Negative Emotions: The Killer of a Business


It was a new week and resumption day for a new batch of 4 interns at the eloPhotos Academy. Mr. Seun, the Principal of the Academy, addressed the students, welcoming and presenting them with the Operational Manual of the Academy. This he called the Engagement Rules and Regulations of the Academy.

At the meeting with the newly admitted interns, Mr. Seun invited staff members of eloPhotos to introduce themselves to the new interns and share what their experiences had been since joining the organization. Afterwards, the interns had photo-sessions – taking pictures to be used both for their individual ID Cards and for the Academy’s collective billboard advertisement.

The Principal showed the students a video titled: MASTER THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY by Sia Cincotta. The video taught the interns not to be tired or frustrated whenever a customer turns them down and also to separate personal emotions from their businesses in order to make the right decisions. Amongst the lessons the video passes across to students is meeting the expectations of their clients – which actually begins with valuing their work and being creative at what they do.

Mr. Seun informed the interns that there will be several guest speakers visiting the Academy during the week to enlighten them about the business of photography. As well, they will be going to see a movie at the Cinemas, to open up their minds to the unimaginable number of creative ideas they can explore in the Business. Thereafter, the students will do a critical analysis of that movie.

Mr. Michael, who introduced himself as from Nobis Photography, taught the students to learn to think outside the box, to be focused and to pay attention to details, as these are some of the requirements for success in the business.

Going to see the movie (INFERNO by Tom Hanks) at the Cinemas was a great eye-opening experience for each student. Some lessons to be learnt from the movie are: fast thinking, making quick decisions, consistency, not to trust anyone, to be time-conscious and to believe in oneself alone.

The interns greatly appreciated the opportunity to see that movie and thanked their boss for that privilege. They were also allowed to see another movie which taught the students about professionalism in business – dealing with issues such as never discussing price with the customer online or on phone, guarding against negative emotions as this kills business, staying focused on what one can control and aiming to excite a prospect while on a photo-shoot; as this is very essential and makes their work excellent. Without all these in place, the business is sure to nose-dive.

Students were also taught to post images online, get between five and ten shots every week, not to look for an expensive space to start their businesses, to be creative and pay more attention to details.

Being at the Academy during this first week was a great experience for each student. They all look forward to more creative, fun, inspiring and educative moments in the weeks ahead on this training adventure.

Tosin Iyiola

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Reception Classes


My internship program at eloPhotos Academy officially started at 7:30a.m. on October 17, 2016, though I was there well ahead of the resumption time. When I got in, I met 2 other ladies — Adenike and Jumoke – who had just graduated from the DSAP (Daystar Skills Acquisition Program) on photography and decided to come to eloPhotos to run the 6-month photography internship program.

As soon as we got in, more interns – older ones, though – joined us and more informal introductions were made after which, everybody got busy with a task to prepare the studio for the day and subsequently for the week. The studio had just been acquired and so a number of progressive renovation works were ongoing. The floor was swept, mopped and all that needed to be dusted were dusted – like the picture frames set against the walls, table-tops, chairs (some of which the boss had hurried downstairs earlier on to get), etc.

After the clean-up session, next came the prayer session where we gathered together to sing and pray to God; thereby committing the day and week to Him. Then, the first formal introduction and meeting with everyone (both the old and new interns) followed.

The boss talked to us about the photography profession and encouraged us to be focused and disciplined, as these qualities are crucial to succeeding in this profession. He also summarily ran us through the interns’ rules of engagement and what is expected of us during our stay at the eloPhotos Academy. We were informed that at eloPhotos, Mondays had been dedicated to family meetings – where issues that might have popped up in the previous week are discussed in detail and solutions proffered, if the issues were not resolved. The plans or projections for the current week are also concluded or created, if not done already. Part of the plan for the week was for the new interns to have photo-sessions for the purpose of our eloPhotos identity cards. This, however, was concluded on the same day.

The next day, after cleaning the studio, we settled in to see a couple of photographyworkshop videos by Salvatore Cincotta, who is a renowned wedding photographer in Illinois, USA.By mid-day, we went to see a 121-minute runtime movie titled Inferno at the Silverbird Cinemas, Ikeja mall. It starred acts like Tom Hanks (Harvard University professor Robert Langdon), Felicity Jones (Dr. Sienna Brooks), etc.

When we returned to the Studio, we all reviewed the movie and continued with a couple more videos from Salvatore Cincotta’s workshop on the creative life. Generally, we saw and reviewed a number of videos from Salvatore Cincotta during the course of that week that bordered on different aspects of photography like pricing, packaging, sales, marketing, etc. We also had enlightening sessions where 3 professional photographers who had earlier graduated from the eloPhotos Academy came in to talk to us about their experiences during and after their internship at eloPhotos.

