Here’s a forthcoming workshop you should consider attending. It’s being organized by one of the photographers I admire in the industry. A worthwhile investment if you ask me. You can also check out his beautiful collection of pictures at DOTUNSBLOG.com
– Basic discussion of gear and equipment
– How to define your style of photography based on your choice of lens and perspective
– My simple approach to shooting weddings. Shooting details, the story, portraits, formals and reception
– Realistic flash Techniques and how I use it at weddings
– How to influence the flow of your wedding day photographs with a strong timeline
– Posing and directing your clients – The simple or high fashion style
– Building a referral base of clients who love your work
– How to attract the high end client market or a client base above your current market
– how to shoot for your clients not other photographers
– Branding basics and pricing
– Blog this don’t blog that
– Portfolio review
– Live shoot with hands on instruction
– How to find the light
– Live edit – how I process my image from capture to print.
– Ask me any question.
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It was right after the Monday weekly devotion at eloPhotos that Mr Seun Akisanmi informed me that I would have the honor of visiting Kiki Melissa at her Ikoyi studio and having a chat with her. I contacted her that very day and we both agreed to meet on Friday afternoon. She sounded young and upbeat on the phone and I wondered what she was like in person.
Friday came soon enough and I headed to 21 Biaduo street, (location of Kiki Melissa studios), accompanied by two colleagues – Tayo and Emmanuel. On getting there, we were welcomed by a smartly dressed, young man named Michael, who informed us that Kiki would join us shortly. Meanwhile, my colleagues and I admired the studio – the sheer space, the white walls, the makeup room and the photography equipment in view.
Kiki soon emerged and even though I had not tried to imagine what she would look like, she was nothing like what I would have thought. Perhaps I imagined a lady dressed in a pink shirt and blue jeans with high-heeled shoes. She was casually dressed like the girl next door and if I had met her in a mall or someplace else, I never would have guessed she was the brain behind Lagos’ finest studio. She was just as young and upbeat as she sounded on the phone.
Kiki has this air around her that makes you want to trust her. She had gone to England for school when she was about 12 years old; coming home only about three times a year on holidays. What brought this intriguing lady back to Nigeria? Her love for photography and a desire to make it her full time career. This love for photography was the reason why she left the university after two years, abandoning her psychology degree program.
With the full support of her cool parents (only very cool parents would support that decision) and a plan to establish her business in Lagos, she returned to Nigeria some seven months ago and thereafter gave birth to Kiki Melissa Studios. The studio opened April 15, 2013. Her goal is to provide an option for photographers who can not or do not necessarily have the capital to buy expensive gear and set up a studio of their own. The studio offers a beautiful space and state of the art photography equipment all at an affordable rental rate.
When asked about challenges she’s faced as a photographer since returning to her homeland, she cited pricing and also the fact that Nigerian clientele usually don’t appreciate creativity as well as their English counterparts. She also mentioned timeliness which is lacking in our Nigerian culture. This young business woman isn’t too excited when a photographer books a time slot to use the studio and then shows up late so guys, keep to time.
When asked what kind of photography she enjoys doing, with a sparkle in her eyes, she said “Editorials and Travel Photography”. Our chat ended about forty five minutes after it started. I had finally met the lady who would rather be called ‘Kiki Melissa’ rather than reveal her full legal name. Kiki would like to be remembered as “someone who changed the game a little bit” where the photography industry is concerned.
For more details about renting her studio, you can visit her website by CLICKING HERE. To view her lineup of equipment for rent, download this file:KMSequip
Meet Taiwo, Africa’s 1st blind photographer. Born blind, her love for the artistic has driven her to eventually join the community of photographers. Her reason: to challenge those who can see. Think we’re joking? Meet her at the forthcoming Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference where she’ll be exhibiting a few of her pictures. Meanwhile, here’s a “glimpse” of what she looks like
NiPHEC 2013: miss it, miss out
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He sent me a bb message asking to see me urgently. He was frustrated. After finding his way to our office 24 hours later, he was getting ready to explain the ordeal he had been through.
His name is Lagbaja Tamedo & his cousin had approached him to ask for his photography services as his contribution to the forthcoming wedding. Since Lagbaja was financially broke, he had told the cousin that instead of making a financial contribution, he’ll give him a whopping 60% discount off the photography bill. The discounted bill would come to $320 (N50,000). He figured that should be enough to cover his basic cost of production for the album he’ll be delivering to the cousin. The cousin agreed to his terms.
3 weeks after the wedding, the cousin was calling my Lagbaja to ask for the wedding album. My friend asked him for the $320 payment he ought to have received before the wedding and an argument ensued. The cousin argued that he did not agree to pay such an amount and that he thought that the photographer will be giving his photography services free of charge. The cousin started insulting our photographer friend and that infuriated him (I.e. Lagbaja). This wasn’t the first time a family member will treat him thus. That was when he pinged me for my advice.
