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…..

 

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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!