THE PHOTOGRAPHY DRIVE


The horrible noise of the alarm my chinko phone woke me up at exactly 5 AM on Monday morning, as I jumped off my bed to prepare for the new week. In less than 30 minutes I was ready and that means, am headed for eloPhotos Academy where am being groomed into becoming a world class photographer. Walking close to the bustop, I could hear the voices of the different bus conductors screaming at the top of their voices, “iyanoworo oshodi enter with your hundred naira change, I no want shout this early morning ooo”.  In no time, the bus moved and as I would usually do on Mondays, I started building expectations and things I wanted to achieve in the new week, and set up action plans in executing them.
8 AM on Mondays at ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY, is that time where we commune with our creator. When I say our creator you would easily know am talking about God,  yea am actually referring to him as creator because he made us creative and we assemble ourselves to thank and praise him for the gift of live and creativity.
10 AM and it was lecture time. The topic we discusses that day was POINT OF VIEW. There are mainly three types of point of view.
Before I name these three let me define POINT OF VIEW, this refers to the angle of which an image is captured from which comprises,
1. BIRD VIEW
2. EYE VIEW
3. LOW ANGLE SHOT.
The week continued to be a fun filled one learning. The high note of the week for me, started on Thursday when we were on an excursion to the PHOTO GARAGE. It was a beauty to behold at the garage, an average man would say nothing meaningful is being discussed in a garage, I bet you to it not in a PHOTO GARAGE with the conductor UCHE JAMES IROHA conducting the passengers. A lot was discussed at the garage on Thursday; issues of upcoming photographers, sharing from life experiences, introduction of passengers in the garage, refreshments and taking of pictures with the conductor UCHE JAMES IROHA.
In his closing words he said somethings that pricked me in the heart to concentrate and focus with stern attention to the gospel of photography of which am an ambassador. He said, work hard, and you will succeed because this is the hour, projected for darkness to operate, you either choose to make it fast or make it slowly or even die a failure! I became cold on hearing this words, I wondered is he (UCHE JAME IROHA) a prophet? Out of curiosity, I asked what can I do to achieve fast in this dark hour? He replied with three words of inspiration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. MONEY IS A GRADUATION OF SWEAT                                                                                                                                                                                       2. IF YOU GET AN INSPIRATION DO IT IMMEDIATELY                                                                                                                                               3. FAITH DON’T DENY REALITY, WE ONLY PUT OUR FAITH TO REALITY.
He also shared with us 6 steps of creating a photograph.
1.look with your eyes and examine the subject.
2.see what you want to shoot.
3.observe the subject you want to shoot.
4.study the environment.
5.confirm that what you see make sense.
6.SHOOT
IT WAS WONDERFUL BEEN AT THE PHOTO GARAGE; THANKS TO UCHE JAMES IROHA FOR HAVING US AND OUR HIGHLY ESTEEMED DIRECTOR, MR SEUN AKISANMI.

King Lemuel

The Galatians 6:7 Principle


For whoever is a Christian, Gal 6:7 would almost be in your list of well-read scriptures because it has over time, grown into a passage that every Tom, Dick and Harry uses to judge some situations whether they are right or wrong. Galatians 6:7 states that “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

I’ve come to understand that if you sow into the life of your mentor, you definitely would reap bountifully. Well, only on the condition that you sow right but then not sowing and sowing right would definitely attract its own fruits which would be the rewards. Many times, you don’t have to do this directly; it can also be done indirectly. There are a million and one ways to sow into the life of a mentor and I’d be listing a few. Paying a token to learn from such a person can be a form of sowing a seed. Buying him or her things is a way of connecting to not only the mentor but the creator of the mentor. Dedicating special time to understanding their vision and also helping them to achieve this is also a way of sowing a seed. It’s a common saying that when you climb on the shoulders of a mentor, you are able to do things more than them not because you are better but because of the pitfalls you have been able to see ahead and avoid as a result of the platform you’ve been raised on. This is also a way of sowing a seed because you promote them and bring out the greatness in them. Giving or sowing now as the topic implies provides the platform to also roll minds with great people; there are many times you get the opportunity to do a few things not really because you are qualified to do such things but because you’ve been able to adequately leverage on the platform that your sowing into the life of your mentor has provided for you.

When we look around us and we talk about great people, there are things that we will notice/observe about such a person be it their awards, financial splendour and the influence. The God that we serve is so great that it is only a fool that will not associate himself with Him. He will never give right to the left and left to the right

Seeds are hard to sow; it’s quite easy to throw the seeds of an orange away than culture it into being a big tree. It’s easier to just spend that money with you than sow it into the life of a mentor. It’s much easier to pray for yourself than involve the name of someone else in your prayers. Seeds are quite hard to sow but the reward is bountiful; so why not face the pain now and enjoy later. Ignore the pain and sow the seed. Ignore the difficulties and sow the seed.

I am Emmanuel Obanijesu Omole and I am a photographer.

COURAGE UNDER FIRE


“Courage under fire”, hmm you might be wondering what a title.

Let me ask you a question please!

Q:  You are a photojournalist covering a riot for a top notch newspaper. Your pictures are to tell the story of what transpired at your location of assignment; suddenly one of your colleagues is attacked. What will you do?

  • Help your colleague
  • Continue capturing images with you camera
  • Take to your heels

What will you do?

Meet Mr. Femi Akintobi, legendary photographer, veteran and award winning Nigerian photographer. He being in the above situation continued shooting, capturing those once in while stages of humans degradation back to his base tendencies. He not only captured the riot scenes, but also images of his colleague who was being handled roughly and injured by the rioters. This act of bravery; for it was bravery indeed, resulted in him being given an award for bravery by the management of the Punch then.

I first met Mr. Akintobi a few months back when I was delegated by my boss to give him a portrait session. It can be defined as that moment when an amateur meets a veteran, better still when “old” meets “new”. This was my first be-prepared-always-elophotos-baptism of fire. But to the glory of God, the result was in flying colors. This week’s “eloPhotos-baptism of fire”, came when I was told that I would be giving him a video interview. In eloPhotos you take the bull by the horn; I was giving a brief tutorial on video recording with a Dslr and I went off. The result was really more than I had imagined.

“A picture they say is worth more than a thousand words”, this is very true. In the course of going through many photographs taken by this veteran photographer, all I needed to do was take a photograph and ask him a simple question, ‘what happened here’ and he would recall decades in a split second and give a vivid detail of what happened. I was amazed when he linked photographs together at the same time telling the story behind each one and in the end giving you the entire story the photographs are telling.

The sad part of the interview was when I got to know that the day he had portrait shoot , while the shoot was going on his beloved wife passed on to glory. A place where we will all one day mark a register and give account of what we did with our time. Come to think of it supposing when we stand before the ALMIGHTY ready to give account of our life, what if our entire life is summed up into photographs and you’re giving the photographs one at a time with a simple question asked “what happened here”. Before the LORD of all the heavens and the earth in whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning, my fellow photog’s

Q: what will you do?

 

I am Oluwabusayo Alabi and I am a photographer!

Attached below are pictures of images I shot last week titled Project 40 – lizards.project 40 lizards busayo

Dear Kaduna Photographers….


Dear Kaduna Photographers,

Today’s scheduled workshop had to be cancelled  because we had an issue with the leadership of the photographers’ association over there.

image

Apparently they want us to settle them before we can hold a workshop there and are upset that we didn’t consult them before deciding to advertise the workshop. Although their argument that we’re committing a crime by planning to defraud photographers of their hard-earned N2k is borne out of ignorance of what we’re trying to achieve in the photography industry.

Consequently they’ve threatened to do whatever it will take to disrupt the workshop & I personally don’t have the energy at this point to face them knowing that I’ll be travelling by road to reach Kaduna (from Jos). If you’re a member of such an association that fights back at a good thing coming their way, please reconsider your reasons for joining as this will inadvertently result in the dwarfing of your photography career.

For those that are ignorant of the law, you’re only mandated to join an association if your photography business is NOT registered with the government (via Corporate Affairs Commission). And even if that is the only association that exists, you have the government’s permission to start another association that will be beneficial to the group of photographers that want to move forward in their careers. I wish you the best in your photography endeavours & pray that mindsets of people that think that my presence in Kaduna (or any other city) is a threat to their “territory” will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you happen to change your mind before the forthcoming Nigeria Photography Expo and Conference 2015 (which holds from June 13 to 15 in Abuja), I will personally make sure you get a a few complimentary tickets to attend some of the classes. Visit www.niphec.com/seminars for registration details.

To the leadership of the photography association, thanks for saving me the stress,  time &  money of getting to Kaduna. The rewarder of man will bless all our efforts. Let me go back to my comfortable bed and rest awhile, for there are 6 more photography territories to be conquered.

Port Harcourt, here I come.

Photographically yours,
Seun Akisanmi, for #NiPHEC2015

NiPHEC 2015……… 69% Loading….


Over 25 Workshops, Over 20 Facilitators, Over 2000 Photographers, 2 cities, ONE Conference. Kindly download and share the following graphics on your social media platform and help us spread the good news of photography. Click HERE for registration details.

