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


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

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

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

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

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

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

So if you’re reading this and coincidentally happen to be one of the few people I owe anything (whether favor, money, discount, gala, water or pictures), please give me time. In due season, I’ll pay them all. In due season, I’ll fulfill my promises with God’s help…..so that when I grow up, I’ll be like Joe McNally.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

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A Farewell Tribute to a Great Writer, Photographer & Friend


Twas just 7 months ago that our paths crossed. She came to our office 40 minutess late on an appointment to see Seun Akisanmi. She was considering the 6 month internship program we offer at eloPhotos Academy. Apparently she had done her research and concluded that eloPhotos was the type of place to give her the foundation she needed for her photography business. With her seemingly innocent outlook, I concluded after almost 1 hour of chatting that she was intern-material. The journey into photography destiny was about to begin for Ronke Alao.

6.5 months down the line, she has proven to be someone I learnt more from than she did from me. I almost feel bad for collecting school fees from her. Almost. With over 9,500 people following (or liking) me on social media, she has grown to be someone I’ll consider one of the 6 people I have as real friends. From her writing skills, to her interpersonal relationship gifts, I cannot quantify the impact she has made on her colleagues at eloPhotos.

This is just to express my profound gratitude for the contributions she’s brought to the eloPhotos table. No she isn’t dead. She just stepped up to another level. She graduated from eloPhotos yesterday (November 15) and if I were to be presenting an award for the best student eloPhotos Academy has ever produced since 2008, she’ll win hands down. If not for the fact that the tears in my eyes have been on ASUU strike for 5 months, our office will be flooded by now.

Thank you for being an inspiration with your writeups, photography skills & marital advice. eloPhotos will not be the same. Indeed you’re a photographer in whom I’m well pleased. Go in this strength as you conquer the world of photography with Ronke Alao Photography.

For those that might be wondering who this great writer is, here’s a summary of some of the writeups she’s put up on this site. Enjoy

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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Ronke Alao

Challenges Of Being A Female Photographer

A Poem Called HONESTY

The Day I Had A Dead FLY Served For Dinner

My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer

LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City

Photography Studio Rental in Lagos: Kiki Melissa Studios

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

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career

WARNING: READ BEFORE YOU TRAIN AT eloPhotos

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS

604800 Seconds In The Life Of A FEMALE Photographer

Rantings of a Weird Photographer

AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective

Why Your Best Client May Be Your Last Client


So I recently had the privilege of hiring a cobbler to do a customized sewing design on an album box I wanted to deliver to a client. I explained to him the design I wanted and emphasized the importance of delivering a neat job.

30 seconds into the sewing, I knew in my heart I would never work with this vendor again. His design was sloppy and neatness seemed to be enemies with him. I had planned to give him about 4 other materials to sew for me and decided right that moment that he will not lay his needle on another of my materials. At the end of his 5 minutes work of technical imperfection, he billed me N100. I hurriedly paid without negotiating; couldn’t wait to get him out of my sight.

If only he knew that I had budgeted N2000 for all things I wanted to sow. If only he had asked for my opinion on the sloppy job he just delivered. If only he had been more technically proficient in the carriage of his expertise. He looked at my expressionless face and perhaps thought he had secured a great client in me. I thanked him for his time and sent him away.

I immediately summoned my colleagues to share with them a customer-service revelation I had stumbled upon. Sometimes when we deliver our jobs to clients that don’t seem to say much (apart from paying and thanking us), we should be a little skeptical. It is important to prod customers that “seemed” to be satisfied and ask what they honestly think of your service delivery or product quality. Sometimes we’re happy for the $2000 we just harvested from our best client without being conscious of the fact that “our best client” might not have been completely satisfied. Hence we ultimately loose out from the $20000 jobs he would eventually bring our way.

Buttom line is for us not just to be quick to charge and collect money from our clients; we should try to be 100% sure that they are satisfied. For only 100% satisfied customers will help to be your loyal and faithful BRAND MARKETERS.

A MEDICAL DOCTOR’s Photographic Perspective: wHaTeVeRiTtAkEs


My name is Femi Adewuyi. I am both a medical doctor and a professional photographer. I started out as an amateur photographer in 2003 , the year I gained admission into the medical school. I  have since developed my expertise over the years and have a number of accolades on my head.

