POOR PEOPLE DON’T LIVE HERE


Earlier this year, I was privileged to have been invited by Yetunde Babaeko to her house for a “small” social gathering. Apparently she didn’t like the way top photographers only saw each other during NiPHEC 2013; she wanted to create a networking atmosphere where we could keep in touch with each other without having to wait for a conference gathering like NiPHEC.

Present at the friday night gathering were photography mentors like Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga, Seyi Body-Lawson & Uche James Iroha. Looking back, I’m not sure what exactly I had done or achieved to have been invited to such a meeting…..but that’s a thought for another day. It will turn out to be quite an insightful networking experience that I’m glad I was present at.

I listened ardently to the gist every other photographer was bringing to the table. From SEX to cigarettes to clubbing in New York to photographing stingy clients….it was as if I was in a seminar titled “How Great Photographers Think”. As if trying to soak in everyone’s gist, I found out in retrospect that the words of my mouth were few that night. I was there to appreciate and know more about how these photography colleagues of mine THINK. I had no regrets whatsoever.

I particularly enjoyed almost every discussion Kelechi Amadi-Obi brought to the table. Although some of our values were not in total alignment, I found myself praying to God for a mind as crazily creative as Kelechi’s. One of the experiences he shared with us was about his experience with a particular security man about a decade ago.

In what seemed like an attempt to understand how the rich think, Kelechi decided (in the early 2000s) that he would use the services of a creche located inside Shonibare Estate in Maryland. For those of us that might not know, owning a property in Shonibare Estate implies directly or indirectly that your net worth is over N1billion: only the rich live there.

The security men at the entrance of the estate would easily identify someone who doesn’t live in the estate by the type of car the person was driving. In those days, the reputation Kelechi’s car had was nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, he knew what he was looking for by attempting to “enter” the inner circle environs of the rich.

On one particular day, a security man stopped him at the 2nd entrance of the estate and after a quick psychological analysis of Kelechi & his car he blurted out (perhaps without much thought) “Poor People Don’t Live Here….where are you going?” He then told Kelechi that people like him (I.e. Kelechi) are not welcomed in a rich man’s estate like Shonibare Estate. Besides, he continued, that particular entrance was strictly for the use of residents of the estate. After much pleading by Kelechi to enter the estate (because he was going to pick up his child from the creche situated within), the security man insisted that he should turn back and use the main entrance.

Kelechi was offended especially because he felt that the economy status of the security man did not warrant him to make such a statement especially since he (I.e. The security man) was not considered to be in the class of rich men. He would think of what to do to make him realize that “Kelechi isn’t a poor man” (though his car might suggest otherwise).

The next day, Kelechi decided to use the same entrance where he was denied entrance. Upon discovering that the security man in question was not on duty, he gave those on duty N1000 and told them to have a great day. The day after, he did the same thing. On the third day, upon arriving at the same entrance and meeting the security man, Kelechi willingly put his “rich” car in reverse and headed for the next entrance. While reversing he noticed that the other security men were pleading with him to go ahead and enter but Kelechi would not bend to their pleas because according to the “rich” security man, “Kelechi was a poor man”.

Kelechi continued with his plan for about a week until the other security men started getting angry with their colleague for insulting a “rich” man like Kelechi in such a manner. Apparently, even the rich residents of the estate don’t tip them in such a way and here comes someone that treats them “well” but is being denied entrance by one security man because he didn’t have a beautiful car. Eventually the same security man approached Kelechi and apologized for making such a blasphemous statement. Kelechi’s point had settled in.

The moral of the story might not necessarily have anything to do with photography but I got an insight on how to handle situations in a non-conventional (but creative) way. You might take this the wrong way but I thought within myself that what Kelechi did was wisdom. He used wisely his actions to prove wrongly what someone said about him. I learnt that one shouldn’t be quick to reply people’s accusations with words. In most cases, its wiser to “do” than to “say“. If people “say” you’re a fool, prove them wrong by your “actions“. If people say you’re “poor“, let the combination of all your actions ultimately make them regret saying that.

Ofcourse, the ultimate wisdom is to realize that you can’t be stopping at every junction in life to be “proving” yourself to people that might think otherwise. Just focus on doing what you know how to do best and eventually they will see the results of your labour and change their minds about what they “thought” or “said” you were. Some people thought photography as a profession was going to be my worst decision ever. The same people that “thought” that have paid me millions of Naira for my photography services.

