MY 1st TWO AMAZING PICTURES


Have you ever had a feeling of satisfaction deep inside of you that made you burst out the word “Wow” with excitement? Am pretty sure many of us must have had such an experience. Anyway that was exactly how I felt some months back when I took what I considered as my first two amazing pictures. Probably many of you might not rate them the way I do back then, but just like the popular saying goes “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.

Some months ago, precisely the 12th day of august 2013. My colleagues and I were privileged to have participated in a two weeks training program on photography for beginners that was organized by elophotos studios and academy. It was a training well facilitated by Mr. Samuel Ijiyokunola and assisted by Mr. Afolabi, two outstanding professional photographers in the industry. They both taught in details the technicality of using the DSLR camera as well as the art of composition, I became challenged and charged up to go out there, practice and take amazing pictures.

I began my practice by adjusting the camera settings. Basically, I played around the exposure triangle which has to do with the aperture, shutter speed and ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The aperture is that adjustable circular opening inside the lens that regulates how much light goes through the lens and hits the sensor. The shutter speed has to do with the rate at which the shutter opens and closes in other for light to hit the sensor. The ISO refers to the camera’s sensitivity. A good combination of these parameters will eventually determines ones final exposure.

During the period of my training practice, I shot more using the manual mode because to a large extent it gave me more control over the camera settings. The first amazing shot I took was done indoor without the aid of an external flash. I simply lowered my ISO value to 200 to avoid noise grains, opened up my aperture to F2.8 to allow in more light from my subject into the sensor and finally I adjusted my shutter speed to 1/80th of a second. My focus and white balance mode was programmed on auto. With my knowledge and understanding on the art of composition, I was able to frame my subject well from my viewfinder in such a way that portrays expression and creativity. At the end, I was so pleased with what I viewed on the camera’s LCD screen. With my wide aperture I got a shallower depth of field (DOF) as less of my subject was on focus.

The second shot I also considered amazing was taken outdoor on a sunny day. The whole idea for me was to freeze my subject while in motion. The best way I could achieve this was to shoot using a higher shutter speed. Since I am also interested in capturing much part of the scene, I needed to have more DOF in my frame. DOF is simply the part of a picture or frame that is in focus from the foreground to the background. I simply closed up my aperture to F7.1, adjusted my shutter speed to 1/250th of a second since it was a sunny day and shot with an ISO value of 100. The final exposure came out just as I wanted as I was able to capture my subject while in motion taking a long jump.

At the end of my practice session, I realize that what will eventually stand you out as a professional photographer in the industry might not necessarily be on the technicality of using the DSLR cameras but to a large extent it will be on one’s ability to explore the art of composition to be able to take amazing photographs. As for me, anytime I look through a viewfinder and press the shutter button, it is an opportunity to compose and take great pictures that will create lasting memories.

This is Onodje Oshevwiyore and I am an excited photographer intern.

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An Apprentice’s 1st PAID JOB AS A PHOTOGRAPHER


So I received a phone call from a very good friend of my sister some weeks ago. She requested for my photography services for a surprise birthday party for her boss, which was to take place at Sheraton Hotels and Resorts on Sunday for three hours. The date of the event was just five days away. With her request I had to visit her at her office the next day in order to give her the brief and also to agree on terms of payment.

Getting to her office, I was surprised to be left with the Companies Accountant and the Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer to negotiate. Being my first time in such an hot sit of negotiation as a photographer, I made a lot of flaws, that almost resulted into my accepting an offer that might affect my service and product negatively in the near future with the client and the company at large.

Returning to the office, I informed my boss, Seun Akisanmi and my colleagues of my flaws. I remember one of my colleagues asking if I was a learner. Mr Seun gave his advice on what to do, so did Mr Samuel Ijiyokunola. At their words and my personal conviction, I had to call the client to disagree with the initial agreement, thank God it has not been documented.

I had to explain in a very soft and polite manner in order not to get the client discouraged about my services, the reasons I would not be able to deliver such a service they requested for. At the end of the conversation, the client agreed to pay a fee three times higher than the initial agreement. Waoh! You say, it is God’s grace that found me. I had to write the agreement sharply in order for the client to approve, and this she did gladly.

Everyone at the office was happy for me, having such an opportunity of a photography job while being an intern. Without stress colleagues were ready to assist me on the job. With much ado, the thought of how the event would be successful engulfed me, to the extent that I could not sleep at nights after a very busy day.

The day of the event soon came. The day was a sunday, I had to be in church and since it was the first sunday of the month, it was a thanksgiving service. I do attend, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, where I have to be in church before 7am for the workers meeting which lasts for 1hour 30minutes every sunday before the sunday school. After which I would have to set up the instruments for the service, apart from being a member of the choir and the organist.

During the service, my eyes was almost fixed on the wall clock just in front of me. Sincerely speaking my spirit was far away, only my body was active. All my thought was at the days event, although the event was scheduled for 4pm, my thought was just on the success of it all. My spirit, sorry my imagination was tested with different scenarios.

At exactly 12:30pm, I left the church almost immediately after the grace has been shared, for the venue of the event. I live at Ikorodu and with the thought of the traffic in mind, I did not want to arrive late; one core value I would never forget from eloPhotos. I eventually arrived at the venue about 2 hours early. Assisting me was Tayo and Ronke.

These two have never been late for any event I have had opportunity to cover with them, so that was not surprising to me that they came early. Mr Seun Akisanmi also came to assist, though he said he only came to have dinner and he appreciated me for arranging such a sumptuous meal for dinner. And together we all teamed up to give our best shots, just as we had been trained to do.

Despite the delay in getting started, due to the celebrants late arrival, the hall which was well arranged and organized for the estimated number of guests was almost filled. Few minutes later, the event started as the celebrant came into the hall looking confused yet surprise at the faces of family and friends he was looking at. He was overwhelmed to the extent that he had to kneel, prostrate and held his head with this surprise look on his face.

During the introduction, we were informed of how the whole surprise package was carried out by some colleagues of the celebrant at his office. How he was invited for a 10minutes talk as a guest minister at a program scheduled to hold at Sheraton and the follow up on the celebrant for a month till the day the celebrant realized that it would be his birthday and that would be a great privilege for him to preach the gospel to someone and probably win a soul for Christ.

At the celebrants response and talk, he pointed out how he was supposed to attend another meeting with his wife who was also a member of the surprise party. That the wife had to persuade him to be at Sheraton first before journeying to the other place. He agreed to show up at Sheraton, not knowing that, it was all a plan to surprise him. He ended with the topic he had planned for the 10minutes talk, which stated that “how many lives do you affect positively, for Christ daily”.

The event rounded up few minutes past 7pm, at least it was not so long a time added. Probably, due to the venue used. At the end of the event, I realized that my burden and worries of the success of the event has been lifted and it was really obvious that Ronke had to comment on our way home, “ you look like someone whose load was taken off him”. Indeed, a load was lifted off me.

This past week, the job was delivered even before the due date of delivery. Despite being given a 3-weeks deadline for delivery, I delivered less than two weeks and this made the client more happy with the service I rendered. I see this as one thing we all should try to do. If the job can be delivered all things being equal, before the due date, there’s a higher probability that client would appreciate the service.

Once again the celebrant was surprised to have the images of his expressions well documented during his ‘surprise’ birthday party. I am grateful to God and everyone He used for the success of my first paid job as a photographer. The journey has just begun. Looking forward to brighter days in the photography industry. Also attached within this article are 2 pictures of a sunset at ikorodu. What do you think?

Composed by one of the Weirdos at eloPhotos,
Awosanmi Emmanuel.

MY FIRST PAID JOB.docx

Another Day in My Life in 2020: Sotunde Olajide


The following happened on another day of my life in 2020; July 17, 2020

Well, I had just returned from a photo exhibition of one of the foremost photographers in the world. It was held in Washington D.C., the capital of U.S.A. Hmn!…. It was indeed an eye opening and thought provoking, I mean enthralling kind of exhibition. It had in its attendance celebrity photographers and artists from all over the world. It was an exhibition that had most of its works on Africa and slavery. I almost shed tears seeing some of those masterpieces. I also had the opportunity of meeting photographer from all around the world including some of ours at home. It was a great experience. The state of the art gallery was something I would remember for a very long time. It beauty was something to behold and it got me asking myself ‘Can we be like this? How long will it take? My conclusion was that giving it ‘whateverittakes’, we would get there some day

I arrived in Nigeria the next morning at about 5 in the morning. The journey all the way from the United States of America was very smooth and so comfortable, at least up to the point when the plane touched ground at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, and so I thought, I wouldn’t want anything less since it was just some hours to my yet another ‘big one.’ I called my wife immediately we landed and told her to come pick me up in a comfortable car, at least one that would give me the kind of experience I had been having all the way from the States. ‘I don’t want to be so exhausted or late since its going to be yet another ‘big one’ that was said in my mind. When she arrived in our double exhaust, 24 horse power 2020 Jaguar C-Z20 at around 6am, I thought ‘yeah!!’ This is more like it’, so I hopped in and took the wheel, I loved to drive ‘my toy’ as I loved to call the car, by myself whenever I’m in it. I drove as fast as I could so that I could arrived at the venue on time.

I arrived at the venue at about 9:30 am, in the company of my wife, and the kids both of whom we had picked from my brother’s place at Lekki on our way. They had gone there to spend holiday. My brother and his wife, Lucy, loved the kids so much they insisted they come to spend some days with them before Xmas. Uncle AY (Ayo), as my kids call their eldest child wouldn’t want anything less. They would all join us later at the exhibition. Lucy also fixed us some breakfast quickly since I had just arrived from a long journey and might not really have the time to eat during the exhibition

It was my second exhibition on Photography and Art. Mr. Seun Akisanmi was one of the important dignitaries that had honored my invitation to be at the exhibition. I felt so glad that he could make it. He approached me on seeing me, embraced me and Mummy Shope. He then carried Shope, our little girl. Shope starred at his face as if there was something written all over it, touched his nose, eyes and all, maybe to inspect their safety or something, then smiled. That’s what she does whenever she’s carried by people she doesn’t see often. Mr Seun then congratulated me and we talked for some minutes.

I later moved in to the exhibition hall. It was beautifully decorated with my works hanging everywhere and I felt so happy at seeing the large turn out of people from all works of life, whom have come from everywhere all over the country and outside, to attend my exhibition. ‘Babe’, I called my wife whom was right there beside me, she moved right in front of me before I could say another word, looked into my eyes and said ‘I’m proud of you’ then she embraced me. It felt like my head had suddenly increased in size. I held her tight and said ‘thank you babe’, but we were soon interrupted, ‘daddy’ called out Tomiwa, my boy, as he tapped me somewhere on my leg. He pointed to one of the pictures hanging on the wall and said ‘I like that one’ it was a BW (black and white) picture of his mum when she was carrying his pregnancy. I had taken the picture when she was carrying him in her tommy just for the fun of it and it turned out to be my favorite picture at the time and I didn’t hesitate to exhibit it also.

At about 5pm, most of my works have been sold. I took pictures with as many people as I could, including family members, admirers, visitors and so on. I didn’t leave the venue until all the gusts have left.

Haven been satisfied with the whole event and the accomplishment, We left the venue, of cause, feeling so tremendously happy, I asked my wife where she would want us to chill out with the kids before we finally head back home. Of cause, I’ve missed my babe and the kids. The kids heard our conversation from the back seat and Tommy (Tomiwa), in a playful manner, ‘Lolly’s’, and Shope, ‘yeaaaaaaah!’. Lolly’s was one of the best places you could hang out with your family around the city, and it was a perfect choice for the moment, especially since I was seriously dying of having us sit somewhere, eat, drink and laugh together, so we headed for Lolly’s. It was fun there. The kids loved it and we all had a great time.

I just couldn’t stop starring at Feyi, my lovely wife and she would always smile whenever our eyes met. ‘Is there anything I could do without her?’ I asked in my mind, or may be I thought I did in my mind, but nope, I actually said it, but again, she looked at me and smiled. At that time we were almost home and the kids had slept off. She kissed me lightly. I was driving and so it was so brief. It reminded me of our first date. We got home at about 11pm. It was on the 23rd of December, holiday season, and so there was much time for everybody to rest the following day.

We laid the kids gently on their bed and we headed to our own room. We’ve all had enough food and drink for the day and so there was no reason to visit the kitchen. Its been a great day I said to my wife, she looked at me, nodded, then her hand moved around in search for the bed switch, then, the lights went out.

Sotunde Olajide

WANTED URGENTLY: Friends With HIV


It is with a heavy heart I write this advertisement. Seriously, my heart is heavy. Heavy for the fact that many of the people who have pierced my heart are those that have been closest to me. Heavy for the fact that most of the people I’ve met that proclaim to be “like Christ” seem to be more like cousins of the devil. Seriously. But then again, perhaps I ought to work on being a good friend myself.