I have always asked a few questions to my mentors and senior colleagues in this business of photography ” How do I get to sell my pictures at a good price ?” , “How do I ensure that my brand remains in business while competing with colleagues who photograph at prices that are too good to be true?” I got answers to these business questions and many more at the whateverittakes seminar. A summary of the seminar in three words would be  HUMILITY, INTEGRITY and PROFITABILITY

Humility
As a photographer in the service delivery business, my customer’s experience while relating with me goes a  long way in determining if I would be hired.  Client satisfaction is hinged on how good our customer service is not just on technical competence. Satisfied clients will bring more referrals .

Integrity
My character  has a direct influence on my photography business. I learnt to be on time with my appointments and in delivery of clients work . Learning to be accountable for my mistakes was another twist to the lecture. A client can end up being a friend and  champion marketer of my business if I show integrity in my dealings.

Profitability
I learnt basic accounting techniques for tracking my income, expenditure and profit.  I was also shown how to identify my ideal client and  get a formidable marketing strategy to guarantee more sales. Learning to write a business plan and budget was quite new to me.

Other things taught include how to start a website at minimal cost, how to overcome our fears and learn to question stereotypes.

In less than a week, I’m starting to see business in new light. I am relating better with my clients and already working on my online presence.  If I have the chance to go to whateverittakes again, I  won’t go alone. I am taking my photo assistant along.
Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (3) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (4) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (5) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (6) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (7) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (8) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (9) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (10) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (11) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (12) Whateverittakes Lagos Workshop (13)

 

My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos


The much talked about WHATEVERITTAKES workshop finally held in Lagos after making its debut in Warri. This was to be the workshop that would help photographers stand out in the industry and I must say it delivered.
I was privileged to be a part of it. Four of the twelve participants were ladies much to my excitement. If you missed it and you are wondering if you missed anything, let me break it to you softly; you really missed out big time!  It would have been nice if I could share all I learnt with you but it’s like trying to describe what flying in an airplane feels like to someone who’s never seen the inside of an aircraft.

A lot of the valuable lessons I learnt are the kinds you don’t learn in photography books or even books that teach business skills. The words “Integrity” and “Profitablity” now carry new meanings for me. During the workshop, I had to think of why someone like Aliko Dangote would have banks lined up, trying to loan him money while those same banks might not be too eager to loan other businesses. It has little or nothing to do with the guy’s bank account.

The great thing about a workshop like this is the fact that you not only learn from the facilitator,you learn from colleagues at the workshop as well. It provided good networking opportunity. I was privileged to meet Dr Femi Adewuyi in person. He’s someone who has intrigued me ever since I heard of him; a medical doctor who does photography professionally.

The major questions I was faced with at the end of that day were those that might seem difficult to answer but are at the very core of success in the industry. Questions like: how long do I plan to stay in the industry? What kind of impact do I want to make? What are my plans for the next three years? Am I only in photography because of passion or do I carry a vision that inspires me enough to take action and do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out and impact my family and the world at large? These are the questions I seek to answer for myself. How about you? What will you do? Will you read this article and move on to the next or will you take time out to answer these questions for yourself too? Remember, the future starts now!

by Ronke Alao

 

WHATEVERITTAKES: The elo Experience in WARRI


My trip to warri in Delta state was as eventful as the training I attended. Elophotos had advertised on their website inviting Professional Photographers and hobbyists for a training in the Business aspects of Photography. I must say, this was rather uncanny but caught my curiosity as I had never thought that photography could be studied and modeled as a going business concern. What I mean here is, I was used to seeing people run around with cameras at functions snapping away to earn a keep. A few had a semblance of studio facilities while others worked freelance.

On this fateful day, while browsing away my time on the computer, eloPhotos popped up with this bright perspective of a training program in Warri. Now, Warri is not my usual hangout due-in-part to my inhibitions about militancy and youth restiveness in that beautiful domain. As you are all aware, practically every comedian in Nigeria makes jest and get their material from the nuances of the Warri folks. That, in a nutshell, sums up my early impression of Warri. Going there was another kettle of fish.

So, following Seun’s directive after paying the relevant fee, I packed myself and I through the help of Bob Izua motors to the oil city. The program started at 9.15am with the Resource person / host welcoming the participants to the program. A brief of the training outline was made after the relevant opening courtesies of self-introduction.

