“Google to Start FREE Photography & Makeup Services”

Now imagine you wake up on #Nigeria‘s #Independence day celebrations to discover that #Google just gave Nigerians a birthday present. Imagine they just announced that they’ll be starting, effective #October1, a #photography & makeup service arm of the multi billion dollar company. To make matters worse, imagine that you – the reader of the supposedly-good news – are either a #photographer or a #makeup artists.


My goal wasn’t to intentionally deceive you with a blog title that has the #potentials to render thousands of #photographers and #makeupartists #jobless. My goal is to bring to our conscious awareness the fact that it’s becoming paramount the need for us to reinvent everything we know about photography, makeup & business generally. Most of us never undertook any serious level of business education before starting our businesses and it’s affecting us whether or not we acknowledge it. My campaign is for us to have a serious rethink of how we run our artistic businesses.

I know for sure that many of us will be terribly affected if Google decides to launch such services. Their concept of #FREE will cause many of us to either sell our gadgets to survive, or move into other unconquered Google fields so we could barely survive. Imagine they start by #advertising that #passport pictures is for free. Anyone who goes to Google #Photos can get up to 200 free passport photographs yearly. Anyone who goes to any of their branches can have a free #portrait #session and get all their high resolutions softcopies for free. Anyone who visits their makeup saloons will get their first 10 sessions absolutely FREE. Truth is it won’t be funny at all. Many of us will literally cry, complain and declare that the #Antichrist has come in the form of an unmercifully evil company.

This may seem like an extreme example to give but if we don’t rethink everything we know about how to run a photography/makeup business (or any other business)…….. Everything about #pricing, #marketing,#copyrights, #negotiations, customer service, #EVERYTHING…..the end will definitely be upon us.

I’ve had my own share of challenges this year (& still going through some now) and my rethinking process has been the reason why I’ve not been active on some online social media platforms. My rethinking process has even led me to sell a few things many people consider as assets in order to invest in a BIGGER dream process. Trust me selling off our ********** wasn’t funny at all but I believe without doubt there will be results in a few months…. Many of us (myself inclusive) spend too many unproductive hours daily on #Facebook, #WhatsApp, #Twitter, #Instagram begging for people’s approval and attention when all we need to do is to spend time to invest in something so radically different that will make the likes of Ty Bello, President #Obama, Bayo Omoboriowo, Kelechi Amadi Obi or Santa Claus call us for advice. Some of us need to take 1-4 weeks off to restrategize and rethink our processes before the unthinkable & unbearable comes upon us.

Please note that this message is NOT for everyone. I don’t write it as someone professing to know much. It’s just a challenge to a few people who care to take note to invest radically in new #inspirational ways of doing things.

The #books we’re #READING and the friends we’re KEEPING (or #mentors we’re FOLLOWING) will very well be a BIG determinant in how we’ll be #LIVING in 2 -10 years. A word, like they say, is enough for the wise. What will you do if #Google decides to move into your industry and provide the #products & #services you presently provide? Well if you’re travel consultant or tour guide, you might want to unbiasedly analyze how Google’s new baby, #GoogleTrips, will affect your business. Happy Independence day to everyone.

For those that couldn’t make this year’s Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), all he videos have been uploaded to our YouTube channel for you to download. Even if you attended, you might still want to watch it over again at youtube.com/niphec

A Day in my Life in 2025: Seun Akisanmi

The following happened on September 16, 2025.

The day began a little late for me. It was quite unusual for me to wake up this late. The time was 7:36am. I was lodged in Sheraton Hotels, Cape Town, South Africa. My body was still getting used to the rigorous trip it had endured in the past 11 days. My flight in the Virgin Galactica had just returned from space the previous night. The past few days will go down in history as one of the most interesting experience a Nigerian could ever have.
I had just returned from a 10 day visit to the International Space Station. I was the first African photographer to have been privileged to make such a trip. Samsung International commissioned me to take pictures with their latest digital SLR technology. They wanted their product – the Samsung Q Ultima – to be the first 142 Megapixel Dslr Camera to take pictures of planet earth from space. Till today, I’m still not sure why they chose me to represent them on this project. Perhaps it’s because I’m the present President of the International Professional Photographers Association. Perhaps it was because I was recently awarded the Leadership Award for Change by the United Nations (first time an African Artist would be given that). Perhaps it was because the partnership we began over 10 years ago had resulted in sales of over 7,250,000 units of their Dslr models.

