Dear Photography Diary….One Step at a Time


Dear Diary,

This is my Second week at eloPhotos and I hope my inner aperture opens wide enough to absorb more knowledge to paint a better Picture of me.

Monday – Don’t know what it is about today, I can’t really see any much difference. I would rather say it feels more like deja vu, you know like that same event happening all over again. Oh yeah and today, I actually led the praise and worship at the morning devotion; it felt good. We had our monday meeting, after which I was assigned to go to the Lab with a colleague. Aside the fact that we had to struggle to get bus even at an expensive rate we had a good chat and that also felt good.

Closed from work at about 5:30pm and didn’t get home until 8pm. Traffic you may think but it wasn’t; just the lack of buses at the parks instead. I needed no soothsayer to tell me they were all queued up at closed filling stations. I heard the rumour before today about the scarcity but here it is. Apparently the kegs were way more than cars that I would have suggested a keg census. It’s crazy and heartbreaking.

As if this is not enough, when I finally got a bus heading home guess what I saw? A picture that I swear would have won me the NIPHEC 2014 Photo contest and more. I saw a police patrol car parked in front of a filling station and two policemen were busy fighting each other. Funny how they were left alone in their own very world of madness. I bet you would have thought it was a boxing contest, if not for their uniform. The spectators actually completed the show by making a ring around them. I know, right, sad. If only I had my camera, I would have taken the picture of a life time, and my phone battery had to die at a crucial time like that. Thank God I made it home after this long sad day, and I sure hope tomorrow would be better. I said a prayer for Nigeria and off to bed.

Tuesday – Made it as early as possible to the park at least the earlier I start hustling for bus the sooner I’ll get one. Today buses were already two times their original prices, and believe me passengers unrelunctanly rushed to get a sit. Lucky me I still got to work right on time. I was really excited today because yesterday Mr Seun Akisanmi had told us about going to the movies. We were mandated to go see a movie he tagged to be one of the best he has ever seen in his life: “12 years a Slave”. I trust his judgment and I actually have no doubt that it would be the “best”.

Picking up from where I stopped yesterday, a colleague and I picked the prints and laminated pictures (which we had made into an album book) to the Lab for trimming. We were back in no time, despite the fact that we had to trek half the distance. I was assigned alongside 2 of my colleagues to make an album box which we had no idea how to go about, but according to Mr Seun “two heads are better than one”. We started with the measurement and cutting of the board and cover cloth. I think we are getting it right. Let’s see how it turns out by tomorrow.

It’s 5pm already the movie starts for 5:45pm so we set out to get there in time. Right in time we were seated and so it started….. Sincerely this movie is a must see for every living being. Aside the fact that the cast were awesome, the make up was insane. I almost forgot it was a “make believe”. Infact this movie made me realize one thing: no matter the situation I find myself, what matters most is how I get past it…not to drown myself in it or give up before the end. I thought and thought of every single scene of this movie till I got home and now am off to bed

Wednesday – I got to work some minutes to eight and as I walked in I was immediately assigned to follow Mr Seun and a Colleague for a Pre Wedding shoot, as usual I was so excited. I’ve always looked forward to a pre wedding shoot. The location was at Ibeshe in ikorodu and the client picked us up at the bus stop. On getting to Ibeshe I never expected what I saw I knew it sounded more like a village. Yes it was a village indeed. However, it had a healing view of the sea and a ferry terminal were people boarded ferries to the island and sort.

And boom, the shoot started. Making it easy, the couple had come with enough props to make our work easier- the likes of clothes, bicycle, an umbrella and more. I was given a camera to work with: an ‘Olympus Camera’ we jokingly call “Volkswagen” at eloPhotos. I wasn’t really getting great pictures but I made sure that my picture were on focus though I got series of under and over exposed pictures while I was struggling with camera settings. Well its just normal, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” you know. It actually felt exciting to be a part of this. We spent the total of two and half hours taking pictures of the couple on the boat, garden, and on the road. I had always wondered how they pose couples during a photo shoot but thank God for today. I got to realise they aren’t always given a pose but rather told to talk, gist and act as if we don’t exist. It’s out of these moments that we get the perfect pictures. How interesting!

It was really a tiring journey back to the office and back home. But all the same Thank you God for today.

Thursday – As Usual I got to work early enough and I started working on my photoshop assignment before Mr Seun received a call from a Photographer (Mr Sam) who has a hotel shoot and needs an assistant, he immediately assigned me for the job. I’m blessed! I know, but this just a reward for coming to work early . And so we were at the location, it was a week old hotel at Adeniyi Jones Ikeja and they wanted some pictures for adverts, flyers and all sort.

I am glad I didn’t miss out on this one. We had gone with equipments that I had been longing to know how they are been used, thank God for the opportunity. It was great working with Mr Sam because he gave me a detailed explanation of what he was going to do and explained further on everything he did, from the camera setting for each location, to the use of light.

