WHATEVERITTAKES: The elo Experience in WARRI


My trip to warri in Delta state was as eventful as the training I attended. Elophotos had advertised on their website inviting Professional Photographers and hobbyists for a training in the Business aspects of Photography. I must say, this was rather uncanny but caught my curiosity as I had never thought that photography could be studied and modeled as a going business concern. What I mean here is, I was used to seeing people run around with cameras at functions snapping away to earn a keep. A few had a semblance of studio facilities while others worked freelance.

On this fateful day, while browsing away my time on the computer, eloPhotos popped up with this bright perspective of a training program in Warri. Now, Warri is not my usual hangout due-in-part to my inhibitions about militancy and youth restiveness in that beautiful domain. As you are all aware, practically every comedian in Nigeria makes jest and get their material from the nuances of the Warri folks. That, in a nutshell, sums up my early impression of Warri. Going there was another kettle of fish.

So, following Seun’s directive after paying the relevant fee, I packed myself and I through the help of Bob Izua motors to the oil city. The program started at 9.15am with the Resource person / host welcoming the participants to the program. A brief of the training outline was made after the relevant opening courtesies of self-introduction.

It was interactive with a view to giving the participants the opportunity to make their contributions and get pertinent questions answered. I must say, it was an eye opener.
The training covered such topics as Marketing, customer relations, Negotiating, sound book keeping and budgeting, using the internet platform to energize your business portfolio and reaching out to the world. It further touched on the subjects of HIP ie; Humility, Integrity and Profitability.

The resource person touched on making projections and setting business goals in the short, medium and long term as these will serve as a pivot and guide to aching great results sustainably.

Participants were admonished to be frugal, professional, and constantly upgrade themselves as the business environment changes with time. Above all else, keeping ones business strategy close to heart was of prime importance.

Finally, we were, encouraged to interface regularly and exchange ideas with a view to moving the industry forward. The training came to a close after a group photograph was taken with Mr. Seun Akisanmi. I got back to Benin City by 7.00pm.

My name is Ema O. Ndon  (www.ndonema.blogspot.com) & I’ve made a commitment to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out in the photography industry

WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (1) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (2) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (3) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (4) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (5) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (6) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (7) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (8) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (9)

 

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The FASTEST Way To Destroy Your Photography Business


I got a call about 3 weeks ago from a disgruntled client of a colleague of mine. Apparently since my colleague (whom at this point I’m not pleased to be associated with) has covered their wedding in August, no album or DVD has been delivered. I eventually called the photographer in question hoping that the story the client told me had some holes. He eventually admitted that everything the client said was true and that he will unfailingly deliver the album on October 24, 2013 (2 weeks after the call). I insisted that he should put a call through to the client and stop avoiding the clients call; something I consider to be the highest level of disrespect towards a client.

October 24 came and went and I eventually called the client in question to ask if anything had been delivered. To my surprise (and I must admit, I was very surprised), the photographer had neither delivered the job nor called the client to give a cogent reason for not meeting the deadline (of which there no longer seems to be a reason that will be cogent enough). The following was the mail that the client eventually sent to the photographer.

Hello Lagbaja,
24th of october has elasped which is the EXTENDED DEAD LINE for our Wedding Video/Photo book to be ready. You have taken I and my Wife for granted again & again and I have always reasoned with you and spoken to you calmly cos we are CITIZEN’S of BLW NATION. I had to call up your Coach to talk to him about your actions, which resulted to the 14 days extra which elapsed yesterday 24th October 2013, and By that action We have exhausted all our options. Am giving you a 7 days period of GRACE from today 25th October-1 November 2013. From 2nd November, 2013 ACTIONS will be taken against you, If We don’t get our wedding materials.
Regards,
Your Disgruntled Client

What makes this situation personal for me was the fact that the client contacted me because he found out that the photographer did a course in our photography academy. As much as I was not happy about the misdeeds of the photographer in question, I’ve noticed some service providers engage in such unethical behavior (something I’ve been also guilty of). However, I’ve discovered that this is the worst type of marketing you can provide for your business as a dissatisfied client is likely to market his dissatisfaction to 30 or more people while a satisfied client might market to just 5 or more people. Either way you do the maths, you’re on the pathway to looking for a new job in another industry (hoping someone will even hire you) if this is not stopped. And sometimes, all it takes is for one client to be disgruntled; you’ll need to build about 2-5 years worth of goodwill to cover the heart-break you’ve caused. I’ve been there and can tell you that as a fact.

This is an attempt to appeal to the photographer in question and to all service providers (especially in Nigeria) to desist from such unscrupulous behavior as it only ends in the pathway of destruction. We all have issues we deal with, but I’ve since realized that the average client/person is usually understanding when you keep them in the loop of what is happening instead of avoiding their calls or calling them back. The least we can do is to keep in touch and call or email the client. They deserve that. Either do that or refund the clients’ money (something most client might not even prefer especially since they only plan to do the ceremony once in a lifetime). It’s another way of robbing them of their money at gun point. Enough said. Let’s strive to be business people with Integrity.

 

The Day I Shot Some Soldiers


I have stayed long enough in medical school to understand that almost everything has a technical term by which they are called, especially in the world of phobias. Phobia for almost everything has a name:
Claustrophobiafear of enclosure
Sitiophobia – fear of food
Anemophobia – fear of air
Coprophobia – fear of faecal matter
Anthrophobia – fear of flower
Phobophobia – fear of fear itself.

But fear of soldiers or guns, what do we call that? Or you think such phobias don’t exist? Trust me, they do. It was the worse thing that could happen to a harmless female photographer while behind the camera attempting to shoot some soldiers. Its interesting writing about it now, but at the very time it happened I wasn’t laughing.

The last two working days of the week was fun. Doing a funeral photography for the first, in the ancient city of Ibadan (I had only been there twice) was for me a fantastic experience. With that excitement, I jumped up and down, and from point to point, trying to capture interesting moments of the event. The service of song went well the day before the incidence am about to describe happened. So with that excitement, I went the next day, with my other female photographer colleague (the GREAT Ronke Alao),  to cover the lying in-state at the home of the deceased. Distinguished dignitaries were present at the event, so were their soldier entourages.

Just before the lying in state started, I decided to take photographs of other side events like the food session, the condolence register, a side view of the beautiful house etc. It was while I was doing this I noticed the soldiers standing with their guns and I thought that would also make some nice shots, thinking about it now, I realize how silly that decision was. Well thank God I did, at least, it gave me something to write about.

I didn’t even know what gave me the effrontery to move close to them in an attempt to take the shots. They stood in two groups, three soldiers in each group. I had taken a shot of the first group, and still feeling cool with myself, I started focusing my lens to shoot the second group. As I looked into the camera, I saw to my surprise the soldiers pointing their guns at me!!! Was that a pose or what I asked myself. Just then, one of them ordered me to come close.

At that point, all my excitement turned into cold flushes of fear and it traveled with turbulence through my blood vessels. I wished for rigor mortis (stiffening of my joint and muscles, the type seen in dead bodies; pardon my medical jargon) but my feet moved in the direction of the pointed guns. It all happened in a split of seconds, but that was long enough for my heart to travel down to my mouth. Thank God my boss had taught me about the importance of always having the camera strap on the neck, it saved my camera that day because I would have dropped it on the floor while shivering with fear, had the strapp not been on my neck.

“Why you dey snap us photo? Who you be? Who send you message? You no know say dem no dey snap soldier?”
– the soldiers asked me, All I could say was “Am sorry sir”, with a shivering voice. Another soldier ordered me to show them the picture of them I took. I quickly reached for the camera which was hanging on my neck and showed them the picture. They ordered me to delete it. “Yes sir” I replied and I reached for the delete key at once. “You sure say e no remain there”? one of them asked me wanting to know if I still had any other picture of them on the camera. “e don finish”, I replied, bending my knees with each response as a show of submission, respect and humility. They threatened that they would deal with me if they ever saw me point the camera at them again. Well, they really didn’t have to tell me that, I had learnt my lessons.