For whatever reason on earth, I was chosen to be a Samsung Ambassador for this monumental event. I was ecstatic. I checked my 30 TB mobile flash disk to be sure the pictures I took were still intact. It was then I remembered that I didn’t need to stress myself; a backup had already been made on Samsung’s Servers immediately the pictures were being taken from space. You should have seen how Africa looked like in space. The beauty I witnessed while taking pictures from that unique perspective was so overwhelming that I couldn’t hold back the tears. As the tears floated in my cubicle in the 5 seater Virgin Galactica jet, I had quickly repositioned my camera to photograph my first set of tear droplets in space. Looking at the view, I concluded that this is all the atheist needs to see to be convinced that there is a God.

How time flies. It was 9:25am and I was still on my bed viewing the pictures I had taken. It was almost as if I stood beside God to capture the beauty of the planet. And then I remembered I had not chatted with the one person that gave me this platform to be a blessing through my profession. I sat at the edge of my bed and communed with my creator for about 23 minutes.

At 10am I decided to put a call through to my best friend of 19 years & 1 month. Sometimes I wonder why she hadn’t run away all these while when I was attempting to bring to fruition all the dreams I had within. I sure had put her through some hell with the weirdness I manifested. Thank God she stood by me. She was glad I called especially since it was while I was in Space I spoke to her last. “How were the pictures?” “How did you feel when taking the pictures?” Those were usually the first set of questions she hurls at me after every trip. I promised her that my next trip to space will be with her by my side. She told me about my daughter’s (Anuoluwapo) forthcoming graduation at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, (SIUE) Illinois, USA.

Anuoluwapo had grown up to be a lady that wanted to be almost everything her dad was. That was the reason she had chosen SIUE to be her only choice of University. She wanted to have a feel of what it must have been like for me attending an American University away from my family. She had applied to study Architectural Entrepreneuring and was graduating at the top of her class with a Bsc degree just barely 3 years after being granted full-scholarship admission. She was doing fine and I was proud of….. I think I’ve drifted off for a while there.

Twas about 11:20am. My flight back to Nigeria was still 7 hours away. My workspace today was going to be in my hotel room on the 43rd floor. I had to put a call through to Samsung Town in Seoul (South Korea) to speak with the new Chairman of Samsung International (previously called Samsung Electronics). The grand-nephew of Samsung founder, Lee Byung-chul, Susan Waters was excited to hear my voice. She mentioned a 2 of the pictures I took of Nigeria from space and told me that the pictures had gone viral. The new definition of viral was having over 50,000 views per minute; the pictures had been viewed on Samsung’s site over 3.89 billion times. For a period of 3 days, the picture of Nigeria became the spotlight of the world.

Around noon, I checked my email only to discover that I had over 3552 new mails waiting for me. WOW. I had only been gone from earth for less than 2 weeks and I’m getting this much mail. I spent the next 30 minutes sifting through the mails to see the key ones I would reply immediately. My personal assistant will help read the rest.

Two of the mails that stood out caught my attention. One was from the British Government and the other was from the office of the Sultan of Brunei. The British Government was inviting me for the 5 years celebration of the new King on the throne. I would be coming on board as one of the 3 official photographers of the event (a privilege that was being extended to a non-british citizen for the first time). The Sultan of Brunei wanted a portrait session for the 4 ministers he just appointed. He insisted on working with me because he had seen some of the works I did for his friend, the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

It is such a privilege to have worked with leaders in different parts of the globe. And to think that this same photography was what my parents discouraged me from embarking on. Now the same parents are my number 1 fans. Talk of parents, its been 2 weeks I called them. At about 1:03pm, I called to say hello and mum couldn’t help but ask her usual questions: “Hope you’re eating well”, “Hope you’re using your multi-vitamins?” Dad always seemed to talk for just about 2 minutes on the phone. Perhaps he reckoned that I should have other matters to attend to than to be talking to him. But what other matters will matter when I’m unable to spend time chatting or being with my immediate family.

At about 2pm, I remembered that I had forgotten to eat breakfast. I always hate having to spend time to eat. I walsys thought it was a waste of time. Perhaps one day, there will be a pill I can take daily to replace having to spend at least 1 hour daily eating. It was the headache that reminded me. Whenever I had head aches, it was usually because I had not eaten or I had not slept for 2 days. I ordered for plantain and eggs and decided to take my Centrum multivitamins.

