha, I ate a lot of beans”, as if that was supposed to make it all better for his students.

Passing gas loudly in front of clients would be devastating for a female photographer, I think. No matter what my male colleagues say, I believe a man would experience some degree of embarrassment too; except the clients in question are childhood friends of yours and you all played the game, “loudest fart”, as kids.

What’s the whole point of me writing an elaborate post on how farting can erode your ego as a photographer? Well, you know it’s the little things we never think (or talk) about that affect our business and reputation as photographers. Clients won’t remember your brand of lens and could care less if you used a full-frame camera or not. What they would probably not forget is how loud your fart was. So before you go on a beans diet, think about how it might affect your client relations and your photography career as a whole.

Ronke Alao
Writer |Photographer|Poet

 

WARNING: READ BEFORE YOU TRAIN AT eloPhotos


Believe it or not but God has a tattoo! It’s not of a skull, snake or even a scorpion. No, it’s something more beautiful: MY NAME. This was revealed at Monday’s weekly devotion and who else could have talked about such a radical idea but Mr Seun Akisanmi. He was sharing from Isaiah 49:16 where the Bible states “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” I had never seen that verse from that perspective but I am not one of those who think tattoos are a one-way ticket to hell. I would get a ‘Jesus’ tattoo myself if my husband approved and if tattoos weren’t painful.

Back to the Isaiah passage. Can you imagine your name engraved on God’s hand? Every time he stretches his hand, (and it must be a MIGHTY BIG hand to have all of God’s children’s name on it), he sees your name. That means you are always on his mind even when it seems he’s forgotten you. To think I came to eloPhotos to learn photography and I end up discovering there’s so much more to learn.

If you are a fun-loving person like me, you are probably just enjoying this write-up but if you have an analytical mind, chances are you are still trying to connect the title with the content. For your sake, I’ll get straight to the point. If you plan to train as a photographer at eloPhotos, let me warn you of a few things you are probably not aware of. Aren’t you glad you can get inside information from a trusted, outspoken and kind intern like me? Okay, here are 3 hot scoops to start with (you can get the other tips once you hire me for my photography services 1st).

CHORES
If you think you are all grown up and don’t do household chores anymore, don’t even sign up at eloPhotos. Here, it doesn’t matter whether you are the first son of your father and next in line to be crowned king of your village; you will sweep, wash plate(s) and run errands. You will learn patience as you interact with the rude and saucy Mama Laratu (our official restaurant Chef,huh, I mean Mama PUT).

PUBLIC ENEMY
If you are the type of person that would risk paying a little more for an item because you don’t want a vendor to insult you, don’t worry. You will learn some negotiating skills here that will turn you to a lean, mean negotiating machine – in a good way of course. Every kobo counts here, so if you pay a bus fare of N50 from Agidingbi bus-stop to say Testing ground bus-stop, you would probably have to listen to Mr Seun ask you why you didn’t negotiate to pay N30. I am not kidding. What better way to become Public Enemy Number 1 when bus conductors and market sellers lash out at you for daring to price their service/goods.

CAN’T WHAT?
If your favorite thing to say is “I can’t do such and such” or “It is impossible”, you will learn to change your vocabulary here. We don’t use such words here. Now, if you are a die-hard fan of those words and will want to insist something can’t be done, Mr Seun could ask you to go do it and do it you will. There is a zero-tolerance for excuses.

Well, you might wonder, “If eloPhotos is such a tough place to be, why has Ronke stayed this long?” especially when you consider the fact that I am the only female intern currently. Perhaps it’s because of the great people I get to work with or maybe it’s the little ways in which my life has changed. I think spending time with creative photographers brings out the “weird” in you. How would you explain the fact that I now sleep late and wake up early, I started writing again after one year of abandoning the craft, I am more futuristic in my thinking and I think really BIG. Thinking outside the box is something I now do effortlessly. I am beginning to set high standards for the goals I set for myself and recently started thinking of writing my first book.

Another important aspect of photography that I know I may not have been able to learn just anywhere but I learn quite well here is the “Business of Photography”. Yes, training at eloPhotos is no job for a lazy person but it ultimately brings out the best in you.

Photographically Yours,
Ronke Alao

 

A Debtor’s INTEGRITY, A Creditor’s REGRET


I can’t remember ever having to do a writeup with a heart as heavy as what I’m experiencing now. However my silence might only add to the increasing level of decline in character seen in men & women in our society. One thing I’ve learnt in the last 16 years of my short life (especially while running my first internet-based company in America) is the fact that one of the most valuable asset in life you can have is a character of INTEGRITY. Integrity can take 20 years to build and 1 hour to destroy. It is one aspiration I’m still gunning for.