If one is to go by the number of friends that Facebook proclaims that I have, then why should my heart be heavy thus. Why should I not be the most privileged person on earth knowing that according to Facebook, Google+, & Twitter, I have over 7000 human beings as “friends”. I think the social media’s meaning of “friends” should be replaced with “admirers” or “fans”. As for me, Seun Akisanmi, I’ve made it a prayer point to ask God for 11 friends…..hence the reason for this seemingly-comical-yet-serious advertisement. I’m urgently in need of 11 friends with H.I.V; Humility, Integrity & Vision.

HUMILITY: This seems to be a trait that seems to be a scarce intangible commodity in our society today. Infact, I was recently disappointed when I thought I would find it in abundance among the sect of people who proclaim to be religious. I was even more surprised that a large percentage of people who are struggling in their businesses or personal lives have serious “pride” issues. A lot of people are struggling because of ignorance and yet we will not humble ourselves to learn from sources that will provide the right info and platform for the next level. Consequently, this is a trait I’ll appreciate for my friend applicant to possess. And if you think I’m proud to be seeking this trait in a potential friend, may God help you me.

INTEGRITY: I think this goes hand in hand with humility. I think a lot of us need to do a 30 minute research on the word “integrity”. If integrity seems to be a word that can’t be used to describe you, then I don’t want to have anything on planet earth to do with you. I’m that serious. Only people with integrity will reach the promised Canaan Land that we’re heading to. It might take 40 years to get there, but the reason it will take that long will be because people without integrity need to die in the wilderness. It’s okay to be work-in-progress; I’m number one patient of a work-in-progress. Just make sure you’re ready to do whateverittakes to build a reputation of integrity in a corruption-congested society.

VISION: If you have no idea where you’ll be in 10 years, or what you’ll be doing in 15 years, then I’m so sorry that we can’t be friends. I’m really sorry. I really need to associate myself closely with people who have a clear vision of where they’re heading to in life. If all you have to tell me is that only God knows what will happen to me in 10 years, then you’re grossly & proudly mistaken. The steps and actions you take now should ultimately lead you to the attainment of whatever God-given (or personally-discovered) vision for your life in 10, 20 or 30 years time. A lot of us wish to acquire the level of wealth that visionaries like Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs & Bill Gates have reached. However, very few are willing to realize that they didn’t get there by accident; they had VISIONARY eyes. I understand that the level of poverty or lack that you’ve experienced is the reason why you’ve been discouraged from thinking too far into the future. But perhaps we should consider envisioning our lives so far into the future that the steps we begin to take henceforth will have no choice but to rescue us from the sinking sand of today’s poverty.

So all I ask is for the good Lord to bring my way 11 friends with HIV. So if you think you’ve tested positive to HIV, don’t just “like” this message because it makes you feel good, let’s partner together to be the change and role-models that Nigeria (& our world) seeks. I know this post might seemingly have nothing to do with making you a better photographer. I know you might be thinking “who does he think he is to make such demands“. All I ask is that you look beyond my sarcastic tendencies and flaws & please be my friend. You know how to reach me.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

A Day in My Life in 2020: Onodje Oshevwiyore


It was some minutes past 6:00a.m when I finally woke up from my standard family Italian sized bed. Just beside me standing was my lovely wife holding a tray containing already prepared toasted bread, fried eggs with a cup of lipton tea. Honestly in my mind I wondered when she had got the time to have prepared this delicious meal for me, must be pretty early she woke up, I thought to myself. With a delightful smile on my face I said to her “Good morning My Page”. Really sweet and thoughtful of you to have made me breakfast, thank you. Do you know most times I wonder what in this world I will be doing without you. I love you so much my dearest. I then gave her a kiss and we both asked how our night went.
   
Words might not just be enough for me to best describe the lady that shares my life with me. Anyway she is this cute average height lady with slender figure and well shaped curves at the right places. It is the combination of her physical attributes, her ability to wear cloth well and her inherent good taste of fashion that constantly gives her an elegance of appearance that is quite unique. Her smile is one of the amazing things I have ever seen. Truly captivating indeed I must say. No doubt you would want to say that I am lucky but I rather consider myself so blessed. She is the one that constantly fills my thoughts, the closest to my heart and someone I fondly would call “My Page”, “My Love and “Best Friend”. Her name is Cindy and she is twenty nine years old. 
   
After taking my breakfast, I undressed and went straight into the bathroom where I took a steaming hot shower, stretching and flexing my arms above my head and twisting my shoulders from side to side in a bid to exercise a little bit. Ten minutes later, I came out of the bathroom. I immediately started dressing up. I wore a pair of black trousers on a customized black suit with a white long sleeve inside and a brown Italian shoe to go with it. After dressing up, I glanced for a few minutes, the previous day’s vanguard newspaper where I read an article on “Repositioning the Nigerian Entertainment Industry”. It was now 7:20am and I am fully set to go out for the busy business day schedule ahead. 
   
I quickly stepped out into the bedroom corridor, pushed open the door exactly opposite mine and went inside my kid’s bedroom. I just wanted to say hello before leaving and also check how far they have gone in preparing for school. Am so blessed with two amazing and lovely kids; Richard and Mary. Richard, now 5years old is the elder while Mary will be 3years old by March next year. The presence of these two beautiful kids in my family brings my wife and I so much joy and happiness that words can’t possibly express.
     
My presence alone in their room elated so much joy and excitement as they both rushed towards me and hugged me. “Good morning Daddy” they greeted me. Morning kids, I replied. I hope you guys are now set for school? “Almost dad” as they replied in an angelic tone. Am sorry I wouldn’t be able to take you guys to school this morning as promised yesterday. Daddy has to rush off to the office as soon as possible for an unplanned meeting scheduled by 8:45am. But never worry kids, Mummy will drop you two in school today. I promise to take you guys to school tomorrow. I have to go now, hope to see you two when I get back in the evening. Always remember that daddy loves you both so dearly. Love you too dad, as they both replied with smiles on their faces. Ok, bye!
   
After a brief chat with my wife, I eventually stepped out of the house at new layout Jakpa road Effurun Delta State. At about 7:35am, I drove off from my apartment in my range rover 2018 model. My apartment is a newly built four bedrooms bungalow that has a big sitting and a dining room, a well sized kitchen with a store room, four standard sized rooms with their individual toilet, a separate visitors’ toilet and finally a car parking garage. The apartment has a well spacious surrounding as it was built on a 100 by 100 feet plot of land. One lovely thing about this edifice is the fact that it has a simple architectural design. The surrounding also has lots of beautiful flowers worth admiring.
     
On my way to the office I thought about how well my various businesses are doing. I thought of how my photography outfit “Oshez360 studios” which started some six years ago has now become a well known brand name for event coverage, portraits, product and food, advertisement, training and consultancy. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my outfit 8. Not a bad rating you would want to say. The secret of our success story lies in the fact that we do whatever it takes to satisfy our esteemed clients by delivering quality services. We are bent on creating lasting memories.
     
Before getting to the premises of Oshez360 studios, I thought of the welding inspection company that was established more than a year ago where I am an active partner. I thought of how the company is about to make a major breakthrough of winning the contract bid for the welding inspection of a 52km pipeline project worth over 100 million naira. “Wow! We are not doing badly at all” I said to myself.
     
I also thought of my one acre plot of land farm investment located at my home town in Agbarha Otor, Ughelli. The farm land currently has a livestock, fishery and crop section. And it is being administrated by a capable manager. I finally thought of the real estate project I intend to embark on in a couple of months from now. It will be a storey building containing four (4) two bedroom bungalows that will be built on the recently 100 by 100 plot of land I acquired at Osubi, Delta State. From my projection it is going to be a worthwhile investment.
     
After about 35 minutes of leaving my apartment at new layout, I arrived at my office. Oshez360 studios is a four bedroom bungalow rented as office space and it was strategically redesigned to accommodate a studio, an editing room, reception and my own personal office. At the reception I met my secretary, Mrs. Rebecca who gave me a quick briefing of my schedule for the day. Good Morning Sir, “here is your schedule for today; you have a meeting shortly with Miss Rose at 8:45am, thereafter a meeting by 1:00pm in Ikeja Lagos with the regional marketing and brand manager of PZ Industries plc as regards some of their products shoot. Your flight to Lagos has been scheduled for 11:00am and a return flight by 3:15pm. Finally Sir, you planned on visiting your farm land at Agbarha Otor by 5pm”. “Thanks so much for the briefing” I said her and then worked straight to my office.
     
The meeting with Miss Rose went well as anticipated and it only lasted for less than an hour. She agreed to our terms of the contract and has decided on hiring our services. My outfit will be covering the photography aspect of her wedding ceremony to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It is going to be a two days event with Friday and Saturday which is the 23rd and 24th of October 2020 as the traditional and white wedding ceremony respectively. That is roughly a month and two weeks from now. We billed her half a million for the two days event. The amount will exclude flight reservation and bookings for the three photographers covering the event as well as their hotel accommodation and feeding that will also be taken care of by the client. It was a pretty good deal for us I must say.
     
It was a quick trip to Lagos. The Arik airline I boarded from Osubi airport in Warri to Ikeja in Lagos only lasted for 45 minutes. Straight from the airport, I took a taxi to PZ main office at Ikeja. At about 12:30pm I successful gained entrance into the company premises after I have undergone the compulsory security check at the gate. My meeting with the regional brand manager didn’t go as expected as we couldn’t reach an agreement on major issues as regards pricing differences and the products right that I wasn’t too comfortable with. A rescheduled date for the meeting will be arranged soonest for us to be able to finalize on the terms and conditions of the contract.
     
Some minutes to 4pm, my returned flight landed at the Osubi airport. At that moment I felt so tired but still needed to visit my farm land at Agbarha Otor since it has been a while I went there. I quickly put a call through to my admin manager to inform him that I was on my way coming. At about 4:55pm, I got to my farm and walked straight to the office of the admin manager. He briefed me on the activities of the farm most especially as regards production and sales progress. I later went round the farm accompanied by him to see things for myself.
   
At about 6pm I drove off from the farm and headed straight to Warri. On my way, all I could think of was my lovely wife and our two beautiful kids back home. They are no doubt the ones I so much treasured in my life. I feel so blessed to have them around me. I just can’t wait to be home to see them once again. With a smile on my face, I said to myself loudly, “Home sweet home, here I come”.

Proudly WEIRD & Loving It


So the weird Seun Akisanmi checked the dictionary for the meaning of ‘Weird’ and he became excited. The word weird has been commonly used to describe people who are non-conformists and won’t do things the usual way, but I was surprised to see that it also means ‘something supernatural’! That explains the reason behind what we do at eloPhotos. So please call me weird, because I am really of the supernatural breed. Anyway, only weird people will do things the way we do at eloPhotos.

I remember during the office devotion last Monday, when Mr Seun told us about how unacceptable it is to give excuses for not accomplishing a task.”All I want is result, No excuse is acceptable, however genuine it sounds” he said and I quite agree with him. The act of going the extra mile to get a task accomplished is one that we all need to imbibe.

Then came the Vision assignment – Describe a day in your life in 2020 – due for submission the next day before the close of work. I have heard my Pastor talk about the power of vision and Imaginations, but I just never found time to write it, or better put, I never had the discipline to sit down and picture such a day. But with a deadline in view, I didn’t have a choice than to sit down and picture myself in 2020. Believe me, its the greatest exercise I’ve ever done. The future became more real to me than ever. I encourage everyone to take that exercise too. Click here to read about my day in 2020.

Have you ever seen a complimentary card printed on a film? That’s another weird part of us at eloPhotos. Our complimentary cards are uniquely designed to portray the creativity that we stand for. Coming in contact with our complimentary card should make you want to  associate with us.

In other news: So my sister, as I fondly call her is now a graduate! My stay at eloPhotos so far has been an exciting one, but meeting the great Ronke Alao has made it even more exciting. She’s such a lady you can never have a dull moment around. I’ve tapped from her wealth of knowledge and skills both in photography and other areas of life. Her human relations skill is just amazing. I am most intrigued about her attitude to work.

In the few weeks I’ve been around her, I’ve watched her dedication and loyalty to the organisation. You can’t beat her ability to relate a story. When she tells a story, you don’t have to wish you had a first-hand experience because she tells the story and includes all the emotions. I’ll sure miss her, but most importantly, I wish her the very best in her photography career. Now I become the only lady amidst these weird men at eloPhotos.

This new week is sure going to be better for me than the past week, as I look forward to acquiring new skills and knowledge and most importantly make the best of the resources I have at my disposal. Attached is a picture I took last week. What do you think of it?

