The AKARA Experience

I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I decided I was old enough to cook. I can still PICTURE our kitchen at Ilaka street, Ilupeju, Lagos. It was going to be my first memorable experience at cooking AKARA. I figured out that I had eaten and seen enough akara to know to prepare one. For my non-Nigerian fans who are unfamiliar with Akara, it is blended beans that ends up being fried in cake balls (I hope I explained that well).

Anyway, I put what I figured to be the right amount of oil in the frying pan and excitedly prepared for frying experience I would never forget. I poured in a few scoops of the blended beans and started stirring. Yes, believe it or not, I was stirring the AKARA in the frying pan. As I continued with the stirring experience, I wondered to myself why the AKARA was not turning out to be the solid small balls I was used to being served by my wonderful mum. I had seen her many atimes stir ogi (blended corn) and had assumed that it was the same formula for the akara that was. Served side by side with the ogi.

I was wrong. What came out of that experimental stirring experience was what I would considered scrambled akara. If only I had swallowed my small pride and asked my mum for the right formula for creating world-class Nigerian Akara. If only I had asked, I would not have ended up with a scrambled portion of akara.

Fast forward to February 2014. During a conversation with one of the students at eloPhotos Academy, I asked him how many books he had read and digested on relationships and marriage. His response: “books don’t work for stuff like that, the Holy Spirit will guide me.” I decided it would not be a wise use of my time to argue with someone who felt it unnecessary to read books in order to get the right knowledge about an institution he was about to be contracted into for the rest of his life. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit teach the person photography, I thought. It would have been cheaper for the person not to have wasted financial resources to attend a program at eloPhotos Academy if indeed the Holy Spirit can teach us all things. Sometimes I think a lot of Christians can “overspiritualize” issues.
And herein lies my point. If you’re considering going on an adventure of which you know little or nothing about, it is only wisdom (or put another way, common sense) if you attempt to climb on the shoulders of people that have been there before. You do that when you spend time with them, read books and listen to their directions, advise and admonitions.

My emphasis is on the multitudes of people that are rushing at lightning speed to enter into the kingdom of photography. Many feel that they need no form of education and that all they need is a Nikon D4 (just like a young lad recently psyched the mum to invest N1.6 million to acquire). Its like waking up and deciding that since one needs to learn how to drive, the next step is to go to the car dealership and order a Rolls Royce.

It is on this premise that I’ve decided to focus with laser accuracy on raising world-class photographers via the platform called eloPhotos Academy & Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC). It is on this premise that I’ve decided to do my best to make sure that people that care to learn from me will not repeat my AKARA experience. It is on this premise that I’ve deliberately unconsciously developed a weakness for accumulating over 150 books on photography alone….just so that I can get the right education as not to repeat my 1987 AKARA experience

Even if you decide not to use the aforementioned platforms to establish or strengthen your photography foundation, please make sure you get some form of education before acquiring photography gadgets that I can bet you won’t utilize up to 30% of its functions.

Even if you’ve already made the “wise” mistake of plunging headlong alone, swallow your pride and talk to someone that can help you be a better photographer and photopreneur (this applies to other industries also). Even with the little I know, I’m still learning everyday. I just finished talking to one of my colleagues I respect very much, Shola Animashaun, about how to handle a “copyright” issue I was having with a client. At the end of the conversation, I learnt how to better price myself for photography jobs for client like the one I was having issues with.

So before you use all that funds to buy the latest photography gadget (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE JUST ENTERING THE INDUSTRY), get some form of education that will hopefully prevent you from an AKARA experience. Better yet, take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Your photography destiny will not be the same.

Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or for a detailed list of options of classes to take at eloPhotos Academy. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness.

The PASSPORT Photographer

Some weeks ago a friend called me from church asking if I take passport photographs and of course my answer was “Yes”. He immediately said “ok, so how much is it for 8 copies?” I told him 5000naira. He was so surprised and he said the same thing you’re probably thinking right now: “Is it not passport, I can get 12 for N200 sef.” Of course it is just passport photographs and you can even get 20 for 200 or for free but the question is I’m I just an “ordinary” Photographer.

Sometimes in June, I did a free family portrait session for a potential client and (luckily for me) they loved it! Some days back, I got a call from them asking me to come take pictures for their anniversary and of cause they knew it wont be free, so I charged them. They were so surprised and they were like “just for pictures? It’s quite expensive we already marketed you to people and if its this expensive the won’t call you.” Of course at that point I knew they were not my client!

One reason I hate shooting for free is that the clients might actually not know the worth of what they are getting for free. And it’s sad.

You see, not everybody believed the gospel even when heard from Christ himself. They still didn’t drop their nets to follow him. In the same light, we should realize that not everybody is our client.

I hate it when I hear the question “is it not to take pictures?” But I’m glad to answer you here. Of course it’s just to take pictures but I’m not just a photographer. I’m a professional photographer. Not just because I use a professional camera, or because I trained at one of the best photography schools in Nigeria. It’s mainly because I’m different.

I’m sure you’ll doubt that until you get to see what I can do and some of what I’ve done. I am obviously not the best but I was worse. Feel free to ask for a “free” shoot (terms & conditions apply) & you should be convinced.

Attached here are photos I took last week. First, is the picture of elophotos academy most valuable gadgets: 2 books every trainee must read before the end of their 1st month. The second one is a picture of a solitary orange. During my practice session, I surprisingly saw only 1 orange on a BIG orange tree and made me imagine if it was just 1 person in the world, how lonely it will be. The third one is a picture I took practicing composition with patterns). I hope you find it creative.

Written by Temitope Adeniyan
Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or 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.

PEAK, It’s in YOU

When will this suffering stop?
When will this struggle end?
When will I stop trying to make ends meets?
When will my own time come?
When will I be my own boss and have a story to tell? These are the questions of every hungry man out there. These are questions that keep running in my thoughts.

I needed something, I needed to be creative, I needed to stand out, I needed to launch out, I needed to go out there and make things happen for my self because the rich seems to be getting richer and the poor is getting poorer. “It’s in me,” I said to my self… only if I could wake up and make this dream a reality.

Suddenly it all started like a dream and then my dream became a reality. My first month as an intern at eloPhotos brought so many questions running down my mind.

Questions like “will I be able to cope, can I do this, will I ever be a guru like Toye Peters, Tope Adeniyan, Gabriel Greggory? But instead, I learnt from Mr Seun that with time you can be whatever you want to be, and that the more you practice, the better you become.

One month has gone & I am still standing doing what I love doing best, getting better and better day by day, breaking new grounds, and above all serving at eloPhotos because some day I want to be the best of the best that will ever be produced. Although it has been stressful and challenging but worth it.

This reminds me of the story of Papilo, who had a dream and believed that one day he would make his mother proud. Years later he did make her an envy to nations by becoming the popular Kanu Nwankwo.

And then I said to my self as an intern photographer, I am here to stay, I am here to stand and not to fall. Although the journey might be rough at eloPhotos but I see the laurel at the end of the tunnel.
I want to also make my mom proud, be a solution to my generation through the work of my hands by enduring all the tasks given to me.

You would be asked to run errands, you would go into the rain at times just to buy fuel for the generator, you would have to do some cleaning every morning and also wash the toilet which you might not be used to at home.

You would undergo some tests at times like my “Ogba” friend, who walked down to Ogba from Agidingbi (a 5km walk round trip) thinking he was being tested by Mr Seun.

You would account for every penny you spend because at eloPhotos nothing like “I don’t care after all it is not my money.”

You would learn to respect others just the same way you want to be respected, you would learn to tolerate people and love them for who they are.

You would learn to bring out the best in you so that you can stand out. You would learn not to be appreciated by that one person you so much want to hear “You did a very wonderful job.” Instead know it inside of you that your best might not enough because you need to give more than you best.