Enough of my babbling. Whenever you meet people that think you don’t deserve something, take it as an encouragement “pill” to make you focus on your vision and destiny. Ultimately and in due season, those who thought you don’t deserve it will realize that its actually people like you (Yes, YOU) that really deserve it.
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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

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

The CONCEPTUAL QUADRUPLETS


On October 31st, I celebrated my 35th birthday in my office shooting Adeyosoye. The concept we had in mind was what we titled “the good, the bad & the ugly”. It was more technical than I had envisioned (& we eventually added a 4th personality) but we were able to get over the session after about 7 hours of shooting and changing personalities. For those of you that called to wish me a happy birthday, shooting this set of quadruplets was the reason I wasn’t able to answer my phone. What do you like or don’t like about the final output.

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92 Days of Adventure in Photography


My attached love for photography dates back to as far as I can remember. Way back after my secondary school days, I have always formed the habit of taking pictures with any mobile camera phone at my disposal and also I am a big fan of admiring quality pictures taken by phonographers as well as professional photographers. I still could remember vividly how I enjoyed staring with amazement at nature’s photographs just to admire the superbly landscaped hills, the majestic mountains, the vast forest of tropical vegetation, the crystal clear water of natural springs and even the reflection of the setting sun on lakes, rivers and seas. I would always say “Nature is so beautiful”. I still can’t forget how I loved viewing different event album pictures just to get a feel of moments captured.
An eye opener into the creative world of professional photography was sparked up after what I considered an amazing two weeks of intensive training during the Set 11 photography class I had at the Daystar Skill Acquisition Program (D-SAP). It happened to be a training that was well facilitated by a man I strongly respect and nurse as a mentor “Mr. Seun Akisanmi“. He made me realize that being a photographer goes beyond what most of us think. He said that it is a career for the professional that requires one to be technically grounded with knowledge of the art and science of photography and most importantly you must have the ability to manage effectively the business aspect of it. D-SAP became the platform that ushered me into my present journey of photography.
After D-SAP, I realize that photography goes just beyond clicking the shutter button of a camera or printing a 5 by 7 picture for guests at an event for as low as $1. It definitely goes beyond all that. Hence, I concluded that there was need for me to acquire more knowledge, skills and training on how to master the technicalities of using the digital camera, on how to create amazing composition, on how to edit pictures, design and produce albums and learn how best I can run a profitable photography outfit. After accessing the available photography outfits where I could possibly run an internship with, I decided on eloPhotos Studios. For me, it was an ideal place to achieve all that I have set out to do.
On August 1st 2013, I commenced a six months internship program at eloPhotos. Prior to this date, I had a meeting with Mr Seun Akisanmi who briefed me on what to expect and what will be expected of me as an intern. Honestly, his conditions were quite demanding as it will warrant me coming to work every working days of the week with Saturday and Sunday also included whenever there is an event to cover.  I remember saying to myself that “boy this training no go easy o“. Anyway, being so focused on what I wanted to achieve, I was determined to go ahead and so I accepted the conditions with the mind that it will surely require my full commitment and dedication.
During the last 92 days as an intern at eloPhotos, I have been so privileged to have undergone so many training programs that has greatly help me sharpen my skills and knowledge about photography. The famous and most recent of them I so much treasured was the workshop tagged “WHATEVERITTAKES” held at Warri, Delta State. I have also had the opportunity of covering different events along side with my colleagues. So far at eloPhotos, I have been greatly exposed to the challenging aspect of the business of photography in key areas like pricing, financial management, customer relation, interpersonal relationship, negotiation, agreement and marketing on social media and website. Editing pictures and designing album spread was once a mystery to me but not anymore as I have been well-trained by my highly esteemed colleagues at eloPhotos. It will amaze you to know that  I was also taught practically how to make a photobook album.
Honestly, the last three months at eloPhotos has been so remarkable and worthwhile. One unique thing about eloPhotos is that everyone keeps learning everyday because we believe that in this challenging profession only creative minds can effectively stand out and keep up with the pace of this fast-moving train called photography. Conclusively, when I look back at my last 92 days, I realize that I am a better photographer than I previously was.
I think I have come to the end of my writing ability for this week so until next time, remember I’m Onodje Oshevwiyore and I am so so proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.