Vegetables - Eat and Live

Photographically Yours,
Damilola Opawale

A Day in My Life in 2020: Babalola Michael Tayo


The following happened on 1st May 2020

Dear diary,
It’s my birthday and though I am not a big fan of birthdays, I dare not forget that of my charming wife and my delightful kids. I am sitting here in my study trying to examine how far I have come. Have I made a difference and if I were to be called up by God today, have I completed my mission?

While deep in thoughts, my eyes drifted to the table and I saw my gold plated complimentary card, it read:
     Babalola T.M.
     CEO. MOB MEDIA
     CEO. MOB Sport Management
   
MOB Media is the parent company of my photography and film production outfit while MOB Sport Management is a talent Management Company for athletes.
     
Now, on to the best part of my day. Today is the Grand Opening of Lagos Grace Hospital; it’s a clinic I have always dreamt about building, so I guess now I can say boldly that dreams do come true. It is comprised of two wings: the West wing is for paying clients while the East wing, which is bigger, is for clients who can’t afford expensive hospital bills. Both wings are well equipped with the state of the art medical equipment and we are also listed as a research institute. 40% of our medical staff are expatriate and the remaining 60% includes Nigerians abroad who were ready to come home to serve in
their country plus Nigerians who are resident here. I am really excited about this, it has been my baby for long and I can’t believe it finally grew.
       
Nigeria has changed a lot, we are now beginning to embrace our potentials and take our rightful place as one of the super powers in the world. First off, we currently have a leader and not a ruler and truth be told, the man has done well. Our roads are great, our educational system is excellent judging by the fact that my four year old son now takes history classes. Our agricultural sector is taking back its glory, ( ninety percent of the rice we eat is produced locally and we now export cocoa too). Oh, we have round-the-clock power supply and we collectively as a nation are fighting the disease tagged corruption with every weapon we have. Our streets are safe, our homes are more joy- filled and our churches are now concerned and caring about their congregation’s welfare.
       
Before I forget diary, I bought that Range rover sport we’ve been talking about, 2020 model and custom made. She is so pretty and efficient. Imagine, she reads my heartbeat to open doors, all I have to do is place my hand on the steering wheel to start the engine and its safety measures are so amazing that I can crash it and someone can’t crash into me. In fact she is so cool that my wife; who by the way does not like SUVs can’t stop “test-driving” it, (that’s her excuse for driving it about twenty times already).
   
Hmmmm, I can feel someone kissing me on my lips, and only one person is authorized to do that in the whole world…. “Happy birthday Omotayomi”, the unmistakable voice said. I answered, “Thanks gorgeous!”.

Dear diary, I guess you don’t want to find out what happens next, so ‘arrivederci’.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and all I can say is thank you Lord for
letting me do this much..

Ronke Alao’s Burden of Freedom


The day had finally come when my stay at eloPhotos as an intern would come to an end. Six months had gone by like the breeze but not without an impact. It was just like yesterday when I started out as a young and innocent student, (I am still very much young and innocent). 

Six months of learning, meeting interesting people, improving my photography skills, learning some accounting skills, learning to work effectively in a male-dominated office and with a boss whose personality is shrouded in mystery. I almost felt I had to take a college course named, “Understanding Mr Seun”, to even begin to unravel the mystery. 

I once had my sister in-law ask me if I was going to “do freedom” at the end of my internship program. She was referring to the ceremony that typically holds when an apprentice finishes his/her training. Though it sounded amusing at the time, I think there is some truth to the fact that I have attained a level of freedom. 

Freedom from having to leave home 5.30am and engage in the undesirable rush for a vehicle to get to Ketu; freedom from having to ride in buses that are three-quarter-filled with green plantain instead of humans, (Buses from Ketu heading to Ogba do this to me); freedom from being the “chief accountant” at eloPhotos and dealing with colleagues that aren’t sometimes helpful when it comes to keeping the books; freedom from washing the eloPhotos restroom every week and whenever a ghost uses it without flushing. So many things to be free from but what does it really mean for me?

In life, I have come to learn that freedom in itself can come with its burden. The higher you go, the more responsibilities you have. A servant/slave doesn’t have to think much or worry. You have your tasks laid out for you. Nothing is left to the imagination so you just keep working. I was no slave at eloPhotos and I had to engage myself mentally and sometimes emotionally, to accomplish the tasks set before me but sailing out on the boat of “freedom” to run my own show makes me aware of this thing called the ‘Burden of freedom’. 

When I wake up at 5am on Monday morning and remember I don’t have to be at the office or struggle at the bus stop; when I realize that the clients I will be negotiating with henceforth, would not be eloPhotos’ clients but mine; when I realize what I now do with my waking moments is left to me and I can’t blame Mr Seun for encumbering me with tasks, thereby preventing me from reading or doing whatever or when there is no boss to reiterate the need for me to practice on my Camera. Yes, the burden of freedom stares me right in the face. Not that I don’t know what to do or how to move ahead in this phase of life. I do and perhaps that’s the challenge.  Not knowing what to do can be a beautiful comfort zone that I sometimes wish I was clueless. 

The burden of freedom; it is knowing that you are free and answer to no one yet your freedom compels you to want to be a servant who serves others and bring them to the light of God whether as a photographer or writer. It is knowing that, though you are free, you were purchased with a price and your life is not your own. You still answer to God Almighty, the one who wakes you every morning and keeps your heart pumping.  Also, it is knowing that my destiny is somewhat attached to someone else’s and I need to take action on why my creator put me on this planet.

As the Burden of Freedom stares me in the face, I refuse to shrink back knowing it’s a good kind of burden. One that propels me to be all I was made to be and touch the lives I was made to touch in this journey called life. As the congratulatory messages roll in and farewell tributes drip like honey, I say to myself, “Ronke, bask in the euphoria but not for long. There is work yet to be done”. 

Ronke Alao
Founder, Everywoman’s Heart
http://www.everywomansheart.com

Life Lessons From Van Damme & Volvo Trucks


By the time you’re through reading this and watching the 77 seconds video embedded within, over 10124 people would have been inspired to be the best at what they do.

It happened on November 16. As I logged unto the University of Internet to get my daily dose of inspirational education, I stumbled upon the 77 seconds video that Volvo Trucks did with Van Damme. I did not hesitate to click on the link and within one minute of watching it, I discovered that the teary gland in my eyes had resumed from their 5 month break; I was in tears.

Now, wait a minute before concluding that this Seun Akisanmi is too teary for your liking. You see, I’ve been on a recent journey to learn and digest as much information as possible that will help me in the pathway of destiny that has been set before me. Hence my reason for ensuring that I’m connected to an internet that will be a platform of continuous education for me. What stood out of the advert and jumped right into my face (hence causing the tears to burst out) was a lesson God had been impressing on my heart lately: the importance of being the best at what you do. Eventually if you’re diligent at harnessing the talents & gifts that has been entrusted into your life (and don’t you dare insult God by saying you don’t have any gifts/talents), eventually you will stand before kings and not mere men. Here was Van Damme, an actor that many of us have associated with martial arts fight scenes in movies in the 90s. What on earth is he doing associating himself with Volvo Trucks?

Apparently, there must have been a marketing meeting at Volvo trucks months ago when someone popped up a question: “Which brand can we associate our brand with that will ultimately help increase the sales of the latest edition of our trucks?” A few names popped up but Van Damme was concluded on for reasons only known to them. Perhaps it was because he happened to be one of the very few celebrity actors that could perform such a stunt. Perhaps because he doesn’t seem to have a notable stain on his image/brand. Either way, I’m sure Volvo Trucks is impressed at the amount of views the advertisement is getting now.

Consequently, I resolved to be consistent at whatever it is I’m doing now that many people might consider irrelevant (albeit they’re very relevant to my distant future). I resolve to keep writing, training and inspiring people to stand out and be the best at whatever they do (not just photography). Eventually, my seemingly tiny steps of dedication and commitment will get the attention and audience of the people/organization that matters. And although I might not be driving fine cars or using the latest photography gadgets now, theses steps of dedication will ultimately lead to me having to choose which company’s ambassadorship proposal I want to go with in 2020. It was almost as if all the years of practicing that particular stunt seems to be paying off for him now.

I was reminded of the poem I recited at a recently concluded Leadership Conference. I had written the poem (Corruption: Not an Option) approximately 9 years ago. I had even recited it about 5 times within the last 9 years. I eventually gave up on poetry because I felt it wasn’t bringing food to the table of my family of 4. After the recitation I did on November 6, I got a call from a gentleman who asked for my full name over the phone. He asked to see me in person and when I eventually saw him, I was thanked for being a blessing with the recitation and given an envelope that included a check that will put food on my family’s table for 6 months. YES, 6 months feeding allowance. In my heart I fainted when I saw the figure. I almost thought there must be a mistake somewhere. I was getting rewarded for a 5 minute poetry recitation (that took me 2 weeks to compose in October 2004) with an amount greater than what some wedding clients will pay eloPhotos for their wedding photography. I was shocked. I was in tears. And I was inspired to utilize to the greatest heights all the talents that has been entrusted within me.

And that is why I cried when I saw the Volvo Trucks commercial. I’ve watched it over 10 times in the last 3 days and each time, it moves me to inspirational tears. I will be the best at what I do. I will not just walk past on the sandy path of life, I will make a mark. I will not just be a photographer, father, friend, cinematographer, poet or son….I WILL ADD the word “INSPIRATIONAL” to all those roles. Enough of my babbling. Watch the video.

 

A Farewell Tribute to a Great Writer, Photographer & Friend


Twas just 7 months ago that our paths crossed. She came to our office 40 minutess late on an appointment to see Seun Akisanmi. She was considering the 6 month internship program we offer at eloPhotos Academy. Apparently she had done her research and concluded that eloPhotos was the type of place to give her the foundation she needed for her photography business. With her seemingly innocent outlook, I concluded after almost 1 hour of chatting that she was intern-material. The journey into photography destiny was about to begin for Ronke Alao.

6.5 months down the line, she has proven to be someone I learnt more from than she did from me. I almost feel bad for collecting school fees from her. Almost. With over 9,500 people following (or liking) me on social media, she has grown to be someone I’ll consider one of the 6 people I have as real friends. From her writing skills, to her interpersonal relationship gifts, I cannot quantify the impact she has made on her colleagues at eloPhotos.

This is just to express my profound gratitude for the contributions she’s brought to the eloPhotos table. No she isn’t dead. She just stepped up to another level. She graduated from eloPhotos yesterday (November 15) and if I were to be presenting an award for the best student eloPhotos Academy has ever produced since 2008, she’ll win hands down. If not for the fact that the tears in my eyes have been on ASUU strike for 5 months, our office will be flooded by now.

Thank you for being an inspiration with your writeups, photography skills & marital advice. eloPhotos will not be the same. Indeed you’re a photographer in whom I’m well pleased. Go in this strength as you conquer the world of photography with Ronke Alao Photography.

For those that might be wondering who this great writer is, here’s a summary of some of the writeups she’s put up on this site. Enjoy

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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Ronke Alao

Challenges Of Being A Female Photographer

A Poem Called HONESTY

The Day I Had A Dead FLY Served For Dinner

My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer

LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City

Photography Studio Rental in Lagos: Kiki Melissa Studios

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

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career

WARNING: READ BEFORE YOU TRAIN AT eloPhotos

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS

604800 Seconds In The Life Of A FEMALE Photographer

Rantings of a Weird Photographer

AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective

Why Your Best Client May Be Your Last Client


So I recently had the privilege of hiring a cobbler to do a customized sewing design on an album box I wanted to deliver to a client. I explained to him the design I wanted and emphasized the importance of delivering a neat job.

30 seconds into the sewing, I knew in my heart I would never work with this vendor again. His design was sloppy and neatness seemed to be enemies with him. I had planned to give him about 4 other materials to sew for me and decided right that moment that he will not lay his needle on another of my materials. At the end of his 5 minutes work of technical imperfection, he billed me N100. I hurriedly paid without negotiating; couldn’t wait to get him out of my sight.

If only he knew that I had budgeted N2000 for all things I wanted to sow. If only he had asked for my opinion on the sloppy job he just delivered. If only he had been more technically proficient in the carriage of his expertise. He looked at my expressionless face and perhaps thought he had secured a great client in me. I thanked him for his time and sent him away.

I immediately summoned my colleagues to share with them a customer-service revelation I had stumbled upon. Sometimes when we deliver our jobs to clients that don’t seem to say much (apart from paying and thanking us), we should be a little skeptical. It is important to prod customers that “seemed” to be satisfied and ask what they honestly think of your service delivery or product quality. Sometimes we’re happy for the $2000 we just harvested from our best client without being conscious of the fact that “our best client” might not have been completely satisfied. Hence we ultimately loose out from the $20000 jobs he would eventually bring our way.