And so it was that while I was relaxing outside a shopping mall near my office & thinking of the next inspirational writeup to put up on my network, I found myself face to face with the last person I ever thought I’ll meet: one of my CREDITORS. As the organizer of the Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), I had ended up in a debt so huge that it shook the foundations of my life and marriage. Every vendor that came on board to make it a monumental success agreed to support based on the reputation I was perceived to have. The graphic artist, conference speakers (local & foreign), location provider, event planner, videographer, printer & other vendors had to give me a line of credit for providing their various services with the hope that I’ll pay up before or during the conference.

Unfortunately, we were not able to get enough sponsors on board to cover the entire $87,000 cost of organizing the event. The resulting debt will leave me in a state of embarrassment to the extent that I was atimes reluctant to even pick up my phone when it rang. It was even more painful when people started calling & emailing me shortly after the conference to CONGRATULATE me on the SUCCESS of a conference that left me more broke than when I started. And there I was thinking “it’s easy for you to call it a success when you’re not the one footing the debt”.

The management of the venue we used cut us some slack and accepted the 40% deposit we could raise to secure the venue 2 days before start of NiPHEC. The balance was to be paid during the conference with the hope that we’ll get enough participants to cover the bill; we were not able to come up with the balance. And the biggest character-wrecking mistake I did was NOT to get back to them since the conclusion of the conference.

So you can picture how heart-wrenching it was when you slam into someone you owe money for months and haven’t paid up yet. Telling them that you were recently thinking about getting in touch with them would not be a great excuse. Telling them that you were depressed, terminally ill or heart broken will not change the fact that the perception they had of you has eroded. You then discover that your heart can beat 755 times per minute when they tell you that “they regretted ever working with you and will not be that generous to anyone EVER again”.

I had never been in that kind of monumental debt situation before and I know that I didn’t handle the communication part well. It would have been better if I had called them often to keep them posted regarding the situation of things at my end. It would have been better if I had approached them to explain my situation rather than wait to stumble unto them. At that moment, my heart felt as though I had killed someone….as if I had committed the Judas-Iscariot sin. I felt like the multitude of many Nigerians that had been labeled fraudstars. IF ONLY I HAD KEPT THE COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN.

For the next 40 minutes, I would walk the remorseful distance back to my office like one who had lost his family in an earthquake. Upon getting back to the office I decided to call everyone that I had already contacted prior to now to appeal to them to still give me some time to clear my debt. Interestingly, they empathized with me and told me that they trust me to pay up whenever I had the resources. If only I had made the calls earlier.

As someone who has been in business for while, I still have Pastors, Ministers of God, students, friends and clients who still owe me money for a service I provided. I’ve made it a point not to be someone who gets angry at any debtor for not keeping in touch with me especially since I’ve committed the same offense with my creditors. It’s a character flaw a lot of us need to work on so that at the end of our days we shall be regarded as “blameless before God & man”.

At the end of my days, may my character be like the one whose Master shall gladly say “Well done, good & faithful servant”. May God help me. MAY GOD HELP US ALL.

 

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS


My week officially started on Tuesday. No, I didn’t skip work on Monday but as I stood in line at Silverbird Cinemas for ‘free’ popcorn and drink; the sweet aroma of the corn filtering through my nostrils and enveloping my sinuses, I felt like my week had just started.

The trip to the movies was sponsored by eloPhotos as a treat/field trip of some sorts. There’s something about seeing great movies that sharpens one’s artistic mind.

Not too long after arriving at the movies, I saw about five photography colleagues that had come to see the same movie I came to see, Elysium. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps we photographers should speak to the management of Silverbird Cinemas and see if we can strike a deal, where photographers enjoy a movie discount.

While still waiting to get my free snack, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying, “…you could go in and see the movie for ten minutes, then come back out and the popcorn line wouldn’t be so long anymore”. I didn’t have to turn to recognize the voice; it was my boss. I couldn’t believe Mr Seun was back at the Cinema to see the same movie for the third time! I had left him and the rest of the team at the office since they all had seen the movie. No one knew Mr Seun had plans to ‘sneak’ out of the office to see the movie again.

I finally got my popcorn and fanta then found the cinema room. The movie ran for a little less than two hours and in one word, I would simply describe it as AWESOME. In case you haven’t seen it, I do not want to spoil the fun for you so I won’t give you the gist. GO SEE IT.

Tuesday ended on an interesting note. My alternate cellphone got lost in a bus and I didn’t realize it till I got home. I tried appealing to the good nature of whoever picked it by sending text messages; since he/ she wouldn’t pick my call. It didn’t work.