It was interactive with a view to giving the participants the opportunity to make their contributions and get pertinent questions answered. I must say, it was an eye opener.
The training covered such topics as Marketing, customer relations, Negotiating, sound book keeping and budgeting, using the internet platform to energize your business portfolio and reaching out to the world. It further touched on the subjects of HIP ie; Humility, Integrity and Profitability.

The resource person touched on making projections and setting business goals in the short, medium and long term as these will serve as a pivot and guide to aching great results sustainably.

Participants were admonished to be frugal, professional, and constantly upgrade themselves as the business environment changes with time. Above all else, keeping ones business strategy close to heart was of prime importance.

Finally, we were, encouraged to interface regularly and exchange ideas with a view to moving the industry forward. The training came to a close after a group photograph was taken with Mr. Seun Akisanmi. I got back to Benin City by 7.00pm.

My name is Ema O. Ndon  (www.ndonema.blogspot.com) & I’ve made a commitment to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out in the photography industry

WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (1) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (2) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (3) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (4) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (5) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (6) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (7) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (8) WHATEVERITTAKES THE WARRI EXPERIENCE (9)

 

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.

 

An INTENSIVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP by Dotun Ayodeji


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

Topics
Day 1
– 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

Day 2
– 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.

dotun's blog wedding workshop

Photography Studio Rental in Lagos: Kiki Melissa Studios


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._DSC7615

For more details about renting her studio, you can visit her website  by CLICKING HERE. To view her_DSC7579 lineup of equipment for rent, download this file:_DSC7587 KMSequip

Reporting for eloPhotos,
Ronke Alao

HELP!!! My Family Don’t Appreciate My Photography!!!


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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.

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Taking my Photography Business to the next level


In the multitude of counsel, there is safety.

Remember that nursery rhyme we all sang as children: Twinkle Twinkle little star/how i wonder where u are/(pls dont give me that eye, you were once in kindergaten, and I put it to you-YOU SANG THAT SONG!). Seems, we were always looking for stars. Lol! Jokes apart, I found some. Not just small stars but great ones too and each one of them was a SHOOTING STAR! You guessed right. Yes, I met PHOTOGRAPHERS!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an interesting post about a workshop on how to improve on your photography business. I thought to myself, ‘well, it wouldnt hurt, i’ll just attend….precise time, relevant topic discussion….whats there to lose?’ Then, simultaneously, the other mind bugger came, ‘that means you have to wake up early to beat traffic and get to class on time…are you sure you want to do this? Why don’t you just stay at home, wake up late, you really need the sleep you know, plus, the weather might even change tomorrow…IT MIGHT RAIN!!!’( Hmmn…that moment when you’re between the really deep blue sea and a tempting island!)

Apparently I decided to fight against those odd thoughts,(lai, lai! Laziness will never take control!) and give in to the priceless virtues of determination and sacrifice. I told myself, ‘it doesn’t matter what I go through, as long as I can acquire relevant knowledge and can be in the gathering of like-minds”. I decided to go for the class. With this decision in mind, to my utmost surprise, down came pouring the rain the next morning!!! But NO SHAKING!!! With a steady umbrella in hand and a song in mind (i have decided/ to go to the workshop/I have decided/ to go to the workshop/I have decided/to go to the workshop/ no turning back/no turning back/) I stormed out of my house. Talk about determination.

That’s the attitude that brought me to the workshop. I gave this synopsis so you won’t run away when I start to talk about the priceless lessons I learnt from that workshop. The workshop was organized by eloPhotos and facilitated by Mr Seun Akisanmi. The class was fabulous!!

What stuck me most was the simplicity of explanation and practical guidelines given on how businesses can be improved upon (most of which are overlooked by photographers).
The class diversified from a lecture, into a discussion forum, to a talk show and ultimately into a cinema hall. LOL! As I reminiscence on the happenings of that day, I can’t help but giggle at various responses given and some situations we photographers find ourselves (trust me, I have had my fair share too!).

Thus, with my benevolent heart, I’ve decided to provide a memoir of the high points of the workshop for the benefit of those who could not attend. Plus, in a pithy way, I’ve included lessons I learnt from cartoons (YES, CARTOONS) played at the class.