Buttom line is for us not just to be quick to charge and collect money from our clients; we should try to be 100% sure that they are satisfied. For only 100% satisfied customers will help to be your loyal and faithful BRAND MARKETERS.

Welcoming The New Intern: OLAJIDE Sotunde


It all started when I found myself at the Lagos edition of WHATEVERITTAKES.

When he told us that the workshop would end at around 5pm, I didn’t feel bothered because I thought, ‘what kind of a workshop would start around 9am and end at 5pm?’ I figured it wasn’t “possible” – a word I have, within the very short period I have known this man, come to realise does not exist in reality.

I’m sure by now, anyone reading this would be wondering who I’m talking about. Well, I’ll just in a few seconds introduce you to my new boss. I’m sure some of you have met him, some have read about him or his article and some have had the privilege of working with him directly. He is ‘The Weird’ Seun Akisanmi (‘weird’ as he is fondly described by other members of the house).

The workshop tagged ‘WHATEVERITTAKES’ the Lagos edition, was held at eloPhotos office in Ikeja and that was the first time I met Mr. Seun Akisanmi, a poet, writer as you all know, a photographer which need not be mentioned, a teacher and so on.

Well, don’t think I’m just singing praises of him, you’d do more if you were in my shoes. I never thought I could sit and listen to a talk that’ll last up to 3 hours. It had never happened, (without boredom) and until that day, I never thought it could happen but Mr Seun made it happen. I didn’t realise I had sat for that long, not until the workshop was brought to an end at around 6pm, Whao!!. Only one thing could make that happen though, an interesting talk coupled with contributions from interesting people among the attendees whom I felt very honored to have met. They included the one and only Ronke Alao herself, Dr. Femi Adewuyi, yes, a medical doctor who is also a professional photographer just in case you are wondering.

In attendance were some other members of the house; Damilola, also a female medical student; Emmanuel, Toye, Onos and the rest. These are real photographers with a lot of passion for the business of photography.

At first, I thought, what would make a medical doctor take photography as another profession, or a hobby as the case may be. It didn’t take me much time to figure it out; do what you enjoy doing most and in no time, you’ll find yourself doing it well without any regret or boredom.

Photography could be done for pleasure and/or for business. To me, there is one thing about doing things, and the thing is ‘doing what you like/enjoy doing’, especially when you are going to be getting paid for doing it. That is what photography is to me and so why won’t I give it ‘whatever it takes?’ When the workshop came to an end, I felt like, ‘yes, now I can go and conquer the world of photography.’ That was how much confidence and ideas the opportunity of attending the workshop imparted in me as a person.

With this kind of opportunity at eloPhotos, I thought it would be wise if I enrolled and tap into more of such opportunities, and here I am, one of the newest interns at eloPhotos. As I said earlier, one of our watch words at eloPhotos is ‘nothing is impossible’. There is no limitation in the world of photography, just like art which I love so much, and intend to express through photography. I Love PHOTOGRAPHY, I love ART, I love PHOTOART.

I am Olajide Sotunde

 

A Day in My Life in 2020: Sotunde Olajide


I think I can remember some of those times in class when our teachers would ask us, ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’. Our responses were usually like, ‘I would like to be a lawyer, I would like to be a medical doctor, pilot, nurse, engineer, police’ and so on. Very few ones would choose a less attractive profession. In few cases would you hear professions like ‘teacher, civil servant’ etc, and the reason would be that, the parents of those that would choose such professions were actually in the profession. Well, some of us did become what we wished to become and some, a twisted fate, which was either as a result of our actions, or unforeseen circumstances.

I’m sure you are wondering what my own wish then was, or used to be. Well, I used to consider the Law profession, in actual fact that was what I wanted but deep inside me, being an artist was more of it. I was allocated a specific time for personal studies in the evening but while my guardians would think I was studying to become a lawyer, I would actually be making a lot of sketches from comic books, and every other attractive picture I could lay my hands on. With that, I was deriving pleasure and satisfaction in being young and reckless. I never thought I needed to give it a lot more to realize this dream. Well, all that is in the past now, I am a photographer in the present and we are looking at the future which brings us to the main discussion; where I see myself in the year 2020.

Well, its always good when you have these kind of discussions, in the sense that it ‘gingers’ you or wakes you up from your slumber. The first time I saw a documentary on Kelechi Amadi-Obi whom till present is a renown photographer and an artist, I found yet another  reason to rekindle my love for art and a better reason to be whom I have always loved to be; an artist or to be more precise, a ‘photo artist’.

In the nearest future, say in 2014, I see myself having my own photography studio somewhere in Lagos. I would employ people whom together, we would be working to actualize our dreams. Also, I would be striving harder, exploring all there is in the world of photography and art in the pursuit of actualizing my dream of being a renown ‘photo artist.’ In two to four years or so, I should have been well established in business and so, move to the next plan which is having my own gallery.

By 2016 or 2017, I think I would have prepared a good ground for having a world class/standard gallery, especially when I probably would have got all the support I could from my boss Seun Akisanmi, and the bosses I am yet to have, (Kelechi Amadi-Obi and the rest. Don’t get it twisted, I mean support in terms of ‘how to’), I think I wouldn’t have any problem in that area. By then also, I should have had connections with a lot of world class models whom I would have met everywhere in and outside the country. Oh! I forgot to mention that I would have traveled abroad in a quest to gain more knowledge on how to be a good ‘photo artist’ so don’t worry; if you are a model or are planning to be, we might work together soon.

Then by 2018, I would be thinking of how to expand my coast. I would have had photo studios located in Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Kano and Jos too. By this time I should be in UK or USA trying to see how I can establish businesses in those places also or may be would have. Let me also mention that my investments will also cover sales and rentage of photography equipment such as professional cameras, lenses, lights, photo papers and ribbons etc. By 2020, I should be participating in photo exhibitions alongside the Kelechi Amadi-Obis and Seun Akisanmis, and by then also, you all would be having my piece hanging on the walls of your homes and offices, so help me God.

 

A Day in My Life in 2020: Ronke Alao


The following series of events HAPPENED on Wednesday, 25th of March, 2020.

It was 5a.m on Wednesday morning, 25th of March, 2020. I got out of bed and prayed with Ifemi, (my husband), who had been up earlier and working on his laptop as usual. He loved to work and I was so proud of all he had accomplished in the past few years. After giving him a hug and a kiss, I went to take a look at my to-do list to see if I needed to add anything. The tasks that lay ahead of me that day were by no means simple. I needed God’s help to get it all done well and on time. My to-do list had kept me up later than usual the previous night because I believe a to-do list gives so much clarity and helps declutter the mind. Even though I have my phone and tablet which I’m able to draft things to do on, I still prefer to do it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper. Crossing off the tasks I am finished with makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.

Wondering if my six year-old twin daughters were up already, I went to their room and wasn’t so surprised at what I found; Ewaoluwa, my easy-going and introverted twin was already awake and staring at the ceiling while my playful,extroverted twin, Inioluwa was still fast asleep. "Ewa, you are up so early", I commented. "Good morning mom, I had to wake up because Ini was snoring", she said in a matter of factly manner; I couldn’t help but smile. "She isn’t snoring, she sounds that way because she’s congested." I said." Ini, wake up", I tapped gently and she opened her eyes for a moment. She looked like she was awake and then drifted off to sleep. I tapped her again but this time, not so gently. Then she woke up fully. "Good morning mom", she said with a yawn. "Good morning dear", I replied, giving her a hug.

After saying a short prayer with the girls, I told them to get set for school while I fixed breakfast. While leaving their room, I could hear them argue a little about who would use the bathroom first. It was going to be an interesting day no doubt. On entering the kitchen, I realised I forgot to buy bread at the supermarket the previous day but it wasn’t going to be a problem. There was still enough to make egg sandwich for the girls while I could fix yam and scrambled eggs for Ifemi just the way he loved it. Typically, I don’t eat anything special for breakfast, oatmeal serves me just fine.

At about 7am, everyone was at the table for breakfast. Ini kept chatting about the previous day at school while Ewa kept eating like she couldn’t be bothered. I smiled inwardly and marveled at these beautiful children God had blessed Ifemi and I with. Their personalities are so different that if not for the striking resemblance, one would have doubted if they were really twins. "Ewa, I would love to hear the rest of your story on the way to school but I need you to finish up your meal so we can get going" I said. "Okay mom", she replied with a mouthful of sandwich.

Ifemi left home first for the office right after the girls and I gave him a kiss each. Shortly after, I drove the girls to their school located at Ikeja. I was still able to make a quick stop at the supermarket, buy bread and some fruits and get to our Ogudu home around 9am. Driving within Lagos was becoming a pleasure for me. It’s hard to believe Lagos roads used to look and feel like battle grounds just seven years ago. The horrible traffic situation had become a thing of the past because people now had more options like the train and the waterways were now busy too.

On getting home, I took time to do some light cleaning around the kitchen and resumed at my table in the study at exactly 9.30am. I had been drafting the manuscript for my third book that would be titled, "Sex: A Handbook For Newly-Weds". I loved making use of the morning hours, when I’m home alone, to do my writing. The decision to write this particular book came after I realised that there were so many young couples, especially the ladies, who were clueless regarding the place and purpose of sex in marriage and had their expectations built on what Hollywood had taught them about the subject or what the church had failed to teach them.

Having spent about an hour and forty-five minutes writing, I set out and drove to Mrs Ajayi’s house. Mrs Ajayi is a client of mine who is about four months pregnant with her second child. I had an appointment for 12.15pm to meet her at her Victoria Island home. She had hired me three years ago for a maternity shoot when she had her first child, Samantha. Though she wasn’t expecting much, she only wanted a few pictures to remind her of that stage of life and what her body looked like; I was able to create stunning pictures that left her speechless – in a good way of course. She loved the pictures so much that she pretty much made me the family photographer. I’ve had so much fun documenting Samantha’s life in pictures and felt privileged to be a part of this family’s story as they await their second bundle of joy.

The meeting with Mrs Ajayi went well. She looked even more beautiful in my eyes than she did a few months ago before. I was glad she was doing well. After asking her questions on what she wanted the pictures to communicate, I came up with ideas on how to achieve what she had in mind. She was so excited. The date of the shoot was set for four weeks’ time and the locations would be her home, (possibly the patio since it had to be outdoors), and Oniru beach.

I left the Ajayi’s residence and headed for The Civic Centre, venue of the Africa Women Leadership Conference where I would be speaking. I was so encouraged at the large turn out. This was the second edition and I felt grateful for the opportunity to speak into women’s lives on that platform. I spoke on the topic, " Building The Nation: One Woman At A Time".

After the conference, I hurriedly went to the back of the hall where a table had been set up for me for a thirty-five minute book signing session. The queue formed pretty quickly; men and women staying in line to have their copy of my second book signed by me. It was quite fulfilling meeting people who tell me that my book has touched their lives in positive ways.

I left the venue of the conference right after the book signing. Before driving out of the parking lot, I checked my phone and saw a message from my husband telling me he had picked the girls from school like we planned earlier. Getting home from the Island was such a breeze. I was home in no time. On entering the living room, I was "attacked" with affectionate hugs from my daughters, accompanied with shouts of, "Mommy, mommy!". In the corner of my eye, I could see my husband grinning with satisfaction. I gave each of the girls a kiss on the cheek and said, "Let me go say hi to your dad". As I stepped forward to give him a kiss, I could hear our girls giggling behind me. Ini, in her fake male voice said, "I love you baby" ; Ewa replied, "I love you too". We all burst out laughing. Children! They both had studied us so much that they knew the words that would follow the kiss.

I took out a few minutes to relax and kick my legs up. It had been a busy day. Afterwards, I started doing the laundry and fixed dinner while the clothes were in the washing machine. Listening to music while I cook puts the fun in cooking for me so having a microwave oven that plays music was a no-brainer. I chose Isa’s music collection and enjoyed the quality of sound coming from the oven’s speakers. Ifemi had helped the girls with their home work and I was so grateful.

At about 6.30pm, dinner was served – Baked chicken with vegetables and a side dish of dodo. The girls loved it. After dinner, I loaded the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, emptied the dryer and started folding laundry with Ewa and Ini helping out. When I got done with all that, I asked the girls to go take a bath and get ready for bed. By 9pm, they were both in bed while Ifemi read them a story. I spent that time reading Sheila Gregoire’s new book.