The next day came along and I lost an earring. Perhaps I am having my things walk away from me, one at a time. The day’s highlight was having Maximus of Phaneross Photography come and speak to eloPhotos interns on the topic, “Improving Your Photography”. It was an insightful 3-hours lecture.

As if the week had not been strange enough for me, Wednesday afternoon had to have it’s own element of weirdness. I boarded a bus headed for Ikorodu from Ojota. Just before we got to Ikorodu, I found that almost everyone in the bus was talking about some guy, a muslim cleric, who died years ago. They said he recently made an ‘appearance’ on the wall of a mosque at Owode area. His image was said to have appeared on a wall. People were reported to have taken pictures of this wonder and were now selling 5 X 7″ photo prints in traffic. Strange story or biggest scam of the year? You decide.

Lagos being the crazy city it is, I never run out of amazing things to see everyday. Things such as a man holding the cab door open for a lady to enter first. This happened on Thursday. I was taken aback, surprised to see this guy who didn’t know me, open the door for me. This may seem ordinary to you but after a week of seeing even pregnant ladies been pushed off by desperate passengers hoping to get in a bus, seeing a gentleman was very refreshing.

Thursday turned out to be a busy day. We had an event-Dieko and Tunbosun’s engagement- to cover. I headed to the groom’s hotel room to take shots of him while my colleague covered the bride. The groom was quite camera-shy but after chatting with him and doing my best to make him relax, he got comfortable with having his pictures taken.

The event was fun to cover and will stand out in my mind as the first event where I was served food. If I had any doubts in my mind about wedding photography been physically challenging, those doubts got cleared on Friday morning. I woke up wondering what hit me. I became very aware of muscles I never knew I had. My leg felt like it had 50 kg weights strapped to it.

On Friday, we had what you could call a strategy meeting. Mr Seun Akisanmi met with the interns and discussed what we learnt at the previous day’s event and what we could do better subsequently; especially on saturday for the church wedding and reception.

On my way home on Friday, I met a former school colleague at Ojota and we got talking. We both graduated from the same faculty. He asked if I worked close by. I was dressed very casually but looked smart. I proudly told him, “I am now a photographer and work at Ikeja”. I think I impressed myself with the confidence with which I said it. It felt good.

It was a week full of fun, weird happenings and ridiculous stuff but I am glad it is over.

My name is Ronke Alao & I am proud to be a female photographer.

 

Knowing When to FIRE Your MENTOR


It’s a dicy issue to talk about. But there comes a time when you have to move on with whatever mentoring relationship you have with someone you respect and admire. Knowing that “right” timing is very key to your growth as an artist or individual.

When I got back from America and decided to venture professionally into photography, I met a few potential mentors. One will still remain a mentor till this day: Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Though known by a few to have his own issues or “weaknesses”, Kelechi is someone who has built a brand you will consider successful. Though some will argue that he has been “over-celebrated”, one thing that stands him out from some other top photographers is his desire to share his knowledge wholeheartedly with any hungry soul. Coupled with the fact that he has a track record very few Nigerian photographers can compete with, this has made him a photographer many enthusiasts and young professionals will love to be like “when they grow up”.

That being said, I’ve known a few people who believe that he’s not all that. One apprentice even confessed to me that the last day she worked with Kelechi was the day she witnessed him take pictures of NAKED women. “How can he engage in such an ungodly act”, she exclaimed. That was something the apprentice could not comprehend as “right” in her christian mindset. Truth is it isn’t something my christian mind can comprehend either. As a minority in my family, I have the privilege of being surrounded by 3 beautiful female beings; I do not need to see any more naked textures of a lady outside my family. My mind is just too creative to remain stable after my eyes have feasted on………..

That being said (or should it be “that being written”), relating with a mentor like Kelechi for me can be likened to eating shark fish; you need to sort out the bones and eat the delicious flesh. Very few people I know are picky enough to consider it too much trouble to eat most fishes or meat because of too much bones. In some cases, the bones are even digested after the main meal.

Relating with a lot of my mentors has been a continuous & deliberate act of focusing on their strengths instead of digesting their weaknesses. However, you can choose to be like my cousin who does not like eating chicken at all because of the stress of going through the bones. You can choose to dislike a mentor once you discover he/she has a weakness that your stomach can’t seem to digest. When such a reality dawns on you, it is expedient for you to quietly “FIRE” the mentor rather than have the weakness torment your relationship.