My first response was that he should accept responsibility for what has happened. I strongly advice against being so quick to “donate” one’s professional services to family members just because they’re family members. In my experience, it’s usually those closest to you that don’t seem to appreciate the creative juices flowing in your veins. Just ask Jesus when he attempted to do miracles in his hometown.
I asked him why he didn’t put it in writing so as to reduce the chances of an argument later on. I asked him why the cousin didn’t pay the discounted bill weeks before the wedding date. The chances of getting your bill paid by a client are significantly reduced if they don’t pay 80% of the bill 2-4 weeks before the wedding date: it will end up being another prayer point that the host of heaven will have to deal with. Like my mentor once said, God gave us a brain so we’ll give God less work to do.
I told him that one of the few people on earth I don’t bother writing an agreement for is my father: his memory is as sharp as Usain Bolt is fast. ALWAYS put everything down in writing. You’ll be grateful you did.
I asked him to go ahead and deliver the album to the cousin whether or not he pays because the photographer’s reputation will still be at stake. Although this was a hard pill to swallow, I knew that a disgruntled customer (or cousin) will be a better marketer of his/her experiences with you than a satisfied customer. An unsatisfied customer will tell 10 other people while a satisfied customer will testify to less than 5 people.
Finally, I convinced him to attend the forthcoming photography workshop on Running a Profitable Photography Business. He’ll have the opportunity learning great business tips from the likes of Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga (QF), Shola Animashaun, Folake Ojeikere & Yetunde Babaeko.
On December 21, I got a call from a gentleman who referred to himself as PA (initials for his name). We were recommended by his colleague at his workplace, Mobil Producing Nigeria. We covered the wedding of the daughter of his colleague last Christmas (i.e. 2010) and he loved the pictures enough to refer us. Majority of our clients call us because their family, friends (or enemies) recommended us.
“Do you do home service”, PA asked. My response? “You just spoke my language.” We scheduled the shoot for Dec 28 & I explained to him right there on the phone what my minimum charge for home sessions was ($300 as of the time of the telephone conversation…..& could have gone up as at the time you’re reading this :>). I didn’t want to drive for almost 2 hours to get to his house only for him to tell me that was beyond his budget. He was ok with the bill. I was happy that he was ok with the bill.
I took a sample size of one of the 13″ by 19″ frames I’ll be delivering because he wasn’t familiar with sizes & dimensions of frames. He would eventually choose the type of “standard” frame that will go with the 2 pictures he wanted. I packed my camera bag about 3 hours before we set out. Under normal circumstances, this was too late. I teach my students to always have their camera bag & equipment ready at least 12-24 hours before a location shoot. Thankfully I did not forget anything.
I made sure I ate breakfast before leaving for what usually ends up being a 6 hour-minimum ordeal (3 hours roundtrip for transport & 3 hours for the session). I never eat at a client’s house before a shoot, even if the client insists. I’m usually very anxious to get the main job out-of-the-way & receive a cheque than to sit down and be “making myself at home.” Sometimes I wonder if clients really mean it when they tell you to “make yourself at home.” I’m sure they wouldn’t have been happy had I ordered chinese food or pounded yam in an attempt to be free in their home. Anyway, I told him that a glass of water would be ok by me and my two assistants nodded in agreement to my requisition. Most clients that we do home sessions for are usually nice enough to offer food & drinks. In fact there is usually a 98% chance that I would end up enjoying a session with a client that offers food & drinks: they’re usually pleasant to work with.
It was interesting that though he was living in such a beautiful house with his wife & 2 children (maybe the family just moved in), there wasn’t a beautiful family portrait in view. Maybe it was in the master bedroom upstairs. All I know was that I was about to make their “living room” come alive with beautiful portraits. And, boy, did we get beautiful portraits. Like most of our family portrait clients, they wanted a high level of privacy with regard to their pictures; hence the reason you’ll see none of it on the internet except you’re a friend of the family and they give you the password to their viewing folder on our clients website (www.eloclients.com).
Before we started the shoot, I explained to him once again how the whole process works. The family changes into 2 or 3 attires (preferably matching in colors), we take as much pictures as their energy will permit, we upload the low resolution pictures on a passworded folder at http://www.eloclients.com & they choose the ones they’ll want us to frame or print for album(s).
With a glass of cold water quietly going down my throat, we began setting up our Bowens lighting equipment while they changed into their first attire. I always choose a spot or corner to put our bags or other small gadgets. It helps us easily account for anything we might have taken to the location.
Usually the first 20 minutes of the session usually doesn’t result in any “framable” image because the family is still trying to adopt to this stranger that calls himself a photographer.