All this I have learnt this first month as an intern at eloPhotos.

The desire to succeed is in me, the spirit to do exploits is within me and my purpose must be fulfilled. I am here to serve in order to be a leader, I am here to learn no matter what it entails, I am here to stand the test of time because what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger, I am here because “PEAK, it’s in me.”

It only gets better and better day by day my friend because that peak in you will eventually be seen and discovered to the world.

I’m Emmanuel Obaloluwa Omole and there’s coming a time when you search me on Google, the results will make you utter that three-letter word: WOW.
Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or 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.

Photography Workshop in Abule-Egba: Doing It Better

Earlier in the month, I was privileged to teach at a photography workshop organized by G-Janth Print Lab situated in Abule-Egba, Lagos. It was particularly interesting to know that a number of the photographers in attendance were  my father’s age-mate. Interesting to know that this many photographers were really hungry to do better in their photography. The workshop was titled “Doing It Better” and we discussed issues ranging from marketing your photography to branding. Attached are some of the pictures taken.
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

Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (1) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (2) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (3) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (4) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (5) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (6)

The CREATIVE Videographer

Lanre Esho is a professional Wedding Cinematographer with a background as an experienced Wedding Videographer. He has a passion capturing wedding memories in Lagos & other destination weddings and takes pride in converting love stories into wedding films. He documents every detail of wedding style, from vintage weddings with a rustic feel to modern/urban themed weddings. I’ve known him for over 6 years and he’s someone I can vouch for. Check out his video and contact him on 234-8032006043 if you like what you see.
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

Shooting With Empty Batteries

The week started with a short prep talk amongst ourselves, we shared experiences of the previous week at Elophotos. I was able to gather that no matter what you do, you always need the help of your colleagues. I realized that no one can achieve anything alone, you will always need the help of someone close by, especially in the same profession. The comments of my colleagues made me realise that from all we’ve been taught, our strength lies in the collective efforts that we establish within ourselves. No wonder, Mr Seun always repeat to us that, “you will always need assistant(s), when you go for any photography shoots.

One other interesting lesson I learnt which I’d never forget is the fact that, in one of the practice days, I picked up one of the cameras from the camera bag with the intention to go out for a practice session. I loaded the camera with the battery and memory card. I also picked an extra battery and memory card in case of any unforeseen circumstances while practicing. Little did I know that I was armored with empty batteries, both the one in the camera and the extra that I had with me. It didn’t take me much time to discover a favorable spot for me to start my practice shoot. After several shoots, my camera indicated empty battery at the LCD screen. I was having a reassuring thought that I still had an extra battery with me. After I had swapped the extra battery, I got another shocking discovery. The extra battery was even completely dead. I went back to the studio utterly dismayed. I should have charged the batteries before the practice session.

“Hey guys, Mr Seun needs your attention in the studio.” That was the voice of Tope, one of our colleagues at eloPhotos. Her call indicated that something was about to happen in the studio. I had come into the Academy the next morning with a lot of assignments on my hand. We had just been taught how to design and integrate pictures into layout to give a pleasing and desirable look to clients. Me and my colleagues marched out of the editing room into the studio where we met Mr Seun working on his Olympus camera. I watched with great admiration as he inserted the telephoto lens into the camera, the precision was accurate. We mounted the camera on the tripod as everyone started to take positions in setting up the studio lights.

We brought out the studio lights and I was particularly intrigued at the way the umbrellas were carefully set up. We all worked on the reflectors and in no time right before our eyes was a stage set for a portrait session. I could feel the expectations in the minds of my colleagues. Will this be our first studio photography shoot? “Where’s the client for the shoot?”, someone voiced out from the group.
“I’m going to take portraits of all of you.” That was the response from Mr Seun.

It was an eventful day for all of us. It was fun, educative and entertaining. I learnt a lot about studio lighting, adjustments and exposure compensation. My first studio experience has just begun, I hope you’d keep following me. I’m Olayiwola Olaide.
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

My Half Solved Challenge

Manual mode, program mode, ISO and light is all I think about first when I pick up a camera to take a depth of field image. Over the past few weeks as an intern I have been trying to solve the task of taking either a high or low depth of field image. Some of my other colleagues seem to find this “depth of field” very easy to take using any camera at their disposal but the story is quite different for me like take Mr Olaide for instance. His pictures to me is what I can describe as “wow” most especially if he captures plants.

He is also good at editing pictures and tries out new things that wasn’t taught in class even if he ends up not getting it sometimes and I must say he is one person I admire amongst the new trainees at Elophotos. Kayode is someone within my age bracket who I envy the most, he is very cool and knows what he wants. I often complain about how much I really want to be good at this photography and he often teases me saying that I am too much of a perfectionist and not satisfied with some of the wonderful pictures to him that I have taking. Photoshop is also something I am just figuring out now without opening my note sometimes.

I remember the second class I took on Photoshop with Mr Toye wasn’t easy for me at all. I was frustrated and had to leave the class to visit the toilet twice where I cried my eyes off for reasons I don’t understand myself or if I should guess will say I was the only person in the whole class that didn’t understand what was been taught. I sometime don’t understand why I find it hard to grab all this things easily like every other trainee and it might just be that I am yet to appreciate the little I already know.

So my depth of field challenge had a new turn last week when I ‘think’ I figured it out. I took a lot of pictures but still not satisfied with it because I know I can still get something better. I once remembered complaining about this to Mr. Seun and he said it is something I should be able to get all the time and I feel my reason for still having this challenge is the hope of being one of the best female photographer whose every shot image will be well appreciated.

My name is AJAGBE BASIRAT and I will not rest until I become the best female professional photographer that I can be. Let me know what you think of the pictures I took this week.
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

The Family Portrait Session of the Century

The year was 2007 AD. April to be precise. I was preparing for my first solo photography exhibition. The venue was Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island. The idea of a solo exhibition had been borne out of the need to get financial resources to look for a new office space because my then landlord (for the office) had given me an eviction notice. The exhibition will eventually turn out to be one of my first series of great marketing feats as a photographer. Great unforgettable lessons would come of it too.

After the first day of exhibiting, I would eventually get an interesting call at around 9pm. It originated from one of the clients whose picture I was showcasing at the exhibition venue. It would eventually turn out to be a moment I would never forget (even if I have a brain transplant).

Let’s take a few steps back in time. Precisely 6 weeks before the exhibition. I was preparing to photograph my friend’s family in one of the most beautiful homes I had ever stepped into. Steve had been a family friend of over 15 years. When he found out I was into photography, he decided I was the best person to help document some moments in their life. We decided a session with his wife and 2 daughters at his brother’s mansion would be sufficient.

We agreed that in exchange for doing a complimentary session for his family, I would have the rights to use the pictures for marketing purposes. At least I could have sworn I made that clear. But there were no written documents to back up the verbal agreement. Afterall we were friends and what could happen.

What did happen eventually turned out to be more of a heart breaker than I had expected. I had gone ahead to use 2 of the pictures for the Silverbird exhibition and the wife had seen the framed exhibits on the first day. He expressed his dissatisfaction with her husband (Steve) about how I was revealing to the world their personal family moments. Steve had called me to ask that I remove the pictures from the exhibition. I was surprised. I was shocked.

I was surprised because I thought we had an understanding (albeit unwritten) about me using the pictures for my marketing purposes. I was surprised because the only compensation I got for the shoot was a nylon bag of snacks from Mr Biggs. I was upset because the first and best family portraits eloPhotos ever had would be considered too beautiful for the world to see. I was speechless.

For the sake of peace, I would eventually give them the framed pictures at no cost as a token of how sorry I felt for hurting the wife’s feelings. It was a painful gift. More painful now that I know that its one of the best family portrait sessions I have ever taken. The thought of the beauty of the pictures almost always brings out a tear in my eyes.

