My Laptop is FOUND


“The unfaithful Friday night”, “The undesired Saturday morning” or any other topic could have been the title of my essay this week. Yet, neither of these titles adequately paints a picture for my readers of my experience on this particular day and night.

One title that seemed striking and close enough is: My laptop is stolen. But, as soon as I get close to picking up my pen to write, I remember the part of Scripture that says:

“…beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spear: let the weak say I am strong…”

That is what informed my decision to get positive in my confession.

The week had an exciting start to it; we were mainly up on our shooting practice. For me, I loved the decision to do this because I had decided earlier in the year to bump up my study on light and composition. The house was divided into groups, with the new set of students constituting a major part of the group numbers. The Boss had introduced a picture for everyone to work on and replicate. This was followed by a general practice session and my group finally had its own turn on Thursday.

Sal Cincotta was another memorable part of the week. We continued the exploration of his video seminar, and the lessons never stop coming in. Again, a wood project was completed. It was a Red 19 project aimed at making shaped wooden material. We made a stool and then cut out the alphabets O, N, and E from the wood. This shoot took place during the weekend and two of our new students at the Academy were invited along for it.

Fast forward to Friday and that’s when the drama took place. Boss had made a trip to Ogbomoso for a Ted-x show he was speaking at. The day started quite calm and quiet and the class was billed to start with watching Boss’s favorite movie: In Pursuit of Happiness. Our tools of study extend beyond the regular – sometimes, movies and videos can also be a part of our learning materials. And, a lot of times, one can hardly imagine before-hand the extent of knowledge one will acquire from these kinds of resources.

After the movie came other trainings and practice. We had a long and instructive editing class facilitated by Mr Segun and all classes ended with everyone rushing to complete the group assignments. Most of the groups were yet to complete and submit their assignments and Saturday was almost out of place for any meeting to hold. We had the state-wide sanitation which meant restricted movement in the morning, a home-service shoot thereafter and some of the team mates were traveling, too.

So, the office was closing down and lots of activities were rushed to round off the week. Hey! The weekend was here; Monday was a fresh start.

As I looked towards the table, I saw my laptop which seemed to be saying to me that home was waiting. I really could not wait, as I had been out for two weeks prior to that time. I actually considered leaving my laptop in the office, since I will be in on Saturday. But, since I had some uncompleted project to attend to, I decided to pick it up and headed for home.

It was late in the night, the traffic was heavy, the ATM I intended using did not work, so I made my way to another distant bank. Finally, I walked into my room to discover that my roommate had traveled. The house was quiet and looked like cockroaches had held a party in the apartment. I ignored all these and settled in to the Fried potatoes and Akara I had bought for dinner.

Before I knew it, it was midnight; so I made my way to the rug to lie down. The gospel jazz music I put on was good for my mind and as the music played on, my eyes began their decent into sleep.

I woke up in the morning and sleepily moved to reach for my laptop. It was then I recognized that the music I was playing the night before had stopped. My hand probed further to find my charger intact – securely plugged in but it charged nothing.

Then my heart went cold with the realization: someone had visited my apartment while I slept!

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Hands On


While the facilitators were taking us through Module 1 of the curriculum that will be taught during this 6-month program, I wondered in amazement at when I will master the use of these rectangular- or square-shaped metal equipment called cameras; especially because of some of its features like, the focal length, ISO, aperture, depth of field & shutter speed. It also dawned on me that mastery of these features will only come through constant practice of what has been taught.

True to my thoughts, I practiced a lot after the classes by taking shots with these features at the back of my mind. Today, I have a better understanding of the aperture, focal length and shutter speed; and how it borders around the depth of field.

Next came the session on lighting and the facilitator this time was no other person than The Boss himself, Mr. Seun Akisanmi. I got to understand that light and photography are like Siamese twins, and that one’s choice of lighting (whether voluntary or not) will either make or mar the photo shots. He then gave us an assignment to replicate a picture from a scene in the Minority Report movie, after which we were divided into 3 groups of 4 members each.

Seeing the grey background of the picture, one would be quick to conclude that it was shot originally with a grey background. However, when The Boss played a trailer of the movie, we observed that it was actually a subtle white background. And, in the recess of my mind, I believed that this assignment will not be such a difficult task. But, by the time we started taking the shots with the help of our models (also from eloPhotos), I had my mind reset to the reality on ground.