By “FIRE”, I’m referring to a way by which you will quietly close the door on the relationship instead of “SLAMMING” the door. You never can tell when you might need to go back through that same door. Besides, relating with mentors should also bring to your reality that they’re also as human as you are and sometimes with more flaws than people know. It is better to quietly end the relationship than to be an agent that specializes in marketing the weaknesses of others. What you sow, you will reap.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for those that look up to me afar off and when they finally join eloPhotos as interns, they realize that I have serious issues I still struggle with. They know my weaknesses and still decide to stay their full tenure. Can’t they see that I can be a workaholic who sometimes forgets that he’s married with 3 ladies to cater for. Can’t they see that I have a weakness of spending my last N1k to watch a movie called ELYSIUM even though I’ve watched it twice already. Can’t they see that although I studied Accounting in an American University, I still can’t make my balance sheets balance. They see all these and still choose to stay.

If the knowledge of your mentors’ weakness becomes too much for your soul to bear, its time to make a decision that might help save your soul. It’s time to become a distant fan and not a close protegee. I’ve had to become an admirer to at least 5 of the people I once considered mentors. For me the deal breaker is when the weakness is a major character flaw that I consider inexcusable (e.g. lying, cheating, adultery, etc). It’s just hard to see that person as someone I’ll like to be like when I grow up.

Severing the relationship can be painful but slamming the door on the relationship can cause more harm than good. When you get to the crossroad where all you see constantly is that person’s weakness, perhaps you should consider prayerfully FIRING the person. Its way better than bad-mouthing the person in front of others.

Perhaps I might be wrong on my stance. Perhaps I might be right. It’s your call to decide if this mentor of yours will FOREVER be your “role-model”. Or what would you do if you discover that your mentor of integrity confessed to embezzling bank funds entrusted to his care? What will you do?

Yours faithfully,
Your Photography Mentor in need of a BlackBerry Q10,
Seun Akisanmi

 

The Day a RAT Stole My Bathing SOAP


I know, I know, it sounds like a catchy title to get your attention and make you click to get here. Funny thing was, I didn’t believe it myself until….. Well, here’s what happened that faithful Saturday morning.

I had to sleep over at the office so I could get a little headstart on getting to the wedding I was to cover on September 7, 2013. After meeting with a colleague from Abuja, I headed to the bathroom in my office to get cleaned up before heading out. It was then I noticed my soap was gone. At first I tried to retrace my steps to see where I had placed it the last time I used it. Although I know I had been having issues with my memory (enough to prompt me to order THE MEMORY BOOK), I could have sworn I was 99% sure I placed the Tetmosol Baby Soap where I was looking for it.

Could it be that the bathing soap I bought for my princess Ebenezer (which was rejected by my Queen because it wasn’t “sensitive enough”) was attractive to someone else. Or perhaps it was the security man that borrowed it and forgot to return it. Or was my mind playing tricks on me? For about 10 minutes, I searched the entire office with a towel wrapped around my waist (stop trying to picture what I looked like).

Finally I returned to the bathroom to examine the location for more clues. It was then I decided to put on my CSI hat. To my surprise (ok, maybe I wasn’t really surprised), I discovered rat poopings in the area I had placed my soap. Was it possible that a starving rat ate my soap and left 12 crumbs of poop as evidence? Should I collect the “evidence” for further examination or perhaps send them to the lab for scrutiny? I concluded that the rat that had been entering my office through a hole in the ceiling must have been culprit in THE SAGA OF THE STOLEN SOAP.

Question now was WHAT SOAP AM I TO BATH WITH? Time was of the essence. I didn’t have the luxury of an extra 15 minutes to dress up again and go out to purchase another soap. I had to make a decision and I had to make it fast. After looking around for a few seconds, I came across a discovery that will suffice as a savior of the moment: OMO detergent. It was as if 2 forces were fighting in my head. To use or not to use OMO to bathe, that was the question.

It was then I remembered a weird cousin of mine who had used the washing detergent to bath about 15 years ago (there’s probably still a good chance that he still uses it). I realized that since his skin did not react to the experience and since he’s still alive today, there was nothing to loose. I needed to leave the house squeaky clean for this wedding I was to cover. It isn’t every weekend I get to cover weddings and when such an opportunity arises, it helps if my body odor isn’t what makes the groom or bride irritated.

4 minutes later, I was through bathing with the OMO detergent. Thanks to the rat that stole my soap, I would discover that the washing detergent isn’t that bad for my skin (as long as I use it once in 35 years). I felt an air of confidence envelope me after the experimental shower. Perhaps that helped in the CLEAN pictures I got during the wedding. Perhaps it didn’t. Either way, I was determined that no rat, soap or situation will stop me from achieving whatever goal I wanted to achieve (the goal of the moment being to be cleansed from my unrighteous body scents).