Just while I thought the discussion had ended and I turned my back to leave, one of the soldiers ordered me to come back, I obeyed at once. I was surprised when I  looked up & saw a pitiful look on his face, as if pitying me for all I just went through (I wondered what the look was about). “I for deal with you today, but na this your innocent look save you”. Was that supposed to make me happy or trying to put himself in my good books, or was he just trying to sound the last warning, I wondered. Anyway, I said a sober thank you and stylishly moved fast to leave the vicinity of the soldiers, before they changed their mind about the mercy they had had on me.

As I reminisce the scene, I couldn’t stop being baffled at how much fear I had for the soldiers. I guess I was more afraid of the gun than of the soldiers themselves. Well may be its more of phobia for gun then. I have a feeling they did all that because I am a lady, I doubt if they would have done that much ‘shakara’ if it was a guy. Well, sounds like some form of achievement. I can boldly say now that I have been at gun point because of Photography (what a heroic feeling!). I also couldn’t stop wondering why the soldiers would not want their picture taken and at how much of mountain they made out of a molehill. Anyway, you should have seen the way I avoided the soldiers all through the rest of the event. I made sure I kept my distance from them and our paths never crossed again.

Apart from that incidence, the whole event went smoothly, I had maximum fun doing what I love to do. Other than the photography excitement, it was an opportunity for me to think again about life and its essence. As I watched the remains of the deceased lie still in the casket and being committed to mother earth, I asked myself: is this where it all ends? Whether we like it or not, one day, this body we all carry about, and we sometimes tend to give all the attention, all of our runnings about, the troubles and cares and fears of this earth, will end in that lonely chamber called GRAVE. Of course with long life, we’ll be satisfied, but there’s still an inevitable end. This earth is more like a sojourn, there’s a place we all are returning to afterall. We seem to forget that fact sometimes, or do we simply not care about what happens to our souls when the body perishes? (That is if we even believe we have souls in the first place).

” What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and looses his soul, or what shall a man give in Exchange for his own soul? Mark 8:36-37. Ponder about this.

I’m Damilola Opawale & you can call me the Soldier Photographer

 

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer


You never know how precious your eyes are until you come close to losing them or at least losing your sight even if the eyes remain in their sockets. Last week, I had reason to be grateful for the gift of sight.  It was like any other Monday at the office; busy as ever. The work day soon ended and my colleagues and I headed home. I got to Ojota and boarded a bus heading to Ikorodu as usual.

The ride was uneventful for the most part or at least till we got past Mile 12. From then on, the traffic was a nightmare, two lanes had been turned to four by impatient motorists and the super-impatient ones had crossed the median to face oncoming traffic; a phenomenon commonly referred to as “passing one-way”. As terrible as it sounds, this isn’t unusual on that road. It’s disorganized chaos that people who ply that road have grown accustomed to.

Suddenly, I heard a loud thump on the bus and wondered what it was. Looking out the window, I saw the most ridiculous thing ever; LASTMA officials picking stones and throwing  at vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Even though I understood that it was wrong for people to face oncoming traffic on that road, (and it is very unsafe too), I didn’t see the wisdom in law enforcement officers throwing stones at innocent passengers.

A few minutes passed as the journey continued. I decided to call my husband and let him know that I was almost at the bus-stop. Just as I finished speaking with him and ended the call, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt something hit my right eye real hard and felt water pour all over me. With one hand over my eye and my head bowed, I could hear my self screaming, “Yee, yee! My eyes”. I could hear the guy sitted on my left side saying, “Sister sorry o”. My mind was in a daze as I struggled to make sense of what just happened and also cope with the pain of something hitting my eye with such force.

At this point, I could hear the lady sitting by my right hand side, asking if I was okay. I asked her what just happened and she explained to me that it was LASTMA officials who threw pure water satchets at the bus. That was when I realized, what hit me was a satchet of pure water and it hit my eye with such force that it busted.

On getting home, I narrated the ordeal to my husband who was almost as irritated and pained as I was. I assured him I was okay and started showing him some of the pictures from our photo shoot the week before. While we both admired the pictures, I felt something streaming out of my nostrils, it was blood! Bright red blood was streaming out of my nose! My alarmed husband rushed to get me toilet paper to contain the bleeding.

My husband watched with concern written all over his face while I applied pressure to my nose area with blood-soaked tissue paper, assuring him that I’d be just fine. Well, after a few minutes of waiting for the blood to cease and it didn’t, I got a bit scared myself and told him I needed to lie on a flat surface. Off to bed I went. The bleeding subsided shortly after I got in bed.

As I laid in bed, I thought of the nameless, faceless guy whose “bullet” hit me and caused me all these harm. If I felt anything for him at that moment, it sure wasn’t love. What could a passenger like me have done to stop a lawless bus driver from flouting the law? What kind of city hires confused human beings (like the ones I had encountered that night), to enforce traffic laws?

The next day, I set out to work as early as usual, way before sunrise. It was later in the morning that I realized that my right eye was quite sensitive to light. It was fine as long as I stayed indoors but hurt really bad the moment I came out in broad daylight. This went on for two more days before my eye felt a bit normal.

Thinking back at the whole episode (after the emotions of anger and frustration had diffused), I, Ronke Alao, thought of how fortunate I was. Imagine if the LASTMA fellow had chosen a stone as his weapon that day and it hit my eye, doing real damage to it? I’d love to make a name for myself as a photographer but not as a one-eyed photographer. We as photographers tend to gush over our expensive gadgets and the new lens released into the market that is meant to see better than the human eye. As much as we value these expensive equipment, let’s always remember that we are blessed with the most precious “lens” of all, that can’t be ordered on a website: our very EYES.

 

An Attempt to Overcome My Shyness


Just so you know, I’ve been seeing a shrink lately in an attempt to help combat my tendency to be shy. Yes I can be very shy. But this is one of the many attempts to overcome that shyness.

I am hereby boldly declaring that as my birthday approaches in less than 60 hours time (on October 31st to be precise), I would not mind any or all of the following gift items:
Techno Phantom A+, Blackberry Q10 (New or London Used), Samsung Galaxy 4 phone, 2012 BMW 540i Active Hybrid, A 3 bedroom Apartment situated in a choice estate in Ikeja (or the financial Equivalent), A core i5 Intel laptop for my wife, canon 70D or Canon 5D Mark III (with or without any lens), forgiveness (FULL or in PART) of any debt I might be owing you (YES, YOU), or any financial contribution you feel led in your generous heart to give towards the celebration of my 35 years on planet earth.

There. I feel a heavy burden of shyness has been lifted of my shoulders already.

Yours BOLDLY,
Oluwaseun Akisanmi

 

An INTENSIVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP by Dotun Ayodeji


Here’s a forthcoming workshop you should consider attending. It’s being organized by one of the photographers I admire in the industry. A worthwhile investment if you ask me. You can also check out his beautiful collection of pictures at DOTUNSBLOG.com

Topics
Day 1
– Basic discussion of gear and equipment
– How to define your style of photography based on your choice of lens and perspective
– My simple approach to shooting weddings. Shooting details, the story, portraits, formals and reception
– Realistic flash Techniques and how I use it at weddings
– How to influence the flow of your wedding day photographs with a strong timeline
– Posing and directing your clients – The simple or high fashion style
– Building a referral base of clients who love your work
– How to attract the high end client market or a client base above your current market
– how to shoot for your clients not other photographers
– Branding basics and pricing
– Blog this don’t blog that
– Portfolio review

Day 2
– Live shoot with hands on instruction
– How to find the light
– Live edit – how I process my image from capture to print.
– Ask me any question.

dotun's blog wedding workshop

LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City


As I drafted these words at 7.56pm on Friday , somewhere between Ojota and Ketu; I thought of how my week had been busy, fun, interesting and plain crazy all at the same time. It was a week that had two days declared as public holidays but I still had to show up for work on those two days. Two of my colleagues were allowed to stay home and enjoy the holiday while three  came to work. I was so jealous of those that stayed home. Sometimes I think my boss makes me work harder just because I am a woman. Giving you examples that illustrate my point is easy but I choose not to digress.

One of the most bizarre things I witnessed this week was on Ikorodu road, (you must be tired of reading my Ikorodu road stories by now but it’s too much craziness not to write about), as usual. I was in a bus heading home and the driver wanted to get on the express from the service lane but wasn’t patient. The traffic was pretty much “bumper to bumper” and the bus driver had blocked a private car. It was a big mess. The driver was asked to back up a little bit but he wouldn’t budge. Next thing we knew, the guy driving the private car got  out of the car with a horsewhip and whipped my bus driver!