Ever since that day, I learnt the hard way not to photograph any client (even if its Michael Jackson or Tu Face) without a written documentation of the expectations of both parties: photographer & photographee :). Sometimes I’ve lost some jobs because of the fact that I put things in writing. But I have no regrets. One of the major bone of contention is the argument of who really owns the right to a picture. That’s why I try to put it in my terms & conditions the following clause before a client decides whether they really want me as their photographer:

“The fee we billed for the wedding coverage entails us having the right to use the pictures for our portfolio, samples, self-promotions, entry in photographic contests, art exhibitions, editorial or for use on any of our social media platform. We usually try to clarify this to clients before any job so as to avoid any arguments in the future. Usually what ends up happening is that we use a few of the best pictures to promote what we do. Clients that usually don’t allow this pay an extra premium for us to relinquish those rights. Please do let us know what your on that is.”

The lesson has been learnt. The deed has been done. Thanks to the family portrait session of the century & Mr Biggs, I’ll always try to remember to put things into writing before bringing out my camera to SHOOT anyone.
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

The Expensive Joke

My father use to tell me that dreams come true, but those days I doubted him. But now that I am old I understand better. Some people would say if you can think it, then you can do it. Everything a man wants to do in life is all about a step, a decision and an act.

Making a difference in life has to do with so many things. It has to do with taking a bold step and not looking back. Success is not by chance but by choice which means it is what you carved out for yourself. Starting out this week at eloPhotos was kind of challenging because we had been warned not to get to the office late no matter what the excuse seems to be. I was made to know that timeliness was one of the key factors to being successful in everything you do in life and there and then I decided I was going to be timely in all that I do.

Unfortunately I got to the office late which was very painful to me as a result of the traffic from Ikorodu to Ketu; eventually got to the office at exactly 8:30am little bit scared that mr Seun Akisanmi was going to call me and ask me. Little did I know that the blow was going to come from another direction that morning.

The work that you do just to get commended for might also be what turns out to be what you get lashed out with words for. All the same it’s all good because it is only a passage that you need to pass through in order to achieve your goal in life.

What you also take as a joke at times just to make things lively or make everybody happy, might be taken as an offense by some people. The funny thing about people is that they won’t come out to tell you that what you did was wrong or better still that they are not cool with it instead all they will do is report you to someone who they feel can talk some sense in to your head. That was the story of what happened in the office that morning.

We should always know that human beings are not perfect, and that is why we encroach in to each other’s boundaries once in a while. But all the same we stand to be corrected; we stand a chance to change. Know one thing what you bottle up inside of you people would not know because they are not God. But what you let out is different because people would have an idea of what it is and how you feel.

To cut the story short mr Seun scolded the boys for not being respectful to the ladies based on our manner of approach to them which we felt very bad about. To us, we were just cracking jokes but to whomever was taking it personal we were being rude.

In an organization you would always have clowns who are not afraid to say anything or joke with anything as far as it all brings smiles to their faces and everybody around them which is why they are known as the happy people. Should we stop playing, should we stop cracking, should we stop joking when we know that if we do, every intern would retreat to themselves and what we once knew as one big family would turn out to be all man to himself.

And to crown my interesting story for the week, just because I was late once, I made sure I resumed earlier than anybody in the office for the remaining part of the week. Even the gateman wasn’t a gateman anymore because he wasn’t as punctual as me anymore and then it dawned on me to stand hanging around for 30 minutes before knocking at the gate.

A wonderful week which it turned out to be because what we felt was going to change us only made us stronger and close to one another. Because the joke we crack turns out to be what everybody wants to hear whenever we are together. However, as an apprentice at eloPhotos I’ll try not get into trouble because as far as I’m concerned, I don’t want to get expelled. 🙂

I’m Obaloluwa Omole and my journey into the world of photography opportunities has begun at eloPhotos. Watch out for me.
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

The HARVARD Client (PART 2)

And so it happened that I would find myself doing yet another job for the client from Harvard. This time around, it would be a portrait session for his family. It happened approximately 4 weeks after the incident in PART 1.

Location was at his mansion in Abuja. As at December 2008 when I found myself in his house, that would go down on record as the most beautiful house I had ever stepped into. It was situated in an estate in Abuja that I never knew existed. If you had taken a picture on the streets inside that estate, one would have thought you were in Dubai. It was that beautiful.

And there I was at 10pm preparing for what will also be the latest family portrait session I’ve had for a client. I was very conscious of making sure that I did not break or scratch anything. My guess was that I probably could not afford to pay for anything I accidentally damage.

The man’s 2 children had arrived from America the day before and had planned to spend just 3 days in Abuja. That night was the only time left for them to do the shoot. And so it happened that the session would start at around 11:30pm.

My first experience with the man had created an unconscious intimidating cloud over my head whenever I was with him. How else would you explain my being nervous in his presence. At one moment, he started directing the session and for some unknown reasons that created the impression within me that I was a LEARNER.

20 minutes into the session, my Harvard client would excuse himself to receive a visitor. I wondered within myself the type of visitor that would stop by one’s house at 11:50pm. Coincidentally, it would be the type that was the CEO of one of Africa’s biggest banks. Eventually, the guest CEO walked into the room we were having our session and his presence seemed to multiply my nervous quotient by 5. I was super nervous. Why? I can not say.

My nervousness increased when my client started bragging to his guest that I was the best photographer in town. If only he had seen some of the images I was taking. If only he could peep and see the blurry and dark images that I was trying to hide from him. “He’s the one that took my pictures during the event last month,” he continued. Although I knew it was a compliment, I don’t know why that gave me goose bumps.

Eventually the CEO’s visiting time was up and he would greet us all farewell. After he left, we continued the session from where we left off. 5 minutes into the session, I would eventually notice that my hands were shaking. I felt intimidated in the presence of this client. Perhaps I should have done some type of meditation before the shoot. Perhaps I should have taken some type of medication that would ease my nerves.

Matters got worse when the client’s son (who coincidentally happens to be attending Harvard also) asked me how much I was charging his father for the session. N100k was my reply. He shouted and asked me why I was so expensive. The father asked me the same question. I thought I had explained my charges to the man before agreeing to come to his house for the shoot. Perhaps the mistake I made was not to have come with a written document detailing the charges. I explained that N100k was the minimum I charge for going to a client’s house for home sessions. I assured him that I wasn’t trying to defraud him. His response? “Anyway, its for my house in America that I need the pictures for, so continue shooting.” I was more tensed.

(At this junction, its important to note that I don’t just write about my experience with some people just to narrate how terrible they are or how holy I am…the goal is that we learn one of two things from these “Super Story” encounters)

The shoot continued and a few minutes into the session, my N350k camera kit fell down. Remember that story about humpty dumpty falling down on a wall? This was worse. Eventually, that would be the last time my Olympus E3 camera functioned properly. Ultimately, I had to send the camera to Olympus in America for repairs. $500 later, the camera returned to me in pristine condition.

What hurt me more was the fact that I did not get a dime from that session. It wasn’t that the fallen camera damaged the pictures; we would eventually finish the shoot with my backup camera. The client eventually procrastinated choosing the pictures he wanted framed and I learnt key lessons that I doubt I’ll ever forget.

I learnt always to be confident no matter who I was shooting (even if the person is Jesus or Satan). I learnt always to have a backup camera for any job outside my office domain. I learnt to always ask for 80% of my fee before leaving the home of a family portrait client (especially someone I have never worked with before). I learnt to always put the strap of the camera on my neck during a shoot because if I had worn the strap, there’s a 99.999999% chance that the camera would not have gone the humpty dumpty route to destruction. I learnt to put it all in writing no matter what so that no one will accuse me of not informing them of my fees thereby resulting in unnecessary argument during a session.