Another highlight of the week was when our applications and weekly reports were randomly selected and reviewed for errors. This was anchored by the boss himself, after which he gave us an assignment: All new interns were to have our write-ups on A Day In My Life In 2025 reviewed and re-sent to him. Work on the eloPhotos Studio and Academy banner was also scheduled to be concluded and set outside the building before the new week and this has been completed.

As we proceed into the week of October 23, 2016, we look forward to the technical aspects of our photography training which we have been told will commence that week.

Oluchi Nwokoro

Backup Plans Should Have Backup Plans


For some time now, I have come to believe that tomorrow is an illusion. I need no book to convince me of this. Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow, are all continuous strands of time; different parts though they may seem to be. The division, in truth, only exists in our heads. Especially if you regularly work late into the night, you will agree that the difference between 11:59pm and 12:00am is only as recorded by your calendar, timepiece or the wall clock. Other than those, time is a singular entity.

Speaking of working late into the night, I did exactly that on the night preceding my resumption at the eloPhotos Academy. I needed to finish up several personal tasks, so as to have fewer carry-overs into my work-week, so I had to work into the next day.

Before going to bed, I reminded myself of the eloPhotos Intern’s Duties, especially highlighting to my mind the 7:30a.m. resumption time and the attendant consequence of breaking that rule. My plan went something like:

1. Wake up early enough to be at the bus stop by 6:00a.m.

2. Have a 40 – 50 minutes ride to work (by my calculation) – which should leave me with about 30minutes of luxury time.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I woke up and my eyes darted in the direction of the wall-clock.

6:00a.m.!

Momentarily, I was confused. Am I already at the bus stop or am I still in bed? (Of course, anyone could tell the difference by the level of comfort enjoyed in both spaces. Lol.) I rushed off the bed, had a traditional "indomie dress-up”, and stumbled my way towards the bus stop, eventually getting there at 6:30a.m. Well, going by my calculation, I was still in time for resumption.

Then the unthinkable happened! For the next 15minutes at the bus stop, not one bus stopped! (That’s quite a paradox, isn’t it?) As I pondered on what could be responsible for this odd occurrence, what seemed to be my "salvation boat" appeared; the first bus to stop in fifteen whole minutes. Not without its own conditions, the bus fare would gulp everything I had on me. I certainly didn’t see this while mapping out plans for my first day at work. On a normal day, the amount of money I had in my wallet should be enough to get me to my destination – and even leave me an extra N50 to return home with. How could I have forgotten that Monday is never a normal day in Lagos? Didn’t I once witness a traffic hold-up at 5:00am on a Monday, here in Lagos?

Over the next 5 minutes, my confusion grew in geometric dimensions. All other transportation options at this hour had the same price-tag. I even got begging one of the bus conductors and his reaction was more apt for someone who had offended him in his former life. I was left with two options: I either wait there until I get a bus with a fare fitting to my pocket or get into one of the buses immediately and figure out the next move while on the bus. As I quickly figured out, the first option wasn’t really an option after all – such a bus won’t come within the hour and then, I’ll be extremely late. So I hopped onto the next available bus.

As the bus zoomed out of the bus stop, I resolved to treasure-hunt through my pockets when I get off the bus, peradventure I would stumble on some miracle-money in there. And if this strategy does not turn up anything, I will do some miracle-jogging. Lol. The drive presented its own challenges and I spent far more time than I had anticipated on the bus. So, when I got down, and had no miracle-money to employ, I quickly proceeded on a 25-minute strolling exercise to work. Close to the office door, I quickly freshened up as if I had just gotten down from an SUV, then entered and joined the Monday Meeting.

Then, a few minutes into the meeting, my new boss (and Principal of the Academy) uttered what I considered the most interesting news for the day: "Official attendance-taking starts tomorrow." What a relief! Though I was late on that day, it would not go down in the records.

I don’t need to tell you what time I got to work the next day! Every day is not Christmas! But I learnt an important lesson through this experience: I had no excuse. If I conjured one up, I will only be explaining away my failure. I’ve got to learn to meet up with targets. To do this effectively, I need to make room for contingencies!

My First Week at the eloPhotos Academy


Wednesday, October 19, 2016, was my first day at the eloPhotos Academy. I had a hard time choosing between two equally-appealing offers, which led to my not showing up in class from the beginning of the week.

Shortly after I arrived, I learnt that interns were responsible for keeping the environs of the Academy clean. And, looking around, I saw various pictures in frames, freezing memories of events that took place in times past. So, without much ado, I found a clean rag with which to dust up the frames one after the other, simultaneously perusing the frames in appreciation of their value and beauty.