My Best Pre-Wedding Shoot Yet: EWOMA & ROTIMI


So I had one of the best times few days ago when I shot Ewoma & Rotimi. Usually before any shoot I get a little nervous because most clients expectations of me seems too lofty for me to achieve. After cooling myself down with Gala and Ribena, the session started around 3:30pm after the last service in my church (Daystar Christian Centre). The major reason i decided on using the church compound for the location was because i was having a mild headache (perhaps from my nervousness) and I didn’t want to postpone the shoot or stress myself or the couple.

Rotimi who started out as a shy “groom” ended up performing beyond my expectations. I was assisted by my able colleague and Aliko Dangote Photographer, Michael Babalola and together we were able to come up with the pictures below. The camera i decided to use was one that i got in 2008 (Olympus e330 with a 50mm – 200mm lens) in an attempt to reaffirm to myself the idea of whether or not great pictures are made by a camera or by the camera holder. In this situation, i think the combination of my assistant (Michael) and the couple resulted in the following pictures. Let us know what you think.

I’ll Shoot for FREE if…


I’ve been recently having a number of proposals from potential clients asking me to shoot for free. These requests inspired the pictures below. Hope I’m not asking for too much? What do you think?

The Caption on the white board reads:
I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER. I’ll shoot for FREE if you’ll take care of my family, pay my kids’ school fees, pay 4my accommodation &buy me a 2013 BMW 540i.

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The Photographer That Charged $10 For a Portrait Session


So I was in a meeting earlier this week with the CEO of a top printing company when he narrated the story of an interesting photographer I’m dying to meet. Apparently this photographer took his studio lights and other photography gadgets to a clients house for a family portrait session he charged $10 for. And that was after he had deducted the 70% December discount he was offering.

The first question I asked myself was what exactly was the $10 covering. Was it for the taxi that got him to the client’s house? Or was it for the equipment rental he would pay himself for the use of his gadgets? Perhaps it must be because he loved the client so much that he didn’t want to do the job for free. Either way, I’m a little confused.

I’m confused as to how someone that calls himself a professional photographer can make a good living by charging such an amount. I’m confused how such an amount will help cater for a wife and a child. I wonder how he was able to buy the photography equipment in the first place. How can one pay for house rent and utility bills in Lagos state with such a fee. Maybe he’s still staying with his parents and does not have much responsibility in life. Perhaps I’m missing something. Or perhaps he just needed the pictures for his portfolio. Perhaps he’ll charge $100 or $200 for the next session with the client.

Whatever the answer I get, I’m tired and frustrated. I’m tired of increasingly hearing and meeting photographers that charge peanuts and scrap just to be able to keep body and soul together. At the end of the day we wonder why much respect is not being given towards one of the profession responsible for documenting human history.

Perhaps there are some other facts that haven’t been presented in the $10 scenario above. I wish I could meet the photographer to hear his point of view. Maybe then I’ll understand the permissible situations that will make a photographer charge fees that might eventually make him unemployed in a few years or months.

If that is fast becoming the norm for what to charge for a family portrait session, then maybe I need to start looking for a way I can survive in an industry that is being increasingly populated with unprofressional professional photographers. Maybe I should consider the comedy industry. Any suggestions.

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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.

The Mercedes Benz Client


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I met him on a sunny afternoon on March 10, the day Wiz Kid made me cry. Although his composure didn’t look like one that could afford our services, I had developed a mindset of not judging a book by its cover. He asked for our complimentary card and I gladly gave him adding that our minimum package for home service family portraits was $625. He said it was ok by him and that he would call us when he was ready.

