Preaching the Gospel of Photography


It is official. We’ll be going on air beginning March 10, 2015 by 12 noon. The Gospel of Photography is a program where we discuss & address issues in the photography industry with the goal of making you not just a better photographer but also someone that appreciates the profession. Kindly subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you’ll be among the first to be updated once a new episode is uploaded (on YouTube) every Tuesdays. The program will first be airing on Dove TV (available on Startimes, Consat, MyTV & ROKU) every Tuesdays from 12pm – 12:30pm. For questions & suggestions, send us a mail at gospelofphotography@elophotos.com

#gospelofphotography

NiPHEC 2015 To Hold June 14 – 20, 2015


The forthcoming edition of the 3rd annual Nigeria Photography Expo and Conference slated for April 6 – May 2 (2015) has been postponed to June 14 – June 20. The 7-weeks shift in date has been necessitated due to the political atmosphere in the country which has affected not just the logistics of organising a successful conference but  also (in more ways than anticipated) the economy of the country.

We strongly believe that the political dust would have settled once the new President of Nigeria is inaugurated by May 29 thereby giving way for many organisations & individuals to part of this monumental event in the photography industry.

Consequently the newly updated schedule will be put up as soon as we confirm the availability of our speakers &  facilitators. We wholeheartedly apologize for whatever inconvenience this might have caused the multitude of attendees that have scheduled their annual leave/holiday during the previously set dates. Kindly share the new dates with those you know might be planning to attend.

With the likes of Jide Odukoya, Demola Olaniran, Abdulahi Maigaskiya, Uche James-Iroha,  Aisha Augie-Kuta, Kikelomo Koleosho, Rick Sammon, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Olamide Bakare, Zach & Jody, Tom Saater, Seun Akisanmi, Bisola Ijalana & other world-class photographers, you’re bound to have a wonderful time of networking & learning. We’re excitedly looking forward to seeing you at #NiPHEC2015.

For sponsorship & exhibition enquiries, please kindly contact the following coordinators:
Niyi Ogunkoya, niyiogunkoya@elophotos.com or +234 9098844036.
Femi Adewuyi (+234 8036105170), Obasola Bamigbola (+234 8034965884)  info@niphec.com

10 Years a Photographer


Fantastic,
wonderful,
this is beautiful,
lovely,
wow,
Seun, you’re too much…

These were some of the words being hurled at me by my 72 year-old grand-aunt when I delivered an album to her last week. The album was for the 80-year-old celebration of her husband. We delivered along with the album a type of frame she had never seen in her life: a 3D frame.

As she embarrassed me with the comments she hurled at me, I couldn’t help but express my shyness. I felt like a 2-year-old being admired as a beautiful princess by her dad. I felt happy, I felt shy. I felt speechless. Or what words could I have used to reply her?

It was then I remembered. I remembered sitting right in front of the same woman sometime in 2004. This time she was giving me the counsel of life. It was in 2004 I had told my dad that I neither wanted to pursue my accounting career nor did I want to do my NYSC. It was a blasphemous declaration and my father reported me to a few respectable family members to “talk sense” into my BIG head. So in 2004, I found myself in front of my grand-aunt receiving admonitions on why Accounting is a better career to pursue than Photography.

At the memory of the 2004 meeting, the words came out of my mouth without much thought: “And to think that this was the same profession you were advising me to give up in 2004”. She replied in a repentant way that she didn’t know this was the type of photography I meant.

Its been a while I felt that much fulfillment. Knowing that I pursued my heart’s passion instead of the career that would please my parents… Knowing that the same parents that were against the “photography career” have been my number 1 referrers… Knowing that the same grand-aunt that discouraged me from pursing photography is the same one of whom I’ve made over N500k from…. Knowing that I probably would not have made that much money from her alone if I were an Accountant. I felt fulfilled knowing that I had been photographing for over 10 years without any regrets whatsoever. My only regret might be the fact that I didn’t study photography in the University. But then all things work together for good.

The next day, I headed to the cinemas to watch what would later turn out to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my 35 years on earth: 12 years a Slave. To think that was once the history of man. I was ashamed of the way I cried at the cinema. Watching the roll of credit of the 310+ people who made the film a reality, I found myself having a prayer meeting in the cinema hall, crying and wailing (as if a loved one had died in a fatal accident) and pleading wholeheartedly to God to use me to be an instrument of change in this generation with emphasis on the photography industry. My heart was overwhelmed. My heart was encouraged.

More than ever before, I knew that I was placed in the photography industry for such a time as this. And its only a matter of time before people realize that God can use anyone, regardless of their background or past, to impact a generation, a country or an industry.

Its been over 10 years that I’ve been a photographer and if I had to go back in time to start all over again, I’ll still choose photography as a profession. Ultimately, I’m confident that one day I’ll be the official photographer in heaven when the ultimate Wedding of all Ages will be happening. Till then, let’s start with the raising of 10,000 world-class photographers one day at a time. Till then, let’s start with the Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference.

Till then, I remain Seun Akisanmi…..and I’m proud to be a photographer.
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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 Day I Was ARRESTED in Ekiti for…


It was indeed an August occasion. One that I would never forget. I had been invited by Obasola Bamigbola to teach on the Business of Photography to a class hungry photographers in Ado-Ekiti. He had proposed we charge a fee of N2k and limit attendance to 10 students and I suggested we reduce the fee so as to reduce the excuse of the average potential participant for not making it because it was “too expensive”.

The workshop was to hold on August 28 by 7:30am and I eventually got to the city around 1am. My sleep was short, my excitement was high, my expectation was optimistic. After a short meeting at 7am with one of Ekiti’s finest photographers, Femi Adagunodo, I headed to the location where the workshop was to be held (Glintz Multimedia).

The time was almost 8am and my nervous quotient was raised by a factor of 100. Just 5 more minutes and the workshop would start officially. Suddenly, I heard the voice of someone that sounded like a thug. He was asking for confirmation of where the photography workshop was to hold. After Obasola answered him in the affirmative, he insisted that no one should leave the room that we were all under arrest. Truth be told, I honestly thought it was a joke.

After summoning his fellow thug compatriots, I realized that we were being treated like criminals whose crime was murder. At that moment, I knew that the police really isn’t your friend. Or are they? I was about to find out.

After arriving at the police station, we were directed to the office of the person that was supposedly the “oga at the top”. I was appalled at the level of treatment a police official hurled at a citizen before hearing their side of the story of whatever they were charged with. Apparently, the unwritten rule is that you’re “guilty until proven innocent”. The Oga would eventually ask the other 8-10 photographers that were arrested with us to step outside while Seun Akisanmi (that’s me) and Obasola Bamigbola remain in the room.

Present in the same room were three individuals that had apparently filed the petition that warranted our arrests. The OgaATtheTOP flipped though a few pages of stapled petition papers and with a disfigured face (as if he just drank bitter leaf juice), demanded to know who I was and what I was doing in their terrain. After a 60-second brief reply to his interrogative question, I started glancing through the pages of my internal memory book to see who I might have offended enough to petition the police for my arrest. Could it be the 23 NiPHEC vendors I still owe one outstanding or the other? Could it be my mother-in-law that I’m yet to deliver her 60th birthday album? Could it be my friend whose daughter’s birthday album was still in my archives? I was blank.

The charges against me was three-fold and had been initiated by the leadership of the Ekiti State Association of PROFESSIONAL Photographers. The first charge against me was that I had advertised a training program that was part of an embezzlement scheme to defraud participants of their hard-earned N1000 and present certificates to them that will make them go into the photography world and “spoil” their market. It sounds funny right? You should have seen how I was smiling when I heard that. The words “preposterous” and “ludicrous” began to play table tennis in my medula oblongata (sorry, I’m a distant relative of Senator Patrick Too Much Grammar).

The second charge was that we claimed to be PROFESSIONAL Photographers without associating ourselves with the “alpha & omega” association of professional photographers in the industry. At this point I was looking at the faces of the 3 accusers of the brethren, two of whom were older than my father. Suddenly, I felt sorry for them after reading what seemed to be deep bitterness in their eyes. They were really cross with me that we didn’t liaise with their association before advertising such a workshop. Honestly, I felt compassion for them in my soul.

At that very moment, I had a mini-trance that gave me an understanding of what people like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr went through. I was encouraged knowing instinctively what such an incidence will do to the proliferation of the gospel of photography. I smiled. I frowned. The thought of such “association” members loosing their “market” share of clients to the advent of digital technology made me feel sorry for a set of people that were unwilling to acclimatized to the wind of “positive” change blowing in the industry.

The third charge against me was read: that Seun Akisanmi & Obasola Bamgbola have done a similar workshop in the last one year and embezzled participants’ N1000 without offering them value for their money. At that moment, the two words that were playing table-tennis in my head had a tie: this was both preposterous and ludicrous.

I honestly don’t feel it necessary to even start explaining the speech I gave in my defense. The summary of what I later “educated” the clueless Oga of police was that IT IS NOT COMPULSORY to join an association of skilled workers (barbing, photography, hair styling, makeup artistry, etc) before you can practice what you’re passionate about. Ofcourse if what you do for a living involves risking someone’s life one way or the order (e.g. Medicine, law, etc) you’ll need a license from a governing authority. But photography hasn’t gotten to that level yet (anywhere in the world) that you’ll need a license for practicing.