That was December 2008. In 2012, I would eventually get a call from the same client requesting for a quote to do another job. I replied with a detailed email explaining to him that we still have an outstanding of N100k. He was furious. He called to explain that how can he owe me for pictures that he never did use. He explained that the presidency was after his life so he had to escape the country and seek asylum. And after 5 minutes of explanation, I found myself apologizing to him for not knowing what he went through.

But the lessons had been engraved in my heart the hard way. The Harvard Client will never be forgotten by this big-headed photographer. I am a better & wiser photopreneur because of him. So the next time you’re privileged to be one of the students in our Academy and I tell you to ALWAYS wear the strap of your camera on your neck (or shoulders), this is the reason why that rule came into being.

For one reason or the other, I have a funny feeling I might still do business with the HARVARD client one day. When that day comes, I shall by all means be READY.
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


The beginning of a new week marks the beginning of a new experience at Elophotos academy. We started off with the Monday morning devotion and soon afterwards we started off a chat on the experiences of interns at the academy.

At Mr Seun Akisanmi’s arrival, our lecture started. The room Obscura was the topic for the day, the modern day darkroom. We all marched to the darkroom [editing room] where would eventually be our learning venue for the rest of the week.

I learnt a lot about the techniques of editing pictures; we were all guided to the use of digital software programs to enhance and improve the quality and story of a picture.

By the next day we were all served the introduction to advanced techniques of editing. The most informative moments for me was the realization of how these great pictures I find on the internet were produced. The classes opened my eyes to understanding how images are created and edited to tell a specific story and address an audience.

A particular morning I can not seem to forget was on Wednesday. The rain started on my way to the Academy, I prayed within my heart that the rain would stop before I alight at the last bus stop. By the time I got to the bus stop, the rain had doubled in power.

Then I remembered what Mr Seun once told us that no one would give any excuse if asked to come for his visa to America at 6am. I pushed my way through the rain just for me to discover a long queue at the next bus stop also. Ultimately, I got to the Academy in time before 8am but soaked and wet.

The last day in the week for us all was a practice day. We started a photography session within ourselves to test what we have learnt over the past few days. Like what I learnt from one my mentors; “If you want to get better with your photographs, keep shooting, shoot, shoot and shoot.” I discovered that each click on the shutter button has to be with a purpose and also keeping in mind that the camera has a shutter life cycle. So, I decided right from then on that every click on the camera for me would be for a purpose, to tell a story or address my audience.

My name is Olayiwola Olaide and my 6 months training at eloPhotos has begun.
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

The ENLIGHTENED Makeup Artist

My journey into the world of photography was generated by passion and motivated on my quest for excellence.
As a professional makeup artist (MUA) I was tired of begging photographers at events to help me take shots  ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the bride, which most times disappoint.  I had to resolve to the use of my camera phone which could only do little and these affected my profile and credibility. I remember sharing my ordeal with my uncle who later got me a DSLR (Canon EOS 50D) in 2009 on is way from UK.
Hmmm! now I have a DSLR; problem solved someone would have thought but that only introduced me to a greater challenge of getting professional shots like Seun Akisami, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Jide Alakija, TCD, Atunbi (to mention but a few).
 I barely understood the functions of the machine I had even with the manual attached. I enquired what the problem was from pros in the industry. One said to me, you need a reflector to use this kind of camera to get this kind of shot, so I rushed to the market and got a 5 faced reflector. Another said, you need an external flash with a 50mm lens and I got one. Yet I met another photographer who told me all you need is a zoom lens for that portrait shot and I kept buying. The funniest of this was when I went shopping for strobes and beauty dish after a photographer friend had honestly told me to set up a photo studio since I already have almost all the necessary equipment to setup. I am sure you know what happened there
At this point you must have thought I was some daughter of a millionaire to be buying all of these. Not so true although I’ve had my own share in life struggles. With all of this put together, one will confuse me for a professional photographer at an event because most of these equipment were not owned by many photographers. On several occasions, I get many of them using my equipment to get better shots while I still battle with my auto mode on my DSLR.

Why not go for a training you would have said? But most professional photography academy didn’t have a flexible time table which would permit me time to do my business while I get trained.

My story changed when I met a family friend who took me through his archives and told me he had learnt photography at eloPhotos Academy during his holiday just for two days. My face was beaming with surprise because he sounded unbelievable. I had to make him use my camera to confirm he was telling the truth and truly my doubt was confirmed as invalid.  I joined the next session (July 2014) at eloPhotos Academy and not only did I learn but in 3days I was a better photographer and person. 

Now I understand the functions of each of my equipment including my beauty dish. Before I forget, you do not only learn photography at eloPhotos; you also learn how to become a successful brand. You don’t want to know the number of books I have had to read up on Business, Life and Photography as it is a watchword at eloPhotos. And I am loving every bit of it. Thanks to my coach, SEUN AKISANMI, you can call me Yetunde Bakare Adedayo the photographer with a twist.

Note to fellow MUAS: Get yourself trained at eloPhotos Academy to understand the business of photography in relation with your job; at least you will stop being a thesis for so called event photographers who only enjoy using your equipment to get great shots while they leave you with poor pictures for your profile. You should be the first beneficiary of your equipment. Attached are a few pictures I took during the 3days training. Do drop your comments and let me know what you think.
# elo photo 123.CR2 elo photo 0991

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

The Politics of Negotiating for a Photography Ambassadorship Deal

Sometime late in 2013, I got a call from a multinational photography-gadget organization. The company was about to launch one of their latest picture-taking gadget and they needed someone to be an ambassador for the product. I asked them why they thought I was the best candidate for such a role and they told me I was number one on their list because of the mere fact that I organized a conference that brought together photography enthusiasts and professionals in Nigeria.

Although I tried not to show too much excitement over the phone, I reckoned within myself that this was the break I was looking for. This was going to go down as the singular deal that will help resolve my over-N5million NiPHEC debt. I was excited, I was elated, I was nervous.

The gentleman at the other end of the phone proceeded to explain what the organization expected of me should I accept the job. They would require that I take pictures with their latest camera equipment and do a few writeups after I’ve presented the pictures at a conference that would hold four weeks later. That meant that I had only 27 days to travel the country to take pictures that would represent each state of the federation. WoW. Talk of excitement meeting adventure.

“How much will it cost us,” the guy finally asked. Over the years, I have learnt not to be too quick to give (a client I know little about) a price over the phone. I threw the question back at him. “What is your company’s budget for this?” He stressed that the budget for marketing had been depleted and that they were stretching themselves thin on this particular project. STORY! I ‘ve heard that before. Last time I checked, they made over $1.5 billion in sales in 2012 alone. But when it comes to paying for what will be a stressful task, the marketing budget is in red. In that case my middle name is “Clinton”, I thought within myself.

I asked him to put everything in writing and send me a mail to make it official. He promised to call me within a few minutes regarding what they were willing to pay. Ok by me. I immediately went to Google to do a little study about the product that was about to be launched in Nigeria. Impressive features it had.

I subsequently did what I always do when confronted with giving a quotation for a task I have never done before: I called one of my mentors. I explained the entire scenario to her and told her how I was considering giving them a bill of about N4 million. “So they contacted you too,” my mentor kidded. Apparently they had contacted her before reaching out to me and the bill she gave them must have been beyond their budget. Hence, their need for an alternative ambassador. She would later advice me not to quote anything less than N3.5 million. She promised to get back to me with more suggestions. Eventually, I never heard from her or the company again till 2014.