My husband and I went to bed at 9.45pm and spent a few minutes chatting about how the day went. He finally drifted off to sleep around 10.04pm which is when I made this journal entry. I feel so blessed and grateful to God for the family I have and the work God is doing through me on earth. Here comes sleep…

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

Challenges Of Being A Female Photographer


It was a different kind of Tuesday for me. I didn’t have to wake up extra early, (though my "body alarm clock" somehow woke me up at the usual time), I wasn’t about to get on the road as early as 5.30am. Monday had been hectic with terrible traffic jam on Ikorodu road in the evening. I walked all the way from Ojota to Mile 12 and even beyond before begging two guys driving a private car to give me a ride to Ikorodu.

Before leaving the office that Monday, my boss had given me the assignment of following up with a potential client at Victoria Island, Lagos the next day. I, in turn persuaded him to let me go from home rather than have to report at the office first and he agreed. I was to be accompanied by my female colleague, (Dammy). My decision to go to the Island from home was well thought out. Why go through hellish traffic in the morning to get to the office and then set out on another journey to the Island when I could travel from Ikorodu to VI by water and be at my destination in less than an hour? Who needs more time to waste in traffic?

I left home at 8.55am and headed for the Jetty. On getting there, I bought my ticket and in a few minutes, I was sitted in the boat, looking like a pumpkin in the life jacket I had been given. Hoping for an exciting ride, and fastening my proverbial seat belt, I brought out my Blackberry phone and pulled up the Bible app as the boat took off. For some unknown reason, I found myself reading 1 Corinthians 7 – you know where the bible talks about marriage, fidelity and divorce. From the corner of my eye, I could see the guy next to me, spying and stylishly reading what I was reading. He read for a few seconds and looked at me funny. His gaze almost made me feel like I was staring at porn instead of reading the bible.

In thirty short minutes, we were at Victoria Island. It felt so good. I mean, Ikorodu to VI in 30 minutes! Like one of my pastors would say, "You can’t beat it with a stick!". I got off the boat and took a cab to the client’s office that took about five minutes. Even though I was extra early, I had to wait for my colleague so we could see the client in his office together. Our assignment seemed simple enough; inform him of the packages we had for a day’s coverage of event, what we charge and also show him a sample of our album.

Soon as my colleague arrived, we made our way into the office and after meeting the receptionist and sitting for a few minutes, we were face to face with the man we hoped would hire us to cover his birthday party. In fifteen minutes, it had become apparent to me that he wasn’t really interested in hiring us. He kept stating he didn’t like the design of our sample photobook even though we made it clear that we design an album to each client’s specification and would be glad to know what he appreciates so we can make a custom-design just for him.

When he was done looking at the sample album, the quiz session started. He wanted to know our ages, where we lived and why we chose to be photographers. The questions kept rolling in. Soon, I signaled to Dammy that it was time to leave. On telling our client that, he asked us to wait. As he went to a corner of his office hidden from plain sight, I thought,"Oh great, perhaps he wants to get us some change to spend in transporting ourselves back to the office". Nice right?

After what seemed like eternity to me, he emerged and asked me to come. I followed him to the office corner wondering what the drama was about. Just then, he handed me a few crisp One thousand naira notes and said, "Use that to get a cab to your office". I was slightly surprised at the number of notes he had just given us though I didn’t know exactly how much it was just yet. Then he said, "I’d like to see you privately. Let me know when I can see you alone". At this point, my suspicions were confirmed. He wasn’t looking for photographers but rather for a girlfriend. So after this married man found out that I was married, he still wanted to date me. I was nauseated. This had to be the most annoying challenge of being a female photographer I guess. When someone who is old enough to be your dad disguises as a client while he is in fact trying to date you; it gives occupational hazard a whole new meaning. A camera-carrying lady, in a pair of loose-fitting jeans and hair that fits somewhere between braids and dreadlocks becomes sexier than a lady wearing a mini skirt or some other outrageous outfit.

Back to the office. This past week, I had the task of designing the album of a funeral event we covered. We were hired by the sister of the late man. My Photoshop skills have improved but I do not yet have the skills of Onos – our current Photoshop champion. Designing such an album required some serious thinking. It wasn’t as straight forward as designing a wedding album in my opinion. Would you include pictures of the corpse? If yes, how many was sufficient? Would you include pictures of where your client got very emotional and probably had tears running into his/her open mouth? Eventually, we had to use our discretion, knowing that we could always tweak the design if the client didn’t approve it.

We interns also had to report to the office on Saturday to learn how to use SmugMug – a software made for photographers who need a website that displays their pictures beautifully. I think you should check it out at info’ to get $5 off your $60 yearly fee: …you can thank me later). It’s a photographer’s dream. We also learnt how to be futuristic in our thinking when it comes to choosing business names, website domains and the likes.

Perhaps one of the questions I was faced with and that everyone who calls himself/herself a photographer should ask is, "For how long do I plan to be in the photography business?". Perhaps you have other interests and dreams that are not photography-related, at what point do you intend to work on those? Would you do them side-by-side with photography or what’s the plan?

Planning the next three to five years of your life helps you make the most use of your time and other resources now because you know where you are headed. Don’t just let life happen to you, be deliberate about how you live it.

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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Awosanmi Emmanuel


It is Wednesday May 27, 2020.

I am Awosanmi Oluwadamilare Emmanuel by name. I am a photographer, a part-time teacher of chemistry and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I got out of bed this morning at 5:00am after my alarm went off. I gave my favourite (my wife), a good morning kiss as she turned and asked “is it morning already?” Yes it is, I replied.

I went into the children’s room to wake them up. And together, the twins (a boy and a girl) and I went into the living room where their mother is already waiting to begin the worship session for the day’s devotion. This is my family altar where the day of the family is committed into God’s hands. The morning devotion lasted for about 30 minutes.

In my living room is a set of leather sofas, a dinning set, a mini bar, a book shelf with about 523 books, a television set and a sound system. The floor is tiled, the walls painted with patterns of cream and brown colours. Hung on the wall are collections of frames from my wedding, works of arts and other photo crafts to add to the beauty of the house.

My Favourite went with the twins to have them bathe, while I also went into my bathroom to brush my teeth and have my bath. In my bathroom, is a shower with a thermostat that allows me to choose the temperature of water I wanted, a relatively large container normally called a bathtub, a flush toilet which is water-efficient, a wash-hand basin, an electronic deodorizer, a medium size mirror, and a trash can.

Getting out of the bathroom, I put on my clothing for the day (among others for the week) which had already been selected and ironed from the previous week. Within 15 minutes, I was ready and by now my Favourite is in the kitchen packing up the breakfast for the Twins and I.

My kitchen is spacious enough to accommodate the two-door freezer, a microwave oven, an electric-gas cooker, cabinets for plates, pots, cutleries, and a double-sink basin. By 6:30am, I was by my car, a Toyota Sienna 2015, limited model. My favourite came out to the garage to hand over my breakfast as she went back in to help the kids get ready for their school bus arrival.

I drove out of my two bedroom flat apartment in Ikorodu at exactly 6:45am. I headed for the Institution where I would be teaching two classes apart from the three hours practical sessions I would be taking. I got to the Institute premises 20 minutes later, as my first period begins at 8am. Gone are those days when traffic used to be hectic along Ikorodu road.

Being a Wednesday, my classes were over by 12 noon. After spending few minutes with colleagues, I decided to return home. Getting into my car, I called a portrait client to remind her of the appointment scheduled for 7 pm in the evening as she had informed me few days earlier to give her a call by 1:00pm in order to confirm her availability.

On my way home, I decided to visit my wife’s boutique. She was glad I could stop by being over a week that I had time to do so. My wife’s boutique business is a unisex fashion store large enough for both adult and young, with four assistants helping her in the running of the business.

In the store are well-arranged and hung cloths, ties, tuxedo suits and shoes for men to the left, ladies wears, bags, shoes and jewelries were arranged to the right side of the store while the center was separated for children only. It is a place to shop for the family’s clothing.

Right from the entrance, the scenery was inviting. There are times I hear people talk about the boutique not knowing that it is my wife’s. They talk of the beauty they see from outside to the inside of it. Each time I walk into the place, I feel overwhelmed at the daily organizations, improvements and implementations put in place by my wife. There is always something new and unique.

By 2:30pm, I was at home. I had a snack for lunch while I relaxed for few minutes. I then decided to work on my computer system to edit some images from my last event which would be due for delivery in 7 days time. Editing is much more fun and easy to do these days with the new software in use compared to 2013 when I just started out in Photography.

That reminds me, today marks exactly 7 years I started the journey of photography that has transformed my life, with Mr Seun Akisanmi of eloPhotos, my number one mentor and still my mentor. Waoh! How time flies. I have got to call Ronke and Tayo to remind them of today. Perhaps, we could make out time to go celebrate him this weekend.

I almost got lost in my thought of eloPhotos and all that weird colleagues of mine and activities we engaged in during those times. Snapping out of my thought, I whispered thank you Lord Jesus. I have been on the system for about three hours now, editing. Suddenly, my phone began to vibrate. It is my wife calling to inform me of her soon arrival and that of the twins from School.

With the kids returning, I had to round up my editing and pack up the system. Both the twins and their mother returned home just few minutes apart. I checked my clock, it is 6:00pm. Great! My wife then asked if I would not be going for the appointment again? I replied, that I am. And with her persuasion, I headed for the client’s residence immediately, which is about twenty minutes drive away.

The client (whom I needed to show my works and also to give her a brief for the package of photography she requested for) works with a multinational company while her husband is a pilot. Getting to her place, the building in front of me is an edifice. Getting into the apartment is another story entirely. In summary, it is a well finished and furnished apartment. Many I have seen, but this is unique.

I was welcomed with a chilled soft drink but I requested for water instead. I was asked to have a sit as she requested for few minutes in order to inform her husband of my presence. The time I spent with them was short, as the negotiation period was fast to come to an agreement upon a charge. At the end of the brief, I was given some N10,000 to fuel my car back home. The experience reminded me of my colleagues, Ronke & Damilola, 7 years earlier.

Getting back home at 8:15pm, I met my wife in the living room with the twins fast asleep. We had the night prayers, after which I carried the twins into their room, tucked them in bed and gave them a good night kiss. I returned to the living room to have some chat with my favourite, discussing about the activities of the day. Soon, I realized she had started sleeping. So I asked her to go to bed and sleep while I remained to continue my editing from where I stopped earlier in the day.

What! 2:00am? It is a new day already. I got to go to bed now. Getting into the room, I met my Favourite coming out of the bathroom; she asked, is it morning already? I replied, oh! no, it is just 2:00am dear, as she lay back on the bed. I lay beside her and off to dreamland I went.

A Day in My Life in 2020: Damilola Opawale


The Day is Thursday November 12, 2020

It’s a cold morning here in our duplex apartment at plot A3C, Akala Crescent, GRA, Ibadan. The harmattan is gradually beginning to gather. It’s been 2 months since I returned from summer break with my two lovely kids and my adorable husband from the United States of America. The visit to Disneyland was most fascinating for the kids.

The alarm rings at 4:30am. At once I get up and wake my husband. After rolling on the bed for few minutes, he is alert and active. By the way, my husband is one of the best things that has happened to me. He is caring, understanding and very supportive. I always thank God for the lovely family he has given me, I couldn’t have asked for a better family.

Between 4:30am and 5:30am, we usually spend some time together to fellowship with God. Afterwards, I wake my 2 kids and my 15 year old foster daughter at 6:00am for a family devotion. Sophie, my 5 years old daughter shares the word with us; she shares on being kind to one another. Tomorrow, my husband will be sharing at the family devotion. Family devotion ends at 6:30am.

My Kids return to their rooms and start preparing for school. Sophie and Dave attend the best school in Ibadan. Sophie is in Primary 1 and Dave is 3 years old and in Kindergarten class. Kemi, my foster daughter is in SS 3 preparing to write her A levels. She attends one of the best schools in the estate.

My husband returns to the room to prepare for work. He is a Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and HOD at the Department of Pharmacy. He is also the CEO of Eaglet Group of Schools, established 5 years ago and presently the leading schools in the country; the same school my kids and Kemi attend.

For breakfast today is fresh watermelon juice and vegetable sandwich. I move out to my vegetable garden to harvest the watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes. I prepare the food and the table is set for breakfast. Everybody comes to the table and we eat breakfast. After breakfast, we all kiss ourselves and everyone heads out of the living room.

The driver drives my kids to school in their Toyota Highlander 2020 model. My Husband leaves for work in his Rolls Royce 2020 model. I have advocated that he gets a driver but he has insisted that he enjoys driving himself to work. For me, a driver is just good because driving is not really my ‘thing’. Shortly after my husband left, I also join Michael in my Infinity Gigantica 2020 model, as he drives me to work.

By the way, I am the Director of Adolescent Health at the World Health Organisation regional office in Ibadan. I also work as a visiting Consultant and Lecturer at the John Hopkins school of Public Health, Baltimore, which makes me stay in Baltimore for March – May, every year. Coincidentally, my husband also visits at the University of California about the same time.