While eating my “break-lunch”, I remembered that it was one of my closest friend and fan’s birthday. Tcrown. I have been privileged to work with so many people over the years but Tcrown was one person I’m glad our paths crossed. She worked with me for a few years before deciding to head the media department in a new TV station that had just opened in Lagos.

In collaboration with her husband, I had planned the gift I would give her on this faithful day months ahead. I put a call through to her mobile line, one of the 9 numbers I had grown accustomed to having in my memory. She was at work and was about going for her lunch break. I wished her Happy Birthday and told her to open the envelope that a DHL delivery man was holding at the doorstep of her office. I wish I was there in person. Her scream almost deafened my ears. I had put in a small envelope the keys to the new solar-powered 2024 BMW 340i. I told her the keys would open and kick-start the “gift” that was packed outside her office. Solar powered cars were in vogue and I had gotten the BMW 540i model earlier in the year for my wife. I don’t know what’s with me and the giving of cars as gifts. Anyway, I’m sure her phone scream really meant she appreciated it. I thanked her for her years of supporting my NiPHEC (Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference) dream and wished her many more years to come.

Twas 3:15pm. I spent the next 40 minutes quickly sending emails to my inner circle friends: Shola Animashaun, Femi Adewuyi, Dare Tanimomo, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Ronke Alao, Tunde Ojikutu, Theophilus Emmanuel, Joe McNally, Aisha Augie-Kuta, Ebenezer Akisanmi & my 4 supportive Tee siblings. Keeping in touch had been a weakness I was working on and spending 10-20 minutes every week emailing them was a way to let them know I appreciate them and still haven’t forgotten them.

About 4pm, I put a call through to Steven Spielberg. He had been instrumental in shaping my entry in the world of cinematography. We chatted for about 15 minutes and we tried to iron out some of the details of my 3rd film that he was Executively Producing. It would be the screenplay for the New York Times best seller “From Prison to Photography”: a book I published about 10 years earlier chronicling my journey from an American prison to a world-class photographer. We still had not come up with the title for the movie but he promised to get back to me the following week with any latest development. Before I ended the call, I asked if he’ll be chanced to be one of our keynote speakers at NiPHEC 2026. I mentioned that he’ll be talking extensively on the relationship between Photography & Cinematography and where technology is heading for individuals in both industries. He said he’ll check his schedule and get back to me by the next day.

Twas about 4:20pm. I started packing my stuff to head for the airport. I was so eager to return home. No place like Lagos, Nigeria. It had grown to be the 2nd largest city in the world and the largest in Africa. And I was right at the centre of it all. I got to the airport in time to rest at the airport lounge and read 2 of the books I had purchased 3 weeks earlier: Jide Alakija’sThe Chronicles” and Nike Adeyemi’s “Once upon a Mother“.

My flight eventually boarded around 6:30pm and I was a little surprised by the reception I was given. Apparently almost everyone at the airport and airline knew me to be the photographer that shot the picture of Nigeria from space that was currently going “viral”. I try many times to make sure all those admiration and greetings don’t enter my head. My head was already big enough and I didn’t want to be having more headaches as a result of a swollen ego because I was now a considered a “super celebrity”. Who comes up with these words anyways.

I was sitted by my favorite spot in the plane: the first class window seat A2. Looking out of the window, I couldn’t help but think back over the last 17 years of living on this great planet. The flight attendant went over her usual takeoff protocol and all I could do was stared out the window until my eyes got teary and I couldn’t help but say it from the depths of my heart: THANK GOD (OLUWASEUN)

At 7:30pm, the Virgin Atlantic flight took off heading for Nigeria. Apparently I was wrong to think that my body had adjusted and rested enough. Within minutes, I was fast asleep…..only to wake up in Lagos Nigeria.

The time is 2:44am, September 17, 2025 and I’m waiting for my colleague, Oyebola Famuyiwa, to pick me up at the Lekki International Airport. My name is Seun Akisanmi and more than ever before I’m proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.
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.


It’s a question I always ask myself, not because I am not sure of who I am but because I need to keep me in check. Directing that question at you, I know some of you might probably answer: I am an Accountant, I am a Photographer, etc. Of course I know you are, also that is not the answer I am looking for. The expected answer goes deeper than that; it’s leads to more of questions like what do you stand for & why are you here.