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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

An Undeniable APPLICATION


Dear Sir,

APPLICATION FOR THE POSITION OF APPRENTICE

I humbly apply for a position as an apprentice in your photography school.
I am ALABI Oluwabusayo, a God fearing young man with a passion to touch lives and spread happiness. I chose photography mainly because I want to be able to experience and store the memories of the subject in the view finder of my camera. Also photography, as I found, is a visual way of capturing that illusive phenomenon called TIME. Our memories, be they sweet, pleasant, beautiful, dreadful, lovely or bitter all have they abode in TIME. Photography makes me (as a child of God, a Christian) truly appreciate the people I meet and get to know daily, because in a photograph our lost loved ones remain alive. And being the one with the eye behind the view finder, you remember every nanosecond before and after the shot.

I came across elophotos in September 2011, online before my NYSC. I visited elophotos academy in August 2013, where I met Mr Akisanmi and saw firsthand life in the academy. Haven spoken with some of the interns, I was hooked. One look at the interns rules of engagement, I realized this is serious business. Elophotos seeks to arm young creative minds with the arsenal to tackle problems they may face in the photography world and life as a whole, armed with weapons such as integrity, creativity, timeliness, professionalism and excellence.

I am young and intelligent, versatile, hardworking and ready to learn. I tackle problems with a possibility mind set and undaunted zeal. I hate to fail as well as disappoint, hence I face challenges head on. If in a team I can never be the weakest link, but a support for it in order to achieve our team goals. I have no doubt that I would be of immense benefit to this dynamic organization even as an apprentice if given this opportunity.

Yours faithfully,

ALABI Oluwabusayo

The NUMBER That Changed My LIFE: 12


One would the unprecedented emancipation of the enigmatic lacuna that juxtaposes the essence of the dozen in the seasonal variation in a calendar period. Wow! This could have been another one from Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon. In fact, this sentence requires a 2075 Edition of Cambridge Dictionary to understand. Well, it could simply mean that something unique happened in the month of December.

I could have concluded that I was at the Cinema or the number of movies I watched in recent times has really affected my mindset but this appears to be me as one of the cast. Are these truly the men of old? The twelve disciples gathered together and it seems they were waiting for someone. Apparently, there would have been a schedule for a meeting on that particular day. Suddenly, one of them supposedly to be Apostle Peter just called me…“Bro! Diplomat! Could you please come and quickly take our portrait as well as our group picture”. You mean me, I asked.

As if we had known each other from Adams. Who told him I am a photographer, I pondered within. Without much ado, I quickly jumped to the offer and brought out my camera, calling them one after the other. I didn’t identify them at first, until Peter was calling out their names to be in order. This was the first time in my life I photographed white aged men. Within me, I was wondering these men would have been resurrected several times.

Camera setting… Action…Smile… All these were my words. In fact, I was overwhelmed by how aged but agile these men were. I photographed them on and on but I could not but paused when I heard John called out Judas Iscariot. It was as if a documentary of him quickly ran through my mind. All his acts written in The Book ran through my memory. It took few seconds for me to bring back my camera to focus. While taking his portrait, in my mind as if my camera should just turn to a gun and shoot him. *winks* I can’t avenge for God but the Jackie Chan in me wanted to fight “Shoki” that moment. *laughs*

Consequently, the session went smooth though stressful because most of them did not bring out their best smiles despite my efforts. Eventually, they noticed the master they have been expecting was around the corner. They just quickly asked me to excuse them. “O my God!”, that could have been one of my best moments to photograph Jesus. That would have given me a Life time Award as a Photographer. Well, if they did not allow me see him, may be another time; I said. I immediately stepped aside to view all the pictures I took. Brrr…! What is this, I shouted. I didn’t put a memory card inside the camera I used.*sighs* this is a terrible mistake, I lamented.

Immediately, I saw myself by the bedside. What could have gone wrong? It is dark. I struggled to find my smart phone to check the time. It is 12 at mid night. I started wondering about everything. I tried to go back to sleep but I could not sleep till the dawn of the day. Ah! Today is the 12th day in the 12th month of the year. Is this a coincidence? I managed to sleep a little until I woke around 12 at noon. Wait! There is something fishing, I said. I remembered that I searched for a photography training institute on the internet some days back. I jumped off my bed. Getting out under a very scorching sun, I grabbed my wallet to check the address. Number 12b! Come! The number of the place is 12b! Definitely, there is a direction with this number. In fact, this is an insight towards my pathway of success in life. The place is eloPhotos. I’m into my second month of training and I’m glad for this awesome privilege. My name is Jide Jokodola & I’m not only going to be a world-class photographer but one with remarkable positive influence across this generation and the ones to come. Watch out for me.

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

The AKARA Experience


I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I decided I was old enough to cook. I can still PICTURE our kitchen at Ilaka street, Ilupeju, Lagos. It was going to be my first memorable experience at cooking AKARA. I figured out that I had eaten and seen enough akara to know to prepare one. For my non-Nigerian fans who are unfamiliar with Akara, it is blended beans that ends up being fried in cake balls (I hope I explained that well).

Anyway, I put what I figured to be the right amount of oil in the frying pan and excitedly prepared for frying experience I would never forget. I poured in a few scoops of the blended beans and started stirring. Yes, believe it or not, I was stirring the AKARA in the frying pan. As I continued with the stirring experience, I wondered to myself why the AKARA was not turning out to be the solid small balls I was used to being served by my wonderful mum. I had seen her many atimes stir ogi (blended corn) and had assumed that it was the same formula for the akara that was. Served side by side with the ogi.

I was wrong. What came out of that experimental stirring experience was what I would considered scrambled akara. If only I had swallowed my small pride and asked my mum for the right formula for creating world-class Nigerian Akara. If only I had asked, I would not have ended up with a scrambled portion of akara.

Fast forward to February 2014. During a conversation with one of the students at eloPhotos Academy, I asked him how many books he had read and digested on relationships and marriage. His response: “books don’t work for stuff like that, the Holy Spirit will guide me.” I decided it would not be a wise use of my time to argue with someone who felt it unnecessary to read books in order to get the right knowledge about an institution he was about to be contracted into for the rest of his life. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit teach the person photography, I thought. It would have been cheaper for the person not to have wasted financial resources to attend a program at eloPhotos Academy if indeed the Holy Spirit can teach us all things. Sometimes I think a lot of Christians can “overspiritualize” issues.
And herein lies my point. If you’re considering going on an adventure of which you know little or nothing about, it is only wisdom (or put another way, common sense) if you attempt to climb on the shoulders of people that have been there before. You do that when you spend time with them, read books and listen to their directions, advise and admonitions.

My emphasis is on the multitudes of people that are rushing at lightning speed to enter into the kingdom of photography. Many feel that they need no form of education and that all they need is a Nikon D4 (just like a young lad recently psyched the mum to invest N1.6 million to acquire). Its like waking up and deciding that since one needs to learn how to drive, the next step is to go to the car dealership and order a Rolls Royce.

It is on this premise that I’ve decided to focus with laser accuracy on raising world-class photographers via the platform called eloPhotos Academy & Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC). It is on this premise that I’ve decided to do my best to make sure that people that care to learn from me will not repeat my AKARA experience. It is on this premise that I’ve deliberately unconsciously developed a weakness for accumulating over 150 books on photography alone….just so that I can get the right education as not to repeat my 1987 AKARA experience

Even if you decide not to use the aforementioned platforms to establish or strengthen your photography foundation, please make sure you get some form of education before acquiring photography gadgets that I can bet you won’t utilize up to 30% of its functions.

Even if you’ve already made the “wise” mistake of plunging headlong alone, swallow your pride and talk to someone that can help you be a better photographer and photopreneur (this applies to other industries also). Even with the little I know, I’m still learning everyday. I just finished talking to one of my colleagues I respect very much, Shola Animashaun, about how to handle a “copyright” issue I was having with a client. At the end of the conversation, I learnt how to better price myself for photography jobs for client like the one I was having issues with.

So before you use all that funds to buy the latest photography gadget (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE JUST ENTERING THE INDUSTRY), get some form of education that will hopefully prevent you from an AKARA experience. Better yet, take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Your photography destiny will not be the same.

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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.

Photography Workshop in Abule-Egba: Doing It Better


Earlier in the month, I was privileged to teach at a photography workshop organized by G-Janth Print Lab situated in Abule-Egba, Lagos. It was particularly interesting to know that a number of the photographers in attendance were  my father’s age-mate. Interesting to know that this many photographers were really hungry to do better in their photography. The workshop was titled “Doing It Better” and we discussed issues ranging from marketing your photography to branding. Attached are some of the pictures taken.
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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

Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (1) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (2) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (3) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (4) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (5) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (6)

The Family Portrait Session of the Century


The year was 2007 AD. April to be precise. I was preparing for my first solo photography exhibition. The venue was Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island. The idea of a solo exhibition had been borne out of the need to get financial resources to look for a new office space because my then landlord (for the office) had given me an eviction notice. The exhibition will eventually turn out to be one of my first series of great marketing feats as a photographer. Great unforgettable lessons would come of it too.

After the first day of exhibiting, I would eventually get an interesting call at around 9pm. It originated from one of the clients whose picture I was showcasing at the exhibition venue. It would eventually turn out to be a moment I would never forget (even if I have a brain transplant).

Let’s take a few steps back in time. Precisely 6 weeks before the exhibition. I was preparing to photograph my friend’s family in one of the most beautiful homes I had ever stepped into. Steve had been a family friend of over 15 years. When he found out I was into photography, he decided I was the best person to help document some moments in their life. We decided a session with his wife and 2 daughters at his brother’s mansion would be sufficient.