I was shocked out of my mind and I don’t know where I got the guts to speak from but I started shouting almost uncontrollably. “Ha! What rubbish is this? Driver, please reverse o! This man must be an animal. Let’s get away from this spot”. I shouted amidst the driver’s cries. I was too shocked at the jungle justice being displayed by the man with the horsewhip. I was even more shocked to note that the other passengers didn’t seem to care much. ‘Why is Lagos so lawless and cold? And to think there are people leaving their villages in droves to come to this crazy city’, I thought to myself.

As we drove on, the driver talked and laughed about how the whip didn’t really hurt him and I felt like punching him in the head.

As much as I resumed at the office on the public holidays, I still had fun on Tuesday. That’s because my husband and I had a photo shoot. My colleague, Samuel, had found out that my hubby and I had not had a photo session since we got married so he asked that he take pictures of us and I couldn’t say no to such an offer. It was so much fun for me and a lot more fun for my husband  He couldn’t stop talking about it all day. For those longing to have a visual image of who the GREAT Ronke Alao is, attached are 2 clues to help you out.Ronke Alao 2 Ronke Alao

Another newsworthy development is the fact that I am no longer the only female intern at eloPhotos. Yes, I now have company in the person of  Damilola. Damilola is a 500level medical student who is making good use of her time while ASUU and the Federal government figure out a way to make up and stop bickering at each other. She is honing her photography skills and just when you think that is all this pretty, slim and attractive lady is doing; you find out she is also taking piano lessons.

You should know by now that I like her a lot. I admire her quest for knowledge and her interest in the arts. There is more to her life than bulky medical textbooks and dissecting cadavers. If you are wondering if she is single, come see me “in-camera” with your consultation fees. That’s not stuff I can discuss on a blog.

Now, for a list of things I am grateful for. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an intern at eloPhotos; for working with a boss that doesn’t mind exposing his own mistakes so you can learn not to make the same; grateful for God’s protection on the roads despite the antics of crazy bus drivers; glad I am learning how important record-keeping is in a business like this and learnt enough for my boss to call me the “Financial Controller“.

If you’ve been in the photography business for a while or you are just venturing into it and the idea of keeping a statement of income and expenses scares you, fear not. If you think promoting your business on social media simply means throwing a few pictures on your facebook page, think again. If you would like to stand out and make a name for yourself in this industry, would you be willing to do WHATEVERITTAKES? If so, register for the workshop taking place in different cities across Nigeria starting October 23rd. You owe it to your children, (born and unborn) to attend. CLICK HERE for more details.

Reporting LIVE from eloPhotos,
Ronke Alao

 

My Journey BACK into a PHOTOGRAPHY ACADEMY


…..Back at eloPhotos

“Perhaps we can talk at length on Monday. Try come to DSAP and ask for the photography section. We can meet during my break but be there by 8:30am” That was Mr Seun Akisanmi’s response after I informed him of my intention to return to eloPhotos since I was on a compulsory break from school work, no thanks to ASUU and Federal Government. I had been at elophotos for about 6 weeks, some 3 years ago during one of those long ASUU strike, it was an experience for me as I learnt the basics of photography, went with them for an exhibition at The Palms, met exciting people, the likes of Kikelomo, Michael, Lara, Samuel and Seun Akisanmi himself. It was an exciting experience as I had never met people with such creativity and passion for photography.

Spending the rest of this break to learn more photography would not be a bad idea. eloPhotos readily came to mind when I thought of where to go. I knew I was up for another exciting experience, if Seun Akisanmi agrees to having me around. So I dressed up early that Monday morning and out I went, to Daystar to meet with Seun Akisanmi as he decides how the rest of my break would be like. I got to the DSAP (Daystar Skill Acquisition Program) venue at about 8:30am, eventually meeting him during the break at about 11am.

What was meant to be a big favor turned out to be a disfavor, as it were! I had thought that after my meeting with him, he would ask me to give him some time to think about it or at most resume the next day.  With this mindset, I left home on an empty stomach. Even while I was waiting to see him, the hunger contractions were already beginning to intensify, but I held on since I would be back home soon, or so I thought. Alas, Seun Akisanmi announced to me that I would be going with him to the office once he was through with the class. At that point, I did not know whether to be excited or sad. Though I had to put up an excited countenance, but deep inside, I was sad, especially as the hunger contractions grabbed me! I wish he allowed me go home.

Apart from the hunger, I was excited to go back to eloPhotos again. “This is Dammy, she’ll be joining us, she’s been here before”, he introduced me to the other interns and they all gave a warm welcome in reply. That was how the new experience began for me.

Not much had changed at eloPhotos, except that the arrangement of the books had changed, there were two new shelves, one in the reception and the other in the studio, both filled with books, I was most excited to see the books again. Also there are also new set of interns who turned out to be one of the most amazing set of people I have ever met. The past one week with these people has been spectacular.

Ronke Alao, the lady intern who I had known so much through her interesting write ups on elophotos blog, I met finally in person. She was so kind to take me through Photoshop again. She’s simply Smart and eloquent! I love her so.

Tayo is another awesome person met at elophotos. This guy always had one thing or the other to do, and he always had this serious look, even when he’s jesting he looks serious, even his voice sounds ‘serious’. Trust me, he’s simply exceptional at what he does.

Emmanuel is an amazing guy, though i’v not spent so much time with him, but I was impressed at how supportive he was when I made the move at rearranging the studio. I also watched him run some humble errands. He is simply Humble!

Toye, this guy has made me laugh the most this past one week, even in his most serious mood, he’s jesting. If you ask me, Toye would make a successful stand up comedian.  But trust me, he’s simply proficient with Photoshop.

Onos, the tallest guy amongst us… Another comedian in the house. He’s one of the few people I have seen that make people laugh and still keep a straight face. I feel for this guy though, because other interns only need to start communicating in Yoruba and he is lost. He simply fun to be with.

My most amazing discovery about these people however is how much education they’ve got. They all have degrees in one field or the other but have decided to put them aside to pursue their passion in photography. That for me is simply WOW! And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My first week back at eloPhotos as a whole was adventurous and interesting, but most important, I have learnt new things and I have remembered things I used to know but forgot. Thanks to my new friends, and of course Seun Akisanmi.
I wont forget too quickly my trip to African Shrine in search of Porridge (lip sealed)!

I look forward to more exciting and learning filled stay at eloPhotos this time while trusting God for the call off of the ASUU strike.

The New Intern,
Damilola Opawale

A Hard Lesson To Learn


He finally gave his verdict on our unacceptable behavior of reporting late to work and our failure to meet  deadlines on assigned tasks. In a soft, polite and cool voice; my boss said “…with the exception of Ronke Alao, the rest of you guys are to embark on a 14 days leave just to re-assess, think things through and possibly refresh yourselves.”

The news of the unplanned leave suddenly struck me hard like a tornado and it left me totally speechless & confused. At that critical moment, all I thought of was the fact that I am going on an unwanted leave that would last this long. Honestly, just like the popular Warri slang would say “I come weak like dodo, I swear”.

On Independence Day, I woke up with disturbing thoughts that I have actually commenced my unplanned leave. Quickly, I turned on my television set to listen to Mr. President’s  nationwide,  live broadcast scheduled for 7:00am. It happened to be one of the usual sermons we hear yearly that the government is doing this and that, that Nigeria will get better. I sometimes wonder if such broadcast can for once be said without the words “fellow Nigerians” because seriously I have heard it more often than necessary. Anyway, I am one of those patriotic Nigerians that still have an iota of hope that despite our diverse cultural differences, problems and security challenges; this country can still survive, grow and become very prosperous. It all requires every one of us to have a right mindset and be actively involved in electing leaders that can represent us and uphold our mandate.