What do you stand for?
“A man that stands for nothing will most likely fall for anything”…. Are you the type that is known to always compromise at the mention of naira bills, or are you the type that says no when what you actually meant to day was Yes. As an individual, your value system must be upright. Not to allow you worry your head too much, Value systems are set of ideals that guide your behaviour. It gives your life purpose and structure (which I think most of us lack as an individual and ultimately as a nation) to determine what are important to you.

Value system can be divided into four main subordinate; personal values, spiritual values, family values and career values but there some characteristics a person with good value system must exhibit which I will like to talk about.

Integrity is how trustworthy and honest you are. People have to know what to expect from you; that whatever you say will be as said except of course an act of God derail it. You are
expected to act right under any circumstances. These are people we want in leadership positions in our country.

Loyalty is commitment to a cause or person. Whatever the times are, (good or bad) you have to be someone that can be counted on for necessary support needed. When the going gets tough, you are there to walk it out and when its celebration time too, you
are there to dig it.

Someone who is responsible will definitely be dependable and reliable and will readily be accountable for who he is and what he does. They believe they have a heavenly obligation to help others and make the world a better place.

Respect is regard for the feelings or rights of
others. When you respect others, you will treat them with all fairness
and courtesy required. You will do to them, what you want done to you.
All these mentioned above leads me to the other part; why are you here?

Why are you here?
No matter what value you and I choose to live by, it is very important we take a look at the big picture. (The big picture being God’s plan for our life) You see for me I don’t think we are just created to have weight and occupy space like matter. I don’t think all we are created for is being an Accountant or a Photographer but in addition to whatever our title is, we have a message from heaven to deliver here. Each and every one of us is a piece in God’s main agenda. We all have to find our purpose in that plan and fulfill it.

You might be wondering what inspired this article, it was the fact that everywhere I go in this country, nothing seem to be working the way its suppose to. But I feel if we all could be purpose driven and ask what we can do to make our country better and not what our country can do for us, only then will the change we so desire come upon us.

P.S: Nigeria will be built by Nigerians for Nigerians, so STAND UP and
be counted as someone who has done his part. May GOD RENEW & REFORM

Yours truly Nigerian,
Babalola Michael Tayo.

NiPHEC 2014 to hold in Abuja & Lagos


Greetings photography enthusiast. First of all, we’ll like to apologize if you’re getting this newsletter for the second time on the same day. Our systems had a minor glitch (which has been resolved now) perhaps due to the excitement that has been brewing up regarding next year’s edition of Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference.

The good news about next year’s NiPHEC is that it will be holding in 2 cities in Nigeria: Abuja & Lagos. April 27-29, 2014 will witness NiPHEC in Abuja while the Lagos edition will hold from April 29 – May 3, 2014. We’re still ironing out the details and will keep you posted regarding venue and seminars to be made available.

Expect to network and learn from world-class photographers like Joe McNally, Jide Alakija, & Aisha Augie-Kuta among others. Other speakers will be announced hereafter. Registration for the conference will open in January 2014.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to our sponsors (Nikon Africa), attendees & facilitators who made NiPHEC 2013 a memorable experience. Next year’s edition will be greater. For those that attended this year’s conference and are still having problems with getting their certificates, kindly contact us at info and we’ll do our best to resolve it.

For more information regarding sponsorship for this event or if you have any suggestions or ideas that will help make the conference a memorable one, kindly send us a mail at info.

You’ve received this mail because at one time or the other you contacted us at eloPhotos or NiPHEC. If you’ll prefer not to get any of this newsletters from us anymore, we apologize for the inconvenience caused and we’ll appreciate if you could scroll down to the buttom of this message and click the “Unsubscribe” button.

We look forward to hosting you at NiPHEC 2014. For updates, kindly follow us on Youtube, Facebook & Twitter.

Photographically Yours,
Seun Akisanmi, NiPHEC Convener



So I got a travel agency to help put together a road trip for photographers. Date is February 3rd – 9th, 2013. We need a minimum of 15 photographers to make this happen. Cost comes to N85,000 per photographer and will cover transportation, accommodation and feeding. Deadline for registration is January 18, 2013 so start planning ahead.



Snake Village
It has a Snake Village where Snakes are Sacred and are being worshipped today. Pictures are allowed and you may hold and put snakes around your neck, if you are brave enough. There has never been any case of Snake bite reported. So, be brave! The Snake temple is still functional and Snakes are still being worshiped.
“Point of NO Return”
A memorial to slavery at the beach of Ouidah, one of the large slave-trade ports in Africa, a main departure point for those sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Slave Route
The Slave Route – a small 4km long road, is the route through which Slaves followed to board the vessels of the slave trader. They pass through the gate (Known as Point of No return) to where the vessels are waiting. The vessels sail and take them to the slave market.
The road is lined with fetishes, statues and small villages from the city to the fabulous beaches.

Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013.

2.Kwame Nkrumah Mesoleum

This is the last resting place of the first President of Ghana, who was a famous pan-Africanist. The Centre consists of a museum of his life and works, the mausoleum, and his statue, which stands on the spot (the Polo grounds as it used to be called) where he declared Independence for the country on 6th March, 1957.

3.Independence square

The venue for many national celebrations, dominated by the independence arch and the memorial to Unknown Soldier

4.Culture and Arts Center

The Centre’s arts and crafts bazaar and traditional textile market is the best place in Accra to find traditional handicrafts from all over Ghana. You have to be prepared to bargain hard here, starting prices are inflated. Some of the interesting items to be found include, Kente items, woodcarvings drums, local leather bags, beads and imported items from surrounding countries

5.Boti Village

Umbrella Rock

The Umbrella Rock is about thirty minutes’ walk in the forest from Boti falls. The umbrella Rock is sited on a high land and thus, making it possible to watch nature hundreds of miles away into the green. The arrangement of the rocks are in the form of an umbrella. One rock lies on top of the other, relying on only a small pivot point on the one below. Other tourist who are willing to adventure lean a ladder to the rock on the top and climb to its top. From there, beautiful forest view is right in front not forgetting the nice air breeze

Three Head Palm Tree

The three-headed palm tree has a huge stem base and from this singular stem base are three separate stems growing into the sky. The diameter of the base is about 126cm and the three stems have a diameter of about 70cm each. The height of the trees or three headed tree is about 3.2 m. It has huge lushly green leaves like any other palm tree.

Boti Waterfalls (Twin Waterfall)

Boti Falls is a 30m high waterfall within the Boti Forest Reserve about 30 minutes east of Koforidua. A small hike down some stone steps takes you to the waterfall with a pool at the base, which is safe for swimming. Boti falls is actually made up of two waterfalls. According to the local people the big one is the male and the smaller one, a female. When the two merge, it is said that they are mating. The merging forms a rainbow.

6. Elmina Castle (Cape Coast)

It was built in the 1480’s and occupied by different Europeans and ostensibly fortified to defend their ‘territories’ and to enhance and protect their ‘gold trade’. The castles’ warehouse-trade, were later converted to dungeons to facilitate the slave trade, the last stop for slaves to await shipment to their destinations to suffer their fate.

7. Kakum National Park (Canopy Walkway)

This is Africa’s first forest walkway; the fourth of its kind in the world. It was commissioned in 1994. It is a bowel-loosening canopy which 350m long suspended bridge, seven in number and strung firmly unto 7 tall trees 30m above lush forest floor.

8. Aburi Botanical Garden:

This one of the most beautiful, peaceful and fascinating places in Ghana. Opened in March, 1890, and covering 64.8 hectares and overlooking the Accra coastal plain from an elevation of 370 to 460 metres above sea level, the Aburi Botanic Garden is a must experience for every Ghanaian as well as visitors to Ghana. Butterfly and bird lovers would love Aburi Gardens for the presence of many species of butterflies and birds that would come so near as if wanting to perch on one’s head. Another delight of Aburi Botanic Garden is the blossoming mixture of indigenous and exotic trees of global importance, aesthetics and medicinal properties

9. Mokola Market

One can obtain beautiful African Textiles, Foodstuffs, Traditional clothes, shoes, cosmetics, etc. It also houses a bank, restaurants, offices, etc. Because of its central location it enjoys a lot of patronage from residents in Accra and tourists alike.

 10.Dodi Island

The Dodi Island became one of the displaced settlements when the Dam was constructed in the late 1960’s. It covers approximately 55 acres of space. The inhabitants on the Dodi Island are friendly and accommodating. They normally welcome visitors with a traditional cultural dance, agbadza from the Volta Region. Their primary occupation is fishing. The Volta River Authority and the Hotel have plans of developing the Dodi Island into a world class tour site.