Moral of the story: do not let your LACK of things inhibit you from achieving your desired goal. If you exercise your brain cells well enough, you’ll realize to your surprise that you have more options than you ever thought were available. Keep an open mind and you’ll always know what to do whenever a RAT STEALS YOUR BATHING SOAP.

 

An Encounter with the GIFTED One


So I met one of the multitude of contacts on my blackberry at a wedding yesterday. We’ve been “friends” on facebook for years but this was my first time of meeting her. She is gifted….seriously her name is GIFTED. Although she warned me not to write this but I felt I needed to in order to make a point.

You see, I’ve been having a couple of people write or call me to tell me how helpful my photography-related writeups have been. Someone even went as far as insinuating its a GIFT from God. Well, I’ll like to believe anyone can work on expressing their experiences in writing for the benefit of others. The more you write, the better you get at writing. The feedback has been timely because I was almost getting discouraged.

The Gifted one was no different from one of the “encouragers” that came my way yesterday. Apparently she has been a fan long enough to know within herself that working with me will take her to her next level in photography. Although it might not be possible to have as staff/interns every single person that inquires, writing all these mini-articles is my attempt to bridge the gap. Either way, people still get to learn from my experiences without being at my office.

The Gifted one’s appreciation for what I do inspired me to keep doing whatever I’m doing that keeps inspiring people (and trust me, sometimes I have no clue). As a result of my encounter with the Gifted one, I was encouraged & strengthened to finalize the book I’ve been working on for a while now. The book is titled TEARS OF A HUNGRY PHOTOGRAPHER & it’s a compilation of the best 100+ articles I’ve written within the past 100 weeks. Tentative release date is December 15, 2013. I pray it will sell copies beyond the number of people in my immediate family. I pray.

So here’s to letting the Gifted one & every other person out there (especially those that read these articles and don’t drop a comment) know that I appreciate the time you take to “learn” from an enigmatic character like myself. I’m not perfect. I have issues I’m working on. But with God by my side, I will try not to disappoint.

How Much Is Your Hour Worth?


So I was having a telephone “consultation” session with one of my photography colleagues the other day. After I was through giving her my opinion of what she requested for, I asked her a question that momentarily popped into the gray matter within my skull: “How much do you think an hour with Seun Akisanmi is worth?” Her response was. more surprisingly spontaneous than the question itself. “$750 per hour,” she blurted out. Wow, I didn’t even know I was worth that much in consultation fees.

I explained to her that I was considering putting a fee on the telephone consultations I provide my “clients” because I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time on “telephone consultations”. Yes, I’m beginning to like money more than you’ll expect. It is because I’m beginning to believe it has potentials to solve some of the challenges I’m going though (like not owning a BMW 540i or a BlackBerry Q10). I believe if I don’t convert my most valuable resource (i.e.TIME) into money, I’ll probably end up realizing I’m running a non-profit organization and my wife and kids might probably leave me for not taking care of them. Hope you get my drift.

Don’t get scared now, I personally don’t think charging $750 per hour will bring an overflow of paying clients now. Besides I’m still reviewing it. Its one of the things I admire about one of my UK-based photography mentors. The guy charges between €100 & €250 for a few hours of talking to him on the phone. Ofcourse it seems ridiculous to people who have been used to getting “free” advice and education but he’s getting enough clients that sign up for his service and everyone is happy at the end of the day.

It is to this end I have reviewed how I spend my working hours. I suggest you do the same also else you’ll realize that one week of your life has gone without you being able to lay hands on what you’ve “achieved”. The following are 2 policies I’m adopting with immediate effect and I’ll be grateful if everyone can work with me on this.

First, I’ll appreciate if a prior appointment is made before dropping by to see me. I feel its a little disrespectful for someone to just stop by someone’s office without informing the person in advance. And when I mean advance notice, I’m not referring to calling 1 hour before coming; I’ll prefer if one can book 1-3 days in advance. Its so that I can achiever more with the time I have in a day. I just hope I won’t be misinterpreted on this issue.

Secondly, I’ll appreciate anyone that comes to our organization to help us be more productive by waiting at the reception. Sometimes its been a little difficult for new interns to ask people that know me well to stay at the reception until they’re attended to. Heck, sometimes its even hard for me to say. However, friends’ presence in our editing room and/or studio sometimes inhibits our efficiency because we end up discussing issues that will make a 1-minute Photoshop work last for 10 minutes.

Please don’t be offended. There is so much on my table now that requires me to be a better manager. Don’t worry, I haven’t started charging for telephone consultations yet. You can always add me up on BlackBerry (PIN: 271E3BC8) or send me an email at info@elophotos.com if you need to reach me.