I would eventually get his promised call 13 days later. He was calling to book a session for April 1. I reminded him what the minimum cost implications was and was a bit surprised when he told me it was expensive. He asked me if I could “reduce” the price for him and I “nicely” told him that I couldn’t. I explained to him that I’m sure he was well aware of the fact that there are photographers that can do the session for him for $200 or less. I reminded him of the quality of the jobs he saw at our exhibition stand 13 days earlier. My persuasion didn’t last for more than 20 seconds and I was surprised when he said “no problem”. I explained to him the importance of me getting his email address so I could send a “mini-agreement” or summary of everything we just discussed. He gave me the address and I sent the following message a few days later:

Hope your family is doing great? Just wanted to confirm Saturday’s session and give u a summary of what to expect. We should be arriving at your place by 10am and will be coming with a makeup artist to help do the makeup of your wife. The session would last about 2-3 hours after which we’ll upload the pictures to a pass-worded folder on http://www.eloclients.com by Tuesday afternoon. We usually prefer a cheque payment of at least N80k to be made at the end of the session. The framed pics will be delivered 1 week after you’ve made your choice of 3 pics of 13by19 frames. 10 edited softcopies of your choice will also be given upon delivery of the frames. We look forward to making you a satisfied client. Kindly confirm if 10am is still ok by you. Thanks

I instantaneously got a call from him telling me that I made a mistake in the message: the session was supposed to be on Sunday not Saturday. You see, I was a little nervous writing a client I had never dealt with before and demanding that he pay me 80% of my minimum package before he even dreams of getting anything delivered. I have had clients in time past who gave all manner of excuses just so they would delay in making a deposit. I was glad this client was going to be different. Or was he? I was about to find out.

April 1 arrived in a jiffy and I was all set to shoot the family. One of our assistants that was supposed to follow us changed plans at the last-minute. Because we had planned to go in his car, we found ourselves running 30 minutes behind schedule because we were looking for a taxi. The client had called to ask us to come by noon because there was a chance he could still be in church. I told him we should be there by 12:30pm and was able to get there 10 minutes earlier than planned.

The house was one of the biggest & FINEST houses I’ve been to in my life. We pressed the bell but got no response. We hit the “armored” gate but knew that it was almost impossible for the inhabitants of the house to hear us. It was blistering hot outside and I called my client over 28 times to let him know we were outside. No response. If this was a prank for April fool’s day, it was working quite alright. My colleagues were already getting tired of this client that had chosen to disrespect the 2 beautiful assistants on this sunny day. We laughed, almost cried and proceeded to buy 8 pure water sachets to hydrate our fast-dehydrating human vessels.

1:29pm. Still no response to the multitude of my calls. I was getting angry. I hate dealing with clients or colleagues that don’t know how to keep to time. Could it be that he had forgotten? For Christ’s sake, he called me the night before to confirm.

Time check: 1:45pm. I asked my colleagues to wait for me while I go look for a taxi to get us back to the office. I couldn’t handle the waiting under the sun anymore. Suddenly my phone rang and our client was on the other end of the line asking if we were at his house yet. He explained that he was held up in a meeting and just finished. He then proceeded to call his wife (who had been at home all this while with the children) to ask her to open the gate for us.

WOW!!!!. That was the 3-letter word that proceeded from my mouth when I entered the compound. I have never met someone who had so many Mercedes-Benz cars. By the way, how many does one really need. According to this client of mine, 4 is a good start. I began trying to estimate the total costs of the cars alone and guessed it wouldn’t be less than $375,000 (about N60million). WOW!!! Just for cars. How much will the house and the contents be worth. It is well with my soul.

E350, G55, GL450 & S550 were the models I saw. Mercedes will probably have him on their list of “Priority” clients. I’m sure they send him birthday cards also. Either way, I was glad to be reminded that the type of clients I love to serve still exist in Lagos, Nigeria.

Enter the house. I immediately discovered that I had made the terrible mistake of not finding out how many children the client had (and their ages). If I had known that I would be dealing with 4 children between the ages of 6 years & 3 months, I would have read more books on children photography. For some reasons, I don’t know why I thought he had just 2 children in their teens. I would soon discover that having 4 children is one of the ways God imbibes the virtue of “Patience” in the life of a parent. It was something else working with the wonderful children: patience was definitely a necessary virtue.

A bigger surprise awaited me when the wife of my client finally came down to meet us in the living room. I was shocked. I would have sworn that she was the daughter of the client I had been chatting with. In her early thirties, she will prove to be one of the most beautiful mother-of-4 I have ever met. She was beautiful. She is beautiful. I guess it is impossible not to have a beautiful wife when you have enough money to be one of Mercedes top customers. Only God knows the type of soap and cream that she uses to get such flawless skin. Perhaps, I would discover the soap when my wealth manifest.