Here’s what transpired. Apparently, she had put a call through to the same organization to renegotiate her deal with them. The company eventually settled for her and I would find out in the media. I put a call through to the gentleman that had called me only for him to tell me that the event was cancelled and that he had to travel urgently to South Africa to handle other matters. Yeah right, and I’m the cousin of Obama. 2 weeks later, the conference would eventually take place and the pictures taken by their Ambassador (my mentor) with the camera will be showcased. Why the guy lied to me is still a mystery to me till date.

I felt hurt. Perhaps if I had not called my mentor for advice, I could have nailed the job. But how could I have known that she was my “competitor” in the deal of the decade. I felt hurt. I felt betrayed by someone I trusted. Or perhaps, it was just business and not betrayal. Perhaps.

But then I thought about it all over again. Perhaps there’s one interesting thing to learn from this. Apparently, I must be doing something right in the eyes of a multinational photography organization to attract such attention. In the eyes of the organization, I was on the same pedestal with the one I considered a mentor. If this organization was keeping track of what I was doing, then other organizations must be “following” whatever it is that I’m doing. Consequently, I encouraged myself with the assurance that more of such deals will be coming my way.

And come my way they would eventually do. Approximately 3 months later, I would find myself in the office of yet another multinational organization. This time around, I wasn’t surprised. They gave me a breakdown of what they would require of me if I were to be signed up as one of their ambassadors. And then the “how much will it cost us?” issue came up. I told them I would get back to them within a few days.

I went online to research about the company only for me to realized that their 2012 worldwide sales figure was over $2.6 billion. WOW. This was definitely a BIGGER organization. Which mentor should I call for “advice” now. I definitely was not about to fall down in the same spot twice. I thought deeply and eventually knew in my heart who to call. I decided the best mentor to call for advice on giving a fair price (to a large-scale organization like that) should not be based in my country. I decided to call my United States renowned photographer friend and mentor, Michael Grecco.

The 25 minutes phone conversation I had with him was like attending a workshop on “How not to shoot yourself in the foot as a photography Ambassador”. Thank God I called him. As a Hassleblad Ambassador, he had (and still has) enough experience up his sleeves. I would eventually submit an 8-figures fee that would be close to what my international colleagues were being paid. Although the company never did get back to me, I believed with all my heart that I didn’t over price myself out of the deal. For whatever reason, the company is yet to secure an Ambassador for their photography-related products.

I’m 101% convinced that greater opportunities and ambassadorship deals still lay ahead of my destiny regardless of what has happened. Till then, I’ll keep doing what I think I do best to keep attracting such attention from photography multinational companies. One day, something will click.

Although what my mentor did hurt me, I decided to add it to my repertoire of experience. Infact, I even sent a gift to my mentor so I could tap into that grace of being considered worthy to represent an international photography organization.

If it was you that a mentor hurt in such a manner, what do you think you’ll do? Be honest now.
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

The EXCEPTIONAL Photography Intern

I got the following “requirements” from a mentor of mine about 2 years ago when he was in search of an intern. Anyone thinking of working with a photographer should note that most serious photographers adhere strictly to the guidelines below. The only difference with the guideline herein and the one we have at eloPhotos is that we are ready to absorb a potential photography who doesn’t even have a portfolio. Just something for us to think about.

Personality: Personality is important because you’ll be working in a team unit. You’ll need to have a positive attitude at all times. You’re also representing the photographer on-set, so you need to interact with the clients respectfully.

Drive/Passion: Let’s face it, if you knew it all you wouldn’t be applying for the internship, so let’s leave the ego at home. Come ready and wanting to learn. We can only help those who want to learn and are eager to advance their careers in photography.

Talent: I look for people who have potential. If you are a newbie, take some time and focus on learning the basics. Develop a portfolio and then contact me. It takes a lot of energy to mentor an intern, so I have to be choosy with my time investment. I want to help everyone but that’s not possible. I want to take those who are on the verge and get them to their potential.

Work Ethics: Photoshoots are not a walk in the park. You will be asked to work in extreme conditions. Long hours on set are likely. You will be asked to hustle. You will sweat. You will be thirsty. You will be hungry. You will have fun. When you’re not on set, you will be asked to scout locations, do research, run errands, etc. Your errands will be photography related (Well, more or less). All these things that you do will help you with your own photography business down the road.

Discreteness: When you meet my clients on set, don’t go home and Facebook friend request them. Please respect their privacy. Social media is great, but please think twice before you put anything on blast. When on set, no cellphone pics or videos are permitted. Some campaigns are confidential until it actually is released to the public. I’m also a very private person, so please be discrete about my personal life.

Availability: Sometimes I’ll get last minute bookings, Long hours on set are likely. You will be asked to hustle. You will sweat. You will be thirsty. You will be hungry. You will have fun. When you’re not on set, you will be asked to scout locations, do research, run errands, etc. Your errands will be photography related (Well, more or less). All these things that you do will help you with your own photography business down the road.

Responsiveness: If you get an email/text from my assistant or me, you need to respond quickly. Not the very next day. It’s a fast pace business.

An internship is only the first step in your photographic career. The next step is to turn the internship into an assistant position

When Parents Are WRONG For The RIGHT Reasons

Recently I met with a parent who wanted to send his daughter to eloPhotos Academy. She had recently finished her WAEC exams and was waiting to do another exam next year. In the words of the parent, “we want her to while away time doing photography”.

I explained to the man that the training we offer is not for people who want to while away time. The training program offered at eloPhotos Academy is for those who have made a deliberate and conscious decision to follow diligently the pathway of photography till they discover the beauty of the light at the end of the tunnel. I told the parent that his investment in the training will be worthwhile if photography was what the daughter wanted as compared to forcing her to go and learn photography just to pass away time.

I would eventually ask the potential student why she was considering coming for a training in photography. Her response was surprisingly short: “that’s what they want me to do”. Something about the tone and mannerism that was expressed by her gave me the indication that eloPhotos Academy won’t enjoy training such a person.

Gone are the days when parents will instill their career of choice upon their children under the guise of “obey your parents in the Lord”. Gone are the days when most parents dreams & prayer is for their children to grow up to become doctors, lawyers, architects and bankers. If a child in 1980 were to declare to his parents that he wanted to be a comedian when he was grown, the parents might either give him “igbati”, cast out the demon in the child, or declare that their child was JOKING. We all know that now the comedy industry isn’t a joke.

Getting an education is good and I’m sure most parents mean well. What isn’t good is to ignore the innate abilities of a child and instill into their hearts the career we UNCONSCIOUSLY SELFISHLY want. The boy that seems to be prone to “destroying” gadgets as a small boy might be showing traits of an engineer. Such a child would most likely be unfulfilled if he ends up in the banking industry regardless of the money he makes.

This is the reason why I don’t shout on my daughter when it seems as if she’s talking “too much” or asking too much questions. Who knows, she might end up being a lawyer instead of the photographer that her dad is or the makeup artist that the mum is.

For this reason, we’ve added a pre-requisite assignment that must be done before we can consider admitting anyone to the 6 months program we run. One must write a 500-words minimum article on what a day in one’s life will be in 2020. There’s a probability that if you can’t see yourself in the 2020 photography industry, then perhaps spending 6 months in a photography school might not be a worthwhile use of your time especially if you just finished accumulating over 20 years of education.

I have a funny feeling we might not be admitting the daughter whose parents are forcing her to come study photography. As much as we need the money they’ll be paying, we’ll be saving the parents N150k of their money to use for other things. I’ll prefer if the desire to learn photography is coming from the daughter’s heart as compared to coming from the parents’ heart. But then again, what do I know: I’m just an accounting graduate who happens to find fulfillment in walking in his dream career: PHOTOGRAPHY
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

2 Debtors & 1 Security Man Later

It happened last week Tuesday. The head of security at the estate where I reside decided he was going to hold the residents to ransom. Apparently, majority of the residents in the estate were owing significant sums of money to the security men. Eventually he decided that the embarrassment route was the best way to go to make all debtors pay.