11.Labadi Beach

Is the busiest beach on Ghana’s coast. It is one of Accra’s few beaches and is maintained by the local hotels. An entrance fee to those not staying the hotels is charged. On holidays and weekends there are often performances of reggae, hip-life, playback, and cultural drumming and dancing

12. Next Door Beach

Is a rocky beach with purple sand and a great subject for Professional Photographers.

13.   Accra Metropolitan Tour

14.   Volta Region
Interested participants should send a mail to info@elophotos.com for more details

The Gathering of 201 Nigerian Photographers

REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
So we witnessed the largest gathering of Nigerian photographers on August 26, 2012. Attached herein are a few pictures taken at the recently concluded workshop on “Running a Profitable Photography Business”.

Facilitators included Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Yetunde Babaeko, Leke Adenuga, Shola Animashaun, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Folake Ojeikere & Ade Plumptre. If you missed this gathering of 201 Nigerian photographers, don’t miss the next workshop slated for November 4, 2012.

The Photography Revolution has begun.
Get a copy of Nigeria’s first photography magazine: PICTURE THIS. Click here for a list of agents near you


N141 per litre of fuel and the effect on the Nigerian Photographer

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Fuel subsidy removal, occupy Nigeria, coalition against fuel subsidy removal, how to download fuel, fuel price increase, Goodluck Jonathan, Most Cursed President……… just a few of the recent top google searches that brings up results that are associated with the Nigerian economy and people.

However, very few have thought about the effect it will have on the Nigerian photographer. Well here’s my take on that. I’ve already started feeling the impact. The pure water I bought for N5 on December 31st, 2011 has suddenly become N10 yesterday. The Maltina I bought on Jan 1 for N100 is now N130. My transportation to church has increased by 40% (now I’m considering attending church services on the internet). Thank God the price of my N50 gala has not changed (you see, there’s always something to thank God for).

With all of these increase in prices happening simultaneously, I began pondering if the key photography vendors would follow suit (i.e. print labs, frames, graphic artists, etc). I decided to call the MD/CEO of one of the top printing labs in Lagos, 5D Imagery. I asked if his organization was considering increasing the price of prints to photographers. All I heard was “OFCOURSE” before the line went dead. I tried calling back but my call was no longer being picked up.

MAYBE HE THOUGHT I WAS FROM CNN. Maybe the gsm network was busy. Maybe he was about saying “OFCOURSE NOT” before the line dropped dead. Maybe….. All I know is that I couldn’t reach him again. I started quizzing myself on the possible grounds they could have for increasing the price of their prints. I assumed that the generators they use at their facilities use diesel and not petrol. I assumed that the fuel subsidy was only on petrol. I assumed that they probably make about N1 million+ in sales daily and spend N20,000 in diesel daily. I assumed that a 120% increase in the cost of their fuel shouldn’t translate into a 100% increase in the price of their prints. Do the maths. I assumed that he’s a very reasonable man who wouldn’t increase his rates by more than 5% considering my calculations except for the sole reason of increasing the salaries of his staff that will be grossly affected by the fuel price hike. All these are assumptions. Time will tell what the final decision will be.

I proceeded to call another print lab to make the same inquiry. The staff at Replica studios was glad to tell me that they won’t be increasing their price at the moment. I was glad on behalf of the hundreds of photographers that patronize them. Please note that I’m not a fan of Replica studios; neither did I receive any compensation from them. We do most of our printing in-house and this report is a result of the journalistic tendencies lurking under my skin.

Another top printing outfit in Lagos, Fotospeed (located in Victoria Island), had not decided to increase their rates yet. So that settles the printing side.

As many of us are already aware that the cost of printing pictures is not the only cost we bear, there are still other areas (e.g. Frames, album designers/graphic artists, album binders, etc) that will be affected. The following are a few tips that I believe could be of help to those that care enough about their business to have read thus far.

1. Have a comprehensive website. In this day & age, a websiteless professional photographer is a unserious photographer. In fact such photographers should remove the word “professional” whenever they’re referring to who they are. The only reason for you not having a website should be because you’ve not taken any pictures and have not “launched” your photography business (and if you fall under this class of photographers, its ok to stop reading this piece now because the rest of the tips might not be as important).
One of the major advantage of having a website now is a reduction in your cost of transportation. Most clients that call me now already have an idea of the quality I bring to the table because they’ve seen my job online. Consequently, the major issue we usually discuss is how & when I’ll be getting a deposit. Even if they ask to see what the final album looks like, there’s a 90% chance that we’ve already sealed the deal. I can’t imagine going to Lekki from Ogba just to show a potential client my collections only to end up not getting the job. Not only would I have wasted over 4 hours for the trip, my transport fare (toll gate fee + fuel) will not be refunded. So be smart, develop your website TODAY.
N.B. You can still register for the forthcoming workshop on website development (Fire your web designer) by the end of January 🙂