The experience was awesome, until something happened. We were taking a room shot and the camera was placed on the tripod, Mr Sam was trying to move a stool which was a distraction to the scene and before we knew it the Tripod fell the lens immediately ejected from the camera and 2 grips pulled out. My heart strucked in fear like thunder. I immediately looked at Mr Sam as he screamed JESUS! It was a prime lens and I knew how much it cost, and apparently that was the end of the shoot. We had a spare lens but we didnt have a spare heart. The situation had changed everything and the shoot was to be concluded on Saturday.

We went back to the office and I was still able to design my first spread, though it looked horrible but at least practice they say brings perfection. Later in the evening I was assigned to go with my colleague (Mr Owabie) to deliver 2 albums to 2 differents clients. I already knew that was going to be a trek marathon and I was going to be getting home quite late and I didn’t like that part. Anyway we got the album delivered and the fact that the clients loved the job was healing to my wound. Got home some minutes past 10pm, ate and off to bed.

Friday– Today is not starting well at all: my body aches, my feet aches, and my eyes are still heavy. I feel like I need a break to sleep, but I’m at work again. Started working on a Spread again I don’t know what I love about the spreads but it is one of those intersting things I want to learn fast. I tried doing a lot of practice on photoshop till I started feeling the photoshop fever and I left it to rest. Today isn’t as busy as usual. Just went to print and laminate and was back to the office . Before I knew it, it was time to go home. And off I went.

It was quite a challenging and fully packaged week. I look forward to a better next week.

Dear Diary, it’s pleasing to let you know that at the end of just my second week at eloPhotos, I have lost 4kg.

Photographically Yours,
Temitope Adeniyan

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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

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An Interview with a PHOTOBOOK Binder


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bunmi & Tope’s Wedding Album


Finally out. The pages of the album of our June 15th wedding. Drop your comments and let us know what you think.

Bukky & Jide’s Wedding Album


We covered their wedding 3 years ago and decided to upload their album to wish them a happy anniversary. Better years are ahead.

Leke & Seyi’s Wedding in Pictures


Attached herein are the pages of the wedding album of a beautiful couple whose wedding we covered in August. Let us know what you think.

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REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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Basic Course in Photography (January 2012 – April 2012)


At eloPhotos Academy, our ultimate goal is to raise world-class photographers. We do this through a series of workshops, trainings, and internship programs. You van visit out youtube channel (www.youtube.com/elophotos) to watch videos on a few photography topics. Contact us to learn more about our other trainings.In this course, you’ll learn how to:* develop technical proficiency with your camera
* create impact with your photography
* compose pictures
* develop your style
* effectively tell a story with photography
* be a master of “light”
* effectively photograph people
* know the right equipment to use for any situation
* make a good income in photography
* edit images using Adobe Photoshop CS5
* correct tone & color using Adobe Photoshop CS5
* produce outstanding printed images
* effectively market and brand yourself as a photographer
Set 8
January 23 – February 1, 2012 (8 Weekdays)
9am – 2pm
Maximum of 20 students in a class
Course fee: N150,000
Registration closes January 16, 2012 or when class limit of 20 students has been reached
Set 9
January 21 – March 3, 2012 (7 Saturdays)
9am – 3pm
Maximum of 20 students in a class
Course fee: N150,000
Registration closes January 16, 2012 or when class limit of 20 students has been reached
Set 10
March 19 – March 28, 2012 (8 Weekdays)
9am – 2pm
Maximum of 20 students in a class
Course fee: N150,000
Registration closes March 1, 2012 or when class limit of 20 students has been reached

Set 11
March 24 – May 5, 2012 (7 Saturdays)
9am – 3pm
Maximum of 20 students in a class
Course fee: N150,000
Registration closes March 12, 2012 or when class limit of 20 students has been reached

Send an email to info@elophotos.com to get a copy of the application form. Download the form, print, fill and bring it on the first day of class to the venue with two passport photographs along with the teller of the bank deposit. For further inquiries, contact us on 234-8101590358, 234-8120129149, 234-8191474348 or info@elophotos.com

You can also visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/elophotos for more information

For the course, it is recommended that you bring your laptop for editing your pictures

Refreshment & Course materials will be provided along with a professional digital SLR camera for each participant for practice sessions. Please note that the camera is for practice purposes during the training and would not be taken home by participants

Payment should be made into out Stanbic IBTC account 7200147969 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises) or our GTB account 211744703110 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises)

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TESTIMONIALS

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The basic course in Photography is the best thing that has happened to me this year. When I decided to take the course, I didn’t know what to expect, but now, I must say it has been worth my while. I have learnt so much already I can’t wait to go out there and start making magic through pictures. Big ups to Emmagination, Damilola “DAMELL” Elliot & Shola Animashaun, they really inspired me. Please, keep up the good work.