I happened to be one of the debtors. Ever since the photography conference we organized in May, I’ve been unable to pay my outstanding with them as I had to resolve matters with other debtors that were sending me threats. I had explained my case to the head of security at least twice in the last 4 weeks. My total debt was now N12k (at N4k per month). On this faithful day, he would take us all by surprise.

I got to the estate gate by 7:15am on my way to drop my children in school only to see that the gate was barricaded and my security pal was standing at the entrance. “Oga, we no dey open gate for people wey never pay their dues,” he blurted out.

“Good morning sir. You know if I have, I’ll pay you…I don’t have it yet…once I get it, you’ll get paid,” I pleaded with him. Truth be told, I had just N1050 left with me that day and was even ready to take him to my ATM so he could see my account balance. Over 70% of funds that had been coming into my account had gone to settling some of the 25 vendors I owed (interestingly the most soothing words of encouragement during this time came from my mum when she told me that it was a good thing that the vendors allowed me to owe them because only people with good credit & goodwill are usually allowed to owe such big debts….I pray my goodwill account doesn’t run into deficit)

15 seconds later, I was taken aback when he grudgingly opened the gate and allowed me to pass along with my daughters. He even waved my daughters goodbye. Once again, I had benefited from implementing some principles I learnt from Dale Carnegie (How to win friends & influence people) & Herb Cohen (You can negotiate anything). One thing I have learnt over the years is not to talk to people anyway, especially those that seem to be of a lower social status.

Returning to the estate at 8am, there stood a woman with her 2 sons at the same gate arguing with the security man. The woman was calling the security man all sort of names: You must be stupid, you idiot, who gave you the ordasity (hope I’m right with the spelling of that) to embarrass us this way….. She went on and on in insulting the man. The irony of the it was that she’s one of those that owes the largest debt. If I were in her shoes, I would resort to pleading with him as against insulting the gateman while her 2 sons watched the free tuesday morning nollyhood movie.

2 hours later, she was still at the gate. The gateman was bent on not allowing her to pass until she made payment. It was then I was reminded by my subconscious that people like this security man are more powerful than they look. I know the jobs I’ve gotten as a result of befriending people like that. In one scenario, a “door woman” recommended me to her sister in Abuja who happened to be an event planner who happened to be planning the wedding of one of the senators of the House of Assembly. The wedding would turn out to be one of the most interesting I’ve covered till date…..and that coming from the recommendation of someone other people look down on.

According to my branding consultant, this ordinarily shouldn’t be something I should be writing about as it might send a message that connotes that Seun isn’t a BIG BOY after all. The message I want this to send however is for us to be conscious and deliberate about how we treat people of lower economic or social status. Be careful of how you treat or talk to that gateman, househelp, cook, driver or people you think are less important. You’ll be surprised the doors they can open or close for you depending on how you treat them. You’ll be very surprised…
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

MELTED, MOLDED & MADE BY eloPhotos Academy

I wouldn’t mind being called PROUD because I’m simply PROUD of who and what I have become over the past few months. I was a seed planted at eloPhotos for 5 months and now it’s amazing to say I’ve become a blooming & glamorous flower.

I used to wonder how Femi Adewuyi, Micheal Adebiyi, Toye Peters, Kikelomo Koleosho, Ronke Alao (to mention a few) do the magic, until the eloPhotos anointing fell upon me like Peter on the day of Pentecost. Well I think you all should know that not all interns at eloPhotos get this anointing but I am one of the privileged.

Last week I was at Female CEOs Roundtable, a seminar organized alongside an exhibition at Eko Hotels and there I met a friend and colleague whom we started this dream together at DSAP (Daystar skill acquisition programme). She was so surprised to see me as she jumped at me like a fan to a celebrity. She asked how and what I did to get thus far (“far” to her was the fact that I was covering an event at Eko Hotels & Suites) and so she was so convinced I must have stepped up my game.

I was so excited at the way she looked at me like a big deal. I started to blush and smile in happiness as I told her that have been to eloPhotos academy, showing her some of my works on my Phone.

“WOW, this is so amazing”. This was what she kept saying to the point that I was beautifully embarrassed. I asked her what she was up to and she said she had not even decided on what to do yet at the moment. I stopped to wonder if she meant she had been confused for the same 5 months I have used to become what she called AMAZING. It was sad to know, but I was glad I did take a bold step into success.

I would have also been in her shoes if had not taken a wise decision when my dad pushed forward either buying a camera or going for a training. I CHOSE to be at eloPhotos, I CHOSE to wake up 3 am every day of the week, I CHOSE to sweep the editing room, to wash the toilet, I CHOSE to trek miles under a scorching sun within Lagos to get work done, I CHOSE to face the deadly traffic of Lagos for at least 3 hours every day, I CHOSE to stay up at night for night shoots, I CHOSE to keep having Photoshop fever, I CHOSE to work hard, I CHOSE to have sore feet after standing for hours covering events, I CHOSE to stay up editing all night, I CHOSE to always be a part of memory painting, I CHOSE to be MELTED, MOLDED and MADE by eloPhotos Academy. I CHOSE to be who and what I am today.

Who am I, you still may ask? I am Temitope Adeniyan and I am an “AMAZING” Photographer!

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

The UNAFFORDABLE Photographer

So this photographer that I respect so much was covering an event where governors and dignitaries were present. One of the governors summoned him and asked how much his photography charges were for covering a wedding. The governor’s daughter was getting married in a few months and he wanted to hire the best hand in the industry.

“You can’t afford me sir” was the response the governor got. The governor was shocked “what do you mean I can’t afford you…I said how much do charge?” The photographer replied, “My services are too expensive for you.”

“Will you at least give me an idea before you conclude that I can’t afford you,” the frustrated governor demanded.

“Depending on what you’re looking at, my bill starts from $60,000”

By now the governor and angry and demanded that the photographer give him his complimentary card. And so contact details were exchanged. Talk about the negotiation of the century.

As much as I admire the photographer and would one day love to charge that amount, I must realize that the guy has been in the industry for over 15 years and had paid his dues. At this stage in his career, he knew what he was worth and people were PROUDLY paying him his fees.

Knowing that photographers like that exist, it gives me hope that one day, I’ll be like the unaffordable photographer. And no, it isn’t because I’m greedy but because I’ll attract people that will gladly pay for what I feel I’m worth. Till then, let me continue diligently building the foundations of what it takes to be an “unaffordable” BRAND.
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

2 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Doing Jobs for FREE

In the past few years, I’ve had a few challenges relating to photography jobs that I have taken on. Here are two reasons why I don’t enjoy freebies.

A few years ago, I decided that the best wedding gift I could give someone was my photography. I volunteered to donate my services and deliver an album. I visited the person’s house a few months after the wedding and decided to ask after the album I had given them.

To my surprise, 90% of the pages of the album had been raptured. Either he had creatively made the pages invisible or something was wrong with my pair of eyes. The only page left was the last page of the album that had my company’s logo and contact details.

“What happened,” I asked him. He referred me to his wife for the best answer to my billion dollar question. I would eventually discover that after an argument session with his wife, he had gotten angry and decided to fight back by destroying what was precious to his wife: the wedding album.

I was shocked, I was furious, I was surprised. I pleaded with them to be conscious of telling their guests that that wasn’t how we deliver our albums: with invisible pages. If he had paid for my services, perhaps he wouldn’t have destroyed the album. Talk of anger raised to the power 3. That was when I decided that no one was worth doing a free job for.