I challenge you to ask yourself the same question I asked myself recently: HOW MUCH IS MY HOUR WORTH? Then proceed to make those difficult adjustments that will make you proud to be considered a world-class photopreneur.

Your Photography Coach,
Oluwaseun Akisanmi

Security Officer Turned Photographer


He was a security officer for almost 7yrs with the then-renowned Oceanic Bank. After I was recommended to him by a mutual friend, He approached me 4 years ago about how his passion had always been to run a photography business. He asked how I could be of help to his vision and I remember giving him a bill that would have discouraged others from forging further; he refused to be deterred.

Believing all things to be possible, he sourced for the funds, quit his day job and came to eloPhotos Academy for his foundation photography training and internship. 9 months went by like a breeze and it will go down has one of the most fulfilling year he has ever lived.

That was over 2 years ago. Today, he’s come a long way as one of the Nigerian photographers I respect. Yes, he might not be know to the world yet but I envy his love for God and his humble heart. His passion for children photography made me invite him as one of the speakers of the recently concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC).

His name is Afolabi Oloyede of 4labi4tos.com and today is his birthday. Here’s to wishing him greater years ahead.

Street Shooters Photowalk: Destination MILE 12


This is to inform you that the Street Shooters NG are set to go out on another photo-walk on September 5.

This time around, we are looking at the overcoming Nigerian; not the struggling Nigerian. We are looking at people that have remained
resilient & dogged in making their lives & families work. We are looking at people whose lives are faced with challenges but who still dare to stand & put all challenges aside. Therefore, we have decided to work with the theme: UNBROKEN.

Unbroken are the road sweepers, keeping the streets clean to make a living. Unbroken is the guy selling gala in traffic so that he won’t steal. Unbroken is the boy selling bread along the bus-stop. Unbroken is the recharge card seller. Unbroken is the car wash boy. Unbroken are the people hawking in traffic. The list is endless.

Even the qualities & brands of cars in Lagos shows the exceptional unbroken spirit of Nigerians. Hotels, filling stations, constructions
of all kinds going on, shopping complexes springing up everywhere shows we are unbroken.

Photographically speaking, this theme alone is broad. Unbroken has a lot of emotion. Unbroken suggest something that has been tested, tried, trusted, rugged & righteous.

We are saying that despite all that has threatened to break us both as individuals & as a nation, we have remained unbroken. It is a communication that we all need to reunite; to reassure ourselves again, that we are all Nigerians. Our spirits cannot be broken, not by ethic or religious divide.

Come Thursday, 5th September 2013, the Street Shooters NG are going to Mile 12 to capture images of hard-working Nigerians engaged in various money-making activities.

The best 100 images from this walk will be compiled & printed into a photobook which will be sent to the Lagos State Government.

To be a part of this event, just show up at Mile 12 by 11am on Thursday, 5th September 2013. Meet-up is under the Mile 12 bridge where the blue BRT buses park.

RSVP: 08060435734

The SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHER


“You are too serious”
“Try to smile always”

I get these comments a lot; even my boss and colleagues tell me the same. It’s not like I’m a rigid person but I guess I just find it somewhat funny to smile when I am not amused. I heeded their advice & I’m all smiles now. As I am writing, sorry, typing this article, I am smiling knowing this will be my first write-up that will make it to eloPhotos website. 🙂

Monday morning and Lagos traffic are best friends made in heaven. As if I had not been through enough stress, I got to Agege and discovered that the Acme ‘keke’ park had been demolished. I felt lost because that was the only place I knew to get transport to Acme except of course the dreaded ‘okada’. So I seized the only available option, walking.

Fortunately for me, when I got to Pen-Cinema roundabout, I got a ‘keke guy’ who was kind enough to drive me back to their new park. I had to join the queue too; apparently there were others waiting in-line before I got there.

Our devotion that morning was excellent, thanks to Ronke for that. She read from Colossians 3vs23-24, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people…’. A lot of us do what we do half-heartedly. That’s why a customer care representative will talk to a client snobbishly. It’s why a photographer will not package a client’s job well; giving the excuse he was not paid well while forgetting he was paid what he asked for. Always remember it’s between you and God.

Tuesday was supposed to be just a regular day, until Mr Seun Akisanmi fixed an appointment for me with Matt Damon. I was to see ELYSIUM with a colleague, (yeah! yeah!!! I was at the cinema). All work and no play makes Tayo a serious photographer. Before I go on about the movie, Tuesday is always a good day to see a movie at Silverbird Cinemas (Ikeja) because the ticket comes with free popcorn and drink.