We were at the station for almost 3 hours and were eventually dismissed after lawyers from the Justice Department came to our aid to educate the association executives and Police on our right to willfully join an association. According to Section 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria, we have the right to “peaceful” assembly and association. If photography associations feel threatened by the new generation of photographers rising up now, the foundation of their tenets of association needs to be re-visited. Especially when I’m being accused of training people that will get into the industry and start charging N50 per picture instead of N100. If only they know we’re out to raise world-class photographers and not just Ekiti-based local champions.

I left the police station with a sorry heart for the system of Policing we have in this country. The same Oga of Police (along with his assistant) that had disrespected us when we showed up at the station were now asking us to “give them something”. I gave him something quite alright. I looked into my wallet and handed him the last copy of a small rectangular paper I had on me: my NiPHEC complimentary card. If he was surprised, it didn’t show on his face.

The workshop was eventually rescheduled to 2pm and we had a fulfilling time in the presence of the Lord, sorry, participating Photographers. Getting back to Lagos, I sensed within me that the industry is on the right track of transformation. Incidences like this one will only help promote the impact photography is having (and will continue to have) in our society. I also made a resolution not to be forced to join an association whose mentality borders on the belief that the sky is too SMALL for all us to fly.

So after being arrested in Ekiti for being an associationless photography preacher & practitioner, my passion for what I do has been renewed. Dear WORLD, get ready for the revolution that is coming…

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Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com for a detailed list of options of classes to take at eloPhotos Academy. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness. A new session begins November 3, 2014
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Participants of the Ado-Ekiti Photography Workshop

When Parents Are WRONG For The RIGHT Reasons


Recently I met with a parent who wanted to send his daughter to eloPhotos Academy. She had recently finished her WAEC exams and was waiting to do another exam next year. In the words of the parent, “we want her to while away time doing photography”.

I explained to the man that the training we offer is not for people who want to while away time. The training program offered at eloPhotos Academy is for those who have made a deliberate and conscious decision to follow diligently the pathway of photography till they discover the beauty of the light at the end of the tunnel. I told the parent that his investment in the training will be worthwhile if photography was what the daughter wanted as compared to forcing her to go and learn photography just to pass away time.

I would eventually ask the potential student why she was considering coming for a training in photography. Her response was surprisingly short: “that’s what they want me to do”. Something about the tone and mannerism that was expressed by her gave me the indication that eloPhotos Academy won’t enjoy training such a person.

Gone are the days when parents will instill their career of choice upon their children under the guise of “obey your parents in the Lord”. Gone are the days when most parents dreams & prayer is for their children to grow up to become doctors, lawyers, architects and bankers. If a child in 1980 were to declare to his parents that he wanted to be a comedian when he was grown, the parents might either give him “igbati”, cast out the demon in the child, or declare that their child was JOKING. We all know that now the comedy industry isn’t a joke.

Getting an education is good and I’m sure most parents mean well. What isn’t good is to ignore the innate abilities of a child and instill into their hearts the career we UNCONSCIOUSLY SELFISHLY want. The boy that seems to be prone to “destroying” gadgets as a small boy might be showing traits of an engineer. Such a child would most likely be unfulfilled if he ends up in the banking industry regardless of the money he makes.

This is the reason why I don’t shout on my daughter when it seems as if she’s talking “too much” or asking too much questions. Who knows, she might end up being a lawyer instead of the photographer that her dad is or the makeup artist that the mum is.

For this reason, we’ve added a pre-requisite assignment that must be done before we can consider admitting anyone to the 6 months program we run. One must write a 500-words minimum article on what a day in one’s life will be in 2020. There’s a probability that if you can’t see yourself in the 2020 photography industry, then perhaps spending 6 months in a photography school might not be a worthwhile use of your time especially if you just finished accumulating over 20 years of education.

I have a funny feeling we might not be admitting the daughter whose parents are forcing her to come study photography. As much as we need the money they’ll be paying, we’ll be saving the parents N150k of their money to use for other things. I’ll prefer if the desire to learn photography is coming from the daughter’s heart as compared to coming from the parents’ heart. But then again, what do I know: I’m just an accounting graduate who happens to find fulfillment in walking in his dream career: PHOTOGRAPHY
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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 Photography Coach


Meet the Photography Doctor. His name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi. Although he has a Bsc in Accounting from an American University, his vision is to see a Nigerian photography industry that is world class in all ramifications. Its a passion of his that is beyond just taking beautiful pictures. Its a passion that will not rest until photography & photographers are seen to be dignifying profession & people to be associated with. That is why he enjoys training people that have a passion to make it as photographers in this industry. That is why he will not rest until Nigeria can boast of 10,000 world-class photographers. The journey has begun, the task is possible.

If you plan on building a career in photography for the next 5-10 years, it will be to your utmost advantage to make him your friend, mentor & coach. Trust me on this. He is not a perfect man. He has made many mistakes (& achievements) in the business of photography. And that is one of the reasons he doesn’t want you (or anyone you know that is considering coming into the industry) to repeat the same mistakes. He can be reached on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com. You can also add him on BB: 28C47037

Your photography life will not be the same.
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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

A Money-Back Guaranty You Can’t Refuse


One of the things that tripped me about organizations in America was (and still is) the concept of “money-back guaranty”. Basically if you pay for a product or service and felt you were not satisfied (or even if you changed your mind about the sale), you’re entitled to your money back if you asked for it. I thought that was cool. I found myself returning bicycles, wrist watches and (in one instance) a pair of shoes. Basically, the ultimately goal was to make sure that the customer was satisfied at all cost.

It’s a policy we have at eloPhotos Academy. We’re so sure of the quality of photography education we offer at our school that if after attending a course and you feel you were not satisfied, we would give you a refund of your school fees. If world-class photography education is your priority, if you’re considering starting a photography business, if you’re bent on doing whatever it takes to standout in a seemingly “crowded” industry, then eloPhotos Academy is the place to be. Since 2008, we’ve been responsible for the photography destinies of over 900 photographers by God’s grace. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/academy to choose a course today and if you’re unsatisfied with what we offer you, feel free to ask for a full refund.

Stop procrastinating and join the new session that starts in September, 2014.
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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

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

During & After A Photographer’s Internship


Its amazing how time flies so fast. It was just like yesterday when I started my six months internship training at elophotos. I still could remember how thoughts of uncertainty clouded my mind on how I am going to adapt to this six months of full dedication and commitment to professional photography. Indeed it was a huge task of life I have to face and overcome. As I pen down these words, am truly delighted that I am almost near completion of my internship and am so grateful to God almighty who has been with me all along.

Precisely, on the 1st day of August 2013, I started this amazing journey as an intern at elophotos. Ever since then, I have had the privilege of working, training and learning from some of the industry finest. Likes of Seun Akisanmi, Samuel Ijiyokunola, Ronke Alao, Babalola Tayo, Emmanuel Awosanmi, Afolabi Oloyede, Samba Owabie, Toye Peters and a host of others. These individuals have greatly helped to sharpen my skills and knowledge to become a better photographer.

In retrospect, I have basically acquired skills and knowledge on the technicalities of handling and using the DSLR cameras. I have greatly improved on the art of creating good composition. To a large extent, I have understood the science of photography especially when it comes to light, lenses and how best to use and manipulate them to create stunning images. I have known how to design album spreads, retouch and enhance digital images using Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Lightroom. Also I have had knowledge on how to use the Proshow Producer software to prepare wonderful music slideshows.

The last few months of my training has greatly exposed me to event coverage ranging from weddings, birthdays, naming ceremonies, burials, family portraits, studio shoots and a whole lot more. It has offered me the opportunity to strengthen my network base by enabling me meet new people, develop relationships with friends, colleagues, relatives and family members. I have had the opportunity of facilitating classes for beginners on the introduction to digital photography.

My internship training has given me the opportunity of attending various workshops and seminars. I have been able to participate in a two weeks intensive training on the introduction to digital photography, also I have attended workshop on composition and studio lighting, the “what ever it takes” held in Warri, TEDx Lagos, British council workshops, Creative Enterprise workshops, workshop on accounting and business management and a host of others.

The internship has also offered me access of reading wide range of motivational and photography related books as elophotos boast of a rich library. With the readily available fast 4G Shift internet at eloPhotos, accessing the internet for information is a whole lot easier. I have had the privilege of making personal research on photography and beyond. I have also had the opportunity to watch lots of youtube videos on photography. Also, I had occasionally visited other professional photographers’ sites that got me inspired by their works.

So what comes next after I must have successfully completed my internship at eloPhotos? For me the answer is quite simple. I plan on starting up my photography outfit. First and foremost, I intend to create a brand name for my photography outfit and build on it. I plan on registering a suitable outfit name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria. Thereafter I intend to create and develop my own blog and website. I will try as much as possible to effectively advertise and promote my brand name on social media.

Again, it is crucial for me to start doing jobs for family members, relatives and friends with the motive of not necessarily to make money but to build on my portfolio. I intend to make myself readily available to assist other professional photographers in covering their events. Also attending workshops, seminars and conferences will be a paramount focus as I would want to develop myself further. I have planned on attending the forth coming NiPHEC 2014 conference starting in April 29, 2014.

As far as photography is concern, there are a whole lot on my mind I have planned to do and achieve. Planning on getting a camera and other basic equipment, plan on getting paid jobs for events coverage, plan on having a studio and office space, plan on offering photography training services and lot more. But they say; the journey of a thousand mile begins with one step. As I wind down my adventurous internship journey at eloPhotos soonest, it is important for me to stay focus and take that bold step of getting to startup.