I always enjoy the ride to work every morning. It’s always a good time for me to listen to some worship songs and sometimes good messages. This morning I am listening to one of Pastor Sam Adeyemi’s message on Holy Spirit and Character.

The ride is smooth, no traffic or pot holes on the road, thanks to our good government. We couldn’t have asked for a better government in our nation. It’s amazing how Nigeria has become a place where everybody outside wants to live in. The last time I was in the US, the queue to get the Nigerian visa was so long that I wondered how many of them would actually get the visa.

In about 30minutes, I am at work. I enter into the elevator and I alight at the 4th floor. The door opens as my office clerk collects my bag and takes it into my office. I exchange greetings with my personal assistant and I enter into my office.

I say some words in prayer as I begin my day at work. Without much ado, I switch on my 2018 Mac laptop and open the files containing the reports waiting for me to attend to. Reports from the last WHO meeting we had at Geneva had come in from the different departments.

Amidst other mails I am attending to is the mid month report from the Managing Director at Hippocrates Images updating me about the activities at the organisation for the month. Hippocrates images is the photography business I established 7 years ago. I am happy about the progress at the outfit as Hippocrates Images has become the leading outfit in medical photography.

My phone rings, it’s a call from the Managing Director at Priceless Jewels to inform me about the new project at the Organisation. Priceless Jewels is the NGO I founded 19 years ago with the vision to raise Girls into role models in the society. It’s amazing the impact this NGO has made in the past years, so many testimonies of changed lives. If you ask me, establishing Priceless Jewels is the best thing I’ve done with my life.

I look at the clock and its 3:15pm. I call Joshua the driver, to be sure my kids are already on their way home from school. Kemi gets back from school about the same time and she makes lunch for the kids.

Its 5pm, time to leave the office. I pack my bag and head straight to the parking lot. Michael my driver is waiting there already. The drive home is as smooth as the drive to work.
In no time, I am at home. After washing my hands, I reach for my kids and give them a warm hug. Sophie quickly reaches for a party pack in her bag and shows it to me, It’s the gift pack from the birthday of one of her classmates. It’s an instruction I have given them never to eat anything given to them until I approve of it.

I head straight upstairs to the bedroom and then to the bathroom to take a cool shower. Afterwards, I join my kids in the living room and I assist them with their home work.
It’s time to make dinner. For dinner tonight is rice with Vegetables and fresh Pineapple juice.

My husband returns home from work at about 7:00pm and we all have dinner together. After dinner, we spend time together in the living room; watching TV and gisting about how the day went.

Its 8:00pm and my kids get up to go to bed. We pray together and my husband and I kiss them good night. They go upstairs to their bedrooms while my husband and I remain in the living. He tells me about his plan to visit a family friend for the weekend. We agree to visit our parents during this coming Christmas break. We also agree to take the kids to the underwater resort for the Christmas day celebration along with a few other family friends.

10pm and its time to sleep. ‘’Good night love’’ I whisper, Goodnight baby, he replies as we roll under the duvet.

A Photographer’s PSALM


Composing a song is much difficult than I thought. David would have done a very tough work composing those Psalms. Kudos to all song writers who are taking the time to write the good songs we listen to. It started on Monday when Mr. Seun at the weekly devotion challenged us to write a new song for God; something I had never thought of doing. He challenged us that if the Psalmist as a person could write those songs, so can we.

So I began ruminating on a new song I would sing for my God. This was a psalm I came up with:

There is none like you o Lord; you are great

Numerous are your works; uncountable are your deeds

You created the heavens and the earth; in your hands they are laid bare

Our ways are unto you comical; your ways are unto us mystical

You are empirical: revealing your way to the feeble

Only the child at heart can comprehend

Therefore From the depth of my heart

I confess that you are great.

I believe I have done a good job. I am not a songwriter but singing a new song is what I encourage everyone to put into practice. It is also a way to task your creative mind.

Fast forward to Thursday, my best day of the week. I took the kind of pictures I had always admired. I had my first studio session with a model. It was a wonderful experience for me; the session was scheduled for 1 pm but started about 50 minutes behind schedule due to the normal “African time”. We have to get that mentality out of our system fast.

I was a bit nervous but thanks to Tayo Babalola who assisted me on the shoot, it was a huge success.  Maria (the model) and her makeup artist Esther did a great job; they were both satisfied at the service I rendered. The shoot ended at about 8:30 pm after four rounds of costume change. I was amazed at the quality of pictures I got.

Part of the things I learnt from the shoot is professionalism. The model insisted on drafting a signed agreement which challenged me a lot. In this business, a detailed agreement can never be overemphasized even when the services are rendered at no cost. This will help both parties (the client and the photographer) understand the terms and conditions of the contract as well as keep one in check from defaulting.

Toye Peters

Your Photographer Psalmist

Mo Abudu, Jason Njoku, Joke Silva, Folake Folarin-Coker & More to Speak at 2013 Creative Industries Expo


With less than 3 weeks to go to the 3rd edition of the British Council Creative Industries Expo, creative industry stakeholders from Nigeria and the UK are gearing up to converge at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, for one of the most anticipated events of the year. Holding on the 26th & 27th of November 2013, this year’s event will feature a roster of high-level speakers including Mo Abudu, Founder & CEO Ebony Life TV;  Steve Moffitt, CEO, A New Direction, UK; Bunmi Oke, CEO 141 Worldwide & President Advertising Association of Nigeria; Chris Ubosi, CEO Megalectrics;  Nkiru Asika, CEO Enterprise Creative; Folake Folarin-Coker,Creative Director, Tiffany Amber; Jason Njoku, CEO Iroko Partners; Wole Odetayo, CEO Wennovation Hub; Yemisi Ilo, CEO Ileke Media; Joke Silva, award-winning Actress & Co-Founder, Lufodo Academy; Dr Tom Fleming, Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy UK; Sandra Obiago, Founder CFC & Associate Producer Half of a Yellow Sun.

The Creative Expo will discuss and debate current measures to develop talent, best practices, case studies and different approaches to building professional, technical and business capacity across the diverse creative industries.

The 2013 British Council Creative Expo is produced by Enterprise Creative, and is free to attend, however registration is required both days of the event. Click here to register for Day 1 of the expo, while you can register for Day 2’s proceedings here.

 

A Poem Called HONESTY


The event was Daystar Christian Centre‘s Excellence In Leadership Conference (ELC). We were all to report at the venue of the conference on Wednesday morning to attend the general session. Mr Seun was privileged to be one of the speakers; He was there to recite a poem titled, “Corruption: Not an Option”. Apart from attending the conference, I also had the privilege of babysitting Mr Seun’s seven month old baby, Ebenezer, who I like to call “Ebby”. She was calm for the most part but towards the end of the session, she figured my face wasn’t familiar enough so she started squealing. Babies have their special way of announcing, “I want my mama! This is not my mama”. It was an interesting experience.

Back to the conference, when it was time for Mr Seun to be called out on stage for his recital, he was introduced as Seun Ofure, (Ofure is his wife’s name). I remember thinking that was a stage name of some sort. Well, it wasn’t. He came up and re-introduced himself as Seun Akisanmi. The poem recital was complete with theatrics and a strong message; the crowd loved it. I didn’t think people appreciated poems that much. It got me thinking about my poem writing skill that I’ve kept on the shelf for so long. So I decided to share one of my poems with you this week and what better poem to share than the one that talks about one of the core values of eloPhotos: Honesty

Nothing speaks like it
Standing for the truth in every situation
Even when it isn’t popular,
Even when one stands to lose something dear- a job, an esteemed position, friendship… whatever – being honest at all times makes one outstanding.
An honest man is always dependable
You can be sure you’ll get the truth from him
No matter what- even when his neck is on the line.
In this age when it seems truth has no value
And it’s winner takes all
Do not be deceived, even dishonest people value honesty in others.
Employers value it in employees
Parents value it in children
Without it, friendship is nothing but a joke
It is priceless, so
Dare to be different,
Dare to be HONEST

Composed by Ronke Alao

An Interview with a PHOTOBOOK Binder


A few months ago, we interviewed Mr Femi of Pro House, a Lagos-based PHOTOBOOK binder (album maker). The following transcript was as a result of our meeting.

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I am an artist. I love craft work. While on campus studying mass communication, I took a course in advertising & public relations. I had always loved doing something geared towards a targeted audience and the photography industry has a structure with a targeted audience to please, so I fell in love with it. Its like a cycle; from the client to the photographer who executes the job, edits and designs the book, who then takes it to the print lab, then the final output in most cases is done by a good photobook binder. It then goes back to the photographer who delivers it to the client. In other words, good print and good binding helps the Photographer stand out. This is the reason I tell photographers that their job, the way they edit and their style of binding is their signage.

What will be the cause of a bad/damaged photo book?

From my experience, I want to give credit to the earliest teachers that started experimenting on lenses; the likes of Joan Guitermeg that discovered the movable plate for printing in German and George Eastman Kodak who did alot in early photography development. Before the emergence of digital camera, we had the silver halide film camera but now everybody is embracing digital photography because the technology of the digital camera is everywhere. You can easily buy one, master the settings and start using it. An average photographer wants his job in time, howbeit some clients do contribute to the lateness of some jobs I had once met a client who stayed up to six months before he brought his job and wanted a miracle to happen in a day, “I want my job” “I want my job”, “I want to travel to UK”. They want to bring their job in the morning and get it in the evening or in four hours time.

Let me emphasize that from my experience in photobook binding, a book is like a slow elastic material. Get any book from home or abroad, try folding and squeezing it inside a cylinder, leave it in there for two weeks, by the time you remove it from that cylinder, it will take the shape of that cylinder. So, a very good book comes out by giving the binder quality time, preferablly three working days. If you really want to step it up into something unique, use a different kind of binding called cold gum binding. Cold gum binding takes a longer period of time because it needs something that will shape it and press it like a cast press. Which means after all the necessary arrangement with the wet gum, you have to put it in a special casing and press it for about two-three days, after which it turns into a solid shape such that trimming gives it an odorless perfectly trimmed structure of a decent book .

Presently now as a binder, I am doing almost 77% of my technical work under one roof, which gives me the option of doing either heat or cold lamination. I have recently developed another way of getting the cold gum binding done within twelve hours or even six hours by introducing a cold laminating system that does it faster alongside with a good trimmer that can trim well depending on your taste. However, l will advise any photographer that wants a unique job to give the binder time in order for the binder to be creative.

What are your recommendations for a photo book to last longer?

Before I went into professional photo book binding , I spent money to do six different kind of books and sent it to eateries where people came in, opened, and threw it around for six months, afterwards I collected them back and took notes on each of the look of the photo book. From my findings, I estimated averagely that thirty people opened and threw it around per day. These gave me a technical input of what to do to make a photobook last longer for any photographer.

Some photographers believe in voluminous photo books, I know of a friend who loves to do fifty spreads and for a book to last longer, 25 spreads is ideal, even if the client can’t pay and what you have done is like 4 combined books, we’ll take the pain to counsel the client, let the client know what’s going to happen if the book is voluminous. If you have 25 spreads for a 12 by 24 or 12 by 18, the binder will be creative enough to use some beautiful glue sheet media board within it to give a considerable size of photo book which is not too big and will last longer. If it is too weighty, the book tends to have problem at the groove. I would advise photographers to avoid voluminous photo book except the book/ sheet is very light. If the sheet is not light, then you should be using a photo paper. You shouldn’t exceed thirty spreads.

In this Industry, how can you make your product speak for you?

O.k! In terms of making your product speak for you, I’ve said this over time to photographers… I was a photographer before I joined the Binding business. To anybody that will listen or read this interview, I want you to know that success is not complete until you’ve raised another successor. For you to have success, you must teach your successors how to be unique. For example, if I enroll as a trainee with photographer A, and have undergone training with him over some couple of years, after graduation, I shouldn’t be shooting and packaging my product and services in similar ways as his. I should be different (unique).

In our company (Pro House), when we started out in photo book commercially, our carrier bag was different. Presently, we still have four brand new bags that has not been introduced to the market; the lesson here is that you must learn to be unique in the way you package, the way you shoot, your business card, the way you attend to your clients etc, should reflect your uniqueness. Its a vital requirement for any person who wants to standout in business.

There are some brands that have stood the test of time, once you see the colors and logos of such brands they stand out, you must learn to be unique. In today’s photo book business especially in this part of our world, if you place ten different photo books down and our work is also placed alongside the others, a client who does photo book in Lagos can identify easily the one done in Pro House. Presently, I am working on a full “picture bag” photo book binding that will have the picture of the client on it, and the photographer’s logo on the bag too.

What will be the cause of a binder doing an imperfect Jobs?