The public holiday declared by the government wasn’t going to be all rest either for me as I was meant to cover the 50th birthday ceremony of a lady to be held at Iteri Palace. Arriving at the event, I was so surprised to discover that I was the only professional photographer present for the party. The event started two hours way behind schedule due to the heavy downpour of rains that lasted for more than an hour. The whole party turned out to be very entertaining with plenty to eat, drink and lovely melodious music that thrilled every one present. I had an exciting time photographing guests of the celebrant who were mostly dressed in colorful Yoruba attires.

The rest of the week went really fast. On Thursday I and my colleague, Toye Peters went to cover the court wedding ceremony of Bisola and Olumide at the Ikoyi marriage registry. It was a special event for me as that happened to be my first time of covering a court registry wedding. It was indeed worth remembering as every moment I spent photographing the couple and guests present was worthwhile.

The traditional marriage ceremony was performed on Saturday according to Islamic rite. I had a bit of challenge photographing during the event as the bride’s uncle’s house which was the venue used was not properly lit. Also, the two sitting rooms used were so congested and the main sitting room where the couple and most of the guests were, had a brown ceiling. This made it difficult for the light from my  flash to bounce back. I had to tilt my flash head at an angle of 60 and 45 degrees while photographing.

In conclusion, it has been a great week overall as I have learnt in a hard way to be more disciplined, more time-conscious and that no matter what the situation may be, always learn to meet deadline on assigned tasks.

Photographically Yours,
Onodje Oshevwiyore

…And the Bride DIED


On October 4, I concluded a deal with a wedding client that would have turned out to be one of the most interesting I’ve had this year. I covered the sister’s wedding 4 years ago and they insisted that it is “Seun Akisanmi” in person that they want to cover the one-day event. We had been talking for about 2 weeks but the deal was finally sealed on October 4. Or so I thought.

For a wedding that was supposed to hold before the end of the year, they ought to have dropped a part payment of at least 80% to help secure and lock down the date on my calendar. What made me more excited about the job was that the pay was good; good enough to help reduce my outstanding deficits. I gave thanks to God for the timely job.

And so it happened that I gave the client a call on October 12 to remind them about the importance of making a financial commitment. It was then I was told that the bride-to-be died on October 5 (the day after the deal was sealed). I was heartbroken twice: first for a selfish reason and secondly for the groom.

I wondered how the groom must have felt knowing that the person he was about to be married to died a few weeks before the wedding. And for reasons that perhaps could have been treated properly; malaria/typhoid. I was heartbroken because of the loss of financial resources that could have lifted some of my burdens. It was at that moment I realized that some people that weep at funerals do so for reasons beyond what people think. I realized some perhaps are heartbroken because the dead will not be able to pay back the N52 million debt he owed before his demise.

Beyond my selfish reasons, I realized the importance of the relationship I have with this client (and all my clients). I realized that every client that comes my way is for a specific purpose. Consequently, I asked myself the following question: Would this have happened if I had been praying for the client?

Perhaps if I had spent time praying for this client (something which I usually don’t do and only remember to do sometimes for selfish reasons), will the story be written thus? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m beginning to be more conscious of the spiritual aspect of my connections with people. I’m beginning to realize that every client, protege or mentor in my life is there for a reason. And the least I can do (without first considering the financial rewards that might come my way) is to pray for them.

The tragedy still weighs on my heart and I wondered if it could have been averted. At least I’ll be $3500 better if the bride had not died. God help us, God help us all.

#whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

 

Different Types of SLAPS


“ but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”. How easy it is to turn your other cheek for another round? When you are yet to recover from the very first one you received. Anyway, I am sure the quote is being used in other context not necessarily in a “slapping” way.

One statement and occurrence that kept coming my way this past week was Slap! Slap!! Slap!!! My colleagues at eloPhotos can bear me witness because one of them actually mentioned it too. And my Aunt in South Africa also made a statement about it.

I would like to concentrate on Nigerian mothers, Yoruba’s especially (one of the best when it comes to child upbringing). Yoruba mothers produce the best range of slaps: IGBATI, IFOTI, IGBAJU(Cheek Slap), IGBARUN, IFORUN (Neck Slap), IFAKUN (Stomach Slap), ILADI (Buttock slap), ABARA (Random back slap).

These slaps will make you think you were adopted or bought with a price.

IGBATI: this will make you correct your wrong immediately!

The beauty of IFOTI is, you will confess your sins on the spot.

IGBARUN, IGBAJU, and IFORUN will make you expose those who committed the crime with you without hesitation.

ILADI will make you pee in your new pants!

Now ABARA is the worst of it all because it comes randomly on you.

And apart from IGBAJU, we have a more advanced one which is IGBAJU OLOYI (Cheek slap that turns you 360°, it makes you see stars). When you receive this one, you will lose balance and your head will go into auto-search as you will be looking for what hit you. This will make you do all the actions of the other slaps above at once. You will even confess what you never did. Also, it can reset one to 3D (Deaf, Daft and Dumb).

God bless our parents for the “good” & interesting upbringing. You must have been wondering, what a title for a write up as this? I am sure there is a better one. I choose to write on this because of an experience I witnessed this past week, being at an event as a freelance photographer where someone was rendered a random slap.

I captured the scene anyways but not to be added to the album (except someone requests for such). This brings me to photographers who capture the not-so-good moments and end up including them in albums to be delivered to clients. Never make such mistakes to deliver such an album, especially for a wedding client; it will kill your brand.

Be wise during your post productions to select the best moments of an event. Your pictures should tell the good story. Whatever you do, be conscious of doing WHATEVERITTAKES to standout.

I remain Awosanmi Emmanuel, even as I look forward to the very week that the 7-hour photography workshop in 7-States in Nigeria begins.

#whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

Photography Studio Rental in Lagos: Kiki Melissa Studios


It was right after the Monday weekly devotion at eloPhotos that Mr Seun Akisanmi informed me that I would have the honor of visiting Kiki Melissa at her Ikoyi studio and having a chat with her. I contacted her that very day and we both agreed to meet on Friday afternoon. She sounded young and upbeat on the phone and I wondered what she was like in person.

Friday came soon enough and I headed to 21 Biaduo street, (location of Kiki Melissa studios), accompanied by two colleagues – Tayo and Emmanuel. On getting there, we were welcomed by a smartly dressed, young man named Michael, who informed us that Kiki would join us shortly. Meanwhile, my colleagues and I admired the studio – the sheer space, the white walls, the makeup room and the photography equipment in view.

Kiki soon emerged and even though I had not tried to imagine what she would look like, she was nothing like what I would have thought. Perhaps I imagined a lady dressed in a pink shirt and blue jeans with high-heeled shoes. She was casually dressed like the girl next door and if I had met her in a mall or someplace else, I never would have guessed  she was the brain behind Lagos’ finest studio. She was just as young and upbeat as she sounded on the phone.

Kiki has this air around her that makes you want to trust her. She had gone to England for school when she was about 12 years old; coming home only about three times a year on holidays. What brought this intriguing lady back to Nigeria? Her love for photography and a desire to make it her full time career. This love for photography was the reason why she left the university after two years, abandoning her psychology degree program.

With the full support of her cool parents (only very cool parents would support that decision) and a plan to establish her business in Lagos, she returned to Nigeria some seven months ago and thereafter gave birth to Kiki Melissa Studios. The studio opened April 15, 2013. Her goal is to provide an option for photographers who can not or do not necessarily have the capital to buy expensive gear and set up a studio of their own. The studio offers a beautiful space and state of the art photography equipment all at an affordable rental rate.

When asked about challenges she’s faced as a photographer since returning to her homeland, she cited pricing and also the fact that Nigerian clientele usually don’t appreciate creativity as well as their English counterparts. She also mentioned timeliness which is lacking in our Nigerian culture. This young business woman isn’t too excited when a photographer books a time slot to use the studio and then shows up late so guys, keep to time.

When asked what kind of photography she enjoys doing, with a sparkle in her eyes, she said “Editorials and Travel Photography”. Our chat ended about forty five minutes after it started. I had finally met the lady who would rather be called ‘Kiki Melissa’ rather than reveal her full legal name. Kiki would like to be remembered as “someone who changed the game a little bit” where the photography industry is concerned._DSC7615

For more details about renting her studio, you can visit her website  by CLICKING HERE. To view her_DSC7579 lineup of equipment for rent, download this file:_DSC7587 KMSequip

Reporting for eloPhotos,
Ronke Alao

BUILDING WITH PURPOSE


For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it? If you are going to build effectively, you have to have a strategy. Unfortunately, most people just sit around until they are confronted with a choice and then make a decision.