Conclusively, so far it has been a worthwhile experience at eloPhotos. I quickly want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported and inspired me this far. Finally to Mr Seun Akisanmi, I really want to say big thanks for being such an incredible mentor, guide and teacher to me. Sir, you amaze me with your wisdom, insight and simplest of personality. I so much treasure the time I have so far worked with you. I strongly believe you are going to make a significant impact on the world of photography and beyond. And just like the popular Warri slang would say; Oga I greet you softly softly.

My name is Onos & I invite you to get ready for my entry into the professional world of PHOTOGRAPHY.

One Non-Photography-Related Reason Why I Respect Joe McNally


I’m reminded of what Joe McNally told me on May 2, 2013. After teaching his class at NiPHEC, he promised to send autographed copies of his book to me so I can help give the 3 models that helped him with the classes. To be honest, I didn’t think he’ll remember to follow through especially since the models where not necessarily pestering him for copies of the book.

Perhaps one reason that made me not to take him too serious on that was because I was used to people (especially Nigerian citizens & leaders, the set of people I’ve spent most of my life with) making promises and not keeping them. If he didn’t keep his promise, I would not be offended because I was used to it.

Fast forward to September (I think I’ve been using the “fast forward” phrase too much, I must look for a replacement phrase so I don’t become too predictable), I got an email from his manager asking me for the address to mail the books to. By October 3rd, the books were in my office. I was impressed.

I was impressed because it occurred to me that the ability to keep to one’s word is a feature that will distinguish any business owner or personality from others. It is actually a rare commodity in this part of the world especially since I still struggle to fulfill the many promises I’ve made to family, friends & colleagues.

Consequently, I realize that if I want to increase my value/worth as a brand, I need to be known for keeping promises. If I tell a client I’ll be there by 9am, I should get there by 8:30am. If I tell my wife I’ll give her the world on a plate of gold, I better be ready to do that even if it means getting killed in the process :). Infact, I’m more conscious of the promises I make to people now. Once uttered, I should be ready to do my best to fulfill the words.

I know this might not be a tip that will be palatable for a lot of photographers or creative professionals but if we want to stand out in this part of the world, keeping our word is a sure path to convincing people & clients that our brands are synonymous with INTEGRITY. Your pictures may be better than Joe McNally’s and your gears may be more expensive than my dream BMW 540i Active Hybrid. However, if you’re not a man of your words, everything will soon fizzle out in the amount of time it took you to read this piece.

So if you’re reading this and coincidentally happen to be one of the few people I owe anything (whether favor, money, discount, gala, water or pictures), please give me time. In due season, I’ll pay them all. In due season, I’ll fulfill my promises with God’s help…..so that when I grow up, I’ll be like Joe McNally.
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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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Babalola Michael Tayo


The following happened on 1st May 2020

Dear diary,
It’s my birthday and though I am not a big fan of birthdays, I dare not forget that of my charming wife and my delightful kids. I am sitting here in my study trying to examine how far I have come. Have I made a difference and if I were to be called up by God today, have I completed my mission?

While deep in thoughts, my eyes drifted to the table and I saw my gold plated complimentary card, it read:
     Babalola T.M.
     CEO. MOB MEDIA
     CEO. MOB Sport Management
   
MOB Media is the parent company of my photography and film production outfit while MOB Sport Management is a talent Management Company for athletes.
     
Now, on to the best part of my day. Today is the Grand Opening of Lagos Grace Hospital; it’s a clinic I have always dreamt about building, so I guess now I can say boldly that dreams do come true. It is comprised of two wings: the West wing is for paying clients while the East wing, which is bigger, is for clients who can’t afford expensive hospital bills. Both wings are well equipped with the state of the art medical equipment and we are also listed as a research institute. 40% of our medical staff are expatriate and the remaining 60% includes Nigerians abroad who were ready to come home to serve in
their country plus Nigerians who are resident here. I am really excited about this, it has been my baby for long and I can’t believe it finally grew.
       
Nigeria has changed a lot, we are now beginning to embrace our potentials and take our rightful place as one of the super powers in the world. First off, we currently have a leader and not a ruler and truth be told, the man has done well. Our roads are great, our educational system is excellent judging by the fact that my four year old son now takes history classes. Our agricultural sector is taking back its glory, ( ninety percent of the rice we eat is produced locally and we now export cocoa too). Oh, we have round-the-clock power supply and we collectively as a nation are fighting the disease tagged corruption with every weapon we have. Our streets are safe, our homes are more joy- filled and our churches are now concerned and caring about their congregation’s welfare.
       
Before I forget diary, I bought that Range rover sport we’ve been talking about, 2020 model and custom made. She is so pretty and efficient. Imagine, she reads my heartbeat to open doors, all I have to do is place my hand on the steering wheel to start the engine and its safety measures are so amazing that I can crash it and someone can’t crash into me. In fact she is so cool that my wife; who by the way does not like SUVs can’t stop “test-driving” it, (that’s her excuse for driving it about twenty times already).
   
Hmmmm, I can feel someone kissing me on my lips, and only one person is authorized to do that in the whole world…. “Happy birthday Omotayomi”, the unmistakable voice said. I answered, “Thanks gorgeous!”.

Dear diary, I guess you don’t want to find out what happens next, so ‘arrivederci’.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and all I can say is thank you Lord for
letting me do this much..

An Attempt to Overcome My Shyness


Just so you know, I’ve been seeing a shrink lately in an attempt to help combat my tendency to be shy. Yes I can be very shy. But this is one of the many attempts to overcome that shyness.

I am hereby boldly declaring that as my birthday approaches in less than 60 hours time (on October 31st to be precise), I would not mind any or all of the following gift items:
Techno Phantom A+, Blackberry Q10 (New or London Used), Samsung Galaxy 4 phone, 2012 BMW 540i Active Hybrid, A 3 bedroom Apartment situated in a choice estate in Ikeja (or the financial Equivalent), A core i5 Intel laptop for my wife, canon 70D or Canon 5D Mark III (with or without any lens), forgiveness (FULL or in PART) of any debt I might be owing you (YES, YOU), or any financial contribution you feel led in your generous heart to give towards the celebration of my 35 years on planet earth.

There. I feel a heavy burden of shyness has been lifted of my shoulders already.

Yours BOLDLY,
Oluwaseun Akisanmi

 

Introduction to PHOTOPRENEUR 101: A Lecture by Dangote’s Photographer


Accounting is a subject I have never really liked, probably
because my dad is an accountant and if I had shown interest in it, it would have led to a lot of father-son debate while growing up (if you know what I mean) or I don’t like the fact that it’s not dynamic. With that in mind, you could actually picture how I felt when Mr Seun
called to tell me that his dad would be coming to take us on ‘being accountable’ this week. As fate would have it, it turned out to be a life changing experience.

Bright and early Monday morning, Mr Akin Akisanmi was in our office 30min before his scheduled appointment. And to find out later that he was coming from Ijebu that morning, and still made it on-time for his engagement was not surprising(talk about like father, like son). So, not to come across selfish, I have decided to share some cogent point of the lecture with you this one time before I begin to charge for it anyway.(Stop rolling your eyes)

KNOW GOD
You are probably wondering what this has got to do with accounting, so before you start to think I am sick in the head, let me set the record straight. No matter what you do, you have to put God first and to put God first, you need to have a relationship with him.

What baffles me about this is that am not sure if most of us actually realize that having a relationship with God is for our own selfish reason. To have a relationship with him means to know God through his words, abide by his principles and be appreciative of whatever God has
done for us. When God is in it, it works better. I think I need to stop here on this point and let your professional Pastors take it from there.

CAREER
Normally before you start talking money and accountability, you obviously should have a career generating the income but I am not sure what abnormally will look like because I have never tried it thou. As a career person, your number one selling point is (& should be) timeliness.

When you give an appointment, get there ON TIME; it saves you the stress of giving excuses and stands you out as a serious business person. Get to work early (I have never heard of someone, punished for being early) and stay much longer if need be.

As an entrepreneur, you need to take proper care of your business. Never allow the output of some people affect your input. An example; say you design a photobook and send it to the lab for printing. Picking up
the print at later date, you discover they had messed it up. Make them pay for the reprint and not you.

Keep your product in the mind of your client by little gesture of kindness; like calling them on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries or even every two weeks. That way they keep remembering “Lagbaja photography are nice people, they actually called me on my birthday”.

KEEP RECORDS
For you to determine that your passion can pay your
bills, you need to keep records. This means separating your business from your person for evaluation sake. At the beginning of a business year, sit-down and write out your spending profile for the whole year. Calculate how many jobs will get you there. Write down the maximum and
minimum value you will charge your clients with respect to the number of jobs. Oh! Not to forget, never go below your minimum price for any job. You know what they say ‘like begets like’.

This is getting boring and my fingers are begging for mercy; those are cues for me to stop writing. However, if you feel you need more, kindly enroll for the master class: WHATEVERITTAKES.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a photopreneur on the verge of doing WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out. By the way, isn’t the title of this write up a funky one? What do you think?

Dee hOuSe of CrEaTiViTy


When I decided to learn photography professionally, I thought long and hard,did a bit of research before choosing eloPhotos. That turned out to be my second best decision ever, next to giving my life to Christ. At eloPhotos, you learn everything; meet the weird, nice and creative people. Come with me on this tour and let me show you some of what you are missing.