I don’t just tell them to pose this way or that way; I engage them in conversations that will bring out the expressions that I want. To the 10 yr old boy, I would ask him how many games he has on his Playstation or what he thinks of the cartoon characters “Pinky & the Brain.” To the teenage girl, I would ask who her favorite R&B or pop artist is: Beyunce or Rihanna. And before you know it, you can hear the humming lyrics or Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” To the father, I would talk about how lucky he was to have gotten a lady as beautiful as his wife. I would tell him how beautiful his house is & how I would one day love to be able to afford the BMW 750i that was sitting in the garage. To the mum, wife & mother I would start by complimenting her on her looks or whatever she’s wearing (shoes, perfume, jewelry, etc). I would tell her how lucky she is to have a wonderful husband like hers. Usually & in most cases, all parties end up giving me the facial & emotional responses that translate into great & framable pictures.
I enjoyed the session and once again had to respond to their offer of hospitality: “What will you eat or drink?” “Malt will be ok,” I responded and my assisstants nodded in agreement.
I don’t know why but at the end of most of our sessions, I would not get a cheque unless I ask the client for it. Either they forget (yeah, right) or like the conductor in the average Lagos “Danfo”, they want me to forget. HOW CAN I FORGET. I asked for the “small rectangular” piece of paper and he gladly gave it to me. He ordered for an extra frame and I was glad I was about to start the new year on a really high note.
I was so happy with working with him that I offered to give him three 5″ by 7″ complimentary frames for his office. He was happy. My assistants were so happy with the level of hospitality received that they forgot the sample albums we took there. Now that made me unhappy because it will cost me un-budgeted funds for transportation for something that could have been avoided. I guess they learnt their lesson: never leave a client’s house without everything that belongs to you…..including the cheque. NEVER
First of all, please note that the photographers mentioned here are in my own opinion. There are photographers that I know deserve to be on this list & if your name isn’t here, PLEEEAAAASSSSSEE don’t take offense.
Most of the photographers mentioned here are actually new in the industry & might not be known by many at this point. Their future is so bright that you’ll need sunglasses to view them. Also, I’m not being compensated for mentioning them. Most of them didn’t even know I was going to write about them.
Although they all have their weaknesses, I’m looking beyond that and presuming they’ll address them in the coming year. One common characteristic of every one of them is the fact that they don’t have a backup plan for 2012; its either photography works out for them or photography works out for them. I like that. I like people who burn bridges and put all their energy into whatever they’re doing.
Therefore, in no particular order of importance or priority, I present to you the 12 Nigerian photographers that are about to threaten the reign of the top names in the industry in 2012….. Get Ready.
1. Shola Animashaun (www.sholaanimashaun.com)
Forget Kelechi Amadi-Obi, forget TY Bello. If it was legal to steal a photographer‘s portfolio, I will gladly steal Shola Animashaun’s entire collection. His clientele & portfolios in comparison to mine makes me look like an intern. Let’s just say if I’ve spelt PH, he has spelt PHOTOGRA. An award-winning photographer, he was the official photographer for a number of celebrity shows in the past few years including Hip-Hop Awards & MTV Awards.
With the resources he has on photography (some of which has been useful to me) you’ll be angry with him for not presently running a Photography school. He says he wants to completely spell PHOTOGRAPHY before starting & I insist he shouldn’t wait for the perfect scenario: just start. Visit his site, follow him on twitter & Facebook and see why I want to be like him when I grow up.
2. Adio Olla-lekan: Made Photography (www.madefotos.com)
This guy is the undiscovered “Whiz kid” of the photography industry. He even looks like him too. He’s just less than a year in the industry and has taken pictures that I wished I took in my 3rd year as a photographer. Hence the reason he considers himself MADE. Just call him Mr MADE. I love one of his slogans: Forget Superman, trust MADE. Now, isn’t that catchy? Well, I think it is anyways.
He’s someone who will prove to you that it’s not all about the camera but mainly the person handling the camera. Although his website is just over 1 week old & might not have enough pictures to make you spend over 10mins viewing, watch out for him in 2012 and you will be ……………… (Fill in the blank in December 2012)
3. Lara Tiamiyu: La Royal Concept (www.laroyalconcept.com)
One of the best female photographers I’ve had the honor of working with, Lara is in a class of her own. Her beauty might be what will make you ask for her complimentary card but once you see what she can do photographically, you’ll definitely want her to be your lifetime photographer. Let’s just say if she covers your wedding, you can rest assured that award-winning images will inevitably be the results.
She’s one of the very few people who I can ask to cover an event on my behalf and not worry about what she’ll deliver. Her touch is almost……ROYAL. After her recently concluded exhibition at Eko Hotel, you can’t but wait to see what she’ll be up to in 2012.