No bank would give you money to build a house or business that has no blueprint or cost estimate. Neither will anyone invest resources into the hands of a person who has no plan. There is much to be said for a life that has a plan. Even if the plan has to be embellished, altered or corrected, still there is a life plan. And remember, there is need for continuous reassessment of your strategy.

Returning to work after a week of reassessment for change and whatever it takes to standout, I was privileged to be in a meeting with Mr Akin Akisanmi, father to my Boss. I guess I now know where some of the creativity ideas of eloPhotos originated from. Few of the lessons learnt, during the hours Daddy spent with us is as listed herein.

About life, I had more understanding that before embarking on any thing in life, I will need God all the way starting with a relationship with Him, studying His Words, and abiding by His principles. In all I do or intend to do, putting God first should be my major priority.

On career, be it hobby or means of livelihood, timing is very important. It is better to get in early and stay much longer if need be. Taking care of oneself is another; the way you dress is the way you will be addressed. The food you eat also tells much about you. Your appearance talks. As much as you look after yourself, look also after your house and family. Your family is your first classroom.

About business, keeping ones product in the mind of the client and following up is paramount. These led us into record keeping which is where most business men and women fail. A proper record of income and expenditure must be well accounted for. It is also important to separate your business from your family.

The business period ended with the following key notes: Before embarking on a business, have a plan, be focus and be aggressive. Be perfect in record-keeping. Your passion alone will not feed you. Do not plan after you have made loses.

To round up the moment, Daddy Akisanmi concluded with a session on marriage counseling, emphasizing on the need to share dreams with ones spouse and how not to marry the wrong person. It was indeed a precious moment with him to hold on to.

It is not enough to begin a thing, proper execution is very important. Only those who endure to the end will be saved, promoted and rewarded. Build your life with purpose. I am glad to be on board eloPhotos flight to success. I remain Awosanmi Emmanuel. #whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

Introduction to PHOTOPRENEUR 101: A Lecture by Dangote’s Photographer


Accounting is a subject I have never really liked, probably
because my dad is an accountant and if I had shown interest in it, it would have led to a lot of father-son debate while growing up (if you know what I mean) or I don’t like the fact that it’s not dynamic. With that in mind, you could actually picture how I felt when Mr Seun
called to tell me that his dad would be coming to take us on ‘being accountable’ this week. As fate would have it, it turned out to be a life changing experience.

Bright and early Monday morning, Mr Akin Akisanmi was in our office 30min before his scheduled appointment. And to find out later that he was coming from Ijebu that morning, and still made it on-time for his engagement was not surprising(talk about like father, like son). So, not to come across selfish, I have decided to share some cogent point of the lecture with you this one time before I begin to charge for it anyway.(Stop rolling your eyes)

KNOW GOD
You are probably wondering what this has got to do with accounting, so before you start to think I am sick in the head, let me set the record straight. No matter what you do, you have to put God first and to put God first, you need to have a relationship with him.

What baffles me about this is that am not sure if most of us actually realize that having a relationship with God is for our own selfish reason. To have a relationship with him means to know God through his words, abide by his principles and be appreciative of whatever God has
done for us. When God is in it, it works better. I think I need to stop here on this point and let your professional Pastors take it from there.

CAREER
Normally before you start talking money and accountability, you obviously should have a career generating the income but I am not sure what abnormally will look like because I have never tried it thou. As a career person, your number one selling point is (& should be) timeliness.

When you give an appointment, get there ON TIME; it saves you the stress of giving excuses and stands you out as a serious business person. Get to work early (I have never heard of someone, punished for being early) and stay much longer if need be.

As an entrepreneur, you need to take proper care of your business. Never allow the output of some people affect your input. An example; say you design a photobook and send it to the lab for printing. Picking up
the print at later date, you discover they had messed it up. Make them pay for the reprint and not you.

Keep your product in the mind of your client by little gesture of kindness; like calling them on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries or even every two weeks. That way they keep remembering “Lagbaja photography are nice people, they actually called me on my birthday”.

KEEP RECORDS
For you to determine that your passion can pay your
bills, you need to keep records. This means separating your business from your person for evaluation sake. At the beginning of a business year, sit-down and write out your spending profile for the whole year. Calculate how many jobs will get you there. Write down the maximum and
minimum value you will charge your clients with respect to the number of jobs. Oh! Not to forget, never go below your minimum price for any job. You know what they say ‘like begets like’.

This is getting boring and my fingers are begging for mercy; those are cues for me to stop writing. However, if you feel you need more, kindly enroll for the master class: WHATEVERITTAKES.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a photopreneur on the verge of doing WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out. By the way, isn’t the title of this write up a funky one? What do you think?

The WAJO Experience


I was privileged to photograph alongside my colleague (Toye Peters) at the Wajo dance show that was held on the 26th day of September 2013 at Freedom park, Broad Street, Lagos. The dance show is a project well organized by Seun Adeleye of Enhance 360 Limited in conjunction with SPAN and he tagged it “Wajo”. I know you might be wondering why Wajo? Anyway, Wajo is a Yoruba word that means “Come and Dance”. It’s an open invitation to everyone to come and dance. Someone doesn’t have to be a professional or specialist to dance, as long as one can appreciate dance and he or she is enthusiastic about dance, then they are most welcome at Wajo. Wajo is usually held on the last Thursday of every month and it might surprise you to know that is completely free.

On arrival at the venue, the stage was being setup with light by the Wajo technical officials. The stage was an opened well spacious floor of about one and half feet high from ground level. The stage had series of colored continuous light lined and placed strategically on the floor and on top of the wall that serves as the background. The light from these lamps radiates in such a way as to emit multiple streams of colours in a matter of seconds that made the stage to be very fanciful. At the end of the elevated audience seats were two continuous lights positioned to feed the stage with additional light.

The show started at about 6:00pm with the Wajo dance choreographers comprising of both male and female dancers, performing to thrill the filled-to-capacity audience with breath taking steps and moves. They danced to the popular Naija Terry G hit track titled “Run Mad” in a creative way that added spice to their lovely twisting. At a moment, I felt like I was experiencing heaven on earth. Their wow dance moves thrilled me with total excitement.

The high point of the night was the performance from the energetic male dancers known as “Space Unlimited” who brazed the trail with a combination of strength and dexterity on stage floor. Believe me, their steps were so amazing and mind blowing. They thrilled the audience with countless stunt and daring moves that were highly professional. At the end of their performance, they so impressed the audience enough to get a standing and rousing ovation.

The rest of the evening saw the performance of a group of young children know as “Feet of David”. They marveled the crowd of audience with their beautiful danced steps as they flowed with the beat and rhythms of the Yoruba song played. I was so enthralled that kids of this age can perform and dance so calculatedly. I quickly thought to myself, big ups to their trainer who must have done a very good job with these kids. Other performers on stage that evening were two drunken dancers “Jackson and Ibe” who also thrilled the audience with their artistic and creative dance steps.

Conclusively, the dance show lived up to its entertainment value as I had lots of fun while photographing the event. Attached herein are a few of the pictures I took of the event. Whatever you do, do not miss the next edition of WAJO (holding on October 31, 2013 at Freedom Park).

Photographically Yours,
Onodje Oshevwiyore
Associate Photographer at eloPhotos

Wajo

 

How To Become The Star Of A Reality Show: A Script by Ronke Alao


Watching T.V is not one of my favorite things to do. There seems to be so much crap, (excuse my French), on T.V. these days that sorting the good from the terrible programs can be time-consuming. At the top of the list of programs I consider terrible include reality shows. Probably because I don’t see the reality in them. They are scripted,boring and lack entertainment value in my opinion.

The only kind of shows that I know of, worthy of being tagged “reality shows” are those I see in ‘danfo‘, (Lagos Commercial buses, usually Volkswagen brand) on a weekly basis. You want real life drama, comedy or thriller? Simply find your way into a danfo headed for Ikorodu (or some other place where the traffic is horrible and you can be sure of being in the same bus for at least two hours).