We agreed that in exchange for doing a complimentary session for his family, I would have the rights to use the pictures for marketing purposes. At least I could have sworn I made that clear. But there were no written documents to back up the verbal agreement. Afterall we were friends and what could happen.

What did happen eventually turned out to be more of a heart breaker than I had expected. I had gone ahead to use 2 of the pictures for the Silverbird exhibition and the wife had seen the framed exhibits on the first day. He expressed his dissatisfaction with her husband (Steve) about how I was revealing to the world their personal family moments. Steve had called me to ask that I remove the pictures from the exhibition. I was surprised. I was shocked.

I was surprised because I thought we had an understanding (albeit unwritten) about me using the pictures for my marketing purposes. I was surprised because the only compensation I got for the shoot was a nylon bag of snacks from Mr Biggs. I was upset because the first and best family portraits eloPhotos ever had would be considered too beautiful for the world to see. I was speechless.

For the sake of peace, I would eventually give them the framed pictures at no cost as a token of how sorry I felt for hurting the wife’s feelings. It was a painful gift. More painful now that I know that its one of the best family portrait sessions I have ever taken. The thought of the beauty of the pictures almost always brings out a tear in my eyes.

Ever since that day, I learnt the hard way not to photograph any client (even if its Michael Jackson or Tu Face) without a written documentation of the expectations of both parties: photographer & photographee :). Sometimes I’ve lost some jobs because of the fact that I put things in writing. But I have no regrets. One of the major bone of contention is the argument of who really owns the right to a picture. That’s why I try to put it in my terms & conditions the following clause before a client decides whether they really want me as their photographer:

“The fee we billed for the wedding coverage entails us having the right to use the pictures for our portfolio, samples, self-promotions, entry in photographic contests, art exhibitions, editorial or for use on any of our social media platform. We usually try to clarify this to clients before any job so as to avoid any arguments in the future. Usually what ends up happening is that we use a few of the best pictures to promote what we do. Clients that usually don’t allow this pay an extra premium for us to relinquish those rights. Please do let us know what your on that is.”

The lesson has been learnt. The deed has been done. Thanks to the family portrait session of the century & Mr Biggs, I’ll always try to remember to put things into writing before bringing out my camera to SHOOT anyone.
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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 ENLIGHTENED Makeup Artist


My journey into the world of photography was generated by passion and motivated on my quest for excellence.
As a professional makeup artist (MUA) I was tired of begging photographers at events to help me take shots  ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the bride, which most times disappoint.  I had to resolve to the use of my camera phone which could only do little and these affected my profile and credibility. I remember sharing my ordeal with my uncle who later got me a DSLR (Canon EOS 50D) in 2009 on is way from UK.
Hmmm! now I have a DSLR; problem solved someone would have thought but that only introduced me to a greater challenge of getting professional shots like Seun Akisami, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Jide Alakija, TCD, Atunbi (to mention but a few).
 I barely understood the functions of the machine I had even with the manual attached. I enquired what the problem was from pros in the industry. One said to me, you need a reflector to use this kind of camera to get this kind of shot, so I rushed to the market and got a 5 faced reflector. Another said, you need an external flash with a 50mm lens and I got one. Yet I met another photographer who told me all you need is a zoom lens for that portrait shot and I kept buying. The funniest of this was when I went shopping for strobes and beauty dish after a photographer friend had honestly told me to set up a photo studio since I already have almost all the necessary equipment to setup. I am sure you know what happened there after..lol
At this point you must have thought I was some daughter of a millionaire to be buying all of these. Not so true although I’ve had my own share in life struggles. With all of this put together, one will confuse me for a professional photographer at an event because most of these equipment were not owned by many photographers. On several occasions, I get many of them using my equipment to get better shots while I still battle with my auto mode on my DSLR.

Why not go for a training you would have said? But most professional photography academy didn’t have a flexible time table which would permit me time to do my business while I get trained.

My story changed when I met a family friend who took me through his archives and told me he had learnt photography at eloPhotos Academy during his holiday just for two days. My face was beaming with surprise because he sounded unbelievable. I had to make him use my camera to confirm he was telling the truth and truly my doubt was confirmed as invalid.  I joined the next session (July 2014) at eloPhotos Academy and not only did I learn but in 3days I was a better photographer and person. 

Now I understand the functions of each of my equipment including my beauty dish. Before I forget, you do not only learn photography at eloPhotos; you also learn how to become a successful brand. You don’t want to know the number of books I have had to read up on Business, Life and Photography as it is a watchword at eloPhotos. And I am loving every bit of it. Thanks to my coach, SEUN AKISANMI, you can call me Yetunde Bakare Adedayo the photographer with a twist.

Note to fellow MUAS: Get yourself trained at eloPhotos Academy to understand the business of photography in relation with your job; at least you will stop being a thesis for so called event photographers who only enjoy using your equipment to get great shots while they leave you with poor pictures for your profile. You should be the first beneficiary of your equipment. Attached are a few pictures I took during the 3days training. Do drop your comments and let me know what you think.
# elo photo 123.CR2 elo photo 0991

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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

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

The Hot-Tempered Photographer


I was recently told the story of one of my relatives that once ran a photography business. It happened that after delivering the finished product (albums, photo frames, etc) to his clients, he usually had a challenge getting his outstanding balance from them.

A client that owed him a balance of N20k would offer to pay 10 installments of N2k and my photographer “relative” will vehemently reject the offer. He would get so angry at the client that he would eventually tell the client not to bother paying the balance. He would repeat the same gesture to most of his clients.

This eventually became one of the main reasons why Relative Photography Studios is no longer in business. If you were in his shoes, how would you react to someone that owes you N20k and is offering to make 10 installments (or other seemingly outrageous offer) of N2k each?
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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

Unstructured Ramblings of a JJC Photographer


It hurts me bad anytime am being tagged a JJC (Johnny Just Come) I think it’s just a polite way of saying you are dumb but come to think of it when you have no idea or little idea of something or in a new place and u wear a confused strange look just because you have a little or no information about how to go about things or places “O boy you b JJC o”. But it isn’t totally bad to be a JJC I mean u only have an opportunity to be a JJC once so be proud of it.

I got in as an intern at eloPhotos with just the basic knowledge of photography and this past week has been what I call “eye opening and sweat poring”. I commend my strength because having to wake up 4am in the morning and getting to work latest by 7:30am ‘’no be beans o’’. If you would ask me it isn’t even my strength that works for me, it’s my passion that drives me. I’ve had opportunity to work at places where I wake up early to get to work and get back home late, sleep sad and wake sad unhappy with myself, but my love for photography keeps me going like the love of Christ .Whoever said photography was all about taking the shot should better shut up!

How else can I describe this week without stopping to think that it’s just one out of 24weeks at eloPhotos designed to structure me to be a professional photographer. This week I learnt by observing and practising, from photoshop down to making a photo book. Making a Photo book it’s quite interesting a process unlike having to practise Photoshop. you would like to believe me when I say the chemistry between me and Photoshop isn’t starting well at all: once am over 5 minutes on it I tend to feel feverish. I just pray I get a quick antidote to treat my Photoshop fever. All these experiences won’t be complete if I fail to talk about “the magical experience”: getting to see a 3D Photo frame was a magical for a JJC like myself. I would have loved to shed tears (like my boss) but…my teary gland failed. If you have not gotten a glimpse of a 3D Photo Frame I think you should be on the next bus to eloPhotos.

I simply can’t say enough about this week without mentioning my colleague (Mr Owabie). Well to me I think that man is just a setup for me to lose weight. Seriously, no distance is too much for his feet to trek and if you ask him all he says is “it’s not far now”. We were assigned together to take the shot of the “3 Elders of Lagos” (Aro Meta) and this man made me trek from secretariat to the location and back to the office. I almost fainted and at the point he saw that I was losing my strength he said “I think you need sugar now” & proceeded to buy me a bottle of coke. Interesting ain’t it? Well I have no regret whatsoever. Infact I would like to learn more perseverance from him as I develop to be the best I can be.

Never would I forget my first task this week: it was a very remarkable one. I went with my colleague to the lab to get some prints done. On getting there, my colleague stepped out to get some other things we would need at work so I was left alone with some other photographers. There was this particular one that kept flaunting his works on his laptop to his friends. With my eyes glued to the screen and my heart whispering “wow” I stood amazed. After a long minute of staring, suddenly the guy turned at me and asked “are you a photographer too?” In shock I lost the reply “was I?” I shook my head to say “No” and just immediately again nodded “Yes”. Apparently we were both confused. He looked at me again and asked “so what do you do?” I said “I’m actually a photographer, but an intern. “Oh, Ok”. I listened as his friend whispered to him silently “she be JJC”. I felt so embarrassed, but what was there to be angry about?

Who am I? I asked myself. I am Temitope Adeniyan and I’m a JJC photographer, but not for long. I am simply a work in progress.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Dear Photography Diary….One Step at a Time


Dear Diary,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographically Yours,
Temitope Adeniyan

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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

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.

Proudly WEIRD & Loving It


So the weird Seun Akisanmi checked the dictionary for the meaning of ‘Weird’ and he became excited. The word weird has been commonly used to describe people who are non-conformists and won’t do things the usual way, but I was surprised to see that it also means ‘something supernatural’! That explains the reason behind what we do at eloPhotos. So please call me weird, because I am really of the supernatural breed. Anyway, only weird people will do things the way we do at eloPhotos.