To begin with, there is a six unit course at eloPhotos that is mandatory. It’s called ‘Understanding Mr Seun’. For instance, In Mr Seun’s dictionary the words ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’ was probably omitted. You don’t believe me right? Last week Friday, Mr Seun asked a colleague to get him a breakfast of yam and plantain (now who eats yam and plantain). After a few minutes, my colleague came back with an empty bowl. Mr seun took the bowl and went on a Yam and Plantain hunt. About half an hour later, he smiled into the office. I could have sworn he won a lottery but for the food he came back with. I kept mute as he explained he had to try seventeen times before he found a place that sold his dream meal.

Consequently, we have ” The Rule of Seventeen” which states that for every task you are assigned, you must have tried it seventeen different ways before concluding it can’t be done.

Mr Seun is no Super Hero but trust me, he is Super Human. He operates on ‘per second billing’, so you have to take initiative to keep up with his pace. He feels eating takes time, so get used to him eating his breakfast for almost 6 hours. He is a workaholic, so no lazing around. He is an inspiration and a blessing that deserves to be prayed for. Most importantly, he is a member of PDC (Pepsi Drinking Club).

At eloPhotos, you’re encouraged to explore your creativity. The unwritten slogan of our office is: if you can think it, you can achieve it. Imagine you felt this urge of shooting a pre-wedding session on the Atlantic Ocean and while you’re still thinking about a lot of things that makes the concept seem suicidal, you experience a mini diarrhea of the mouth and you let the idea slip into Mr Seun’s sensitive ears. You can as well be prepared for a Facebook and Google advert of an adventurous couple who are willing to tag along with your crazy idea.

Just in case you think it’s strange for a lady with twisted braids to be responsible and carry an ambition thrice her size, then welcome to eloPhotos. She is the only female photographer we have presently at the studio and she is good-good. Ronke by name, she is gorgeous, articulate, tenacious, a Jesus freak and an amazing writer. She is an inspiration and a model of a virtuous woman…oh, she is also married, so no coveting.

Another interesting thing is, we get to watch a sitcom every morning at the office titled ‘Meet The Laratus’. If you are hoping to catch it airing on a TV station, I am sorry to disappoint you, it’s for private viewing only. It stars; saucy Mama Laratu, her daughter Laratu (lousy replica of her mother) and two younger siblings. Every episode shows their bad customer service to clients in their little but ever busy canteen. You must be wondering what this sitcom has got to do with anything. To put you out of your mystery; they are just the ‘mama put’ we buy breakfast from.

I hope with this few points of mine, I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that eloPhotos is the right place to be. I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am an inspired photographer…..

 

The VALUE of Your HANDS


A basket ball in my hands is worth less than $10. In Michael Jordan’s hands, it is worth $33million or more. A baseball in my hands is worth about $6 but in Roger Clemen’s, it’s worth $475million. A tennis racket in Serena Williams hands is worth millions compared to mine. If I am wrong, please correct me.

A rod in my hands will keep a stubborn goat away but in Moses hands, you know what it can do. A sling shot in my hands might kill lizards and possibly a few birds but in David’s hands, it is a mighty weapon of victory. Two fishes and five loaves of bread in my hands is just enough for breakfast. In Jesus’ hands, nations will be fed and there will still be left-overs.

A camera in my hands, I know what it is worth but in your hands I can not tell. As you can see now, it all depends on whose hands it’s in. You are meant for something, not everything. If all you do or run after is to be everything, your efforts would remain wasted.

Your purpose is what you are to do when you are alive. You are not a product of chance but of choice. Purpose is the genesis of performance and it must be discovered, if not you will be a spectator until you see yourself as a performer.

Your achievements will never emerge until you walk in the right path of your purpose. Production can not be complete till the consumer is satisfied. Being original brings you to relevance in the society.

In striving to be a man of purpose, you need not lose focus. Have passion and hold on to a strong desire that will keep you going. Many people walk and run but only a few people fly. Until you know who you are, you can not be known.

You need to understand your potential and also strive to make the most of it. Make yourself valuable in the market place.

This report is a product of the musings of the past week at eloPhotos. All glory be unto God for a purposeful week. Looking forward to another week. I remain Awosanmi Emmanuel.

A Photographer’s Guide To Covering FAMILY EVENTS Without Going BROKE


I recently had the privilege of being the official photographer at my niece’s naming ceremony. I was so excited at the news of her birth, not only because I just love baby girls; my excitement was also due to the fact that this second niece of mine was born on the birthday of the first niece . How cool is that? It was almost as if I knew her because I did a maternity shoot for her mum – my sister in-law – while she was pregnant with this baby niece.

A couple of days after the birth, my sister in-law sent me a message asking if I would “help cover the event”. Not wanting to assume that it was a request to do the job for free, I promptly said, “Sure!” and went ahead to send her the bill. No need beating around the bush, right? I explained what the package would include. Whether she was surprised at the fact that I was charging for the job or that I was charging the amount I had quoted is uncertain. She said she would get back to me and I knew that was a polite way of saying, “Never mind, it is too expensive”.

Later that day, I told my husband about the fact that my sister in-law wants to hire me and I am charging her such and such. Well, my husband burst out laughing like he had just heard the latest joke from Basket Mouth. I wondered what was so funny and also if he would laugh if I was the caterer and wanted to charge for that service. I politely asked my loving husband why he laughed so hard. He said he thought the fact that I would charge someone like my sister in-law was funny since I have a close relationship with her. If my accountant-husband who supports my career, more than anyone else I know, could say that…God help me. I explained to him that business was business.

Just when I thought I was going to attend the event as a guest, my able sister in-law got back to me and asked if I could just deliver edited soft copies. Sounded fair to me and we agreed on a price. The big day came around. I was supposed to be assisted by a colleague (Onos) but to my surprise, Mr Seun Akisanmi showed up too to assist.

It was a beautiful event overall and I was thankful for the opportunity to learn the following first hand:

1. Charging family members for your service as a photographer is sheer wisdom. Get comfortable with the idea. Even non profit organizations do have to make a profit to stay afloat. Blood might be thicker than water but it wont buy you a lens or camera.

2. Just because your client is a family member doesn’t mean you slack on the standards you have set for yourself. Give it your very best. This could be easier if you are being paid. At least it was for me.

3. Still talking about the money subject, (I am not money-crazy but hey, good looks and charm wasn’t enough to buy my camera. Nikon still wanted cash), no one cares whether you are being paid or if it is some random act of kindness on your part. So it may be better to charge for the service even if you don’t need the money. Once you agree to cover the event, you are the photographer. Yes, you are like any other photographer at that family event so you aren’t attending as a family member.

I didn’t get ‘special recognition’ as family member. In fact, my dad ‘warned’ me not to “flash light” in his granddaughter’s eyes while one of my brothers,(not the baby’s father), told me I was not supposed to eat during the event. It was all meant to be a joke, a serious kind of joke if you know what I mean.

4. Covering a family event can come with its own distractions while on the job. Family friends may not recognize the fact that you are there as a vendor. I had one or two friends of the family who kept calling me to come do this or that. They didn’t realize they were distracting me from my job. I had to nicely ignore their requests.

Hope those tips help the next time you act as official photographer at a family function. I ended up not eating at the event but was able to pack a bowl of rice to eat on my way home. I wish I had the opportunity to sample the assorted drinks served but hey, it’s okay, I got paid enough to buy myself a drink.

Photographically Yours,
Ronke Alao
CEO Everywoman’s Heart
http://www.everywomansheart.com

 

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far


One of the coolest things about being an intern at eloPhotos is that you learn, not just from Mr Seun Akisanmi, but from other well-established photographers as well. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Olamide Bakare of Alore Photography. He came around to teach us Lighting. I had attended classes on the subject before, but Olamide’s class took it to the next level. It was a 2 hour class that was fully packed with a tutorial on relevant concepts and practical sessions, yet concise. I had the best of time.

Later that afternoon, I was about walking out of the office when I was met by a tall, slim and good-looking guy who looked like he was trying to find his way around. “Good afternoon, how may I help you?” I asked with a smile; sounding like a well-trained, professional receptionist. After knowing he was a guest of eloPhotos, I invited him to sit at the reception. Wondering if he had an appointment with Mr Seun, I asked, “What is your name sir?”. “My name is Emeka”, he answered. In response, I told him “I am Ronke”. The moment he heard my name, he said with a smile, “Ronke Alao, right?”. I was a bit shocked that he knew me so well or at least knew my full name. Since I wasn’t some actress on TV and I had not been part of any reality show, I wondered how he knew my name. On further enquiry, I realised he was an avid reader of our blog and had read a few articles I wrote.

Emeka came around to get information on eloPhotos academy and how he could train here. It’s interesting to think I was in his shoes just some four months ago. I remember sending Mr Seun a Blackberry Message on how I could train at the academy – more like a mini, informal application to be an intern. I was beside myself when he scheduled a meeting with me just two days after my initial contact with him.

I had been following (or stalking) the eloPhotos website for several months before that time. What drew me to eloPhotos was the integrity and honesty that I thought it exuded. Funny how people can perceive your spirit just by surfing your website! It wasn’t only honesty and integrity that got me sold on working at eloPhotos; it was also the fact that I “knew” eloPhotos had a culture of timeliness and professionalism as a whole – these are qualities that you would expect to find in every business but sadly, are missing in many Nigerian businesses. I had also been a visitor to the eloPhotosYouTube channel a number of times, so I knew what he (Mr Seun) looked like.