4. Samuel Ijiyokunola: Living Memories Photography(www.livingmemoriesng.com)
Now this guy is interesting. In less that 6 months of starting, he has covered over 6 major events (5 of which are weddings), made over N500k & does not yet have a camera he can call his own. Call him a businessman, he’ll rather use $50 to rent a camera than to use $1000 to buy one. Give him a bag of cement & 3 months and he might as well present to you a completely built house. He’s very diligent and I won’t be surprised if he buys his first house in 2012 from the proceeds of photography. Though his website is not complete yet, stay tuned to his channel in 2012 and you’ll be surprise on how far a good business mindset can get a photographer within 12 months.
5. Olamide Oluwagbemile: Lamzy Photography
I can still remember the first day she walked into our training academy. I was teaching a class and almost forgot my next line. I thought to myself “Who is this model & what does she want with photography?” 3 months later, she would eventually turn out to be one of the most interesting students we’ve ever had. Her pictures are reflections of who she is: BEAUTIFUL & STUNNING. Although she doesn’t have a website yet that will convince you of her potentials, watch out for the next TY Bello in 2012.
6. Babatunde Ogunjobi: JOBI PHOTOS
A Unilag graduate of Physics, he decided to pursue his real passion 1 year ago. So far he has no regrets. When he presents to your wedding album, you’ll be amazed at his ability to make your wedding more beautiful than the wedding day itself. One of his strength is in album design & I’ll gladly give him any album to design on my behalf (although he still thinks he doesn’t know much). You can check back by the end of January for the link to his website that he has been working on.
7. Lilian Novo Isioro, Novo Images (novoimages.com.ng)
By the time 2012 is over, it is photographers like Lilian that will prove to Nigerians that what a man can do photographically, a woman can do better. Her passion for photography goes beyond the pictures she takes in the day; she even dreams about photography when she sleeps. As I write this, I just finished answering her question on what default settings to put her Photoshop in & the time is 1am. Her looks is to her advantage also; she’s likely to win a bid for a photography job with her looks alone. Hey, that’s my opinion. She doesn’t ‘hustle’ to take pictures; she takes her time. We’ll have the whole of 2012 to see how much territory she’ll cover. Guys, fasten your seat belts because Novo Images is on the horizon.
8. Afolabi Oloyede, 4Labi 4Fotos (www.4labi4tos.com)
His specialty is children photography. I mean he has photographed more children than Ansel Adams photographed landscapes. With the patience and endurance he has for children, he’s bound to emerge as the official CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC of NIGERIA. His present challenge is in trying to sort out the pictures to showcase on his new website. Give him until January to resolve that. He might not look like it but be on the lookout for the guy that firmly believes “anything is 4ssible.”
9. Dipo Odetoyinbo, Black Child Photography (www.blackchildphotography.com)
Dipo assisted me in the training of 59 new photographers in October, 2011. He’s so competent a teacher that I felt comfortable coming to class late many times; I knew he will take charge. He happens to be my mentor in all things fashion. His dress sense is so “successful” that its hard to believe that he’s just over 3 years old in the industry. His photography is as breathtaking as the designer blazers he has in his collections. With a training academy in the works for 2012, he’s bound to be a potential mentor for the floodgate of photographers that will troop into the industry come 2012. Watch out
10. Shade Ishola aka Sha-Sha, SazzyE Photography (sazzyE.shutterchance.com)
If you ask me, I think this lady is not on planet earth. She has such an interesting mind of her own that makes her…..misunderstood. After forsaking the destiny of a fashion designer, she’s bent on making it in photography or else….. Her hunger and thirst for righteousness photography will definitely get her somewhere if she hangs on. Even if you think her gallery is not enough to wow you at the moment, be on the lookout for the top lady fashion photographers in 2012. I’ll be on the lookout for her myself.
11. Deola Oludimine, Freez Photos
If there was an award for the fastest album designer, Deola will win 2 years straight. After a recent trip to Kenya where he trained some youths on Photography (courtesy of the Redeemed Christian Church of God), he’s considering starting what he calls Freez Business Institute. I wish him well. With another training engagement booked for Zambia in March 2012, he’s bent on making Photography an enviable profession. His website, freezphotos.com, should be up & running by the end of January. Stay tuned
12. Damilola Kuku, Supzie Xpression
With a stature that will make potential clients think she’s still in secondary school, Damilola’s specialty is bent on getting some mouths remain wide opened. When she recently told me she wanted to specialize in Nude photography & New Born, I was taken aback. Its one area that few Nigeria photographers dabble into. Apparently (according to her) there is a high demand for such pictures and not enough supply. May God help her in meeting the demand. Although I am yet to see a picture she has taken, I’m taking a big gamble that she will stand out. I pray she proves me right else my prophetic photography career might be over before you know it. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of her canon 5d kit, you should be anxious to see what will become of her in 2012.
13. Seu….., sorry I forgot it ends at 12
So that’s it for my biased opinion of 12 Nigerian photographers to be on the lookout for in 2012. It has already been labelled interesting, political & funny. What do you think?
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