The second reason is more psychological. You see, the way my accounting mind works is that it doesn’t seem to place priority on working on jobs that I had shot for free. Even if I was the one that offered to do it for free (as the case was for 2 church members, my mum’s 60th birthday and my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday), it’s just hard to discipline myself to churning out the final product on time. Perhaps if they had paid even a token of just 5k or 10k, I would have convinced my Igbo mind that they paid something.

That is why I feel so guilty whenever I meet any of the 5 clients that I did a free job for but haven’t delivered the album. Call it a weakness but I’m just tired of not having a clear conscience regarding owing clients deliverables.

So I thought to myself that if I could announce to the world and confess my sins it will not only force me to work on the outstanding jobs quickly (hopefully before the end of July); it will also make anyone reading this not to ask for a freeby from me no matter what. Even if I say yes with my mouth, its just difficult for my heart to sync with that decision.

So those are the reasons why I don’t like doing jobs for free (or even at a discount). Please help me be a better person by understanding whenever I refuse or offer to do a job for free. May God help me. May the God of heavens help me.
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

Befriending the N200 million Photographer

So I found out recently that one of my photography mentors (of over 5years) has made an income of about N200 million from photography in the past 7 years. Even without knowing how much he earns, I had been fascinated with his achievements over the years.

I’ve learnt so much from him that would have costed me catastrophically if I had to make the mistakes myself without his guidance. More importantly, I’ve learnt that he has more weaknesses that aren’t palatable to me. Infact, despite my knowledge of his weaknesses, I made sure that there was an open channel of communication between us wherein he could still help out when I needed him.

Many people fail to realize that the mentor or person they admire has emotional and physical needs. A lot of people would rather be quick to get as much as they can from a mentor without giving something of value in exchange. I learnt this principle from my pastor years ago and decided to go with peace offerings on my first meeting with him: 5 high value photography books most of which were authored by his foreign mentors.

Apparently no one had ever given him books like that as a gift. I realized his time and knowledge were valuable and didn’t want to come across as ungrateful. The next time I called him, he had stored my name on his phone and just blurted out “Seun, how you dey?”. I was surprised but then again I wasn’t surprised. I had touched his heart and he was unconsciously bent on making sure he attends to my case whenever it showed up in his court of law. I recently updated my “account” with him by blessing him with a N100k photography printer.

Its a spiritual principle that many are not conscious of. Although, I can’t boast of having earned that much income in my years of photography, I was honored to have been considered a potential ambassadorial candidate by an international photography equipment company last year. Guess who my competitor was: my mentor. I would eventually not get the multi-million naira deal but I was appreciative of the fact that a world-class brand would consider me for such a deal. It gave me more courage to know that though my bank statement could not boast of N3 million, my N300 million retirement income was more feasible than I thought; as long as I have mentors like the N200 million photographer.

Some photographers miss it when they compare only the pictures that are being taken by other photographers. What they fail to analyze is how some photographers relate better with people to the extent that clients will pay premium price for their services.

The lesson to get from this is for us to be conscious of deliberating choosing the right mentors that will challenge us (and perhaps also quicken our steps) on our journey in life. Show me your mentors, and I’ll have an idea how you’ll turn out in 5-10 years time. I have over 20 mentors in photography because I’m conscious of where I’m going in the industry. But perhaps the bigger lesson to learn is to be conscious of being a blessing to the life of whoever you consider to be a mentor, coach or friend. That way, you’re likely to stand out in their mind whenever you contact them for help.

There are presently a number of protégés that I have that I’ll go the extra mile to help them out because of the simultaneous investment they’ve made in my life. One gave me an apple (the fruit not the computer/phone) gift yesterday and it touched my heart to know she was concerned about my health (since an apple a day keeps the doctor away…or something like that). Another got me a small book. One recently took me to the movies to watch the latest Transformers at Silverbird Cinemas. Its not until you buy me that 2014 BMW 540i that’s in your heart before you touch my heart….the 2012 model will do just fine. 🙂

This is one of those writeups that I’m not sure how to end. However, whatever you do, be deliberate about the types of photography friends and mentors you surround yourself with. They’ll either make or mar your destiny. As for me, I’m grateful to God for bringing across my way the N200 million photographer as a mentor. Enough said.
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

Becoming a Photography Mentor’s Inspiration

“You must be proud of all the amount of photographers you’ve trained by now,” the lady in red asked me. Bimbo was a 2010 graduate of eloPhotos Academy and would eventually turn out to be one of the few that kept in touch with me even after leaving eloPhotos. Though the transition out of eloPhotos wasn’t a smooth one (I actually “fired” her), she had grown into someone that would eventually inspire me and believe in my dream enough to empty her savings of N330k to invest in Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC). She was at my office recently to express her concern about the fact that I wasn’t as rich as someone who had invested so much in the dreams of others.

“Actually, I’m not proud. I’ve since lost count of the number of people I’ve trained because many of them seem not to be putting into practice what they learnt at eloPhotos.” That was my blunt response. She would be one of the 30% that seemed to be standing out of the 100% eloPhotos Academy Alumni.

I explained to her that never in my entire life have I been clearer about my calling in life: to be a change catalyst in the photography industry. I explained to her that though I might not have gotten my dream 2012 BMW 540i Active Hybrid car yet, I feel like the diamond miner that is 2 inches from hitting the biggest gusher he had ever seen. I explained to her that despite her concern for the debts I owe, I would eventually come out better and richer like the latter days of the biblical Job.

But my greatest fear is for the many graduates of the Academy that do not practice the tenets we preach: INTEGRITY, PROFESSIONALISM, CREATIVITY, EXCELLENCE & TIMELINESS. My greatest fear is for the many graduates of Harvard University that are only proud of the certificates they got but aren’t doing much societal transformation with the education.

Until I can boast of a significant number of protégés that inspire me by standing out of the crowd of ordinary photographers, until I can boast of an industry void of mediocrity and people willing to sacrifice their integrity just for the next morsel of bread they eat, until I can boast of a society where photographers would be invited to key economical summits to discuss ways of combating unemployment in the society, until I can boast of photography being on the same pedestal with Law & Medicine, until then, my pride can wait.

If you (yes, YOU) happen to know who I really am and where I’m going in life, you’ll consider it a privilege to call me a friend or photography mentor. Sometimes my advice and/or admonition might come across as too strict or mean, it is so that we’ll turn out to be an inspiration to someone at the end of the day. Although I might be an inspiration, mentor or coach to many, my soul would not be fulfilled until those that consider me to be an inspiration turn out to inspire me by becoming shining stars in their field. Until then, I can’t afford to be proud. Until then, I will not rest.
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

The SIKIRA Syndrome

Meet SIKIRA. She’s a lady in her late twenties who sells food beside our office. She used to sell only drinks and biscuits until many people in the neighborhood convinced her to open a canteen and start selling cooked food. I was one of those that told her she could make money selling food after she provided lunch for some of our elophotos academy students 3 years ago.

Apart from the fact that her food was outstanding, her personality was even more attractive. She was kind, courteous, and extremely friendly. And those traits seemed like the right ingredients that will go with someone selling food. Considering the fact that her “food” competitors lacked customer service, she was destined to stand out if she ventured in the business. Or so I thought.

Few weeks into the food business, I realized that a spirit had possessed Sikira. All of a sudden, she started insulting customers that came to buy food from her and her customer-service oriented nature went on a looooooooong vacation. She would frown at customers, shout at them, and with the support of her mother in the business, she’ll even tell some customers to carry their business elsewhere.