I remember during the office devotion last Monday, when Mr Seun told us about how unacceptable it is to give excuses for not accomplishing a task.”All I want is result, No excuse is acceptable, however genuine it sounds” he said and I quite agree with him. The act of going the extra mile to get a task accomplished is one that we all need to imbibe.

Then came the Vision assignment – Describe a day in your life in 2020 – due for submission the next day before the close of work. I have heard my Pastor talk about the power of vision and Imaginations, but I just never found time to write it, or better put, I never had the discipline to sit down and picture such a day. But with a deadline in view, I didn’t have a choice than to sit down and picture myself in 2020. Believe me, its the greatest exercise I’ve ever done. The future became more real to me than ever. I encourage everyone to take that exercise too. Click here to read about my day in 2020.

Have you ever seen a complimentary card printed on a film? That’s another weird part of us at eloPhotos. Our complimentary cards are uniquely designed to portray the creativity that we stand for. Coming in contact with our complimentary card should make you want to  associate with us.

In other news: So my sister, as I fondly call her is now a graduate! My stay at eloPhotos so far has been an exciting one, but meeting the great Ronke Alao has made it even more exciting. She’s such a lady you can never have a dull moment around. I’ve tapped from her wealth of knowledge and skills both in photography and other areas of life. Her human relations skill is just amazing. I am most intrigued about her attitude to work.

In the few weeks I’ve been around her, I’ve watched her dedication and loyalty to the organisation. You can’t beat her ability to relate a story. When she tells a story, you don’t have to wish you had a first-hand experience because she tells the story and includes all the emotions. I’ll sure miss her, but most importantly, I wish her the very best in her photography career. Now I become the only lady amidst these weird men at eloPhotos.

This new week is sure going to be better for me than the past week, as I look forward to acquiring new skills and knowledge and most importantly make the best of the resources I have at my disposal. Attached is a picture I took last week. What do you think of it?

Vegetables - Eat and Live

Photographically Yours,
Damilola Opawale

Welcoming The New Intern: OLAJIDE Sotunde


It all started when I found myself at the Lagos edition of WHATEVERITTAKES.

When he told us that the workshop would end at around 5pm, I didn’t feel bothered because I thought, ‘what kind of a workshop would start around 9am and end at 5pm?’ I figured it wasn’t “possible” – a word I have, within the very short period I have known this man, come to realise does not exist in reality.

I’m sure by now, anyone reading this would be wondering who I’m talking about. Well, I’ll just in a few seconds introduce you to my new boss. I’m sure some of you have met him, some have read about him or his article and some have had the privilege of working with him directly. He is ‘The Weird’ Seun Akisanmi (‘weird’ as he is fondly described by other members of the house).

The workshop tagged ‘WHATEVERITTAKES’ the Lagos edition, was held at eloPhotos office in Ikeja and that was the first time I met Mr. Seun Akisanmi, a poet, writer as you all know, a photographer which need not be mentioned, a teacher and so on.

Well, don’t think I’m just singing praises of him, you’d do more if you were in my shoes. I never thought I could sit and listen to a talk that’ll last up to 3 hours. It had never happened, (without boredom) and until that day, I never thought it could happen but Mr Seun made it happen. I didn’t realise I had sat for that long, not until the workshop was brought to an end at around 6pm, Whao!!. Only one thing could make that happen though, an interesting talk coupled with contributions from interesting people among the attendees whom I felt very honored to have met. They included the one and only Ronke Alao herself, Dr. Femi Adewuyi, yes, a medical doctor who is also a professional photographer just in case you are wondering.

In attendance were some other members of the house; Damilola, also a female medical student; Emmanuel, Toye, Onos and the rest. These are real photographers with a lot of passion for the business of photography.

At first, I thought, what would make a medical doctor take photography as another profession, or a hobby as the case may be. It didn’t take me much time to figure it out; do what you enjoy doing most and in no time, you’ll find yourself doing it well without any regret or boredom.

Photography could be done for pleasure and/or for business. To me, there is one thing about doing things, and the thing is ‘doing what you like/enjoy doing’, especially when you are going to be getting paid for doing it. That is what photography is to me and so why won’t I give it ‘whatever it takes?’ When the workshop came to an end, I felt like, ‘yes, now I can go and conquer the world of photography.’ That was how much confidence and ideas the opportunity of attending the workshop imparted in me as a person.

With this kind of opportunity at eloPhotos, I thought it would be wise if I enrolled and tap into more of such opportunities, and here I am, one of the newest interns at eloPhotos. As I said earlier, one of our watch words at eloPhotos is ‘nothing is impossible’. There is no limitation in the world of photography, just like art which I love so much, and intend to express through photography. I Love PHOTOGRAPHY, I love ART, I love PHOTOART.

I am Olajide Sotunde

 

A Day in My Life in 2020: Sotunde Olajide


I think I can remember some of those times in class when our teachers would ask us, ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’. Our responses were usually like, ‘I would like to be a lawyer, I would like to be a medical doctor, pilot, nurse, engineer, police’ and so on. Very few ones would choose a less attractive profession. In few cases would you hear professions like ‘teacher, civil servant’ etc, and the reason would be that, the parents of those that would choose such professions were actually in the profession. Well, some of us did become what we wished to become and some, a twisted fate, which was either as a result of our actions, or unforeseen circumstances.

I’m sure you are wondering what my own wish then was, or used to be. Well, I used to consider the Law profession, in actual fact that was what I wanted but deep inside me, being an artist was more of it. I was allocated a specific time for personal studies in the evening but while my guardians would think I was studying to become a lawyer, I would actually be making a lot of sketches from comic books, and every other attractive picture I could lay my hands on. With that, I was deriving pleasure and satisfaction in being young and reckless. I never thought I needed to give it a lot more to realize this dream. Well, all that is in the past now, I am a photographer in the present and we are looking at the future which brings us to the main discussion; where I see myself in the year 2020.

Well, its always good when you have these kind of discussions, in the sense that it ‘gingers’ you or wakes you up from your slumber. The first time I saw a documentary on Kelechi Amadi-Obi whom till present is a renown photographer and an artist, I found yet another  reason to rekindle my love for art and a better reason to be whom I have always loved to be; an artist or to be more precise, a ‘photo artist’.

In the nearest future, say in 2014, I see myself having my own photography studio somewhere in Lagos. I would employ people whom together, we would be working to actualize our dreams. Also, I would be striving harder, exploring all there is in the world of photography and art in the pursuit of actualizing my dream of being a renown ‘photo artist.’ In two to four years or so, I should have been well established in business and so, move to the next plan which is having my own gallery.

By 2016 or 2017, I think I would have prepared a good ground for having a world class/standard gallery, especially when I probably would have got all the support I could from my boss Seun Akisanmi, and the bosses I am yet to have, (Kelechi Amadi-Obi and the rest. Don’t get it twisted, I mean support in terms of ‘how to’), I think I wouldn’t have any problem in that area. By then also, I should have had connections with a lot of world class models whom I would have met everywhere in and outside the country. Oh! I forgot to mention that I would have traveled abroad in a quest to gain more knowledge on how to be a good ‘photo artist’ so don’t worry; if you are a model or are planning to be, we might work together soon.

Then by 2018, I would be thinking of how to expand my coast. I would have had photo studios located in Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Kano and Jos too. By this time I should be in UK or USA trying to see how I can establish businesses in those places also or may be would have. Let me also mention that my investments will also cover sales and rentage of photography equipment such as professional cameras, lenses, lights, photo papers and ribbons etc. By 2020, I should be participating in photo exhibitions alongside the Kelechi Amadi-Obis and Seun Akisanmis, and by then also, you all would be having my piece hanging on the walls of your homes and offices, so help me God.

 

Challenges Of Being A Female Photographer


It was a different kind of Tuesday for me. I didn’t have to wake up extra early, (though my "body alarm clock" somehow woke me up at the usual time), I wasn’t about to get on the road as early as 5.30am. Monday had been hectic with terrible traffic jam on Ikorodu road in the evening. I walked all the way from Ojota to Mile 12 and even beyond before begging two guys driving a private car to give me a ride to Ikorodu.

Before leaving the office that Monday, my boss had given me the assignment of following up with a potential client at Victoria Island, Lagos the next day. I, in turn persuaded him to let me go from home rather than have to report at the office first and he agreed. I was to be accompanied by my female colleague, (Dammy). My decision to go to the Island from home was well thought out. Why go through hellish traffic in the morning to get to the office and then set out on another journey to the Island when I could travel from Ikorodu to VI by water and be at my destination in less than an hour? Who needs more time to waste in traffic?

I left home at 8.55am and headed for the Jetty. On getting there, I bought my ticket and in a few minutes, I was sitted in the boat, looking like a pumpkin in the life jacket I had been given. Hoping for an exciting ride, and fastening my proverbial seat belt, I brought out my Blackberry phone and pulled up the Bible app as the boat took off. For some unknown reason, I found myself reading 1 Corinthians 7 – you know where the bible talks about marriage, fidelity and divorce. From the corner of my eye, I could see the guy next to me, spying and stylishly reading what I was reading. He read for a few seconds and looked at me funny. His gaze almost made me feel like I was staring at porn instead of reading the bible.