All this while, the husband (the one I had been liaising with all along), was not even at home. He left a message that we should begin the session and that he’ll join us when he arrives. He finally arrived as we were setting up our lights and I would later discover that 4 Mercedes-Benz were not the total number of cars he had

On a serious note, my 2 thumbs are aching me so much that I’ll have to conclude this by 11pm tomorrow evening (i.e. 11pm April 23, 2012)
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Apparently the car he drove in with was a Range Rover Sport. This gentleman was living life well. The scenario made me wonder how many cars I’ll end up having in 5 years time; I don’t think I’ll have up to 5 though.

I found him to be one of the most humble rich men I had ever met. Sometimes its a little hard describing what “humility” is all about but this man was definitely a humble gentleman. Watching how he talked gently to the wife and scolded wisely the children, I felt like I was in a “Family Affairs” class.

The session started and I had to explain to the couple that it is important they do not scold the children during the entire session of over 2 hours as this will seriously affect the countenance of the children in the pictures. The only thing they should strive to do is to pamper the children as much as possible for the duration of the shoot; punishment for misbehavior can always be given once the shoot is over.

One thing that struck me about this family was the fact that there wasn’t any single picture of any of the family member in sight; this was going to be their first family portrait session. I was surprised. I was humbled.

They changed into 3 different outfits and we moved from the living room to the swimming pool area and we were through by 5pm. After the session, the gentleman offered us some refreshments. I usually refuse to be entertained by clients until I’m done with the shoot because I’m always eager to get the job out of the way; besides I can always “refresh” myself once I leave the client’s place.

I asked him if he’ll like to review the pictures and was surprised at the response he gave. “I do not have the mental capacity at the moment to view the pictures.” Wow. This wasn’t just a client with too much money, this was a client with a lot of grammar. Apparently, the shoot had worn him out and he was being beckoned by the wife to come eat at the dining table.

“What name should I put on the cheque?” I usually like this part of the day. Few minutes later, I was holding in my hands a 6″ by 2″ rectangular paper that had figures written in it with the power to make me SMILE. He seemed to trust me that I would deliver the pictures on my word.

The question I then ask myself was whether this client was worth waiting for under the sun for as long as I did. With that rectangular piece of paper in my hand, you can’t guess wrong what my answer is. This was one scenario where it pays to be patient. It pays to give your client the benefit of a doubt because there might be a good reason why they showed up late or did something that pissed you off. It’s up to you to determine how much you can take but like the Yoruba proverb says “He who is patient will successfully cook a stone.”

The only challenge I have however with this client now is that he refuses to pick my call or reply my texts. I uploaded his pictures to http://www.eloclients.com and have been calling him to let me know the pictures he would have us frame so that we could get it over with. I realize he is a busy man but feel a little guilty that I’ve “eaten” his money without delivering the “goods”. Ok, maybe I’m not guilty. But if you were to put yourself in my shoes, what will you do to get the attention of this Mercedes-Benz client to choose the pictures he wants framed. Help me out.
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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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PICTURE THIS: Episode 8. CLIENT SATISFACTION VS. PERSONAL SATISFACTION


Today our discussion has to do with something every photographer needs to address and the sooner the better – Client satisfaction or personal satisfaction, which do you value most?

Do you prefer that your client be more satisfied with your job than you are or vice versa?  Let me share a personal experience from a job we did for a client. We covered his wedding in November. He flew in from Canada where he is based two weeks to the wedding date. It was then I met him for the first time. We had to do a pre-wedding shoot quickly, and when I delivered the pictures he expressed some dissatisfaction with the editing. This [according to him] was because we did not remove some sideburns, some backgrounds and that he was expecting more [graphic] editing than we did.

I explained to him that yes, we can do that; but the type of editing we do is minimalistic, noting that what he wanted us to do with Photoshop could cost a lot more. But he still insisted. True, he had paid a reasonable amount as fees (equivalent to about $2200.00) for his wedding coverage.

This was a rare scenario, because I wasn’t accustomed to this type of editing (request from clients). So it begged the question, ‘should I please him or should I insist on what I want?’