I have known Matt Damon since ‘the Bourne series’ and it feels like I know him personally. Seeing him on the trailer of Elysium, I was hoping he won’t fall short of my expectation. The movie was so amazing that I couldn’t pick out any low point or so I thought. The Elysium is a luxurious space habitat; home to the very wealthy which separates them from the poor who lived on an overpopulated, devastated Earth. It cuts across themes such as love, health care, immigration and class issues which to me are some of the issues we have in Nigeria. I really wish I could see the movie again though.

Wednesday was one of those fast days, more like the way lenses work; it zooms in on you and almost immediately zooms out too. Fast as it may be, my photographic spirit still ministered to me to do a shoot on, ‘A Graduate’s Reality’.

Knock! Knock!! Special Thursday, reporting for duty sir. I refer to it as a special Thursday because not every day do you get to shoot Mr Seun Akisanmi. Like every photographer, I think he likes being behind the camera. He was my model for the ‘Graduate’s Reality’ shoot and he
played the depressed graduate part well. The pictures attached within proves it all.

We started the shoot with my camera acting up and Ronke thinking I was nervous because I was shooting our boss. It was fun. We came up with different concepts and Mr Seun got to shoot his own crazy idea too.

Friday was one those errand days. I had to pick up NiPHEC certificates at Duduprintz, and also buy some stationery at Ikeja.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am no longer a SERIOUS photographer.

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The Ideal Gift for Seun Akisanmi


Take a deep breath……..
Concentrate on this screen……..
As you begin reading the words of this article
You’re reminded of how much of a blessing Seun Akisanmi has been to your “photography” life
You’re thinking to yourself “What can I get for Mr Seun Akisanmi that will be a blessing to him”
It then occurs to you that he’s been ranting about one particular BMW 540i car like that.
It also occurs to you that he’s been using the same ragged BlackBerry Curve 1 for more than 2 years.
It occurs to you that someone like him (stay with me now, don’t lose focus yet… its the same Seun Akisanmi we’re still talking about) deserves the BlackBerry Q10.
You pause from reading this article because you want to check your account balance to decide which one you can afford to surprise him with. You make a decision on the one you can afford.
You ask around for how and where you can meet this Mr Seun Akisanmi so you can deliver this surprise gift.
Upon surprising him with your gift of choice, you realize how elated he can get.
You realize that his expressionless face sometimes requires the right stimuli to turn it on.
You realize how easy it is to be someone Seun Akisanmi will henceforth consider a “good friend”.
You realize that you have not been hypnotized or cajoled into getting him this gift.
You realize the extent of impact you made when he places his hands on your shoulder and with water dripping from his eyes, he mutters “This is the best day of my life”.
At the sight of the tears (especially being conscious of the fact that you haven’t seen this much water come forth from his face), you wake up from your dream. You ask yourself “Was that really a dream?”

Its now up to you to decide if its a dream or if its reality.
Its now up to you. 🙂

Peter Obe, Iconic Nigerian Photojournalist, Passes on at 81


Considered one of the founding fathers of Nigerian Photojournalism, Mr. Peter Obe died on Sunday (September 1, 2013) at the age of 81. An award winning photographer, he was key in helping the world to have a visual image of the horror that happened during the Nigerian Civil War. The history of photography in Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of his name.

Rest in Peace, great one.

Pictures from Ado-Ekiti Photowalk


It was a good time for all the “Give A Child A Book” crew, touching lives at the CHARITY PHOTOWALK on 28th August between 9am and 1pm as Notebooks, storybooks, motivational books and stationery items were given to the children around the slum in Ado-Ekiti. Areas visited included Oja Oba, Lekeleke, Atikankan, Ijigbo, Sabo, Orere-Owu and Oke Yinmi.

Glory be to God for the success of the event because over one thousand lives were impacted through the project. The following pictures shows a glimpse of the fun on that day. Pictures courtesy of the Photowalk organizers: Obasola Photography.

604800 Seconds In The Life Of A FEMALE Photographer


The new week started like any other. I got to work at 7.15am, did some cleaning till about 8am and we started morning devotion. I had the privilege of sharing with my colleagues from the Holy Bible . The text was taken from Colossians 3:23&24: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

In essence, it isn’t only working in church that counts as working for God, our “secular” job should also be seen as working for God because it really is. So, even when the people we appear to work for are not meeting up with the expectations we have of them, we should remember that Christ is the one we are serving even on that job.

After devotion, I got started on the task at hand; redoing the photobook cover that I didn’t get right the previous week. About half an hour later, I started doing intermittent dances and singing funny songs. Whether I was simply happy or getting high on sniffing too much adhesive, I really did not know.

Several minutes later…I don’t know how long it took really, probably lost my sense of time temporarily. Anyway, after a while, I finished the photobook. It was better than the last but still not decent-looking. Mr Seun’s verdict? Well, I had to do it again the next day. Now I understand how it must feel for babies growing teeth. It hurt but I had to go through this experience…or do I really have to?