In thirty short minutes, we were at Victoria Island. It felt so good. I mean, Ikorodu to VI in 30 minutes! Like one of my pastors would say, "You can’t beat it with a stick!". I got off the boat and took a cab to the client’s office that took about five minutes. Even though I was extra early, I had to wait for my colleague so we could see the client in his office together. Our assignment seemed simple enough; inform him of the packages we had for a day’s coverage of event, what we charge and also show him a sample of our album.

Soon as my colleague arrived, we made our way into the office and after meeting the receptionist and sitting for a few minutes, we were face to face with the man we hoped would hire us to cover his birthday party. In fifteen minutes, it had become apparent to me that he wasn’t really interested in hiring us. He kept stating he didn’t like the design of our sample photobook even though we made it clear that we design an album to each client’s specification and would be glad to know what he appreciates so we can make a custom-design just for him.

When he was done looking at the sample album, the quiz session started. He wanted to know our ages, where we lived and why we chose to be photographers. The questions kept rolling in. Soon, I signaled to Dammy that it was time to leave. On telling our client that, he asked us to wait. As he went to a corner of his office hidden from plain sight, I thought,"Oh great, perhaps he wants to get us some change to spend in transporting ourselves back to the office". Nice right?

After what seemed like eternity to me, he emerged and asked me to come. I followed him to the office corner wondering what the drama was about. Just then, he handed me a few crisp One thousand naira notes and said, "Use that to get a cab to your office". I was slightly surprised at the number of notes he had just given us though I didn’t know exactly how much it was just yet. Then he said, "I’d like to see you privately. Let me know when I can see you alone". At this point, my suspicions were confirmed. He wasn’t looking for photographers but rather for a girlfriend. So after this married man found out that I was married, he still wanted to date me. I was nauseated. This had to be the most annoying challenge of being a female photographer I guess. When someone who is old enough to be your dad disguises as a client while he is in fact trying to date you; it gives occupational hazard a whole new meaning. A camera-carrying lady, in a pair of loose-fitting jeans and hair that fits somewhere between braids and dreadlocks becomes sexier than a lady wearing a mini skirt or some other outrageous outfit.

Back to the office. This past week, I had the task of designing the album of a funeral event we covered. We were hired by the sister of the late man. My Photoshop skills have improved but I do not yet have the skills of Onos – our current Photoshop champion. Designing such an album required some serious thinking. It wasn’t as straight forward as designing a wedding album in my opinion. Would you include pictures of the corpse? If yes, how many was sufficient? Would you include pictures of where your client got very emotional and probably had tears running into his/her open mouth? Eventually, we had to use our discretion, knowing that we could always tweak the design if the client didn’t approve it.

We interns also had to report to the office on Saturday to learn how to use SmugMug – a software made for photographers who need a website that displays their pictures beautifully. I think you should check it out at info’ to get $5 off your $60 yearly fee: …you can thank me later). It’s a photographer’s dream. We also learnt how to be futuristic in our thinking when it comes to choosing business names, website domains and the likes.

Perhaps one of the questions I was faced with and that everyone who calls himself/herself a photographer should ask is, "For how long do I plan to be in the photography business?". Perhaps you have other interests and dreams that are not photography-related, at what point do you intend to work on those? Would you do them side-by-side with photography or what’s the plan?

Planning the next three to five years of your life helps you make the most use of your time and other resources now because you know where you are headed. Don’t just let life happen to you, be deliberate about how you live it.

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

A Photographer’s PSALM


Composing a song is much difficult than I thought. David would have done a very tough work composing those Psalms. Kudos to all song writers who are taking the time to write the good songs we listen to. It started on Monday when Mr. Seun at the weekly devotion challenged us to write a new song for God; something I had never thought of doing. He challenged us that if the Psalmist as a person could write those songs, so can we.

So I began ruminating on a new song I would sing for my God. This was a psalm I came up with:

There is none like you o Lord; you are great

Numerous are your works; uncountable are your deeds

You created the heavens and the earth; in your hands they are laid bare

Our ways are unto you comical; your ways are unto us mystical

You are empirical: revealing your way to the feeble

Only the child at heart can comprehend

Therefore From the depth of my heart

I confess that you are great.

I believe I have done a good job. I am not a songwriter but singing a new song is what I encourage everyone to put into practice. It is also a way to task your creative mind.

Fast forward to Thursday, my best day of the week. I took the kind of pictures I had always admired. I had my first studio session with a model. It was a wonderful experience for me; the session was scheduled for 1 pm but started about 50 minutes behind schedule due to the normal “African time”. We have to get that mentality out of our system fast.

I was a bit nervous but thanks to Tayo Babalola who assisted me on the shoot, it was a huge success.  Maria (the model) and her makeup artist Esther did a great job; they were both satisfied at the service I rendered. The shoot ended at about 8:30 pm after four rounds of costume change. I was amazed at the quality of pictures I got.

Part of the things I learnt from the shoot is professionalism. The model insisted on drafting a signed agreement which challenged me a lot. In this business, a detailed agreement can never be overemphasized even when the services are rendered at no cost. This will help both parties (the client and the photographer) understand the terms and conditions of the contract as well as keep one in check from defaulting.

Toye Peters

Your Photographer Psalmist

A Poem Called HONESTY


The event was Daystar Christian Centre‘s Excellence In Leadership Conference (ELC). We were all to report at the venue of the conference on Wednesday morning to attend the general session. Mr Seun was privileged to be one of the speakers; He was there to recite a poem titled, “Corruption: Not an Option”. Apart from attending the conference, I also had the privilege of babysitting Mr Seun’s seven month old baby, Ebenezer, who I like to call “Ebby”. She was calm for the most part but towards the end of the session, she figured my face wasn’t familiar enough so she started squealing. Babies have their special way of announcing, “I want my mama! This is not my mama”. It was an interesting experience.

Back to the conference, when it was time for Mr Seun to be called out on stage for his recital, he was introduced as Seun Ofure, (Ofure is his wife’s name). I remember thinking that was a stage name of some sort. Well, it wasn’t. He came up and re-introduced himself as Seun Akisanmi. The poem recital was complete with theatrics and a strong message; the crowd loved it. I didn’t think people appreciated poems that much. It got me thinking about my poem writing skill that I’ve kept on the shelf for so long. So I decided to share one of my poems with you this week and what better poem to share than the one that talks about one of the core values of eloPhotos: Honesty

Nothing speaks like it
Standing for the truth in every situation
Even when it isn’t popular,
Even when one stands to lose something dear- a job, an esteemed position, friendship… whatever – being honest at all times makes one outstanding.
An honest man is always dependable
You can be sure you’ll get the truth from him
No matter what- even when his neck is on the line.
In this age when it seems truth has no value
And it’s winner takes all
Do not be deceived, even dishonest people value honesty in others.
Employers value it in employees
Parents value it in children
Without it, friendship is nothing but a joke
It is priceless, so
Dare to be different,
Dare to be HONEST

Composed by Ronke Alao

92 Days of Adventure in Photography


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

The FASTEST Way To Destroy Your Photography Business


I got a call about 3 weeks ago from a disgruntled client of a colleague of mine. Apparently since my colleague (whom at this point I’m not pleased to be associated with) has covered their wedding in August, no album or DVD has been delivered. I eventually called the photographer in question hoping that the story the client told me had some holes. He eventually admitted that everything the client said was true and that he will unfailingly deliver the album on October 24, 2013 (2 weeks after the call). I insisted that he should put a call through to the client and stop avoiding the clients call; something I consider to be the highest level of disrespect towards a client.

October 24 came and went and I eventually called the client in question to ask if anything had been delivered. To my surprise (and I must admit, I was very surprised), the photographer had neither delivered the job nor called the client to give a cogent reason for not meeting the deadline (of which there no longer seems to be a reason that will be cogent enough). The following was the mail that the client eventually sent to the photographer.

Hello Lagbaja,
24th of october has elasped which is the EXTENDED DEAD LINE for our Wedding Video/Photo book to be ready. You have taken I and my Wife for granted again & again and I have always reasoned with you and spoken to you calmly cos we are CITIZEN’S of BLW NATION. I had to call up your Coach to talk to him about your actions, which resulted to the 14 days extra which elapsed yesterday 24th October 2013, and By that action We have exhausted all our options. Am giving you a 7 days period of GRACE from today 25th October-1 November 2013. From 2nd November, 2013 ACTIONS will be taken against you, If We don’t get our wedding materials.
Regards,
Your Disgruntled Client

What makes this situation personal for me was the fact that the client contacted me because he found out that the photographer did a course in our photography academy. As much as I was not happy about the misdeeds of the photographer in question, I’ve noticed some service providers engage in such unethical behavior (something I’ve been also guilty of). However, I’ve discovered that this is the worst type of marketing you can provide for your business as a dissatisfied client is likely to market his dissatisfaction to 30 or more people while a satisfied client might market to just 5 or more people. Either way you do the maths, you’re on the pathway to looking for a new job in another industry (hoping someone will even hire you) if this is not stopped. And sometimes, all it takes is for one client to be disgruntled; you’ll need to build about 2-5 years worth of goodwill to cover the heart-break you’ve caused. I’ve been there and can tell you that as a fact.