The gists below are the respectable inputs from both the facilitator and photographers at the workshop. Travel with me on a juicy journey into the land of photography business. Fasten your seat belts because it’s gonna be a jolly ride!!!

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT TIPS.

 PLANNING: this entail a lot of details. Any photogapher that wants to be and remain relevant needs to be a succinct planner.

 What is your 2-5 year plan?

 What is your marketing strategy?

 Who are your target audience(s)?

With the influx of various camera technologies and indiviuals into the industry, it is so evident that a photographer without a relevant plan would simply be flushed out . Your plans would tally on the ropes of your VISION. What is your vision in photography? Where do you see yourself going?

 AGREEMENT STRATEGY: This served as one of the high points of the workshop. Most photographers do not have documented terms and conditions upon which their business transactions are pitched. This issue causes a lot of squabble between photographers and their clients on payment grounds. It was discussed and advised that every photographer should have a business contract guiding operations and payment processes between them and their respective clients.

 VALUE: every photographer should know his/her worth. Sincerely, value should be attributed to you as a photographer. According to Mr Seun, “know exactly what do you bring to the table”. Know your worth!!! It cannot be stressed enough. Equally, patience with your clients is key because they are your main marketers. Make them leave with a good impression with every picture. Trust me, they’ll tell others about you. It’s reciprocal!

 APPROACH TO BUSINESS AND FINANCES: Photographers were advised to have a separate account from their personal funds. This would enable them to monitor their profit, give their tithe (if they’re Christians) and not mess up their book-keeping. Even though professionals such as accountants can be approached, it is not so much of a task to do one’s book keeping. To tidy up records, a system can be strategized, whereby you allocate a salary to yourself just like your workers i.e. personal salary scheme. Save at least 20 percent for future use.

 BRANDING: Corporate branding was encouraged. Every photographer should have a registered company name and logo (one of which I was advised upon) as well as suitable complimentary cards. Social media was highlighted upon as one of many ways to brand & market one’s business. Websites and blogs are equally good branding tools.

This led to our cinema discussion. YES, the cartoons(#rubbing my hands now#). Lessons learned from these cartoons can be embedded in our daily lives and relationships with people. I hope you learn something:

 Discover you vision and your style and never lose it.

 Presentation and packaging matters. With your presentation, people tend to trust you with their pictures & their confidence is released.

 Learn to work with what you have. Never borrow or paint a false image. Be professional and look comfortable with what you have.

 Life is Not a competition, hence photography is Not.
Find your niche

 Dream big and Plan to execute it, no matter how ridiculous.

 Be positive and always celebrate even the seemingly little successes.

 Show passion and remain motivated.

 Never lose your enthusiasm.

 Always be a good leader & try as much as possible to remember your staff by name. This increases loyalty.

 Always talk as a company by using words like “WE” instead of “I”.

 Learn how to communicate with people.

 Be an avid reader and keep learning. Never stop because life is a longtime learning process. Never misplace the place of learning.

 Resilience is key alongside preparation and courage.

 Be on the lookout for opportunities inspite of discouragement. Always have your complimentary card with you wherever you go.

 Be an observer.

 Integrity is essential. Be truthful and willing to accept your mistakes.

 Most times in life no one will applaud your little steps. But be rest assured, they would applaud you when you make that grand entry.

 Savings is key

 Always have a good relationship with your colleagues

 Family members can be your best promoters or discouragers. Whatever comes your way, never be discouraged or feel too proud. Keep moving forward.

 Despite discouragement, keep motivating yourself. Find one person that believes in you and if you cannot find that person, always try to believe in yourself.

These comments were exclusively rendered by participants at the workshop. Lessons like these, sums up my approval of this workshop as a successful one. I say a BIG THANK YOU to the eloPhotos family for a wonderful initiative. God bless you all with more creativity and inspiration. You guys are set to break new grounds in Nigeria. By God’s grace, this is just the beginning.

I had fun all through this ride and hope you enjoyed the journey of this article. To all photographers reading this, note that there is no perfect photographer: every one has a weakness. No matter what happens, keep improving upon yourself.

Written by
MORAYO IYAOMOLERE
The Voice Photography
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12 Nigerian Photographers to watch out for in 2012


English: Hotel photographer and a hotel guest ...

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

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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?