To be honest, you can’t give out what you do not have. I must give kudos to all binders who work in this part of the world particularly in Lagos. I was on facebook sometimes ago and stumbled over a guy (an Italian) based in U.S. He engaged me in discussion to find out what I do, I told him what I do and mailed him some pictures of what I had done.

The CONCEPTUAL QUADRUPLETS


On October 31st, I celebrated my 35th birthday in my office shooting Adeyosoye. The concept we had in mind was what we titled “the good, the bad & the ugly”. It was more technical than I had envisioned (& we eventually added a 4th personality) but we were able to get over the session after about 7 hours of shooting and changing personalities. For those of you that called to wish me a happy birthday, shooting this set of quadruplets was the reason I wasn’t able to answer my phone. What do you like or don’t like about the final output.

finalbc

92 Days of Adventure in Photography


My attached love for photography dates back to as far as I can remember. Way back after my secondary school days, I have always formed the habit of taking pictures with any mobile camera phone at my disposal and also I am a big fan of admiring quality pictures taken by phonographers as well as professional photographers. I still could remember vividly how I enjoyed staring with amazement at nature’s photographs just to admire the superbly landscaped hills, the majestic mountains, the vast forest of tropical vegetation, the crystal clear water of natural springs and even the reflection of the setting sun on lakes, rivers and seas. I would always say “Nature is so beautiful”. I still can’t forget how I loved viewing different event album pictures just to get a feel of moments captured.
An eye opener into the creative world of professional photography was sparked up after what I considered an amazing two weeks of intensive training during the Set 11 photography class I had at the Daystar Skill Acquisition Program (D-SAP). It happened to be a training that was well facilitated by a man I strongly respect and nurse as a mentor “Mr. Seun Akisanmi“. He made me realize that being a photographer goes beyond what most of us think. He said that it is a career for the professional that requires one to be technically grounded with knowledge of the art and science of photography and most importantly you must have the ability to manage effectively the business aspect of it. D-SAP became the platform that ushered me into my present journey of photography.
After D-SAP, I realize that photography goes just beyond clicking the shutter button of a camera or printing a 5 by 7 picture for guests at an event for as low as $1. It definitely goes beyond all that. Hence, I concluded that there was need for me to acquire more knowledge, skills and training on how to master the technicalities of using the digital camera, on how to create amazing composition, on how to edit pictures, design and produce albums and learn how best I can run a profitable photography outfit. After accessing the available photography outfits where I could possibly run an internship with, I decided on eloPhotos Studios. For me, it was an ideal place to achieve all that I have set out to do.
On August 1st 2013, I commenced a six months internship program at eloPhotos. Prior to this date, I had a meeting with Mr Seun Akisanmi who briefed me on what to expect and what will be expected of me as an intern. Honestly, his conditions were quite demanding as it will warrant me coming to work every working days of the week with Saturday and Sunday also included whenever there is an event to cover.  I remember saying to myself that “boy this training no go easy o“. Anyway, being so focused on what I wanted to achieve, I was determined to go ahead and so I accepted the conditions with the mind that it will surely require my full commitment and dedication.
During the last 92 days as an intern at eloPhotos, I have been so privileged to have undergone so many training programs that has greatly help me sharpen my skills and knowledge about photography. The famous and most recent of them I so much treasured was the workshop tagged “WHATEVERITTAKES” held at Warri, Delta State. I have also had the opportunity of covering different events along side with my colleagues. So far at eloPhotos, I have been greatly exposed to the challenging aspect of the business of photography in key areas like pricing, financial management, customer relation, interpersonal relationship, negotiation, agreement and marketing on social media and website. Editing pictures and designing album spread was once a mystery to me but not anymore as I have been well-trained by my highly esteemed colleagues at eloPhotos. It will amaze you to know that  I was also taught practically how to make a photobook album.
Honestly, the last three months at eloPhotos has been so remarkable and worthwhile. One unique thing about eloPhotos is that everyone keeps learning everyday because we believe that in this challenging profession only creative minds can effectively stand out and keep up with the pace of this fast-moving train called photography. Conclusively, when I look back at my last 92 days, I realize that I am a better photographer than I previously was.
I think I have come to the end of my writing ability for this week so until next time, remember I’m Onodje Oshevwiyore and I am so so proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.

The Day I Had A Dead FLY Served For Dinner


It was the deal we all had been hoping would come through. My friend (& fellow intern @ eloPhotos) had just gotten his first big job as a photographer and I went with him as an assistant. The occasion was a surprise birthday party that was being organized by the co-workers of the celebrant. I got there forty minutes before time and the event started some minutes behind schedule.

Since it was a Sunday, I had to go to Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, (venue of the birthday party), from church. This required careful planning because I couldn’t cover an event in my church clothes. I had to take a pair of jean pants with me to church so I could change clothing once I got to the venue. Changing clothes in the church restroom after service was not an option. My church is quite conservative and I didn’t want to upset anyone just yet by wearing a pair of pants in the church premises. I probably have people confused with my makeup already.

My kind husband dropped me off at the bus stop where I boarded a bus heading for Maryland. Luckily for me, the traffic was moving freely and I got to Maryland in no time. I hopped in a bus headed for Opebi/Allen and informed the bus conductor I would alight at Sheraton Hotel. I believed Sheraton was still a good distance ahead so I took time to admire the buildings along the road. Soon I saw Protea Hotel on my left and just stared at the building in admiration. Just then, the bus turned to the right and drove along Opebi link road. It took a few seconds for me to realize I was off track. At this point, I realized the bus had taken me past my intended bus stop. I had to walk back to Sheraton Hotel after protesting and whining about the bus conductor’s poor service. On getting there, I saw Protea hotel was directly opposite Sheraton! How could I have missed it!

Like I said earlier, I got to the event in good time, found the ladies’ room and changed into my jeans. On my way back to the hall where the event was to be held, I saw a guy dressed like security personnel flash me a brief smile. At first I thought he was just being nice, then later, I realised he must have seen me wear a skirt into the restroom and come out in a pair of jean pants. Perhaps he wondered if I was some kind of girl living a double life. You know, the type that tells everyone at home that she is heading to church but then heads straight to some party.

Despite the fact that the event started a bit late, it was one of the best I had ever attended. The estimate of guests expected was just as we had been briefed. The hall was arranged in such a way that left enough room to move around; the guests appeared friendly and no one treated me like a pest (if you are a photographer, you should understand what I mean). Best of all, it was a buffet so when my friend suggested that I go get something to eat, I had a good time selecting yummy delights.

I didn’t take too much food, nothing that could have embarrassed you, just a bit of rice, chicken and beef with a small slice of cake. By the way, Sheraton’s food smells like heaven if you’ve never had it. As I settled down to enjoy the meal before me, I saw an incredible sight – there was a dead housefly right in my rice! I am not kidding. I mean…you can’t make this stuff up! Dead fly on my warm food, eww! Disgusting right?

You must be wondering what I did next. I showed the fly to a friend, scooped the fly and the surrounding grains of rice out of my plate and enjoyed the rest of my meal! It was delicious too. In case you are wondering what kind of a weirdo I am, I haven’t always been this way. If this had happened some months ago, I think I may have abandoned the whole plate of rice but after having spent time with weirdly creative people (mostly men) at eloPhotos, I now do weird things myself. At least I didn’t eat the fly (come to think of it, eating the fly would have been an experimentally weird option).

If you are a member of staff of Sheraton or just a fan, please understand that I am not trying to throw the hotel under the bus as far as food is concerned. In fact, I think the beef and chicken were so juicy and tender; made to perfection. The kitchen crew just needs to work on preventing unwanted sources of protein from finding their way to the food.

Weirdly Yours,
Ronke Alao
CEO, Everywoman’s Heart
www.everywomansheart.com

A Worthwhile Investment In My Photography Business


Fiddling with my blackberry on the 30th of August as I tend to always do while waiting on a long queue to use the almost-dead ATM close to my house, my "Recent Updates" menu on the BBM where I get to do the monitoring spirit duty like most of people do (I guess), I saw that "Oluwaseun Akisanmi has changed his display picture". Without hesitation, I quickly checked to see what Mr NiPHEC had put up this time again. Lo and behold, head clean shaved, beards totally swept off with moustache, not sparing the sacred (for most men at least) eyebrow, I saw Mr Seun starring back at me! Like that voice on the popular tv advert, I almost shouted WHAT HAPPEN! What’s my Oga up to this time around?? Shortly after, came the one that was merged with his hair still intact and "WHATEVERITTAKES" written on it. I MUST BE THERE, I resolved.

N12,500 is not easy to come by these days especially when one of our honourable ministers is buying bullet proof cars, claiming her life is under threat as if my life sef no dey under threat everyday (msheeew). I’ll endeavor to go, I resolved. And I’m so glad I did.

I was the first to arrive at the venue. Had to mention that because i just got redeemed from the sin of lateness a few months ago thanks to Mr Seun. I better not tell that story here. So, back to the matter. Guess who I met doing the popular office chore of Toilet washing? Yes! Ronke Alao, the one who almost became a blind photographer.

She tried to introduced herself, "Good morning, you can sit in that room, sir" she said, pleasantly pointing towards the reception. "My name is Ronke" she started to say. "Alao", I concluded for her. Abi, who does not know our Ikorodu based photographer, wife and writer? Finally, a face to the popular name.

Shortly after, fellow shutterbugs started coming in and the workshop started. We introduced ourselves starting with me, Samuel, Daniel, Ronke, Funsho, Damilola and on and on we tried to describe ourselves in few words. Then, the discussion started. Yes, discussion cos it was a highly interactive workshop with no holds barred. There was so much outpouring of thoughts and emotions too (yes, it really got emotional at a point. And why wouldn’t it when one is passionate about one’s profession) both from the participants and Mr Seun himself.

He really opened up to us even to extents I’m almost certain (I dare say) anyone would find pretty difficult to do. Difficult ke, maybe impossible sef. But I learnt. I learnt a lot. That act of openess taught me a lesson I will not forget. What you keep, you lose. What you share, you gain.

It was an expository ride. From financial accountability which has been a major wahala for me to practical marketing techniques, customer service management, social media and its relevance (or irrelevance in some cases), Mr Seun sang through the hours. Of course, we had two 15minutes break. One for refreshment the other to stretch the feet. Mr Seun still talked through the supposed break time sha. Meaning, he spoke from 9am to 6pm!

Really, I desire to share all we discussed and learnt in details with you but we verbally signed a "keep-mum-about-this" deal. It was indeed an experience.

We all resolved to step up our game, become true professionals in the business of photography as much as we can (God help us o), keep our integrity and command the results that will make our children and their children proud of us.

Yours truly, Sam Obadero (motif photography)

The Best Decision I’ve Taken as a PHOTOGRAPHER


The decision to learn at eloPhotos still remains the best I have taken in my career as a photographer. It just seems to be getting better and better. I am blessed to have a boss/mentor who would push you out of your comfort zone to success inspite of odds and obstacles. I am not there yet but I can tell you am not where I used to be.

For instance I am still swimming in the wonderful experience of WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos.

Also, I attended a workshop at the LagosPHOTO festival on Friday (November 1, 2013). I must say if you have not been there yet please make out time to be there. Every bit of it was interesting. I was challenged again to question myself if I really want to do photography and how far I want to go with it.

At the exhibition hall, I was greatly inspired by the works of other photographers across the world. It was interesting to network and rub minds with the likes of Jerome Delay, Sunday Alamba, Joe Penney and Nick Haggen. I learnt a lot from these guys.

At the festival I was exposed to the real art of photography which is beyond just covering events. Photography in this country has a long way to go; we all have a wide and virgin turf to capitalise on. If we as professional photographers in Nigeria would embrace the challenge and work hard at it, the sky is just the starting point for us. We can begin to use our photography to tell our own stories as Africans positively to the rest of the world.

Another interesting experience I had was seeing the works of Kemi Alatise at the ART TWENTYONE GALLERY. The colourful works of fabrics are just beyond what i can describe; they are so much deep and artistic. I was privileged to meet the artist in person, and I asked her what was going through her mind while constructing her works. For a particular one she said it was at a time she was depressed.

I have discovered that bad times or negative moods is not always a bad thing for artists. It is (most of the time) the best time for the best of inspirations and innovations. Perhaps you should start praying for that bad time that will inspire you to create the best pictures.

Best wishes
Akintoye Peters

Time to Say GoOdByE


hOuSe Of CrEaTiViTy!
hOuSe Of CrEaTiViTy!!
hOuSe Of CrEaTiViTy!!!