Meeting Mr Seun in person was a different ball game. I was surprised to find the almighty Seun Akisanmi in a pair of knee-length shorts and an old T-shirt. He wore a pair of black and white tennis shoes that I’m sure had stories to tell. His iconic look was complete with mismatched socks. Oh yes, he was wearing socks that made his feet look like they belonged to different people. They say one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, right? I took a cue from that saying, so I decided to focus on my interview.

My first thirty minutes was spent answering questions such as: “Why photography and not make-up artistry?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years” and “Why did you choose eloPhotos?” Afterwards, it was my time to ask questions. I wanted to know why and how he got into photography. I needed to know if I had made the right choice in choosing this training ground. I also asked him questions about the academy and what kind of plans he had for the future. After our discussion, I felt like I knew the man beyond his old T-shirt and sneakers. I thought of him as intelligent – hey, I saw tall stacks of books at his office, both photography and non-photography related. I also came to appreciate his vision and passion for his chosen career, and who would have thought this guy was so romantic to have named his company after his wife?

His charming sense of humor made the time seem like it flew by. He gave me a complimentary copy of Picture This magazine. My mind was made up: I would be coming back in a couple of weeks to start classes.

It’s been four months of learning, running errands, meeting some cool people, amazing myself with pictures I can now take, doing some more learning, running some more errands, learning to keep the books and balance accounts, learning the importance of timeliness, getting a “PhD” in dealing with “interesting ” clients, and having the weird in me rise to the surface.

I am glad I made the choice to train at eloPhotos. Let’s just hope my weirdness doesn’t get over the top…. It could with the kind of weird, fun people I hang out with here every day!

 

Doing WHATEVERITTAKES To Standout


WHATEVERITTAKES WORKSHOPimage

I’ve met a number of photopreneurs in the last few months who are struggling with their business. After having gone bankrupt with the organization of the recently concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), you might as well consider my business as topping the list of photographers running business at a loss (in accounting terms). I’ve learnt so much (about business, life, marriage, politics, friendship & family) in the last 365 days than in all my previous years of living.

Photography for me as been a passion beyond what words can express. Ever since I got my first camera in December 1998, a sense of unconscious fulfillment seems to subconsciously overwhelm me whenever I take. pictures. Turning the hobby into a business has brought its challenges. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that photography is where I belong; Photography & I are here to stay.

At this junction, I challenge many photopreneurs in this industry (including those about to start a career in photography) to stop for a moment and ask yourself if you’re ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out in this seemingly crowded & congested business. What if you were told that shaving your eyebrow, (something most men reading this have never done in their life), would help take your business to the next level, would you do it? What if you were told that you don’t need an office or a business loan to get out of the financial mess you’ve gotten yourself into, will you believe that? Are you ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES?

Knowing that there’s no immediate plan B for me gives me no choice but to be more determined to make sure the legacy I leave behind, (as a businessman, father, husband, son & friend), can be likened to the impact Steve Jobs had on the technology industry. More importantly, I’m conscious of living a life that will hopefully lead men to the one that has given me a reason to live: Jesus Christ.

If your goal is to run a successful photography business, I invite you to subscribe to this site and watch out for more inspiring notes I’ll be sharing with you. For those that will like to take it a step further, you can register to be a part of the 7-hours workshop I’ll be running in 7 cities (October 23: Warri, October 28: Lagos, October 29: Ibadan, November 2: Lagos, November 5: Ilorin, November 7: Abuja, November 19: Port Harcort & November 12: Kano) in the country beginning October 23, 2013. It’s a one day workshop where I’ll be sharing practical steps you can take (a process of which I’ve gone through & presently going through) to build a world-class business structure. We’ll be discussing the following topics:

*Impact of Social Media Implementation (Facebook, Twitter, etc) on your business
*Financial Accountability and your Business
*Marketing Techniques of a Desperate Businessman
*Customer Service in a Photography Business
*Creating Multiple Streams of income as a Photographer
*& other pressing issues (as time permits)

Workshop fee is N12,500 and you can send a mail to info@elophotos.com for more details. For those that are looking at a more comprehensive training that includes the techicalities of handling a camera, plan to attend the last session of our 10-day course on Photography (November 25 – December 6, 2013) and you can get 30% off the training fees. Send a mail to info@elophotos.com (or add me on bb: 271e3bc8) for more details or visit our ACADEMY page

Get ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out.

A BORING Writeup Without A TITLE


There is no better way we start off a new week at eloPhotos than with our usual sweet Monday morning devotion. It was a refreshing time of fellowship as we sang beautiful  praise and worship songs and had a brief exhortation from God’s word which was given by Mr. Seun Akisanmi. During the course of the devotion, he threw a question to us whether it was biblically right to engrave a tattoo on one’s body. As I expected, that created mixed reactions as most of my colleagues thought it was not morally right. My boss concluded by quickly saying that personally he feels nothing was wrong with engraving a tattoo on one’s body especially when it has the caption “Jesus Loves You”. His words arose some form of laughter but at the end I thought to myself that he could be making a good point.

At the end of the devotion, I and my colleagues were told by my boss that we will be required to design individually a 30-spread album from the last wedding ceremony covered and it ought to be ready by latest September 20. Honestly, the new assignment came to me as a surprise as I felt much unprepared. For a quick moment, all I thought of was the fact that I didn’t have a sound background on the use of Photoshop and Lightroom software’s for editing images and creating an album. It became apparently obvious to me that this will be a tasking challenge I have to face and hopefully overcome within
the stipulated time frame. I said to myself “so help me God”.

The day’s job started properly on a high note as we began the viewing and selection of the pictures we took during the Tunbosun and Dieko’s wedding ceremony. I discovered that some of the pictures I took were not “Tack Sharp”. For a moment I felt a little disappointed but my colleagues were so kind and thoughtful enough to offer me words of encouragement as there was room for improvement. Pardon me if I got you a bit confused with my terms: “Tack Sharp” is a photography term that simply means the images in a picture frame are still clearly seen even after zooming in.

At about 10:30am, a meeting was held to deliberate, brain storm and plan ahead of the second edition of Nigeria Photography Expo Conference (NiPHEC) that will be coming up in April 2014. In attendance were lots of prominent and established names as far as the
photography industry in Nigeria was concerned. Also present was the much talked about wedding photographer, Akara Ogheneworo. Honestly, I considered myself very privileged to have attended such a sensitive meeting. NiPHEC 2014 will be held in two major cities in Nigeria with the first three days of the conference being staged in Abuja from the
27th to 29th April 2014. Thereafter, the last four days of the conference will be held in Lagos from the 30th to 3rd May 2014.

The rest of the working week went so fast like a “tornado” with Thursday having the major highlight. Being mandated by my boss, Mr. Seun Akisanmi, my colleagues and I were motivated to put in our entries for the British council “Through My Eyes” competition that will be involving a pair; a creative writer and a photographer. The competition is all about doing 200 maximum words of creative write up accompanied with photographs to illustrate what is working now in our immediate community. After a few hours of brain storming, we eventually came up with a creative concept which will portray a comparison of the  orderliness of passengers entering the popular Lagos commercial danfo bus and the state government BRT bus. Executing the task was a bit of challenge in itself especially when we were shooting the BRT bus with passengers entering it.

The week ended on a colorful note as I was privileged to cover (alongside with my boss and the great Ronke Alao) a baby’s naming ceremony. This happened to be my first witness of a typical Yoruba child naming ceremony; trust me, it was indeed worthwhile. I got to the event venue an hour earlier, as it was schedule to start by 12:00pm. Funny enough the event didn’t start until about 1:00pm, something personally I wasn’t too surprised because of the “African man’s time mentality”. For me, the whole event was a good experience as it turned out to be fun-loving, interesting and it offered me the
opportunity to practice more and work on getting “Tack Sharp” images.

I have to drop my pen now and stop boring you with the details of my week. Until next week kindly note that this is Onodje Oshevwiyore and I am proud to be an Associate Photographer at eloPhotos Studios.

Don’t Quit Until You’ve Tried 17 TIMES


Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So it happened that I finally got fed up of the rice and beans breakfast I had been having in the office for the past 3 months. On the morning of September 13, I asked my colleague to help me get yam and plantain so my stomach could experience a difference in atmospheric conditions.

 

He returned 10 minutes later and declared that no one was selling yam in the area. Apparently he had suffered a temporary amnesia else he would have remembered that you don’t report back on an assignment without results; you should always do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get it done. So it was that after allowing him to return my bowl to the store room in the office, I went to get the same bowl and secretly headed out of the office to seek for my loved & lost yam.

 

The first place I stopped by happened to be one of the hottest food selling joints in Agidingbi. They were so much in demand that even though the attendants shout and scream at the hungry clients, the clients still keep coming back often with an apology for making “Mama Put” angry. The attendant told me categorically that there was no restaurant in the area that sells yam. Apparently the attendant must have descended from the same lineage as my colleague that I sent to help me acquire the asset earlier; they seemed to be speaking the same language.

 

40 minutes and 14 mini-restaurants later, I became frustrated that I could not find one canteen that sold yam. Perhaps what my colleague said was true. Perhaps no one was indeed selling yam in the area that morning. Perhaps this was an opportunity in disguise for me to start a yam-selling business and call it “eloYam Canteen” with the slogan “Delivering HOT YAM, YOUR WAY” (or something like that). Perhaps my belief in the phrase “Nothing is Impossible” was overrated.