There’s so much to write about what goes on in this buses that I get tired just thinking about it. Sometimes the bus gets so noisy that I almost wish we could go back to the days when no one had mobile phones in Nigeria. If it’s not a bunch of people playing music loudly on their phones, then it’s someone talking too loudly on the phone, raising their voice and cursing the person at the other end of the phone out. Of course there is always that someone who lies through his teeth, (sorry guys but I think men top the chart for this behavior), about his location. “I am now at Mile 12”, he shouts on the phone, when he is in fact still at Ojota.

I remember sitting next to a lady once who was answering her phone and the next thing I knew, she stuck the phone in my ear and frantically said, “Sister, please say ‘hello’ “. With a confused look, I said a hello to the stranger on the other end of the phone. Apparently, the lady was talking to a guy who was probably her boyfriend or husband and she was trying to convince him that she was indeed in a commercial bus and not riding in a private car. I am so glad my husband never has to do that; he’s my hubby afterall, not a monitoring spirit!

Like many people, I have my preferred seat in the bus and it’s usually just by the window. This seat comes with its perks. For instance, I can easily buy my favorite roadtrip snack – yogurt – in the slow moving traffic. The one risk I have to be aware of when sitting by the window is that of having someone from the street snatch my Blackberry phone from my hands right across the window. This can be a serious concern when I attempt to capture an interesting image of something happening on the street with my phone.  I try to avoid the front seat because that usually means wearing the seat belt. I believe in wearing the belt as a safety measure but in most danfos, the belt is just something you throw around your neck to avoid being caught by LASTMA officials. They are usually faulty and I believe some can actually strangle you in event of an accident.

For guys who need a free lesson on how NOT to toast a babe, all you need do is watch the drama in these buses. What annoys me most is when I inform a guy that I’m married and he doesn’t quit pestering me. Then, he goes ahead to answer a call from someone whose name is stored as “Sweetheart” on his phone. It makes me want to punch him in the nose and ask, “Why are you so shameless?”, but then I don’t.

Most danfo drivers have personalities that bother around aggression. Well, maybe Lagosians are generally aggressive but these drivers get a daily overdose of it; especially those that ply Ikorodu road. They drive recklessly and seem to forget they actually have humans as passengers. Sometimes, my ride home looks like something out of an action movie where the driver weaves in and out of traffic, faces oncoming traffic and slams on the brakes like he just saw a ghost. In most cases, passengers try to put in a word of caution but I’ve had a few occasions where the driver drove quite decently but the passengers were disturbed by this and kept chanting, “Driver,what’s your problem? Can’t you face one-way? I thought you could drive rough like the rest of them o.”.

There are days when I don’t board a danfo. I sometimes get lucky and find a private car owner willing to give passengers a ride for a fee. A few of this drivers act just as badly as danfo drivers sometimes but for the most part, they are well-behaved. One of such well-behaved guys was one who gave me a ride from Ojota to Ikorodu. We were in pretty bad traffic and even though I was seated at the back seat, I could sense the driver was quite uncomfortable. My antenna ears picked something he mumbled about having used ‘MistMag’ with no relief. I immediately knew he had digestive issues. The moment we got to a gas station, he apologized to everyone in the car and said he had to use a restroom urgently. No one dared complain. This guy had just charged us N150 from Ojota to Ikorodu on a day when commercial buses were charging N300.  He returned in about ten minutes, looking very relieved and full of appreciation. “Thank you so much, sorry for keeping you waiting please, thanks a lot and God bless you…”. On and on he went like we had saved him from terrorists or something.

Recently, I have been thinking about how my attitude and demeanor changes when I am on the road. I realized how I was letting the aggression and craziness rub off on me. It used to be that I would watch the madness around me and not be a part of it. In fact, I enjoyed watching the show unfold and be somewhat inspired by it as an artist. Now, it seems I have joined in the mindless discussions that sometimes take place in the bus. I once caught myself using nasty words to describe a driver to his face and I immediately felt shame. ‘Ronke, you are better than this’, I thought to myself.

No, I am not ruled by my environment. I am governed by the Spirit of the most high God living on the inside of me. I choose to bless and not curse. This attitude sets me free to be the best photographer I can possibly be. It helps me release the creative energy that my heavenly daddy stuffed on the inside of me.

Life in Lagos buses, everyday is a different reality show whose entertainment value surpasses the shows on Television. Who needs T.V drama?Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Yours Truly,
Ronke Alao
Writer | Photographer | Poet

A Call For Change: DAY 2 & 3


DAY 2
Planning my days

Getting out of bed, I realized that my assignment for this season and beyond will require planning. So I decided to make a plan for the remaining days of this reassessment. And I got to see how planning is often burdensome. Despite the fact that, eloPhotos has taught me how to be more creative, planning seems to take all day for me to create.

It was a little difficult and laborious at the beginning of the day to move my thoughts towards paper. But I saw it as one of the common denominator of champions: they think ahead, as I am striving to become one. I began to write out my plans in detail as the thoughts were coming. I never knew such a time could be spent. I ended up planning for just few days and decided to have the plan accomplished per day as the thought keeps coming.

During the process of the planning, I was able to identify some rewards of planning; Planning ahead eliminates stress in the difficult seasons of ones life: “go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest”. My stress was relieved after getting the understanding from this.

Another is how planning greatly affects the decisions one have to make, the quality of preparation determines the quality of ones performance and proper planning guarantees completion of any project just as I have set before myself.

Taking all this to heart, I asked God for wisdom, to fulfill all the plans before me and those that will still come out of my thoughts. In my planning, I decided to keep a daily planner – a time management system, by writing out my plans in detail, follow it on daily basis, develop a detailed picture of my desired end and conclusion. I decided to keep flexible for the unexpected, then adapt the plan accordingly.

At the end of the day, the books I think might be of help in my study were seperated. Some of these books, I have read once or twice before now. Maximize The Moment by T.D. Jakes, Why You Act The Way You Do by Tim Lahaye, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen are few of my selections apart from the E-books on photography that I also planned to study.

Looking forward to execute my written day three plan.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DAY 3
My Discovery of two F’s

One of the greatest fears men and women face is the fear of failure, that we will not “make it,” the nagging insecurity that we would not succeed or be good enough. Too often we forget that we are always good “good enough” in the eyes of the Lord.

But still there are moments in which fear screams so loudly in your ears that you think, “there is no way I am going to make it.” The first time your mouth says it or your mind thinks it, you have dented your armor and undermined your effectiveness. If you let it fester in you, it will infect you like a plague and demolish your creativity altogether.

Fear cripples creativity and diminishes self-image. It creeps into ones life, often leaving one impotent to perform. There is a difference between success and good success. Good success adds no sorrow to it. But success alone can make one miserable. As for me, I choose good success.

To strip oneself of the enemy of fear, it must be identified. Fear will hide itself in motives, it will drape itself in over-protectiveness and anger, but it is a liar hiding in motives. Fear is an added weight that is not needed.

I asked myself: How can I maximize my life if I do not minimize my baggage? The excessive baggage of fear I carry will defeat me every time. As Airplanes will not fly without checking the weight load, no one flies high with too much weight. The higher you fly, the less dead weight you can carry.

Listening to the words of fear trying to cut me from within must stop. Focusing on the prize, not on the threats of harsh competitors is all I conclude with. I think we all need that to succeed.

These led me to my second discovery, “focus”. Focus is anything that consumes one’s time, energy, finances and attention. The only reason we fail is because of broken focus. Thank God I have got this moment to re-focus my passion for photography. I realized that my assignment at eloPhotos requires total focus.

Focus determines mastery. And anything that has the ability to keep ones attention has mastered one. Focus determines energy. What you look at the longest becomes the strongest in your life. Broken focus creates insecurity and instability in everything around us. Our sights affects our desires.

In order to help me protect my focus, I recognized that broken focus will destroy my dreams. I concluded to take personal responsibilities as I recognized that focus is the master key to the golden door of my success. I’m Emmanuel Awosanmi & my FoCuS is PHOTOGRAPHY.