2. Don’t give your clients any discount. If you’re a business person in Nigeria, you know what the normal buying protocol is: you ask seller for price of product, seller gives you her price, you ask for the “last price”, seller gives you a discount, you act as if you’re not buying anymore and further ask for a “final price”, seller is almost angry (in some cases, seller curses you & your father’s house) but finally agrees to your last price, you seal the deal with seller. Kapish.
Chances are you’ve given discounts to almost all the clients you had last year (don’t tell anyone but I’m guilty of that too). In other to cope with the increase in your “cost of production”, you’ll be better off not giving any discounts than to increase your price. Just tell your potential client “You know the current subsidy situation….you’re still getting a great deal because I have chosen not to be like everyone else by increasing my price.” I have a funny feeling that it will work.

3. Create other streams of income. Until now, all you did was take the pictures; you contracted every other aspect out and finally get a photo book a few weeks later. Well, maybe its time to consider contracting out those other aspects to yourself. Yes, YOU. If you pay someone else to design your albums, start designing yourself. Though it can be tedious, consider binding the albums and creating albums boxes for yourself. Better yet, start marketing to your fellow colleagues that might need your NEW services. You’ll be surprised the extra money you’ll save and make.

4. Sharpen your Unique Selling Point (USP): this is the time you need to seriously market yourself based on your USP. If you’re known to arrive early for events, deliver promptly to clients, design creatively or a good communicator, these are selling points that could help stand you out beyond the price you charge. Focus on them and bring the clients’ attention to the fact that it will be their loss if they don’t hire you.

5. Build a team. Building a team of photography assistants will go a long way in easing your burden. There are jobs that many photographers turn down because they are not paying what you charge. However if you present an alternative for the client that entails having your “accredited & reliable” assistant cover the photography assignment, you could charge lesser than your standard fee and still increase your income. If my assistants or colleagues are assigned to a job, usually the client saves between 20% & 50% in fees. Many photographers may not agree with me on this but with the right associates, you’re likely to increase your chances of going for a vacation earlier than you planned.

6. Choose your friends wisely. Yes, I know things might be difficult at the moment but it is times like this that I’m conscious of associating myself with people that have a plan for a future. I’m likely to be closer to someone who believes he stands a very good chance of getting a photography job (even if it seems the “market” is saturated) than someone who complains and moans about how its hard to make it in life. Yes, they might not be perfect but at least I’ll learn from them that which will help take me to the next level. That’s why I love photographers like Jide Alakija, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Shola Animashaun & Leke Adenuga to mention just a few; they share what they know with you and are not afraid of you ending up more successful than them.

7. Develop a long-term business plan. The situation presently is a temporary one. If you focus too much on it without a long-term business plan, you’re likely to end up with a 9-5(sorry 8am – 8pm in most cases) job sooner than you think. Infact, you should be thinking of incoperating the present fuel price hike as a strategy for taking your business to the next level. You may ask, HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? Trust me, this is a season of unprecedented opportunities for Nigerian photographers. If only you can see it…….if only

8. Take advantage of social media. If you’re not presently utilizing the potentials of social media (facebook, youtube, twitter, google + etc) you’re seriously short-changing yourself. I’ve made over N2 million in the past 18 months as a result of my “business” presence on these social media. Anyway whichever way you look at it, the extra income will be worth it. TRUST ME.

9. Be financially prudent. More than ever before, this is the time to be more prudent in financial matters. I’ve recently had to give up my love for a daily consumption of 100-150cl of Pepsi. Apart from having a negative impact on my health, it had an impact on my finances too. So far, I’ve not drank a drop of Pepsi this year. SO FAR. I had it replaced with a cheaper & healthier alternative: WATER. You might have to reduce your expenses (although some would consider some of these to be an investment) in chocolate, movies, partying, phone calls, & ………….. well you know what else you spend. It is high time you reduce or remove the SUBSIDIES on such items; it will leave you with more resources to invest in your business. Trust me, I’ve already saved over N1200 this year alone as a result of removal of the subsidy I previously allocated to Pepsi. Do the maths & you’ll discover how richer I’ll be by the end of 2012

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