 

I decided not to give up. How will that make me look in front of my compatriots. That I do not practice what I preach. That going the extra mile will give you results beyond the average mind. I wasn’t about to give up.

 

Approaching the 16th canteen, it would seem that all hope was lost. The canteen had finished selling all the food they had and they were busy washing the plates. It was just 10:20am. Maybe I should just settle for rice and stew since that’s what is available everywhere. Afterall, it wasn’t as if I saw it in a vision that if I don’t eat yam and plantain that morning, the wife of my youth will run away with my 2 princesses to marry Bill Gates teenage son.

 

But I reluctantly decided to try one more time. It was then I noticed another “undercover” canteen just 2 buildings from where I was standing. I had passed that building over 10 times in the last year and did not know that it housed a canteen. I asked the woman washing plates outside if they had yam. “Go inside and buy it” was her response and I was almost doubting she heard me correctly. I thought no one sold yam in the entire area. I asked her again and she blurted “Go INSIDE”.

 

Entering through the doorway that was only wide enough to allow one slim person enter per time, I met a crowd of about 8 people waiting to get their portion of dream food. After waiting for about 2 minutes, I decided I did not want to waste my time to queue up for 15 minutes only to discover they didn’t sell yam. So I just shouted to the women selling the food “Is there Yam?” A mixture of doubt, surprise, fulfillment and happiness enveloped my soul when she replied in the affirmative. Finally I FOUND YAM. Finally YAM FOUND ME.

 

You should have seen my facial expression when the attendant opened the pot of boiled yam and began serving me my portion of destiny-fulfilling yams. I was elated. So elated that I decided to spend the entire N180 I brought to give myself a yam and plantain treat (normally, I wouldn’t have spent more than N100). Funny enough, if the person in front of me had ordered N200 worth of yam, the canteen would have run out of yam to sell consequently making me to relocate to my yam-filled village of Abeokuta. Thank God there was still yam for my soul.

 

Getting back to the office, I narrated my ordeal in search of the long lost yam. It seemed quite weird to some of my colleagues but I think the message was successfully passed across: DON’T TELL ME SOMETHING IS IMPOSSIBLE or UNACHIEVABLE. Infact, if anyone working with or for me strongly believes that its not possible for them to do what I ask of them, that might be the last time we work together.

 

I’ve learnt in my few years of experimenting as an entrepreneur that whatever you put your mind to do or achieve will come to pass if you’re persistent and especially if God is working with you. So except it is the JAMB exams you’ve unsuccessfully passed in the last 16 years, never give up at trying until you’ve tried 17 TIMES. That’s my new motto. That’s my renewed way of thinking.

 

Anyone up for some yam?

 

Shooting Aliko Dangote’s Daughter


English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 - Ali...

English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 – Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Nigeria, during the African Fellowship Programe with Young Global Leaders announcement at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org /Photo Matthew Jordaan matthew.jordaan@inl.co.za (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I got a call from Aliko Dangote last month, (I am not name-dropping); he wanted to know about our wedding packages. Realizing it wasn’t a prank and I was really speaking to Dangote, I adjusted well in my seat and faked a cough. I gave him a price using a multiplying factor of
17 times our standard price. Now I know you’re dropping your jaw in surprise and thinking, “This guy is a thief” but my dear, it’s Aliko Dangote. If he is calling me, it can only mean one thing, he already made up his mind to hire us. A person like him won’t waste time window shopping. Forgive me, Dangote wasn’t the one getting married; his daughter was. The wedding was scheduled to be a two-part event; the traditional wedding at his hometown in Kano and the reception on his yacht the day after.

After a couple of emails back and forth, the contract was signed. The flight and hotel itinerary for me and my two assistant was sent. I got a shocker on getting to the airport; we were all booked for first class. Now, I know you are wondering if flying first class is really a shocker. For a first time flier, flying first class turned out to be a pleasant surprise and only a thoughtful client would do that.

I should have known the airport scenario was preparation for good things to come. We were checked into the penthouse suite of 5-star hotel in Kano (can’t remember the name now). Now for the Dangotes, this is how they roll but for me and my team, this is the best treatment we have gotten so far from a client in our entire photography career so you can understand our excitement.

Whoever came up with the statement “ Money is the root of all evil” I am guessing has never been to Dangote’s house. The house, sorry, the edifice is a 16-Bedroom mansion (yea, I counted), two executive living room and a standard living room. The dining room is the largest I have ever seen, an Italian exquisite design which can sit twenty-four people at once. I know you can wait to see the pictures now but indulge me, I have not even gotten to the best part yet.

The bride’s room is spacious like Maracana stadium but not as big though. Taking her portrait session there was absolutely amazing; super beautiful bride plus beautiful room equals no serious editing.

Another interesting thing that fascinated me about this job was their timeliness and orderliness. The event started at the exact time stated (9am promptly), a few meters away from the Olympic-sized swimming pool and within three hours, the traditional ceremony was done. We had the couple’s session and family portrait at the artificial resort in the compound.

The reception was held the next day on his yacht. I don’t need to describe it (ii.e. yacht) because I won’t want you to start cursing your luck. The event was a more advanced version of R Kelly‘s ‘Happy People’ video. It was a suit and tie event and trust me when I say the rich Hausas sure know how to clean up nice, they really do. I had lots of fun shooting this wedding and just when I fixed my super wide angle lens (Canon 8mm- 10mm lens) on my camera to take a panoramic shoot of the yacht, I heard
someone call out my name. Tayo! Tayo!! Tayo!!! I turned around to see who it was; it was my mum staring down at me on the bed, wanting to know if I was not going to the office today. “So I had been dreaming”, I asked myself.

I am supposed to write on how my week went at eloPhotos Studios but the week had been on pause mode because I am still waiting by my phone and expecting Aliko Dangote to call me to cover his daughter’s wedding.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a Dreaming Photographer.

A Photographer’s Passion For CREATIVITY


The word “Passion” means a very strong feeling about something that arouses affection towards that thing. It expresses itself in enthusiasm, overwhelming interest and a strong drawing in the direction of that thing. Passion is the tonic for ingenuity and creativity.

Most people like to talk about their passion, but how creative have they made their passion work for them? How passionate are you about your photography and what you engage yourself in daily? This brings me to focus more on creativity which has been one of the values being imbibed in us at eloPhotos Studios.

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, being creative involves the use of skill and imagination to produce something new especially a work of art. Creativity is the ability to make something new. The dictionary added that creativity and originality are more important than technical skill. Do you have any ideas? You are the creative one. God is a creative genius. Deuteronomy 4:32 is one place in the Bible that talks about God’s creativity.

Looking back at the way most of us grew up, I remember some of the things I created back then; match box car, broom and nylon kite, paper plane and boats, etc. One thing I know, we all grew up creative but somewhere along the line we lost that ability. What happened? You may ask! Conformity had set into the minds of most of us. Also, the way our community has changed who and what we were born with made matters worse.

We all have the ability to be creative; we were born with it and it is still in each and every one of us. Few things I have come to know about creative people is: 1) they are well informed,
2) they are out-of-the-box thinkers, and
3) they have modest intelligence.

Creative people see things in a multitude of ways, as they provide creative atmospheres. They are open to creativity even when they seem to be playful. They are inquisitive, always asking for more. They think BIG and even allow others to fail forward by giving them chances to try again. They are intentionally creative. These are some of the reasons I am in love with eloPhotos, seriously. Ask my colleagues if you think I am joking or not serious.

In addition, without creativity, you become stuck in a rut. You need a constant stream of new ideas to remain competitive in the society because your market is changing every day. You need to understand the processes of being creative; know what the problem is, research and identify the possible solutions, determine how to create new combinations and decide which alternative leads to a new idea. Create your action plan and JUST DO IT.

Remember not to just create a plan; plan to execute it. We need to produce better creative solutions if we want to attract & retain more clients. Most people have mistaken creativity for innovation. Innovation is the implementation of what is created. Creativity is the process while innovation is the act. Let your creations become innovated. Thank God I had a creative week this last 7 days at eloPhotos. Looking forward to a new one to get more knowledge and ideas to improve my Present & Future LIFE.

I am Awosanmi Emmanuel and I am photographically creative, thanks to eloPhotos.

 

The Daunting Challenges of CAPTURING MOMENTS


“It is never advised to cover a wedding ceremony alone, in a worst case scenario go along with at least one assistant”. These were the words of Mr. Seun Akisanmi to the 2013 D-SAP set 11 photography students. It will be an advice that would come handy sooner than I thought.

After covering the engagement and wedding ceremony of Tunbosun and Dieko alongside my colleagues, I now realize that there are lots of challenges and stress I would surely have faced if I had gone alone.

The wedding of Tunbosun and Dieko turned out to be one of the biggest ceremonies I have ever witnessed. It also happened to be my very first Yoruba wedding ceremony I have witnessed. What even makes it more exciting was the fact that I was not attending as an invited guest but rather I was there to cover alongside my colleagues the photography aspect of the event. For the first time in my life I was in an event where I saw all manner of food and drinks but was not interested to eat because the task of capturing every moment required me to be fully alert during the course of the event.

On Thursday morning I went with my colleagues to photograph the bride and groom engagement ceremony. It was indeed an amazing experience as I had the opportunity to shoot the bride as makeup was done by the makeup artist. The engagement ceremony took place at the Olubi Hall Cele-Okota road, Isolo. The hall was well spacious and air conditioned with invited guest fully in attendance. They all sat in round tables that were covered and designed with white cloths. It was quite fascinating for me in photographing the guests especially during the engagement rite proper.