After the cleaning exercise, I got talking with fellow interns who had resumed at the Academy two days earlier and their experiences left me surprised. They had learnt so much in just two days and even gone to see a movie at the Cinemas. Wow!!! You said? That’s exactly how I felt too!

We settled in for lectures and the first activity entailed sharing experiences from the previous day. As one of the ladies shared about her encounters at the cinemas, I allowed my sense of loss to overwhelm me right at that moment. This served to effectively keep my ears shut. We later watched a photography clip wherein the instructor discussed things to note when starting out as a photographer. What stood out for me were statistics about the different media through which clients could be reached; and how to segment the market, as well as define the specific market I would like to appeal to.

Day 2 at the Academy was, for me, exactly like the first; except that the video clip we watched on this day narrowed down on the different categories of value packages that customers could enjoy from a photographer. Did I mention that Mr. Seun was always there to clarify grey areas after each clip? Yes, He was! He was always on hand to dispel any myths and ensure the seamless assimilation of knotty concepts.

Later in the day, two male interns and I left for the saw-mills. Our mission was to negotiate a lower price for the purchase of an MGF plywood (a special type of fire-resistant wood). Earlier in the week, the director of the Academy came up with a creative idea he wanted us to execute together. According to him, the long cylindrical-shaped waste product generated by our large format image printing effort could be adapted to form the stand for a much-needed work table. So, the plywood we purchased was to serve as the horizontal surface of the table that will emerge as soon as we cut the cylindrical waste into an appropriate length. It took Mr. Seun and I another half hour to couple the table’s legs to its’ top. I was very glad, though, to have been there to witness and partake in the birth of that creative idea. And, some minutes before 8:00p.m., I said my goodbyes for the night.

At the end of our class on Friday, we embarked on coupling another table. I had no idea that Adenike, a fellow intern, was so skilled. She practically did all the screwing required to produce the second table. They say, what a man can do, a woman would do better and hey! She certainly did. When we rounded off at about 8:00p.m., ready to escape into the much-awaited weekend, the rains chose that exact time to start pouring. Hence, we were forced to stay back for about an hour before calling it a day.

I am Adegbite Olusola, and this has been my Week 1 experience at the eloPhotos Academy.

LOVE: THE DRIVE


Love.

A word that’s frequently thrown around, yet not very many people know what it means to truly love.

Some 15 weeks ago when we started dating, it felt like heaven on earth – almost flawless and perfect! I felt like I could do anything to sustain the relationship. And though I still feel that way, the feeling is subtly different from the way I felt a few weeks ago. I have had to relinquish all the things I thought I knew, subject myself to rigorous training from experienced educators in this regard and practice every day to get the most of my relationship with him.

Everybody around me continue to complain that I’m losing weight. In fact, my mother – like every mother would – calls me almost every hour to make sure I’ve eaten. In her opinion, I’m starving and need to eat more to regain or, at least, maintain my weight. Unfortunately that’s not so close to the truth.

Despite everything that has happened, it still seems like I don’t know him at all (and this often happens in many relationships and even marriages). Every day unveils something new and amazing I could do with him; something I didn’t know about him as at the previous day.

He kept his promise, though. He had told me at the start of our relationship that I could do several things with him. This way, I don’t get stuck and bored on a particular activity. He said to me that together we could transform the world. I am interested in impacting my world and gradually getting remarkable ideas on how to go about that achievement. He’s opened my eyes to see the world in variant creative ways, and constantly studying him has improved my visibility, creativity and know-how.

Don’t be fooled; it’s not always rosy and interesting. There are flaws too and even on both sides. Sometimes (if not most times), I get tired, frustrated and burned out from all the activities. There are times when it feels like there are a million things to be done and I don’t even know where and how to begin. Often times, I don’t even have enough time to carry out assignments or even practice. And, most times, there’s little or no audible encouragement. But, I choose to keep up the work still. Hmmm…..the things you do for love!

Sometimes, too, I don’t manage the time I have well enough. Sometimes, I want to get all the information in at once and it can be overwhelming. I confess there are times when I’m totally not interested in studying to get more knowledge. It is in times like these that love (drive and passion) sustains me.

As the hustle and bustle get tougher, I’ve chosen to remain dogged and resilient; quite like Chris Gardner (Will Smith), the main character in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.

Love is patient, love is kind, love is beautiful… Love is not all comfort, love is not complacent and love is not lazy. My love for photography drives and keeps me going.

Photopreneurally Yours,

Enor Izomor.