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.
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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

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.
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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