On the day of the wedding proper, it was the sound from my alarm clock that woke me up. At that moment, all I could think of was the big wedding event that was ahead of me. I quickly committed the busy day’s activities into God’s hands by saying a word of prayer. Almost immediately, I took my bath and got dressed in sky blue jeans and yellow shirt. Preparing breakfast was not an option on my mind as I was kin on getting to the groom’s hotel before time.

Just before the church wedding ended, I and Toye Peters quickly headed for the reception venue to capture the decorated hall. The reception venue was at ICAN Centre in Lake View Estate, Amuwo Odufn. On arrival at the reception, I noticed the entire hall had been beautifully decorated with each tables and chair covered with white cloth and designed with lovely flowers in water glass vest. I thought to myself that the interior decorator had done a very good job. I and my colleague started photographing the entire hall. Starting with the main stage where the couple will be sitting, to the cakes, decorated tables and chairs and the main walk ways.

During the course of the event, I captured guest sitting, walking, coming in and out. I also photographed the caterer’s food, drinks, and so many seemingly “mundane” things. The invited guests were all well-dressed mostly in traditional Yoruba attire that was so appealing and colorful. As I photographed, I just can’t help but noticed how cute and lovely the ushers in the reception hall were looking. Each wore a nice and simple black short gown with a flower ribbon pinned closed to the left chest. I thought for a moment that these pretty ladies must have been carefully selected for this job.

The wedding finally ended on a merriment note as I and my colleagues ate and drank to our satisfaction while we enjoyed the sweet melody of the music that was being played.

On a final note, my experience at Tunbosun and Dieko’s wedding ceremony was worthwhile and amazing. I was so privileged to be part of the team that covered the photography aspect of the event and the job of capturing moments in a ceremony is quite challenging but exciting.

I’m Onodje Oshevwiyore and I plan to spend the next 15 years of my wonderful life as a PHOTOGRAPHER.

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career


I almost couldn’t believe it was already Thursday. I mean, what happened earlier in the week? it’s not like I was in a coma or anything, the week just flew by very fast. I do remember now.

My boss (SEUN AKISANMI, for those who don’t know by now) had hinted at the fact that I was forgetting important details easily, so was he. In fact, he had ordered a Memory Book, (no kidding, he really ordered a book that teaches how to improve one’s memory). The book had not been delivered yet so I did the next best thing; I went on a BEANS diet.

How would eating beans everyday improve my memory? I had no clue, but somewhere in my pretty little brain, I believed it would. ‘More protein, less starch’ kind of thing so the beans marathon started on Monday. I had beans for breakfast three days in a row. I also had half a portion of beans for dinner on two of those days.

The beans I had for breakfast was not any kind of beans. It is the type called Ewa Agoyin. For people who never eat outside or grew up in a palace, Ewa Agoyin means nothing but for those of us who grew up in a place like Agege, Lagos, you know exactly what I am talking about.

I had a few friends while growing up who I have lost contact with but Ewa Agoyin is one childhood friend that I still get together with. Whenever we hang out, it is as though time never passed. So, you can imagine why this beans diet wasn’t a huge challenge for me.

Whether my memory diet worked or not is debatable. I believe it did to an extent but I had to put a stop to it on Thursday. I was tired of what this childhood friend was doing to my marriage. It was making me speak to my husband in a language I normally don’t speak. By “speak”, I don’t mean talking with my mouth (let him that readeth understand). For the reader who is still having trouble understanding, the beans diet was making me make noises through the posterior of my anatomy.

As I thought about what beans had done to me that week, I was glad my embarrassing moments were in the privacy of my home and in the presence of my husband. What if those moments happened while I was out on a job?

Imagine you are shooting a portrait session of a couple in a quiet location. You already have them in your award-winning pose and you know the angle from which you would be taking the shot. It would require you getting in the squatting position. Your clients are all smiles, they have their pose right and everything is playing out just the way you envisioned. You get in the squat position and just a fraction of a second before you press the shutter, you let out a batch of violent-sounding fart. One so loud it drowns whatever noise your shutter might have made.

It’s almost painful to imagine for me. I think that would be a perfect moment either for the ground to open up and swallow me or for the trumpet to sound and rapture takes place.

Perhaps you think my feelings are exaggerated. Only a man would feel it wasn’t such a big deal. I remember once having a teacher that habitually farted in class and would simply say,”Ha, I ate a lot of beans”, as if that was supposed to make it all better for his students.

Passing gas loudly in front of clients would be devastating for a female photographer, I think. No matter what my male colleagues say, I believe a man would experience some degree of embarrassment too; except the clients in question are childhood friends of yours and you all played the game, “loudest fart”, as kids.

What’s the whole point of me writing an elaborate post on how farting can erode your ego as a photographer? Well, you know it’s the little things we never think (or talk) about that affect our business and reputation as photographers. Clients won’t remember your brand of lens and could care less if you used a full-frame camera or not. What they would probably not forget is how loud your fart was. So before you go on a beans diet, think about how it might affect your client relations and your photography career as a whole.

Ronke Alao
Writer |Photographer|Poet

 

WARNING: READ BEFORE YOU TRAIN AT eloPhotos


Believe it or not but God has a tattoo! It’s not of a skull, snake or even a scorpion. No, it’s something more beautiful: MY NAME. This was revealed at Monday’s weekly devotion and who else could have talked about such a radical idea but Mr Seun Akisanmi. He was sharing from Isaiah 49:16 where the Bible states “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” I had never seen that verse from that perspective but I am not one of those who think tattoos are a one-way ticket to hell. I would get a ‘Jesus’ tattoo myself if my husband approved and if tattoos weren’t painful.

Back to the Isaiah passage. Can you imagine your name engraved on God’s hand? Every time he stretches his hand, (and it must be a MIGHTY BIG hand to have all of God’s children’s name on it), he sees your name. That means you are always on his mind even when it seems he’s forgotten you. To think I came to eloPhotos to learn photography and I end up discovering there’s so much more to learn.

If you are a fun-loving person like me, you are probably just enjoying this write-up but if you have an analytical mind, chances are you are still trying to connect the title with the content. For your sake, I’ll get straight to the point. If you plan to train as a photographer at eloPhotos, let me warn you of a few things you are probably not aware of. Aren’t you glad you can get inside information from a trusted, outspoken and kind intern like me? Okay, here are 3 hot scoops to start with (you can get the other tips once you hire me for my photography services 1st).

CHORES
If you think you are all grown up and don’t do household chores anymore, don’t even sign up at eloPhotos. Here, it doesn’t matter whether you are the first son of your father and next in line to be crowned king of your village; you will sweep, wash plate(s) and run errands. You will learn patience as you interact with the rude and saucy Mama Laratu (our official restaurant Chef,huh, I mean Mama PUT).

PUBLIC ENEMY
If you are the type of person that would risk paying a little more for an item because you don’t want a vendor to insult you, don’t worry. You will learn some negotiating skills here that will turn you to a lean, mean negotiating machine – in a good way of course. Every kobo counts here, so if you pay a bus fare of N50 from Agidingbi bus-stop to say Testing ground bus-stop, you would probably have to listen to Mr Seun ask you why you didn’t negotiate to pay N30. I am not kidding. What better way to become Public Enemy Number 1 when bus conductors and market sellers lash out at you for daring to price their service/goods.

CAN’T WHAT?
If your favorite thing to say is “I can’t do such and such” or “It is impossible”, you will learn to change your vocabulary here. We don’t use such words here. Now, if you are a die-hard fan of those words and will want to insist something can’t be done, Mr Seun could ask you to go do it and do it you will. There is a zero-tolerance for excuses.

Well, you might wonder, “If eloPhotos is such a tough place to be, why has Ronke stayed this long?” especially when you consider the fact that I am the only female intern currently. Perhaps it’s because of the great people I get to work with or maybe it’s the little ways in which my life has changed. I think spending time with creative photographers brings out the “weird” in you. How would you explain the fact that I now sleep late and wake up early, I started writing again after one year of abandoning the craft, I am more futuristic in my thinking and I think really BIG. Thinking outside the box is something I now do effortlessly. I am beginning to set high standards for the goals I set for myself and recently started thinking of writing my first book.

Another important aspect of photography that I know I may not have been able to learn just anywhere but I learn quite well here is the “Business of Photography”. Yes, training at eloPhotos is no job for a lazy person but it ultimately brings out the best in you.

Photographically Yours,
Ronke Alao

 

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS


My week officially started on Tuesday. No, I didn’t skip work on Monday but as I stood in line at Silverbird Cinemas for ‘free’ popcorn and drink; the sweet aroma of the corn filtering through my nostrils and enveloping my sinuses, I felt like my week had just started.

The trip to the movies was sponsored by eloPhotos as a treat/field trip of some sorts. There’s something about seeing great movies that sharpens one’s artistic mind.

Not too long after arriving at the movies, I saw about five photography colleagues that had come to see the same movie I came to see, Elysium. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps we photographers should speak to the management of Silverbird Cinemas and see if we can strike a deal, where photographers enjoy a movie discount.