The interesting thing I discovered was that the more she insulted people – some of whom are her father’s age mate – the more customers kept coming to buy food from her. They kept coming for ONE reason: her food was delicious. So tasty was her delicacies that the thought of having her as my personal cook crossed my mind. I was surprised that people kept coming to buy from her despite the fact that she didn’t treat them with the utmost respect. But then again, I realized that a lot of us in this part of the world are “used” to being insulted and abused. Just look at the multitude of organizations in Nigeria with terrible customer service and you’ll wonder why they remain in business. MTN and Aero contractors will top my list of companies that fall in that category. Guaranty Trust Bank might eventually join the list if they don’t return my N20k that was swallowed by an ATM machine over 6 months ago.

It occurred to me that this was a BIG business opportunity. If someone that could provide the same service or product and simultaneously treat customers right, the sky is just the starting point of the profit potential.

Bringing the scenario back into the photography business. There are many photographers that have been in business only because the people that patronize them like the “products” that have been served them. The customer service however is another story. Our ultimate goal as photographers & business men (& women) who want to remain relevant in the industry for years to come – regardless of the introduction of new technology – is to build systems that are devoid of the SIKIRA SYNDROME. If we can achieve that, we might eventually not have to spend as much money in trying to advertise our products & services: our clients will become our BIGGEST & most effective marketers.

Until we get new companies that can provide the same quality of products and services that are offered by Sikira & MTN, we might just be stuck with them in the meantime. Eventually when a new food vendor with great customer service and delicious food (a combination that I’m confident is a possibility) arrives in our neighborhood, my colleagues and I have little or no option but to keep patronizing her.

Until then, I will do my best to make sure that the SIKIRA SYNDROME does not possess us at eloPhotos.
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

Discovering the Customer-Service at DiscoveryAir

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine recommended that I try out an airline that opened for business in June. He was so impressed with the customer-service that was extended to him during his trip to Abuja that he demanded that I give them a try.

I eventually flew with them and discovered that although they were not flying with BRAND NEW planes, the customer service I got made me feel BRAND NEW. No, this isn’t a paid advert by the company. I just thought that people out there – especially those that fly with companies like Aero-contractors who have repeatedly proven that they can treat customers anyhow – should know that they have a new option when it comes to traveling by air.

I wasn’t surprised when I checked to see that the flight was almost filled. And it wasn’t filled with people that were traveling by air for the very first time. I’m guessing that customers of other airlines decided to try DiscoverAir and see if they will get a better experience from what they were used to.

A better experience I eventually got. I even had to take a picture of the food pack just so that I can have enough evidence against them the day they decide to “reduce” the contents of the meal they give customers on board.

The last time I got such customer service was when I visited Transcorp Hilton Hotel (Abuja) in 2007. If they keep it up, I sense that one or two airlines that we’re all familiar with will eventually close business. I think you should try it out and feel free to drop you comments here if you were treated well or not. Just check them out at and do let me know what your experience was like.

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

Nude Photography & the Challenges of Being a Christian Publisher

I must admit that this is the longest title I’ve given a post. However the goal is to attempt to address an issue that I feel some readers of NowPictureThis Magazine might have regarding the latest edition. I might not succeed in “changing” many peoples’ mind regarding certain beliefs; however, I’ll succeed in expressing my point of view in a way that will perhaps help us discuss on this further.

It happened approximately 2 months ago. On a sunny tuesday afternoon, my 2pm appointment arrived at my office. We had met during the just concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC) and he had communicated to me his heart desire to have me as his mentor. He was sure that I was one of those that will help guide him on his pathway to photography destiny.

After a few minutes of him hurling questions and “admiration” my way, I was quick to point out to him that I’m a man of interesting weaknesses. I urged him to be sure of what he was asking of me since I knew I wasn’t as perfect/great as my perceived social media image might have communicated. He insisted that since we have similar backgrounds in life, he was sure I was the mentor he needed.

Fast forward to 3:16pm. He was about to ask me the question he considered to be his last and final question. He brought out a copy of the 2nd edition of the photography magazine I published, opened to the pages in the magazine that had the attached “artistic” pictures, and then dropped the question of the century: “Sir, being the Christian that you profess to be, how can you put in your magazine pictures of naked women? What if a child picks up the magazine? Aren’t you making some people to fall into sin?”

At this point, you need to realize that this was a genuine question that had troubled the gentleman and he had waited till the last minute to utter his mind so as to get an answer that will soothe him. He was dead serious. At that point I had an idea how Jesus must have felt when the Pharisees & Saducees asked him questions that were designed to trap him. And no, I’m not comparing my gentleman friend to the hypocritical sect in Jesus’ time.

I explained to him that I admired the “artistic” elements in the first picture in black & white. Although the photographer, Deola Gold, would have done a better job explaining to him what the picture was about, I told him it was a picture that I felt was too artistic for me to even put in words.
I honestly could not explain to him why I featured the picture apart from the fact that I admired Deola’s work.

The second picture however had a clearer message that might have been missed by the average gentleman that stumbles on the page. Its a picture of a woman’s breasts taken by Aisha Augie-Kuta. What the consciousness of many men do not see in the picture is the two flowers covering the woman’s breast. I noticed that one of the flower was dying while the other was still fresh. Without having Aisha explain what that meant and considering that she’s has an artistic & creative mind, I concluded that there’s a high probability that the woman in the picture had breast cancer.

What a creative way to portray cancer of the breast, I thought. Even while attempting to give him the explanation, he did not want to look at the picture again. I explained to him that I personally do not take nude pictures of women because the creative elements in my oblongata can do more damage to me long after the photo session is over. I knew this as one of my weakness and therefore have never strayed near that area. However, I know an artistic picture when I see one and Deola and Aisha’s pictures were more artistic than obscene.

We argued back and forth about what God thinks and what the Bible says and about the role of my conscience in the matter. I eventually realized I was arguing a case that neither one of us could win. Perhaps if I was a younger Christian, I would not have published the pictures talkless of being friends with a photographer who is a Mentor & a Muslim. But…….

Come to think of it, that was the last day he contacted me. I hope he wasn’t disappointed at the point of view I expressed. However, it leads me to at least one major point I feel protégés should understand: mentors have issues they deal with and aren’t perfect people. Having a mentor shouldn’t mean that because you discovered that he’s a hot-tempered person, you conclude that he’s a bad person. Infact, knowing your mentors’ weaknesses should urge you to pray for him/her for overcoming grace. Relating with a mentor should be like eating fish: eat only the juicy flesh and leave the choking bones.

I think I’ve digressed a little there. After chatting with my friend, I began to doubt that I was a candidate of heaven. To be honest with you, I’m not even sure what to think of the pictures anymore…..although I still love them. I just pray that no 4 year old child will pick up the magazine and see the pictures and fall into sin as a result. I just pray that the church I attend won’t excommunicate me for publishing such pictures. I just pray that the real messages behind the pictures will be perceived for what I think they really are: creative & artistic platforms for addressing key societal issues.

Oh well, therein lies some of the challenges of being a “Christian” photography publisher. May God help me. Or what would you have done if you were in my shoes? Would you have published the pictures?

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

The Photography Coach

Meet the Photography Doctor. His name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi. Although he has a Bsc in Accounting from an American University, his vision is to see a Nigerian photography industry that is world class in all ramifications. Its a passion of his that is beyond just taking beautiful pictures. Its a passion that will not rest until photography & photographers are seen to be dignifying profession & people to be associated with. That is why he enjoys training people that have a passion to make it as photographers in this industry. That is why he will not rest until Nigeria can boast of 10,000 world-class photographers. The journey has begun, the task is possible.

If you plan on building a career in photography for the next 5-10 years, it will be to your utmost advantage to make him your friend, mentor & coach. Trust me on this. He is not a perfect man. He has made many mistakes (& achievements) in the business of photography. And that is one of the reasons he doesn’t want you (or anyone you know that is considering coming into the industry) to repeat the same mistakes. He can be reached on 08120129149, 08023008873 or You can also add him on BB: 28C47037

Your photography life will not be the same.
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