This is an attempt to appeal to the photographer in question and to all service providers (especially in Nigeria) to desist from such unscrupulous behavior as it only ends in the pathway of destruction. We all have issues we deal with, but I’ve since realized that the average client/person is usually understanding when you keep them in the loop of what is happening instead of avoiding their calls or calling them back. The least we can do is to keep in touch and call or email the client. They deserve that. Either do that or refund the clients’ money (something most client might not even prefer especially since they only plan to do the ceremony once in a lifetime). It’s another way of robbing them of their money at gun point. Enough said. Let’s strive to be business people with Integrity.

 

The Day I Shot Some Soldiers


I have stayed long enough in medical school to understand that almost everything has a technical term by which they are called, especially in the world of phobias. Phobia for almost everything has a name:
Claustrophobiafear of enclosure
Sitiophobia – fear of food
Anemophobia – fear of air
Coprophobia – fear of faecal matter
Anthrophobia – fear of flower
Phobophobia – fear of fear itself.

But fear of soldiers or guns, what do we call that? Or you think such phobias don’t exist? Trust me, they do. It was the worse thing that could happen to a harmless female photographer while behind the camera attempting to shoot some soldiers. Its interesting writing about it now, but at the very time it happened I wasn’t laughing.

The last two working days of the week was fun. Doing a funeral photography for the first, in the ancient city of Ibadan (I had only been there twice) was for me a fantastic experience. With that excitement, I jumped up and down, and from point to point, trying to capture interesting moments of the event. The service of song went well the day before the incidence am about to describe happened. So with that excitement, I went the next day, with my other female photographer colleague (the GREAT Ronke Alao),  to cover the lying in-state at the home of the deceased. Distinguished dignitaries were present at the event, so were their soldier entourages.

Just before the lying in state started, I decided to take photographs of other side events like the food session, the condolence register, a side view of the beautiful house etc. It was while I was doing this I noticed the soldiers standing with their guns and I thought that would also make some nice shots, thinking about it now, I realize how silly that decision was. Well thank God I did, at least, it gave me something to write about.

I didn’t even know what gave me the effrontery to move close to them in an attempt to take the shots. They stood in two groups, three soldiers in each group. I had taken a shot of the first group, and still feeling cool with myself, I started focusing my lens to shoot the second group. As I looked into the camera, I saw to my surprise the soldiers pointing their guns at me!!! Was that a pose or what I asked myself. Just then, one of them ordered me to come close.

At that point, all my excitement turned into cold flushes of fear and it traveled with turbulence through my blood vessels. I wished for rigor mortis (stiffening of my joint and muscles, the type seen in dead bodies; pardon my medical jargon) but my feet moved in the direction of the pointed guns. It all happened in a split of seconds, but that was long enough for my heart to travel down to my mouth. Thank God my boss had taught me about the importance of always having the camera strap on the neck, it saved my camera that day because I would have dropped it on the floor while shivering with fear, had the strapp not been on my neck.

“Why you dey snap us photo? Who you be? Who send you message? You no know say dem no dey snap soldier?”
– the soldiers asked me, All I could say was “Am sorry sir”, with a shivering voice. Another soldier ordered me to show them the picture of them I took. I quickly reached for the camera which was hanging on my neck and showed them the picture. They ordered me to delete it. “Yes sir” I replied and I reached for the delete key at once. “You sure say e no remain there”? one of them asked me wanting to know if I still had any other picture of them on the camera. “e don finish”, I replied, bending my knees with each response as a show of submission, respect and humility. They threatened that they would deal with me if they ever saw me point the camera at them again. Well, they really didn’t have to tell me that, I had learnt my lessons.

Just while I thought the discussion had ended and I turned my back to leave, one of the soldiers ordered me to come back, I obeyed at once. I was surprised when I  looked up & saw a pitiful look on his face, as if pitying me for all I just went through (I wondered what the look was about). “I for deal with you today, but na this your innocent look save you”. Was that supposed to make me happy or trying to put himself in my good books, or was he just trying to sound the last warning, I wondered. Anyway, I said a sober thank you and stylishly moved fast to leave the vicinity of the soldiers, before they changed their mind about the mercy they had had on me.

As I reminisce the scene, I couldn’t stop being baffled at how much fear I had for the soldiers. I guess I was more afraid of the gun than of the soldiers themselves. Well may be its more of phobia for gun then. I have a feeling they did all that because I am a lady, I doubt if they would have done that much ‘shakara’ if it was a guy. Well, sounds like some form of achievement. I can boldly say now that I have been at gun point because of Photography (what a heroic feeling!). I also couldn’t stop wondering why the soldiers would not want their picture taken and at how much of mountain they made out of a molehill. Anyway, you should have seen the way I avoided the soldiers all through the rest of the event. I made sure I kept my distance from them and our paths never crossed again.

Apart from that incidence, the whole event went smoothly, I had maximum fun doing what I love to do. Other than the photography excitement, it was an opportunity for me to think again about life and its essence. As I watched the remains of the deceased lie still in the casket and being committed to mother earth, I asked myself: is this where it all ends? Whether we like it or not, one day, this body we all carry about, and we sometimes tend to give all the attention, all of our runnings about, the troubles and cares and fears of this earth, will end in that lonely chamber called GRAVE. Of course with long life, we’ll be satisfied, but there’s still an inevitable end. This earth is more like a sojourn, there’s a place we all are returning to afterall. We seem to forget that fact sometimes, or do we simply not care about what happens to our souls when the body perishes? (That is if we even believe we have souls in the first place).

” What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and looses his soul, or what shall a man give in Exchange for his own soul? Mark 8:36-37. Ponder about this.

I’m Damilola Opawale & you can call me the Soldier Photographer

 

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer


You never know how precious your eyes are until you come close to losing them or at least losing your sight even if the eyes remain in their sockets. Last week, I had reason to be grateful for the gift of sight.  It was like any other Monday at the office; busy as ever. The work day soon ended and my colleagues and I headed home. I got to Ojota and boarded a bus heading to Ikorodu as usual.

The ride was uneventful for the most part or at least till we got past Mile 12. From then on, the traffic was a nightmare, two lanes had been turned to four by impatient motorists and the super-impatient ones had crossed the median to face oncoming traffic; a phenomenon commonly referred to as “passing one-way”. As terrible as it sounds, this isn’t unusual on that road. It’s disorganized chaos that people who ply that road have grown accustomed to.

Suddenly, I heard a loud thump on the bus and wondered what it was. Looking out the window, I saw the most ridiculous thing ever; LASTMA officials picking stones and throwing  at vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Even though I understood that it was wrong for people to face oncoming traffic on that road, (and it is very unsafe too), I didn’t see the wisdom in law enforcement officers throwing stones at innocent passengers.

A few minutes passed as the journey continued. I decided to call my husband and let him know that I was almost at the bus-stop. Just as I finished speaking with him and ended the call, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt something hit my right eye real hard and felt water pour all over me. With one hand over my eye and my head bowed, I could hear my self screaming, “Yee, yee! My eyes”. I could hear the guy sitted on my left side saying, “Sister sorry o”. My mind was in a daze as I struggled to make sense of what just happened and also cope with the pain of something hitting my eye with such force.

At this point, I could hear the lady sitting by my right hand side, asking if I was okay. I asked her what just happened and she explained to me that it was LASTMA officials who threw pure water satchets at the bus. That was when I realized, what hit me was a satchet of pure water and it hit my eye with such force that it busted.

On getting home, I narrated the ordeal to my husband who was almost as irritated and pained as I was. I assured him I was okay and started showing him some of the pictures from our photo shoot the week before. While we both admired the pictures, I felt something streaming out of my nostrils, it was blood! Bright red blood was streaming out of my nose! My alarmed husband rushed to get me toilet paper to contain the bleeding.

My husband watched with concern written all over his face while I applied pressure to my nose area with blood-soaked tissue paper, assuring him that I’d be just fine. Well, after a few minutes of waiting for the blood to cease and it didn’t, I got a bit scared myself and told him I needed to lie on a flat surface. Off to bed I went. The bleeding subsided shortly after I got in bed.

As I laid in bed, I thought of the nameless, faceless guy whose “bullet” hit me and caused me all these harm. If I felt anything for him at that moment, it sure wasn’t love. What could a passenger like me have done to stop a lawless bus driver from flouting the law? What kind of city hires confused human beings (like the ones I had encountered that night), to enforce traffic laws?

The next day, I set out to work as early as usual, way before sunrise. It was later in the morning that I realized that my right eye was quite sensitive to light. It was fine as long as I stayed indoors but hurt really bad the moment I came out in broad daylight. This went on for two more days before my eye felt a bit normal.

Thinking back at the whole episode (after the emotions of anger and frustration had diffused), I, Ronke Alao, thought of how fortunate I was. Imagine if the LASTMA fellow had chosen a stone as his weapon that day and it hit my eye, doing real damage to it? I’d love to make a name for myself as a photographer but not as a one-eyed photographer. We as photographers tend to gush over our expensive gadgets and the new lens released into the market that is meant to see better than the human eye. As much as we value these expensive equipment, let’s always remember that we are blessed with the most precious “lens” of all, that can’t be ordered on a website: our very EYES.

 

LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City


As I drafted these words at 7.56pm on Friday , somewhere between Ojota and Ketu; I thought of how my week had been busy, fun, interesting and plain crazy all at the same time. It was a week that had two days declared as public holidays but I still had to show up for work on those two days. Two of my colleagues were allowed to stay home and enjoy the holiday while three  came to work. I was so jealous of those that stayed home. Sometimes I think my boss makes me work harder just because I am a woman. Giving you examples that illustrate my point is easy but I choose not to digress.