While still waiting to get my free snack, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying, “…you could go in and see the movie for ten minutes, then come back out and the popcorn line wouldn’t be so long anymore”. I didn’t have to turn to recognize the voice; it was my boss. I couldn’t believe Mr Seun was back at the Cinema to see the same movie for the third time! I had left him and the rest of the team at the office since they all had seen the movie. No one knew Mr Seun had plans to ‘sneak’ out of the office to see the movie again.

I finally got my popcorn and fanta then found the cinema room. The movie ran for a little less than two hours and in one word, I would simply describe it as AWESOME. In case you haven’t seen it, I do not want to spoil the fun for you so I won’t give you the gist. GO SEE IT.

Tuesday ended on an interesting note. My alternate cellphone got lost in a bus and I didn’t realize it till I got home. I tried appealing to the good nature of whoever picked it by sending text messages; since he/ she wouldn’t pick my call. It didn’t work.

The next day came along and I lost an earring. Perhaps I am having my things walk away from me, one at a time. The day’s highlight was having Maximus of Phaneross Photography come and speak to eloPhotos interns on the topic, “Improving Your Photography”. It was an insightful 3-hours lecture.

As if the week had not been strange enough for me, Wednesday afternoon had to have it’s own element of weirdness. I boarded a bus headed for Ikorodu from Ojota. Just before we got to Ikorodu, I found that almost everyone in the bus was talking about some guy, a muslim cleric, who died years ago. They said he recently made an ‘appearance’ on the wall of a mosque at Owode area. His image was said to have appeared on a wall. People were reported to have taken pictures of this wonder and were now selling 5 X 7″ photo prints in traffic. Strange story or biggest scam of the year? You decide.

Lagos being the crazy city it is, I never run out of amazing things to see everyday. Things such as a man holding the cab door open for a lady to enter first. This happened on Thursday. I was taken aback, surprised to see this guy who didn’t know me, open the door for me. This may seem ordinary to you but after a week of seeing even pregnant ladies been pushed off by desperate passengers hoping to get in a bus, seeing a gentleman was very refreshing.

Thursday turned out to be a busy day. We had an event-Dieko and Tunbosun’s engagement- to cover. I headed to the groom’s hotel room to take shots of him while my colleague covered the bride. The groom was quite camera-shy but after chatting with him and doing my best to make him relax, he got comfortable with having his pictures taken.

The event was fun to cover and will stand out in my mind as the first event where I was served food. If I had any doubts in my mind about wedding photography been physically challenging, those doubts got cleared on Friday morning. I woke up wondering what hit me. I became very aware of muscles I never knew I had. My leg felt like it had 50 kg weights strapped to it.

On Friday, we had what you could call a strategy meeting. Mr Seun Akisanmi met with the interns and discussed what we learnt at the previous day’s event and what we could do better subsequently; especially on saturday for the church wedding and reception.

On my way home on Friday, I met a former school colleague at Ojota and we got talking. We both graduated from the same faculty. He asked if I worked close by. I was dressed very casually but looked smart. I proudly told him, “I am now a photographer and work at Ikeja”. I think I impressed myself with the confidence with which I said it. It felt good.

It was a week full of fun, weird happenings and ridiculous stuff but I am glad it is over.

My name is Ronke Alao & I am proud to be a female photographer.

 

Meet the new “GAME-CHANGER”: Canon 70D


canon 70dTo be upfront, Canon has not yet paid me for this advert. But for all the photographers out there who strongly await the camera that will transform (for the better) their photography journey, here comes the “game-changer“. Lately, a few of the photographers I know have been clamoring to sell their current equipment to buy the latest cameras that have been coming from the stable of Nikon & Canon. Although its something I don’t support (i.e. selling your cameras to buy new ones), here are the features of the the soon-to-be-released Canon 70D for those dying to get a copy. For those planning on selling their “older” camera bodies, just holla at me at info@elophotos.com and I might be able to help you out (if your price is really great)

 CANON 70D Features (culled from Canon’s Website)

Dual Pixel CMOS AF
The EOS 70D features Canon’s all-new Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a revolutionary leap forward in speed and accuracy that unlocks the potential of Live View shooting. This game-changing technology will forever change what is possible with a DSLR camera.

Shoot Video Like a Camcorder
The benefits of the groundbreaking Dual Pixel CMOS AF are clearly evident in video shooting, where bringing scenes and subjects into focus is a critical element of the final composition. On the EOS 70D, Dual Pixel CMOS AF helps ensure focus is achieved naturally and precisely, even when switching between subjects. And, combined with the predictive power of Movie Servo AF, subjects in motion are smoothly and consistently tracked – once the EOS 70D locks focus, it doesn’t let go. Plus, with the shallow depth-of-field afforded by EOS optics, your video gains a cinematic ambience.

Compositional Freedom, Quick and Accurate Live View Focus
For stills, Dual Pixel CMOS AF makes Live View AF precise and faster than ever, freeing the photographer to take advantage of the freedom of angle afforded by the camera’s Vari-angle LCD monitor. Crisp focus can be obtained nearly instantly across a wide shooting area, especially useful for those spontaneous or fleeting shots. And, when composing and shooting in Live View mode, the image, exposure and chosen effects can be previewed before shooting, ensuring better accuracy, increased comfort, and more control from the start.

Compatible with 103 Canon EF Lenses
103 Canon EF lenses are able to fully realize the benefits of Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Compatible lenses greatly expand creative and compositional possibilities so users can enjoy a wide range of endeavors made possible through various lenses whether shooting still images or video.

The Genius of Pixel Based AF
Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a cutting-edge Canon technology, made possible by a sophisticated redesigning of the CMOS sensor. Traditionally, image sensors have one photodiode per pixel, but the CMOS sensor on the EOS 70D has two photodiodes per pixel, enabling each pixel on the sensor to both perform phase-difference detection autofocus and capture light – a first for EOS cameras. With phase-difference detection AF, autofocus is achieved quickly and easily on the camera. This unique AF system enables autofocus on 80% of the image plane, vertically and horizontally, and helps ensure virtually no loss in image quality.

The simplicity and convenience of wireless technology, built-in
The new EOS 70D incorporates cutting edge wireless technology right into its compact design. The camera’s exposure settings, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, focus, and shutter can be operated wirelessly using an iOS or Android smartphone* with the free Canon EOS Remote app**. Using a smartphone with the EOS Remote app** installed, you can shoot remotely from a distance, even in Live View mode, for those difficult-to-capture shots; you can also review images on the EOS 70D without having to take it out of the bag, and easily transfer and save images directly from the camera to a smartphone. Full DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatibility means easy sharing between the EOS 70D and other DLNA products, like HDTVs, smartphones and more. Still images can even be transferred between two wireless-enabled Canon cameras over a Local Area Network (LAN). Images and video can be uploaded instantly to CANON iMAGE GATEWAY# for easy sharing on social networking sites, and photos can even be printed on a wireless PictBridge certified printer without the need for a PC. Remarkably, the EOS 70D has all of these wireless features without the need for any additional accessories; they’re built right in!

AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective


I was privileged to see the movie “After Earth” at Silverbird Cinemas courtesy of my boss. Though I am not a fan of science fiction, I enjoyed the challenge of having to “analyze” the movie and see it not just for its entertainment value, but to see it through the eyes of a photographer. I went with my colleagues and we had one major assignment; to do a write-up on what we learnt from the movie as photographers. Highlighted below are the lessons I learnt.

Life Lessons
• Fear isn’t real; it is only a product of our imagination. Even where danger exists, fear only has as much power and influence as we give it over ourselves.
• When fear is given a chance in our lives, it paralyzes us and causes us to make irrational decisions that may put us in danger and then cause more fear. More like a vicious cycle.
• From time to time, we need to step out of our comfort zone not just to achieve greatness but to avoid living a life of mediocrity bound by fear.
• Experiences from our childhood can either help us be better people but it can also hold us back from living a full life as adults if we do not break-free of beliefs that hold us back or based on any truth. We sometimes need to launch out rather than playing it safe especially as artists.
• Things are not always what they seem. There are always exceptions to what people generally believe. The character played by Will Smith, (I think his name was General Cypher), told his son (Kitai) that everything on earth is inclined towards killing humans but Kitai “found favor” with a large bird who rescued him and kept him warm on a certain night when earth froze up.

Photography Lessons
Apart from the life lessons that I learnt from the movie, I also had moments where I could see certain scenes differently due to my photography background.
Layers: Understanding the concept of layers in photo shop was one that took me quite a while during photo shop class but it immediately came to mind when I saw the virtual screens that the General flipped through to see his son’s location per time. The screens weren’t all images of the same location but to me it looked like slices of f a block and I believe, helped me understand layers more.
Getting/Thinking Out Of The Box : Kata had to get out of the box of safety that he was in and do things he never thought he was capable of doing instead of complying with the “rules”. This is an important lesson as an artist, to step out of the norm, break the rules, do the unfamiliar in order to advance in one’s career
• The movie also had interesting composition in some scenes and use of light.

by Ronke Alao
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I steal BlackBerry DPs for a living


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Yes, the truth is finally out: I steal blackberry display pictures (DPs) for a living. Actually its more of a hobby as I am yet to get paid for doing this. For every photographer/artist out there that use their works as DPs, it is important you watermark them because you never know where they might end up

Attached are just 781 of the interesting DPs I’ve downloaded in the past 3 months from my BB contacts. I’ve tried my best to exclude “personal” & sensitive pictures but would still gladly delete any if you can prove that you’re the original owner. I’m still looking for more to download so don’t hesitate to add me. Enjoy. BB Pin: 271e3bc8