Enough of my grammar. Day 4 beckons.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

#whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

Sentenced Without Being Arrested


I guess you might be wondering how one can get sentenced without being arrested but then again strange things happen. Few days ago, I was sentenced to 14 days community service and for a law-abiding, never once arrested citizen like me, I was taking aback by the judgment.

Timeliness, they say, is the soul of business. Recently I have been showing up late for work due to some seriously unserious reasons (I think that sounds confusing, but don’t be. Stay with me, I am taking you somewhere).

For the past 5 months I have been working at eloPhotos, waking up by 5 am each morning. I know that’s no news but when you consider that I am not a morning person and I don’t get out of bed normally before 8 am, trust me, 5 am is a miracle. Moving on. Once I am awake, the usual morning ritual begins (like having your bath and all, which by the way takes time…. Can’t one go on for 5 days without bathing? Just saying tho) before setting out by 6 am.

Despite the seemingly normal Lagos traffic, I always get to work before our official resumption time of 8 am. On an average, we close by 5 pm but I don’t get home most times until 9 pm or 10 pm and sometimes even later. Now you begin to wonder what I am doing on the road for 5 hours, or is it that I trek home. To tell the truth and nothing but the truth, I don’t walk; it’s traffic. I think it will be a bit bearable if it had just been the traffic but there is the big issue of Agege and rickety buses. I don’t know if it was intentional but almost all the buses plying that Agege route are old and scruffy. To add insult to injury, you can’t sit in a right posture in these buses, you always have to bend somehow and with all these you still get stuck in traffic. Combining all this and coupled with the fact that I don’t get weekends off (at home) and I still have to work has resulted in fatigue for me. Consequently I wake up late and show up for work late too.

Offence number ONE: Every week, it’s mandatory for us to submit a weekly report in form of an article on or before 8am on Monday morning and I have been defaulting on that by submitting late. I don’t do this on purpose but sometimes I just don’t know what to write or have any time to do it. To Mr Seun, all of the above are just unacceptable excuses and writing about it now seems same to me. So, guys if you catch me around your neighborhood in an orange jumpsuit cleaning gutters, don’t think I have abandoned my passion for a career with LAWMA; I am just serving out my well deserved punishment! Feel free to say Hi and don’t be a stranger.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo (the weirdo that shot Aliko Dangote’s Daughter) and I am a repentant photographer.

P.S: if your dream is to attend eloPhotos Academy, be prepared to do #whateverittakes to stand out!!

 

A CALL FOR CHANGE: Day 1


This whole write-up was born out of my 14 Days Compulsory Stay Out of eloPhotos (my photography office). Monday, September 30th, 2013 is a day not to quickly forget, as it was the starting day of the unexpected yet expected happening at eloPhotos. This time around, it was not the usual creativity that most people know about us at eloPhotos.

Owing to the continued occurrence of lateness in resumption time, attending to chores and report submission by most of the team members at office, four out of five of my team members including myself, were asked to take time off to reassess our passion for photography after a brief meeting was held. This painful verdict happened just a few minutes after the closing hour of the day.

It was then I realized the meaning of, “whatever it takes to stand out”. This was the new project our boss was working on, not knowing that I was going to embark on a journey to realize my own project on; “whatever it takes to succeed at eloPhotos”. Am sure most of the people who know Mr Seun Akisanmi or follow him online can tell of what that means.

DAY 1

Pain and Disappointment
I had a sleepless night thinking about the previous day happenings and I concluded that as the day breaks, I will begin my reassessment on passion for my photography career. I started my day with a session of inner prayers as I would not want to disturb anyone. I had all pending design spreads on my system put out of the way. I then took on a journey to think, study, read, meditate, practice and discipline myself for the next 14 days.

In my study and meditation today being Tuesday, October 1, 2013), I realized how my assignment at eloPhotos has been geographical. And that made me put up a comment on my Facebook profile saying “places matter – where you are is as important as who you are” (my words). I got to understand that my success in the photography industry is linked to a place like eloPhotos, which I tagged “my present place of assignment”.

A lesson that kept coming to me was, how one person’s disobedience or mistake can create a corporate judgment. Indeed, this has turned out to be a corporate judgment which I think is fair enough. This also reminded me of a Movie (Drumline) slogan, which states “one sound, one band”. To my understanding, the mistake of one affects others is the meaning i could give. Speaking to myself that my mistakes could have added to the judgment of others, and vis-a-vis.

In my pain and disappointment, I began to see how pain can be corrected in peoples’ lives. Knowing that in pain lies a correction process for me, I separated for myself five forces that pain brings to correction. I called them , “the five L’s”:

 Pain forces one to look for answers

 Pain forces one to lean on God instead of man

 Pain forces one to learn where one has missed it

 Pain forces one to long for forgiveness, healing and restoration

 Pain forces one to listen for changes

Immediately I understood this, I got the answer for this hurting season and that is going to birth the healing process. These then gave me more reasons why I must be focused again on my assignment as my best days are just ahead. This is the first day out of the fourteen days. Please, join me as I journey for change.

Photographically Yours,
Emmanuel Awosanmi

Dee hOuSe of CrEaTiViTy


When I decided to learn photography professionally, I thought long and hard,did a bit of research before choosing eloPhotos. That turned out to be my second best decision ever, next to giving my life to Christ. At eloPhotos, you learn everything; meet the weird, nice and creative people. Come with me on this tour and let me show you some of what you are missing.

To begin with, there is a six unit course at eloPhotos that is mandatory. It’s called ‘Understanding Mr Seun’. For instance, In Mr Seun’s dictionary the words ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’ was probably omitted. You don’t believe me right? Last week Friday, Mr Seun asked a colleague to get him a breakfast of yam and plantain (now who eats yam and plantain). After a few minutes, my colleague came back with an empty bowl. Mr seun took the bowl and went on a Yam and Plantain hunt. About half an hour later, he smiled into the office. I could have sworn he won a lottery but for the food he came back with. I kept mute as he explained he had to try seventeen times before he found a place that sold his dream meal.

Consequently, we have ” The Rule of Seventeen” which states that for every task you are assigned, you must have tried it seventeen different ways before concluding it can’t be done.

Mr Seun is no Super Hero but trust me, he is Super Human. He operates on ‘per second billing’, so you have to take initiative to keep up with his pace. He feels eating takes time, so get used to him eating his breakfast for almost 6 hours. He is a workaholic, so no lazing around. He is an inspiration and a blessing that deserves to be prayed for. Most importantly, he is a member of PDC (Pepsi Drinking Club).

At eloPhotos, you’re encouraged to explore your creativity. The unwritten slogan of our office is: if you can think it, you can achieve it. Imagine you felt this urge of shooting a pre-wedding session on the Atlantic Ocean and while you’re still thinking about a lot of things that makes the concept seem suicidal, you experience a mini diarrhea of the mouth and you let the idea slip into Mr Seun’s sensitive ears. You can as well be prepared for a Facebook and Google advert of an adventurous couple who are willing to tag along with your crazy idea.

Just in case you think it’s strange for a lady with twisted braids to be responsible and carry an ambition thrice her size, then welcome to eloPhotos. She is the only female photographer we have presently at the studio and she is good-good. Ronke by name, she is gorgeous, articulate, tenacious, a Jesus freak and an amazing writer. She is an inspiration and a model of a virtuous woman…oh, she is also married, so no coveting.

Another interesting thing is, we get to watch a sitcom every morning at the office titled ‘Meet The Laratus’. If you are hoping to catch it airing on a TV station, I am sorry to disappoint you, it’s for private viewing only. It stars; saucy Mama Laratu, her daughter Laratu (lousy replica of her mother) and two younger siblings. Every episode shows their bad customer service to clients in their little but ever busy canteen. You must be wondering what this sitcom has got to do with anything. To put you out of your mystery; they are just the ‘mama put’ we buy breakfast from.

I hope with this few points of mine, I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that eloPhotos is the right place to be. I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am an inspired photographer…..

 

The VALUE of Your HANDS


A basket ball in my hands is worth less than $10. In Michael Jordan’s hands, it is worth $33million or more. A baseball in my hands is worth about $6 but in Roger Clemen’s, it’s worth $475million. A tennis racket in Serena Williams hands is worth millions compared to mine. If I am wrong, please correct me.