One of the most bizarre things I witnessed this week was on Ikorodu road, (you must be tired of reading my Ikorodu road stories by now but it’s too much craziness not to write about), as usual. I was in a bus heading home and the driver wanted to get on the express from the service lane but wasn’t patient. The traffic was pretty much “bumper to bumper” and the bus driver had blocked a private car. It was a big mess. The driver was asked to back up a little bit but he wouldn’t budge. Next thing we knew, the guy driving the private car got  out of the car with a horsewhip and whipped my bus driver!

I was shocked out of my mind and I don’t know where I got the guts to speak from but I started shouting almost uncontrollably. “Ha! What rubbish is this? Driver, please reverse o! This man must be an animal. Let’s get away from this spot”. I shouted amidst the driver’s cries. I was too shocked at the jungle justice being displayed by the man with the horsewhip. I was even more shocked to note that the other passengers didn’t seem to care much. ‘Why is Lagos so lawless and cold? And to think there are people leaving their villages in droves to come to this crazy city’, I thought to myself.

As we drove on, the driver talked and laughed about how the whip didn’t really hurt him and I felt like punching him in the head.

As much as I resumed at the office on the public holidays, I still had fun on Tuesday. That’s because my husband and I had a photo shoot. My colleague, Samuel, had found out that my hubby and I had not had a photo session since we got married so he asked that he take pictures of us and I couldn’t say no to such an offer. It was so much fun for me and a lot more fun for my husband  He couldn’t stop talking about it all day. For those longing to have a visual image of who the GREAT Ronke Alao is, attached are 2 clues to help you out.Ronke Alao 2 Ronke Alao

Another newsworthy development is the fact that I am no longer the only female intern at eloPhotos. Yes, I now have company in the person of  Damilola. Damilola is a 500level medical student who is making good use of her time while ASUU and the Federal government figure out a way to make up and stop bickering at each other. She is honing her photography skills and just when you think that is all this pretty, slim and attractive lady is doing; you find out she is also taking piano lessons.

You should know by now that I like her a lot. I admire her quest for knowledge and her interest in the arts. There is more to her life than bulky medical textbooks and dissecting cadavers. If you are wondering if she is single, come see me “in-camera” with your consultation fees. That’s not stuff I can discuss on a blog.

Now, for a list of things I am grateful for. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an intern at eloPhotos; for working with a boss that doesn’t mind exposing his own mistakes so you can learn not to make the same; grateful for God’s protection on the roads despite the antics of crazy bus drivers; glad I am learning how important record-keeping is in a business like this and learnt enough for my boss to call me the “Financial Controller“.

If you’ve been in the photography business for a while or you are just venturing into it and the idea of keeping a statement of income and expenses scares you, fear not. If you think promoting your business on social media simply means throwing a few pictures on your facebook page, think again. If you would like to stand out and make a name for yourself in this industry, would you be willing to do WHATEVERITTAKES? If so, register for the workshop taking place in different cities across Nigeria starting October 23rd. You owe it to your children, (born and unborn) to attend. CLICK HERE for more details.

Reporting LIVE from eloPhotos,
Ronke Alao

 

A Hard Lesson To Learn


He finally gave his verdict on our unacceptable behavior of reporting late to work and our failure to meet  deadlines on assigned tasks. In a soft, polite and cool voice; my boss said “…with the exception of Ronke Alao, the rest of you guys are to embark on a 14 days leave just to re-assess, think things through and possibly refresh yourselves.”

The news of the unplanned leave suddenly struck me hard like a tornado and it left me totally speechless & confused. At that critical moment, all I thought of was the fact that I am going on an unwanted leave that would last this long. Honestly, just like the popular Warri slang would say “I come weak like dodo, I swear”.

On Independence Day, I woke up with disturbing thoughts that I have actually commenced my unplanned leave. Quickly, I turned on my television set to listen to Mr. President’s  nationwide,  live broadcast scheduled for 7:00am. It happened to be one of the usual sermons we hear yearly that the government is doing this and that, that Nigeria will get better. I sometimes wonder if such broadcast can for once be said without the words “fellow Nigerians” because seriously I have heard it more often than necessary. Anyway, I am one of those patriotic Nigerians that still have an iota of hope that despite our diverse cultural differences, problems and security challenges; this country can still survive, grow and become very prosperous. It all requires every one of us to have a right mindset and be actively involved in electing leaders that can represent us and uphold our mandate.

The public holiday declared by the government wasn’t going to be all rest either for me as I was meant to cover the 50th birthday ceremony of a lady to be held at Iteri Palace. Arriving at the event, I was so surprised to discover that I was the only professional photographer present for the party. The event started two hours way behind schedule due to the heavy downpour of rains that lasted for more than an hour. The whole party turned out to be very entertaining with plenty to eat, drink and lovely melodious music that thrilled every one present. I had an exciting time photographing guests of the celebrant who were mostly dressed in colorful Yoruba attires.

The rest of the week went really fast. On Thursday I and my colleague, Toye Peters went to cover the court wedding ceremony of Bisola and Olumide at the Ikoyi marriage registry. It was a special event for me as that happened to be my first time of covering a court registry wedding. It was indeed worth remembering as every moment I spent photographing the couple and guests present was worthwhile.

The traditional marriage ceremony was performed on Saturday according to Islamic rite. I had a bit of challenge photographing during the event as the bride’s uncle’s house which was the venue used was not properly lit. Also, the two sitting rooms used were so congested and the main sitting room where the couple and most of the guests were, had a brown ceiling. This made it difficult for the light from my  flash to bounce back. I had to tilt my flash head at an angle of 60 and 45 degrees while photographing.

In conclusion, it has been a great week overall as I have learnt in a hard way to be more disciplined, more time-conscious and that no matter what the situation may be, always learn to meet deadline on assigned tasks.

Photographically Yours,
Onodje Oshevwiyore

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?

The WAJO Experience


I was privileged to photograph alongside my colleague (Toye Peters) at the Wajo dance show that was held on the 26th day of September 2013 at Freedom park, Broad Street, Lagos. The dance show is a project well organized by Seun Adeleye of Enhance 360 Limited in conjunction with SPAN and he tagged it “Wajo”. I know you might be wondering why Wajo? Anyway, Wajo is a Yoruba word that means “Come and Dance”. It’s an open invitation to everyone to come and dance. Someone doesn’t have to be a professional or specialist to dance, as long as one can appreciate dance and he or she is enthusiastic about dance, then they are most welcome at Wajo. Wajo is usually held on the last Thursday of every month and it might surprise you to know that is completely free.

On arrival at the venue, the stage was being setup with light by the Wajo technical officials. The stage was an opened well spacious floor of about one and half feet high from ground level. The stage had series of colored continuous light lined and placed strategically on the floor and on top of the wall that serves as the background. The light from these lamps radiates in such a way as to emit multiple streams of colours in a matter of seconds that made the stage to be very fanciful. At the end of the elevated audience seats were two continuous lights positioned to feed the stage with additional light.

The show started at about 6:00pm with the Wajo dance choreographers comprising of both male and female dancers, performing to thrill the filled-to-capacity audience with breath taking steps and moves. They danced to the popular Naija Terry G hit track titled “Run Mad” in a creative way that added spice to their lovely twisting. At a moment, I felt like I was experiencing heaven on earth. Their wow dance moves thrilled me with total excitement.

The high point of the night was the performance from the energetic male dancers known as “Space Unlimited” who brazed the trail with a combination of strength and dexterity on stage floor. Believe me, their steps were so amazing and mind blowing. They thrilled the audience with countless stunt and daring moves that were highly professional. At the end of their performance, they so impressed the audience enough to get a standing and rousing ovation.

The rest of the evening saw the performance of a group of young children know as “Feet of David”. They marveled the crowd of audience with their beautiful danced steps as they flowed with the beat and rhythms of the Yoruba song played. I was so enthralled that kids of this age can perform and dance so calculatedly. I quickly thought to myself, big ups to their trainer who must have done a very good job with these kids. Other performers on stage that evening were two drunken dancers “Jackson and Ibe” who also thrilled the audience with their artistic and creative dance steps.

Conclusively, the dance show lived up to its entertainment value as I had lots of fun while photographing the event. Attached herein are a few of the pictures I took of the event. Whatever you do, do not miss the next edition of WAJO (holding on October 31, 2013 at Freedom Park).

Photographically Yours,
Onodje Oshevwiyore
Associate Photographer at eloPhotos

Wajo

 

How To Become The Star Of A Reality Show: A Script by Ronke Alao


Watching T.V is not one of my favorite things to do. There seems to be so much crap, (excuse my French), on T.V. these days that sorting the good from the terrible programs can be time-consuming. At the top of the list of programs I consider terrible include reality shows. Probably because I don’t see the reality in them. They are scripted,boring and lack entertainment value in my opinion.

The only kind of shows that I know of, worthy of being tagged “reality shows” are those I see in ‘danfo‘, (Lagos Commercial buses, usually Volkswagen brand) on a weekly basis. You want real life drama, comedy or thriller? Simply find your way into a danfo headed for Ikorodu (or some other place where the traffic is horrible and you can be sure of being in the same bus for at least two hours).