I eventually had to re-edit all the pictures and it took longer than we planned. So we delivered the pictures a few days before the wedding. I felt satisfied that we accomplished it, but it did not end there. When we did the design for the wedding albums, we sent him a proof. He wasn’t pleased with half of the pages of the album and raised issues like how he did not want certain pictures to appear and how his sideburns (again) were not edited to his satisfaction. It left me thinking maybe it would have been better if he had contracted someone else for skin surgery before the wedding and save me the amount of time and detail required for editing. But I had concluded this is a client I was going to serve and chose to please him no matter what. We recently concluded the re-editing on his album and hope that he will be pleased this time.

I have met a lot of photographers who have faced clients who want this editing and that editing, portraiture, skin smoothing, background editing and some other editing that does not fit their style of photography. I think first of all, all the explanation of what is involved should have been done in writing before taking responsibility to be the client’s photographer and before acceptance of a photographer’s fees, because once this takes place, it means you have agreed to go the whole nine yards.

But even with all the documentation you will still encounter clients who still insist they want something more. It’s up to you to decide if you want to please your client or if you want to please yourself. Every photographer needs to address this. Personally, what I do is ask myself who pays my bills at the end of the day? And while a lot of photographers might feel differently about this there is a good chance that it might determine if they will remain in the photography business a few years from now.

Another experience I’ve had is with someone whom I hired to make a customized shoe for me. It turned out very tight when he delivered it. He explained that he’s only satisfied when he likes shoes that he’s made for clients and seeing them wearing the shoes, and that given another two months, the pair he made for me will expand.

I was like, ‘I am not comfortable in them, and I am the one paying for the shoes so I should care less whether you like the shoes or not. I should be satisfied because I am the client.’

Ultimately it is when the client is satisfied (I believe), that you get more referrals. Eventually I convinced him to take the shoes back since I was not satisfied, even though he tried to persuade me that they were ok.

That is something I try not to do with my clients. Many times when I take their pictures and they’re asking me which one they should select, most times I let them make that choice, as they will have those pictures in their homes for the rest of their lives. The ones I suggest anyway are usually not chosen. I could say,’ I like this picture where you are smiling’ and they would be like, ”No! my teeth are too out in the open. I would rather have you frame this one where I am not smiling….” Even though I don’t like it, my head is thinking, who pays for my overhead at the end of the day?

This should be addressed. I have met  many photographers who complain about their clients and they were never forced to take the clients on anyway. But once payment is received, it is binding, legal and almost like a vow, to have to satisfy the client.

This is my opinion, the more satisfied clients you have, the more likely you are going to be in business for a while to come. Interestingly the more difficult the client is and you strive to make sure he is satisfied, the more referrals you are likely going to get from such a person.

So a client might be asking for things that are seemingly unachievable, if it comes with additional cost, explain it to them and if they are insisting that they will not pay extra, still do it! Go out of your way to do a job that they will be pleased with at the end.

Client satisfaction or personal satisfaction? You may have to create a balance between the two. But ultimately if the client is satisfied, in the long run you too will be satisfied.

One other terrible experience that comes to mind happened when I did a job for a client who was a commissioner in Abuja [Nigeria]. When I met her to collect the payment for services I rendered, she actually threw the money (about $1,000 cash) at me, asking to take the money and get out of her presence. Apparently she was upset prior to my meeting her and she’d  had an argument with her personal assistant. That would normally make some of us angry, and feel undignified but it is in scenarios like this we need to act maturely. I tried to be patient and counted the money to be sure it was complete, and thanked her before leaving.

Try to be patient with your clients, make them satisfied and ultimately your business will be grateful [to you]  for it.

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Goodbye to Pictures on Facebook


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It is with a heavy heart I write this. As at 3am on December 20, I completed the deletion of over 90% of our pictures on Facebook (facebook.com/elophotos) and our main site http://www.elophotos.com. I felt that was the best decision to take at the moment.

I got a call on Dec 19 from a client friend that we covered her wedding 2 years ago. She had just been presented with the maiden version of a new magazine, Wedding Shakara. Her wedding pictures were printed in the magazine and she was calling to find out if I gave them the pictures. Apparently they had downloaded the pictures from our page on facebook where we had it showcased for the bride (with her approval and permission) & her friends to view.