A rod in my hands will keep a stubborn goat away but in Moses hands, you know what it can do. A sling shot in my hands might kill lizards and possibly a few birds but in David’s hands, it is a mighty weapon of victory. Two fishes and five loaves of bread in my hands is just enough for breakfast. In Jesus’ hands, nations will be fed and there will still be left-overs.

A camera in my hands, I know what it is worth but in your hands I can not tell. As you can see now, it all depends on whose hands it’s in. You are meant for something, not everything. If all you do or run after is to be everything, your efforts would remain wasted.

Your purpose is what you are to do when you are alive. You are not a product of chance but of choice. Purpose is the genesis of performance and it must be discovered, if not you will be a spectator until you see yourself as a performer.

Your achievements will never emerge until you walk in the right path of your purpose. Production can not be complete till the consumer is satisfied. Being original brings you to relevance in the society.

In striving to be a man of purpose, you need not lose focus. Have passion and hold on to a strong desire that will keep you going. Many people walk and run but only a few people fly. Until you know who you are, you can not be known.

You need to understand your potential and also strive to make the most of it. Make yourself valuable in the market place.

This report is a product of the musings of the past week at eloPhotos. All glory be unto God for a purposeful week. Looking forward to another week. I remain Awosanmi Emmanuel.

A Photographer’s Guide To Covering FAMILY EVENTS Without Going BROKE


I recently had the privilege of being the official photographer at my niece’s naming ceremony. I was so excited at the news of her birth, not only because I just love baby girls; my excitement was also due to the fact that this second niece of mine was born on the birthday of the first niece . How cool is that? It was almost as if I knew her because I did a maternity shoot for her mum – my sister in-law – while she was pregnant with this baby niece.

A couple of days after the birth, my sister in-law sent me a message asking if I would “help cover the event”. Not wanting to assume that it was a request to do the job for free, I promptly said, “Sure!” and went ahead to send her the bill. No need beating around the bush, right? I explained what the package would include. Whether she was surprised at the fact that I was charging for the job or that I was charging the amount I had quoted is uncertain. She said she would get back to me and I knew that was a polite way of saying, “Never mind, it is too expensive”.

Later that day, I told my husband about the fact that my sister in-law wants to hire me and I am charging her such and such. Well, my husband burst out laughing like he had just heard the latest joke from Basket Mouth. I wondered what was so funny and also if he would laugh if I was the caterer and wanted to charge for that service. I politely asked my loving husband why he laughed so hard. He said he thought the fact that I would charge someone like my sister in-law was funny since I have a close relationship with her. If my accountant-husband who supports my career, more than anyone else I know, could say that…God help me. I explained to him that business was business.

Just when I thought I was going to attend the event as a guest, my able sister in-law got back to me and asked if I could just deliver edited soft copies. Sounded fair to me and we agreed on a price. The big day came around. I was supposed to be assisted by a colleague (Onos) but to my surprise, Mr Seun Akisanmi showed up too to assist.

It was a beautiful event overall and I was thankful for the opportunity to learn the following first hand:

1. Charging family members for your service as a photographer is sheer wisdom. Get comfortable with the idea. Even non profit organizations do have to make a profit to stay afloat. Blood might be thicker than water but it wont buy you a lens or camera.

2. Just because your client is a family member doesn’t mean you slack on the standards you have set for yourself. Give it your very best. This could be easier if you are being paid. At least it was for me.

3. Still talking about the money subject, (I am not money-crazy but hey, good looks and charm wasn’t enough to buy my camera. Nikon still wanted cash), no one cares whether you are being paid or if it is some random act of kindness on your part. So it may be better to charge for the service even if you don’t need the money. Once you agree to cover the event, you are the photographer. Yes, you are like any other photographer at that family event so you aren’t attending as a family member.

I didn’t get ‘special recognition’ as family member. In fact, my dad ‘warned’ me not to “flash light” in his granddaughter’s eyes while one of my brothers,(not the baby’s father), told me I was not supposed to eat during the event. It was all meant to be a joke, a serious kind of joke if you know what I mean.

4. Covering a family event can come with its own distractions while on the job. Family friends may not recognize the fact that you are there as a vendor. I had one or two friends of the family who kept calling me to come do this or that. They didn’t realize they were distracting me from my job. I had to nicely ignore their requests.

Hope those tips help the next time you act as official photographer at a family function. I ended up not eating at the event but was able to pack a bowl of rice to eat on my way home. I wish I had the opportunity to sample the assorted drinks served but hey, it’s okay, I got paid enough to buy myself a drink.

Photographically Yours,
Ronke Alao
CEO Everywoman’s Heart
http://www.everywomansheart.com

 

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far


One of the coolest things about being an intern at eloPhotos is that you learn, not just from Mr Seun Akisanmi, but from other well-established photographers as well. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Olamide Bakare of Alore Photography. He came around to teach us Lighting. I had attended classes on the subject before, but Olamide’s class took it to the next level. It was a 2 hour class that was fully packed with a tutorial on relevant concepts and practical sessions, yet concise. I had the best of time.

Later that afternoon, I was about walking out of the office when I was met by a tall, slim and good-looking guy who looked like he was trying to find his way around. “Good afternoon, how may I help you?” I asked with a smile; sounding like a well-trained, professional receptionist. After knowing he was a guest of eloPhotos, I invited him to sit at the reception. Wondering if he had an appointment with Mr Seun, I asked, “What is your name sir?”. “My name is Emeka”, he answered. In response, I told him “I am Ronke”. The moment he heard my name, he said with a smile, “Ronke Alao, right?”. I was a bit shocked that he knew me so well or at least knew my full name. Since I wasn’t some actress on TV and I had not been part of any reality show, I wondered how he knew my name. On further enquiry, I realised he was an avid reader of our blog and had read a few articles I wrote.

Emeka came around to get information on eloPhotos academy and how he could train here. It’s interesting to think I was in his shoes just some four months ago. I remember sending Mr Seun a Blackberry Message on how I could train at the academy – more like a mini, informal application to be an intern. I was beside myself when he scheduled a meeting with me just two days after my initial contact with him.

I had been following (or stalking) the eloPhotos website for several months before that time. What drew me to eloPhotos was the integrity and honesty that I thought it exuded. Funny how people can perceive your spirit just by surfing your website! It wasn’t only honesty and integrity that got me sold on working at eloPhotos; it was also the fact that I “knew” eloPhotos had a culture of timeliness and professionalism as a whole – these are qualities that you would expect to find in every business but sadly, are missing in many Nigerian businesses. I had also been a visitor to the eloPhotosYouTube channel a number of times, so I knew what he (Mr Seun) looked like.

Meeting Mr Seun in person was a different ball game. I was surprised to find the almighty Seun Akisanmi in a pair of knee-length shorts and an old T-shirt. He wore a pair of black and white tennis shoes that I’m sure had stories to tell. His iconic look was complete with mismatched socks. Oh yes, he was wearing socks that made his feet look like they belonged to different people. They say one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, right? I took a cue from that saying, so I decided to focus on my interview.

My first thirty minutes was spent answering questions such as: “Why photography and not make-up artistry?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years” and “Why did you choose eloPhotos?” Afterwards, it was my time to ask questions. I wanted to know why and how he got into photography. I needed to know if I had made the right choice in choosing this training ground. I also asked him questions about the academy and what kind of plans he had for the future. After our discussion, I felt like I knew the man beyond his old T-shirt and sneakers. I thought of him as intelligent – hey, I saw tall stacks of books at his office, both photography and non-photography related. I also came to appreciate his vision and passion for his chosen career, and who would have thought this guy was so romantic to have named his company after his wife?

His charming sense of humor made the time seem like it flew by. He gave me a complimentary copy of Picture This magazine. My mind was made up: I would be coming back in a couple of weeks to start classes.

It’s been four months of learning, running errands, meeting some cool people, amazing myself with pictures I can now take, doing some more learning, running some more errands, learning to keep the books and balance accounts, learning the importance of timeliness, getting a “PhD” in dealing with “interesting ” clients, and having the weird in me rise to the surface.

I am glad I made the choice to train at eloPhotos. Let’s just hope my weirdness doesn’t get over the top…. It could with the kind of weird, fun people I hang out with here every day!