My right hand hurt so much from repeatedly holding a flash high above my head so that we can achieve the best shot for the assignment. At some point, we even had to diffuse the light on one of the models by wrapping the flash I held with polythene nylon. Also, in our quest for our group to replicate an almost-perfect picture with respect to the assignment, we took so many snap shots that our models became grumpy at some point. So we had to end the session and settle for the best of all the shots. One other task we had to handle was to replicate another picture, this time, of a silhouette with a white background.

Another facilitator gave us an introduction to editing and here we worked with Light Room. Mastery of this too, I discovered, will be achieved with constant practice.

By the weekend, a colleague and I joined Kike (Red 19) for a baby photo shoot and this was quite an experience, as I had never experienced one taken by a professional photographer. When we got to baby Giovanni’s house for the session, he was quite drowsy and his mum and Kike agreed that we let him have a short nap so that we can get the best of him during the photo session. After almost an hour, baby Giovanni’s mum had to wake him up. According to her, it did not look like he was going to wake up anytime soon. She also fed him before we started the session.

Giogio (one of the many names we called him so as to get and retain his attention) did not have many smiles for us because he was teething. He was also restless. Oscar the dog and Phoebe the turtle (his stuffed toys) also tried to help lighten his mood during the shoot but the pair did not succeed. Then we danced and did a sing-along to a nursery rhyme video CD that was played for him. And, that did the trick!

Of the whole lot that played, “Old McDonald had a farm…” held the magic wand that had him sit still and Red 19 did not miss that rare and golden opportunity to take great shots of Nini (another pet name for the baby).

In all, baby Giogio had his photo session with 4 attires but my best was that last one where he wore a pair of trousers with suspenders, a bow tie and papa’s cap (a type of fez cap initially worn only by our fathers and grandfathers but now worn by people of all ages). For this shot, we wanted him to do justice to his cake by smashing it but instead, our VIP Giogio was more intrigued by the 8-inch cream icing before him.

All in all, it was an interesting outing and week for me.

Behind The Scene


Be Ambitious.

The business of photography is meant for industrious people. It is for resourceful men and women who are determined to be successful, rich, powerful, and unique in any position they find themselves. Just as the Bible says in Hab.2:2:

"And the Lord answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’"

The vision that is written down is not meant for you to merely look at but to run with. This will keep you always on your toes to achieve your set goals.

Have an eye for details.

Your ability to pay attention to the relevant things, and also capture what is important, sets you apart from others.

Business attitude.

Be disciplined with regard to your finances. As a business person, have a financial goal, learn how to make profit from your skills and know how to strike a balance between family and business. One customer with a good impression of you is better than ten customers having bad impressions of you.

Creativity.

A creative eye is an integral part of photography. The only thing that will make you relevant in the next ten to twenty years to come in the photography business is creativity. Be innovative with your lighting, composition and focus, so that the beautiful mental picture can become reality. Also, be innovative in your planning, management, pricing, and packaging – in all aspects of your work.

Familiarity with legal documents.

A lot of photographers have lost great opportunities and have been punished unjustly because they didn’t know their legal rights. As a photopreneur, be familiar with contracts, copyright laws and other legal issues that may arise in the course of your work.

Networking.

Social media tools are great instruments for networking. Connect yourself with other photographers that are exceptional and unique, in order to be mentored and informed about some of the rudiments of photography. Humble yourself to be under the tutelage of someone you respect. Do not think you know it all, because there are one or two things you don’t know and need someone to teach you!

Technical skills.

Develop your technical skills. Know how to handle all photography equipment. For example, though you use a Nikon camera, don’t stop at learning about all the technical aspects of Nikon cameras. Learn how to handle Canon cameras as well.

Develop people skills.

Your people skills will help you greatly when communicating with your clients on the kind of posture you want from them when shooting.

All I have shared above are those things that go on behind the scenes for every great photographer. And, this lecture was given by Maigaskiya, when he visited the eloPhotos Academy last week.

Information is a source of learning. But, unless it is organized, processed and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden and not a benefit. Therefore, embrace things that will keep you informed.

I remain a purpose-driven female photographer, Sanni Olajumoke.