Desi Okiemute

I have always thought of photography as a form of artistic creative expression. When I first began using a camera nearly 30 years ago, I always wanted to be able to take pictures that showed the beauty and variation that is the life experience all around us at all times. After the uncertain results that came out of my self taught efforts over the years, I finally got the opportunity for proper lessons with the Basic Course in Photography offered at eloPhotos Training Institute. After the first 3 lessons, I had already learnt some critical lessons that will enable me take the kind of pictures I have only previously dreamt of taking.”Painting with light”! That is a definition I have gained from the course.The course is a relaxed, practical and interactive one with several tips from experienced photographers. Very commendable training! Now it is up to me to decide to what level I want to take my photography – competent beautiful pictures as an amateur or as an artistic professional!

Dr. Olayinka Longe

I really enjoyed the business aspect of the training. The lectures on character, integrity, packaging, good customer service and branding were awesome. In a nutshell, it was a wonderful decision I made by attending the training because I absolutely got more than my money’s worth.

Oloyede Afolabi

eloPhotos is the place to be. Within the 8 days of the training, I’ve been able to acquire sound technical and theoretical skills in photography. The training package is so educative such that all the ingredients necessary for growth and development are included. I especially enjoyed the Branding and Marketing aspect of the training. In fact, I have decided to inform all my relatives and friends that they should not bother trying to get me a job in the telecommunications, or banking and oil industry; I’ve finally gotten a JOB.

Olumide Oshikominu

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…raising world-class photographers

How much should a wedding client deposit before you’re bound to cover their celebration?


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That is a debatable question. Last month marked the 4-years wedding anniversary of one of our clients. The bride approached us to be the official wedding photographer of the day. Being a close friend at the moment, she felt she deserved a discount of some sort. I eventually agreed and told her the condition of the discount warranted that she would have to pay the full discounted amount before the wedding day.

It was a 2-day celebration and we eventually settled for N100,000 (approximately $650). After paying in bits & pieces she was eventually able to make a total deposit of N55,000 before the wedding. I explained to her that this wasn’t acceptable as a large percentage of clients who don’t pay their wedding photographer upfront usually end up defaulting. She explained that it will not be her story & that she will pay the balance not later than 2 weeks after the wedding.

My greatest mistake was to have agreed to her terms. As at the time of this writing the balance is still unpaid and they are yet to get their wedding album. The agreement was that if they didn’t pay the full amount they wouldn’t get any pictures; not even 1 soft-copy.

Sometimes I wonder what the couple would tell their guests & children whenever the wedding album is requested. If I were to go back in time, I would not have accepted the wedding.

That particular wedding made me take my wedding contract & agreement more serious. Now everything is written down and signed by the couple & the photographer weeks or months before the day of celebration. We’ve even had a client that told us after his wedding that he thought he was getting 2 albums and I had to ask him to check the agreement again. He apparently forgot.

One of the major conditions in the wedding contract is for the client to pay a minimum of 80% of the total bill before we will be “bound” to be the official photographer. In cases where we’ve worked with the client before, the client sometimes pays 100% before the event. Considering the fact that most of our clients are “referred” to us, there’s an assurance that we’re likely not going to disappoint on delivering what we promised.

So next time you meet a wedding client that is bent on paying 50% and balancing later, think twice. There’s been many scenarios in which the client is supposedly a trustworthy individual and I’ve been disappointed afterward. Besides, how come the caterer, musician, MC, band, decorator, & other vendors get between 80-100% payment upfront. It’s your call.

Structure the payment plan in a way that will favor yourself: the photographer. Even if my client were to pay my balance now, what album or quality package should I deliver: the package of 4 years ago or my present package (considering the fact that i did not give them a written agreement then)? Be the judge

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“Why are there not many photographers like you?”