Starring: seun AKISANMI, ronke ALAO, Samuel IJIYOKUNOLA, emmanuel AWOSANMI, toye PETERS, tayo BABALOLA, damilola OPAWALE and onodje OSHEVWIYORE

Produced & Directed By: seun AKISANMI
Marketed and distributed by:
eloPhotos STUDIOs,
12b, Fagba Crescent,
Off Acme Road, Ikeja

GRAB YOUR COPY NOW !!!!!!!

Ok, enough of me being silly, and down to business. I am thinking by now, you should know I like to ask questions a lot through some of my articles you’ve read. Given that fact, I want to crave your indulgence this one time to ask some more. (I am very sure I am lying about ‘one time’ thou, lol)…..

Who invented the concept of goodbyes?
How come we have to say goodbyes?
And why do goodbyes have to be so damn hard?

I have said countless "goodbyes" in my life and with that, one will think it comes easy with time; it never does. If you doubt me, try saying goodbye. You probably wondering what’s so intriguing about Goodbyes that this guy had to dedicate a whole write-up for it. To answer that, it’s actually my last week at eloPhotos as an intern but before I take a bow, I want you to meet all the weird guys I have worked with for the past six months.

Seun Akisanmi
There is this Guinness advert punch line ‘my friend Udeme is a Great man’. For the guy to have said his friend was a great man, I am so sure he has not met Mr Seun. He is a very good example of who a leader should be; he not only tells you what to do, he shows you how to do it. He is never proud to admit his mistakes and let you learn from it and he is always ready to listen.

* He is possessed with a spirit of "creativity"
* He works round the clock
* His humility still amazes me till date
* He is a mentor I won’t have to learn to fire/sack and
* He is the only person I know and I have seen eat yam and plantain together since I was born.

Ronke Alao
Meeting her for the first time, you probably think she is a member of CCC (cool, calm and collected) but believe me when I say she is as weird as the rest of us. Beneath the bizarre and beauty, she is intelligent and inspiring. Whatever she is assigned to do, you can be certain she is giving a hundred percent.

Samuel Ijiyokunola
My second boss of life. He is always willing to share what he knows, very innovative and hard working and before I forget sir, no thanks for all those punches to my stomach.

Emmanuel Awosanmi
The first time I met this my man, I was like who is this pastor but to put it rightly, he is a Weird Pastor. He loves God a lot, no doubt but whatever question you ask him not relating to photography ends up with a chemical answer (e.g: methane). He loves walking and won’t mind you walking with him even if it means telling you ‘the place no far’. Despite all this he is an amazing friend and brother.

Toye Peters
What can I say about this guy besides the fact that he comes to the office most days by road and water. Now don’t think he is an ‘ilaje boy’ (tribes of people born on water); he is just fortunate to live in an area where Government has promised them no roads. You can deduce from the statement above that he is tenacious and creative too.

Onodje Oshevwiyore Eric
Our in-house comedian and coincidentally, he is from Warri. (Can we then say all Warri citizens are funny?) They say; the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but for Eric, the way to his heart is to look beautiful and you can get him to do just about anything for you. He is intelligent and he is ‘Mr. do it well and calmly’ kind of guy.

Damilola Opawale
I have only met this lady a few weeks but I keep wondering where she gets her drive from. She is a 500-level medical student, learning to play the piano and also a photographer. (This is the part where I get to say WOW!!!). Whenever she is determined to learn something, pray you are not the available teacher because there is no escape route except you teach her.

With all this people starring in this movie, who wouldn’t watch it for 6 months and still want to continue watching….. Seriously from the depth of my heart I want to say a very BIG thank you to you guys for inspiring me and for being the colleagues I will always miss. I LOVE YOU ALL (can I get tissue and group hugs please)

As I take the much deserved bow, just be assured that wherever you see the MOB (Michael Omotayo Babalola) logo, that is my way of saying I came, I saw and I am conquering new grounds and by the special grace of God the ministry is moving to camp. (abi, every church now has a camp ground)

WHO AM I?


It’s a question I always ask myself, not because I am not sure of who I am but because I need to keep me in check. Directing that question at you, I know some of you might probably answer: I am an Accountant, I am a Photographer, etc. Of course I know you are, also that is not the answer I am looking for. The expected answer goes deeper than that; it’s leads to more of questions like what do you stand for & why are you here.

What do you stand for?
“A man that stands for nothing will most likely fall for anything”…. Are you the type that is known to always compromise at the mention of naira bills, or are you the type that says no when what you actually meant to day was Yes. As an individual, your value system must be upright. Not to allow you worry your head too much, Value systems are set of ideals that guide your behaviour. It gives your life purpose and structure (which I think most of us lack as an individual and ultimately as a nation) to determine what are important to you.

Value system can be divided into four main subordinate; personal values, spiritual values, family values and career values but there some characteristics a person with good value system must exhibit which I will like to talk about.

Integrity:
Integrity is how trustworthy and honest you are. People have to know what to expect from you; that whatever you say will be as said except of course an act of God derail it. You are
expected to act right under any circumstances. These are people we want in leadership positions in our country.

Loyalty:
Loyalty is commitment to a cause or person. Whatever the times are, (good or bad) you have to be someone that can be counted on for necessary support needed. When the going gets tough, you are there to walk it out and when its celebration time too, you
are there to dig it.

Responsibility:
Someone who is responsible will definitely be dependable and reliable and will readily be accountable for who he is and what he does. They believe they have a heavenly obligation to help others and make the world a better place.

Respect:
Respect is regard for the feelings or rights of
others. When you respect others, you will treat them with all fairness
and courtesy required. You will do to them, what you want done to you.
All these mentioned above leads me to the other part; why are you here?

Why are you here?
No matter what value you and I choose to live by, it is very important we take a look at the big picture. (The big picture being God’s plan for our life) You see for me I don’t think we are just created to have weight and occupy space like matter. I don’t think all we are created for is being an Accountant or a Photographer but in addition to whatever our title is, we have a message from heaven to deliver here. Each and every one of us is a piece in God’s main agenda. We all have to find our purpose in that plan and fulfill it.

You might be wondering what inspired this article, it was the fact that everywhere I go in this country, nothing seem to be working the way its suppose to. But I feel if we all could be purpose driven and ask what we can do to make our country better and not what our country can do for us, only then will the change we so desire come upon us.

P.S: Nigeria will be built by Nigerians for Nigerians, so STAND UP and
be counted as someone who has done his part. May GOD RENEW & REFORM
NIGERIA!!!

Yours truly Nigerian,
Babalola Michael Tayo.

YORUBA MEN ARE COWARDS


I recently photographed a wedding in Warri, Delta State. It was a union of two different ethnic groups: Yoruba (Groom) & Delta (Bride). The church service started an hour later than planned and seemed like we were going to be in the service forever; perhaps I felt uneasy because I had not eaten breakfast.

It happened when the pastor was preaching his sermon to the new couple. I was so tired and hungry that I didn’t know when I slept off. Perhaps because I was confident that my two assistants would still cover what I miss. Suddenly, I awoke to a loud affirmative revelation uttered by the pastor of the church: YORUBA MEN ARE COWARDS!!! I was shocked. Did he just say what I think he said. He was “encouraging” the husband to learn to stand and protect his new wife in troubled times. The example of a challenging time he gave is “when armed robbers come visiting”. He mentioned that a Yoruba man will flee in the presence of armed robbers and forget his wife. I’m not too sure I got the point he was trying to make. Perhaps the new wife understood what the Pastor meant.

I’m not sure he remembered that the groom he was uniting in holy matrimony was a Yoruba man. I wondered if Yoruba men attend such a church. But then I was quick to remember that there were multitudes of churches to choose from in the oil-rich state. I was able to take pictures of over 2 dozen churches while sitted in a fast-moving bus on my way to the traditional wedding; a 20-minute journey.

I felt that was too derogatory a statement to be uttered on the altar of a church. I wondered what the mindset of the members of the church would be like. I wonder what their perspective of Yoruba men will be. More importantly, I wondered how a city filled with so many churches (almost 1 in every 6 buildings…on average) hadn’t experienced a level of development you would associate with a city where God abides. I wondered within….and felt sorry for people who think that they are better than others.

I didn’t know when I left the church auditorium (before the end of his sermon) to go get myself something to eat. Perhaps if I ate some food, my backward thinking Yoruba mindset will make good meaning of what the Pastor just declared in church. Maybe I was just upset because I was (& still am) a Yoruba man.

And we are supposed to be the Light of the World…the Salt of the earth. May God help me not to be a coward. May God help us all.

UPDATE: November 10, 2013
Some people (especially members of the church) are probably mad at me for posting such about their pastor. My goal isnt to bring down anyone. I write because I feel its one way I can address issues I feel we need to address. Its easy to be quick to defend someone for behaving or thinking in a particular way but my appeal is for us to be conscious of the fact that what we say or do affects ultimately how people behave or think. My goal isnt just to defend the Yorubas; my goal is to address the same similar mindsets that some Yorubas have towards the Igbo or Hausas. Especially if we call ourselves “Christians”, we should be conscious of the derogatory statements we make towards other tribes (whether or not we’re joking). Some Yoruba Christians I know consider themselves of a higher caliber of Human Specie when compared to a Hausa “Mallam” or a Black American. Buttom line is for us to review how/what we think about other people through the microscope of God’s eyes. So be it if I make enemies for discussing such a sensitive issue. For anyone getting angry at the pastor, just stop and ask yourself if the way you behave (or think) towards a set of people is the way Jesus will treat them (e.g. house helps, gatemen/security guards, cooks, drivers, mallams, Ijebu people, Americans, etc).

A MEDICAL DOCTOR’s Photographic Perspective: wHaTeVeRiTtAkEs


My name is Femi Adewuyi. I am both a medical doctor and a professional photographer. I started out as an amateur photographer in 2003 , the year I gained admission into the medical school. I  have since developed my expertise over the years and have a number of accolades on my head.

I have always asked a few questions to my mentors and senior colleagues in this business of photography ” How do I get to sell my pictures at a good price ?” , “How do I ensure that my brand remains in business while competing with colleagues who photograph at prices that are too good to be true?” I got answers to these business questions and many more at the whateverittakes seminar. A summary of the seminar in three words would be  HUMILITY, INTEGRITY and PROFITABILITY

Humility
As a photographer in the service delivery business, my customer’s experience while relating with me goes a  long way in determining if I would be hired.  Client satisfaction is hinged on how good our customer service is not just on technical competence. Satisfied clients will bring more referrals .

Integrity
My character  has a direct influence on my photography business. I learnt to be on time with my appointments and in delivery of clients work . Learning to be accountable for my mistakes was another twist to the lecture. A client can end up being a friend and  champion marketer of my business if I show integrity in my dealings.

Profitability
I learnt basic accounting techniques for tracking my income, expenditure and profit.  I was also shown how to identify my ideal client and  get a formidable marketing strategy to guarantee more sales. Learning to write a business plan and budget was quite new to me.

Other things taught include how to start a website at minimal cost, how to overcome our fears and learn to question stereotypes.

In less than a week, I’m starting to see business in new light. I am relating better with my clients and already working on my online presence.  If I have the chance to go to whateverittakes again, I  won’t go alone. I am taking my photo assistant along.
Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (3) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (4) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (5) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (6) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (7) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (8) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (9) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (10) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (11) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (12) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (13)

 

My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos


The much talked about WHATEVERITTAKES workshop finally held in Lagos after making its debut in Warri. This was to be the workshop that would help photographers stand out in the industry and I must say it delivered.
I was privileged to be a part of it. Four of the twelve participants were ladies much to my excitement. If you missed it and you are wondering if you missed anything, let me break it to you softly; you really missed out big time!  It would have been nice if I could share all I learnt with you but it’s like trying to describe what flying in an airplane feels like to someone who’s never seen the inside of an aircraft.

A lot of the valuable lessons I learnt are the kinds you don’t learn in photography books or even books that teach business skills. The words “Integrity” and “Profitablity” now carry new meanings for me. During the workshop, I had to think of why someone like Aliko Dangote would have banks lined up, trying to loan him money while those same banks might not be too eager to loan other businesses. It has little or nothing to do with the guy’s bank account.

The great thing about a workshop like this is the fact that you not only learn from the facilitator,you learn from colleagues at the workshop as well. It provided good networking opportunity. I was privileged to meet Dr Femi Adewuyi in person. He’s someone who has intrigued me ever since I heard of him; a medical doctor who does photography professionally.

The major questions I was faced with at the end of that day were those that might seem difficult to answer but are at the very core of success in the industry. Questions like: how long do I plan to stay in the industry? What kind of impact do I want to make? What are my plans for the next three years? Am I only in photography because of passion or do I carry a vision that inspires me enough to take action and do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out and impact my family and the world at large? These are the questions I seek to answer for myself. How about you? What will you do? Will you read this article and move on to the next or will you take time out to answer these questions for yourself too? Remember, the future starts now!

by Ronke Alao