There’s so much to write about what goes on in this buses that I get tired just thinking about it. Sometimes the bus gets so noisy that I almost wish we could go back to the days when no one had mobile phones in Nigeria. If it’s not a bunch of people playing music loudly on their phones, then it’s someone talking too loudly on the phone, raising their voice and cursing the person at the other end of the phone out. Of course there is always that someone who lies through his teeth, (sorry guys but I think men top the chart for this behavior), about his location. “I am now at Mile 12”, he shouts on the phone, when he is in fact still at Ojota.

I remember sitting next to a lady once who was answering her phone and the next thing I knew, she stuck the phone in my ear and frantically said, “Sister, please say ‘hello’ “. With a confused look, I said a hello to the stranger on the other end of the phone. Apparently, the lady was talking to a guy who was probably her boyfriend or husband and she was trying to convince him that she was indeed in a commercial bus and not riding in a private car. I am so glad my husband never has to do that; he’s my hubby afterall, not a monitoring spirit!

Like many people, I have my preferred seat in the bus and it’s usually just by the window. This seat comes with its perks. For instance, I can easily buy my favorite roadtrip snack – yogurt – in the slow moving traffic. The one risk I have to be aware of when sitting by the window is that of having someone from the street snatch my Blackberry phone from my hands right across the window. This can be a serious concern when I attempt to capture an interesting image of something happening on the street with my phone.  I try to avoid the front seat because that usually means wearing the seat belt. I believe in wearing the belt as a safety measure but in most danfos, the belt is just something you throw around your neck to avoid being caught by LASTMA officials. They are usually faulty and I believe some can actually strangle you in event of an accident.

For guys who need a free lesson on how NOT to toast a babe, all you need do is watch the drama in these buses. What annoys me most is when I inform a guy that I’m married and he doesn’t quit pestering me. Then, he goes ahead to answer a call from someone whose name is stored as “Sweetheart” on his phone. It makes me want to punch him in the nose and ask, “Why are you so shameless?”, but then I don’t.

Most danfo drivers have personalities that bother around aggression. Well, maybe Lagosians are generally aggressive but these drivers get a daily overdose of it; especially those that ply Ikorodu road. They drive recklessly and seem to forget they actually have humans as passengers. Sometimes, my ride home looks like something out of an action movie where the driver weaves in and out of traffic, faces oncoming traffic and slams on the brakes like he just saw a ghost. In most cases, passengers try to put in a word of caution but I’ve had a few occasions where the driver drove quite decently but the passengers were disturbed by this and kept chanting, “Driver,what’s your problem? Can’t you face one-way? I thought you could drive rough like the rest of them o.”.

There are days when I don’t board a danfo. I sometimes get lucky and find a private car owner willing to give passengers a ride for a fee. A few of this drivers act just as badly as danfo drivers sometimes but for the most part, they are well-behaved. One of such well-behaved guys was one who gave me a ride from Ojota to Ikorodu. We were in pretty bad traffic and even though I was seated at the back seat, I could sense the driver was quite uncomfortable. My antenna ears picked something he mumbled about having used ‘MistMag’ with no relief. I immediately knew he had digestive issues. The moment we got to a gas station, he apologized to everyone in the car and said he had to use a restroom urgently. No one dared complain. This guy had just charged us N150 from Ojota to Ikorodu on a day when commercial buses were charging N300.  He returned in about ten minutes, looking very relieved and full of appreciation. “Thank you so much, sorry for keeping you waiting please, thanks a lot and God bless you…”. On and on he went like we had saved him from terrorists or something.

Recently, I have been thinking about how my attitude and demeanor changes when I am on the road. I realized how I was letting the aggression and craziness rub off on me. It used to be that I would watch the madness around me and not be a part of it. In fact, I enjoyed watching the show unfold and be somewhat inspired by it as an artist. Now, it seems I have joined in the mindless discussions that sometimes take place in the bus. I once caught myself using nasty words to describe a driver to his face and I immediately felt shame. ‘Ronke, you are better than this’, I thought to myself.

No, I am not ruled by my environment. I am governed by the Spirit of the most high God living on the inside of me. I choose to bless and not curse. This attitude sets me free to be the best photographer I can possibly be. It helps me release the creative energy that my heavenly daddy stuffed on the inside of me.

Life in Lagos buses, everyday is a different reality show whose entertainment value surpasses the shows on Television. Who needs T.V drama?Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Yours Truly,
Ronke Alao
Writer | Photographer | Poet

Sentenced Without Being Arrested


I guess you might be wondering how one can get sentenced without being arrested but then again strange things happen. Few days ago, I was sentenced to 14 days community service and for a law-abiding, never once arrested citizen like me, I was taking aback by the judgment.

Timeliness, they say, is the soul of business. Recently I have been showing up late for work due to some seriously unserious reasons (I think that sounds confusing, but don’t be. Stay with me, I am taking you somewhere).

For the past 5 months I have been working at eloPhotos, waking up by 5 am each morning. I know that’s no news but when you consider that I am not a morning person and I don’t get out of bed normally before 8 am, trust me, 5 am is a miracle. Moving on. Once I am awake, the usual morning ritual begins (like having your bath and all, which by the way takes time…. Can’t one go on for 5 days without bathing? Just saying tho) before setting out by 6 am.

Despite the seemingly normal Lagos traffic, I always get to work before our official resumption time of 8 am. On an average, we close by 5 pm but I don’t get home most times until 9 pm or 10 pm and sometimes even later. Now you begin to wonder what I am doing on the road for 5 hours, or is it that I trek home. To tell the truth and nothing but the truth, I don’t walk; it’s traffic. I think it will be a bit bearable if it had just been the traffic but there is the big issue of Agege and rickety buses. I don’t know if it was intentional but almost all the buses plying that Agege route are old and scruffy. To add insult to injury, you can’t sit in a right posture in these buses, you always have to bend somehow and with all these you still get stuck in traffic. Combining all this and coupled with the fact that I don’t get weekends off (at home) and I still have to work has resulted in fatigue for me. Consequently I wake up late and show up for work late too.

Offence number ONE: Every week, it’s mandatory for us to submit a weekly report in form of an article on or before 8am on Monday morning and I have been defaulting on that by submitting late. I don’t do this on purpose but sometimes I just don’t know what to write or have any time to do it. To Mr Seun, all of the above are just unacceptable excuses and writing about it now seems same to me. So, guys if you catch me around your neighborhood in an orange jumpsuit cleaning gutters, don’t think I have abandoned my passion for a career with LAWMA; I am just serving out my well deserved punishment! Feel free to say Hi and don’t be a stranger.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo (the weirdo that shot Aliko Dangote’s Daughter) and I am a repentant photographer.

P.S: if your dream is to attend eloPhotos Academy, be prepared to do #whateverittakes to stand out!!

 

A CALL FOR CHANGE: Day 1


This whole write-up was born out of my 14 Days Compulsory Stay Out of eloPhotos (my photography office). Monday, September 30th, 2013 is a day not to quickly forget, as it was the starting day of the unexpected yet expected happening at eloPhotos. This time around, it was not the usual creativity that most people know about us at eloPhotos.

Owing to the continued occurrence of lateness in resumption time, attending to chores and report submission by most of the team members at office, four out of five of my team members including myself, were asked to take time off to reassess our passion for photography after a brief meeting was held. This painful verdict happened just a few minutes after the closing hour of the day.

It was then I realized the meaning of, “whatever it takes to stand out”. This was the new project our boss was working on, not knowing that I was going to embark on a journey to realize my own project on; “whatever it takes to succeed at eloPhotos”. Am sure most of the people who know Mr Seun Akisanmi or follow him online can tell of what that means.

DAY 1

Pain and Disappointment
I had a sleepless night thinking about the previous day happenings and I concluded that as the day breaks, I will begin my reassessment on passion for my photography career. I started my day with a session of inner prayers as I would not want to disturb anyone. I had all pending design spreads on my system put out of the way. I then took on a journey to think, study, read, meditate, practice and discipline myself for the next 14 days.

In my study and meditation today being Tuesday, October 1, 2013), I realized how my assignment at eloPhotos has been geographical. And that made me put up a comment on my Facebook profile saying “places matter – where you are is as important as who you are” (my words). I got to understand that my success in the photography industry is linked to a place like eloPhotos, which I tagged “my present place of assignment”.

A lesson that kept coming to me was, how one person’s disobedience or mistake can create a corporate judgment. Indeed, this has turned out to be a corporate judgment which I think is fair enough. This also reminded me of a Movie (Drumline) slogan, which states “one sound, one band”. To my understanding, the mistake of one affects others is the meaning i could give. Speaking to myself that my mistakes could have added to the judgment of others, and vis-a-vis.

In my pain and disappointment, I began to see how pain can be corrected in peoples’ lives. Knowing that in pain lies a correction process for me, I separated for myself five forces that pain brings to correction. I called them , “the five L’s”:

 Pain forces one to look for answers

 Pain forces one to lean on God instead of man

 Pain forces one to learn where one has missed it

 Pain forces one to long for forgiveness, healing and restoration

 Pain forces one to listen for changes

Immediately I understood this, I got the answer for this hurting season and that is going to birth the healing process. These then gave me more reasons why I must be focused again on my assignment as my best days are just ahead. This is the first day out of the fourteen days. Please, join me as I journey for change.

Photographically Yours,
Emmanuel Awosanmi

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.