That was the million dollar question I was asked recently by a client in Abuja. So what happened, you might be asking. Well, let’s start from the beginning. I got a call from my wonderful dad on September 1, 2011 asking me if I was available on September 30, 2011. Now I’ve gotten a little wisdom in my little years on earth to know that when my dad asks me if I was available to do a job for him, the answer will always be “Yes sir, I’m available.” Even if I was not available, I will MAKE myself available. Considering the investments my number 1 financier had made in eloPhotos, I better be available. The set day will be the traditional wedding ceremony of the son of his friend. This friend of my dad happens to be a well-accomplished doctor that owns a renowned (I hope I spelt that correctly) private hospital in Abuja attending to patients of most of the “elite” in Nigeria. I jumped at the opportunity. The traditional wedding was to be held in Lagos while the “white-gown” wedding was to be held in Europe. My dad was calling to “pay” me to cover the traditional wedding. That was his priceless gift to the parents of the groom. September 30th came, our team of great photographers covered the day & I was “6 figures” richer (in Naira i.e.). So we finished the album and I had to go to Abuja to deliver the album. I usually make it my responsibility to deliver personally such client’s albums. I met the mother of the groom, the co-founder of the hospital, on November 9. They just got back from the wedding that took place in Europe. She was the type that wasn’t given too much to facially expressing what she felt within. In other words, it was a little difficult to tell whether she was really pleased with the album. Although she told me she liked it, her expressions were not as excited as I had expected (something I would later attribute to her personality). All doubts were erased in my mind when she gave me a “small token” of her appreciation. Note that she did not owe me any balance whatsoever. The “small token” will later turn out to be what will take care of my airfare back to Lagos. Talk of a new definition for “customer satisfaction”. I was grateful. This was cash I didn’t even expect. She was pleased. So pleased that they even offered to drop me at my lodging. I was happy. I gave them my complimentary card & it was at that moment that the question was asked “Why are there not many photographers like you in Nigeria?” I explained to them that there are actually a number of photographers “like me” (most of whom are even better than me). The dilemma is that these photographers are not crossing paths with these type of clients. Who wouldn’t want to have such a client on their customer database. I concluded that either a lot of “us” are not marketing aright or ……. That’s it. I think it mostly has to do with the average photographer’s inability to determine their target audience and successfully reach them. My main point is this; if you’re a photographer in Nigeria that is “like me” or even better, there are multitudes of clients out there ready to pay for that next house you want to buy…….as long as they’re SATISFIED. They’ll pay you what you think you’re worth. Think, plan, pray. Do whatever you have to do to reach them because they’re patiently waiting for you. There’s enough for all of us, Get your portion. Enough of my writeup. Now answer the question…….

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Outstanding Nigerian Photographers: My Story


I was born in St. Nicholas Hospital on the 31st of October 1978. Apparently my dad had just passed the final stage of his ACCA certification (after attempting it 5 different times), my mum just got promoted to Supervisor level at the bank which made them able to finally afford their first car: a Volkswagen beetle. They were grateful to God, hence the reason they called me OLUWASEUN….
I’m the 1st of 5 children born to Akinola Benjamin Akisanmi (an accountant) & Omolara Florence Akisanmi (a banker).
I finished secondary school at International School Lagos, UNILAG in 1995. And completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting/Business Administration in 2003 from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois USA. My love for photography began in December 1998 when my mum came to visit me in the university, asked me what I wanted for a Christmas gift & eventually bought me a Samsung film camera. When I eventually came back to Nigeria, I decided I was going to start a career in photography. My professional photography career started when I got my first professional camera in 2006. I was inspired by the teachings of Pastor Sam Adeyemi whose church, Daystar Christian Centre, I started attending. He encouraged us not to wait to be “employed” by an employer in the Labour market, but we should “start with what you have”. I took his advice and decided to start a company & get paid for what I love doing. If I had not gotten into photography, I would have been in the I.T. industry (software & hardware engineering or eCommerce). I enjoy writing poems, teaching sunday school classes (ages 8-9) & eating chocolate (mars, twix & snickers). I’m married to Ofure and we have a daughter, Anuoluwapo. My dream is to establish a world-class photography institute where people can come to learn & appreciate photography as a profession or hubby. I also plan on raising/training 10,000 professional photographers by 2015. One of the major challenges I faced when I started out was that I wasn’t taken seriously by family members. In a way, It was a motivating factor as I was bent on proving them wrong; that I could actually make it in life as a photographer. It made me develop a passion for reading books in order to get the right foundation. The other major challenge was having to defend my charges to clients who would rather pay a musician N1 million than to pay a photographer N100k. It made me determined to be the best that I can be so that I would eventually be worth the N1 million photographer that clients would hire for their weddings. Most of the mentors that helped my photographic foundation were photographers abroad whose books I read (over 20 photographers). Some of the Nigerian mentors that have been of great help to my photography destiny include Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga, & Ade Plumptre.
I specialize in weddings, portraits & any photography job that requires a high level of innovative creativity. Name of our studio is eloPhotos Studios although most of the job we get are on location outside the studio. My advice to young photographers is that they make sure they get the right foundation especially if they want to build a successful photography business. One of the things they can do to shorten their journey to success is to attach themselves to a photographer they respect (& is successful) for a minimum period of 3 months. They’ll be glad they did. I’m yet to win any photography awards. Nigerian photographers that I recommend include Michael Segun Adebiyi (www.michaeladebiyi.com adebiyimichael1@gmail.com), Dipo Odetoyinbo (of black child photography), Shola Animashaun (www.sholaanimashaun.com). My name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi & this is my story.