The pictures were used without the permission of the photographer or the client. There has to be a professional law in Magazine Publishing 101 that states the unauthorized use of pictures. Maybe I’m missing something.
The client was shocked; I was disappointed. I was disappointed because this is not the first or second time this has happened in the past few weeks. Just a few days ago we had a potential client visit our office only to be surprised that we were the ones that photographed the much publicized picture of a girl, my 3 year old daughter, fetching water with a waste bin. The client had recently seen the pictures in a newspaper without any photo credits.

It is painful because the unauthorized use of such pictures increases the probability of a client not trusting the photographer; especially if a privacy agreement prohibiting the unauthosized use of such pictures was signed in the first place.

I remember another client that called a few months back to ask if I was the one that gave the Style magazine (This Day Newspapers) her picture for use on an article. She didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t give them the permission to use the picture; especially because the magazine imprinted ‘photo by elophotos’ at the footnote of the picture. I would have thought that a media outfit like This Day/Style Magazine would have sought permission before using such pictures.

But then again, maybe the fault is mine. If the pictures had been watermarked, potential users would have contacted us directly for either purchasing the license for use or getting the appropriate permission for publicity. Even with the concept of water-marking ones pictures, we’ve had our water-marked pictures used on a cd-jacket cover that was used to sell cds.

Perhaps the rules might be different in the journalism world. Perhaps the unwritten rule is that “if the picture is available on the internet, you can download and use to your satisfaction.” Perhaps there are other laws I am unaware of with regard to pictures & copyright. Will somebody please enlighten me on this matter. This Day, Wedding Shakara, anyone….please enlighten me.

I guess I should stick to uploading client pictures to passworded galleries online. That might help curb this a little. Either way, it is to this effect that I had to delete over 90% of our pictures on facebook & elophotos.com (including the photo album of the Superstar, Supermodel ANUOLUWAPO).

I apologize to all our fans that will miss all the pictures. We will attempt to watermark all the important pictures and re-upload them to our website before the end of January 2012. Apparently this is something we ought to have started years ago. Forgive us our trespasses as we continually learn the art of this business.

Although I know that water-marking the pictures still won’t stop those that are bent on using them, it will at least reduce the unauthorized use of such pictures. I just wish there is a way facebook could provide the option of not allowing some pictures to be downloaded. Till they get around to doing that (if they have done that already, please write me and let me know how to activate such features), I’ll stick to water-marking and using sites like Smugmug.com or wordpress.com that provide the type of security I need.

If you’re a potential client reading this, please understand that this is the reason you’re not seeing as many sample pictures as will make you convinced we’re capable to meeting your photography needs. Just give us a call & we’ll arrange a meeting for you to be able to view as many works as your time will permit. Either way, our site (elophotos.com) will once again be pictureful before the end of January, 2012.

And the award for the most ROMANTIC GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to…..


The pastor had just finished preaching the usual sermon on LOVE. The next item on the agenda was not on the agenda. It was a surprise. The minister brought up a lady that was to sing a very special song dedicated to the bride from the groom. The bride seemed surprised because it wasn’t in the to-do list of the planned wedding.

The lady began to sing. I think she was related to Beyoncé, Whitney Houston & Celine Dion because she sang with so much grace, anointing & talent that….

“Like oil upon your feet,
like wine for you to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on you……”

She sang with such grace and anointing that I I felt goose bumps all over me

Suddenly but not surprisingly, I witnessed the bride’s face leaking water. She was touched by such a romantic gesture. I was capturing the moment from a little distance off with my 50-200mm lens on an olympus E1 camera. I was shooting at the 200mm end of the lens.

The bride’s face was leaking, the groom was smiling, the atmosphere was romantic & I was crying. Wait a minute, I WAS CRYING. I was so touched by the beauty of the song and the groom’s gesture of love that I thought the song was dedicated to me. I’m sure even Jesus must have wept at the sound of such a beautiful voice singing such a beautiful song; only that it wasn’t dedicated to Jesus or the photographer. The teary session lasted for about 15 seconds for the bride & 45 seconds for the photographer.

Anyway I thought that was really romantic of the groom. Although that was back in 2007, I have not met a groom that pulled off such a surprising romantic stunt till date. And the award for the most ROMANTIC GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to Dr. LANRE AJAYI

Hope the romance is still as hot as I witnessed it on your wedding day.