The ride home to Ikorodu after closing hours was rough. As if the terrible traffic wasn’t enough torture, the bus driver drove like he was practicing his next role as the stuntman in the movie, “The Expendables”. It was interesting to hear fellow passengers calling their loved ones to ‘report’ the reckless driver, as if that would somehow set him straight.

As we approached Ikorodu, I got so hungry and couldn’t wait to get home. On getting off the bus, I smelt roasted corn and could not resist. I bought a couple and sunk my teeth into it right there on the street. No time for observing dining etiquette, this was an emergency. The hunger was so intense that it felt like my eyes were popping out of their sockets.

I eventually got to the spot where my hubby usually picks me up and I was so glad to see him. He watched with interest as I “attacked” the corn. Though my husband isn’t a big fan of roadside foods and wouldn’t eat on the street to save his life, he knew this was no time to preach it to me. The corn was a life-saver.

My husband asked how my day went and I told him I had to do the photobook again. I was hoping he would feel very sorry for me and join my pity-party. Instead, he held me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s an opportunity to learn”. I instantly felt like there was a conspiracy somewhere and my husband and my boss were in on it.

On Tuesday, with the help of Mr Seun Akisanmi, I finally got the fundamentals of photobook binding and I made the best photobook ever! Completing the project was like reaching a waterfall after several days of walking through the dry desert. Sweet relief!

The evening commute was crazy as usual. I gave my husband periodic updates on where I was at . The traffic was terrible. He sent me a message saying, “I love you”. That melted the stress off me instantly. Just then, I noticed the guy sitting beside me in the bus was peeking at my messages. What nonsense, is privacy too much to ask for in a Lagos bus?

The rough ride to Ikorodu ended when I got off the bus. Was so glad to see my husband waiting for me as usual. I don’t know what these past three months, (that I have spent training at eloPhotos), would have been like for me if not for his understanding and support. I got in the car and heard the Mary Mary song, “Shackles”, playing. How appropriate. I felt so free having completed the photobook. I couldn’t help but do a wild dance in the car as my husband bursted out laughing. As I did my crazy dance, I wondered again if I was just happy or had sniffed too much adhesive. Who knows?

My day on Wednesday felt weird. Not having to do a photobook cover after being haunted by one for almost a week felt good. I got busy working on the monthly statement of expenses. I am not an accountant and I don’t play one on TV. In fact, I don’t enjoy counting cash or balancing accounts but somehow, I have been given this responsibility at eloPhotos so here I was. The more I tried to collate the figures, the more it seemed the number jumped off the page and mocked me.

I got done with the July statement and then had the privilege of watching Mr Seun do a kind of photobook we have never done before. I couldn’t possibly describe it. You have to see it to appreciate its beauty.

Thursday began on a rainy note; thank God I had my small umbrella. The commute to work would have been uneventful if not for the wonderful driver that thought speeding by and splashing me with water from the waist down was such a great idea! Interestingly, I had my earphones on at that time and was listening to my audio Bible. A few seconds after I got ‘sprayed’, the words I heard from the audio Bible was, “Forgive whatever grievances you have against one another”. God does have an interesting sense of humor, doesn’t He?

The main project of the day was a conceptual photo shoot of a depressed unemployed man, staring blankly at a sign that read “No Vacancy”. It was such fun. Elozi, a client of ours whose wedding we will be covering in October at Warri, came around to discuss final details and also to confirm the names of the photographers she’ll need to make airline ticket reservations for.

Somehow, I feel the week sped by pretty fast. Before I knew it, Friday was here. I mostly did administrative duties – attending to a colleague who needed to rent some equipment, burning CDs for past participants of NiPHEC and reconciling the account. Keeping the books have been such a huge challenge. It’s as though numbers don’t like me and play wicked tricks on me.

As I draft these words on my Blackberry phone, while sitting in a bus headed for Ikorodu, I saw an amazing sight. It was of a driver of a giant bus who took advantage of the almost non-moving traffic by heeding the call of nature. Yes, he urinated right there in the middle of traffic, on the famous Ikorodu road. When he was finished with business, he got back in the bus, it was then I noticed the bus he was driving had the inscription, “Lagos State Waste Management Authority”. Yeah, their driver sure knows how to manage waste!

Anyway, that’s how my week went down. Till we meet again online next week, here’s to hoping that my diary of experience at eloPhotos is of help to your photography career/hobby.

I’m Ronke Alao & I’m proud to be the ONLY female PHOTOGRAPHER at eloPhotos.

Cheers