Caught In A WEB


He just stood there still as a rock. He should fight for his life, struggle his way out of that unfavorable situation; I expect that he’d at least give it a try. Still he was still; I stopped to ponder for a minute, he didn’t seem to be worried about the situation he was in.

Why wasn’t he worried? Why wasn’t he devastated? Why wasn’t he struggling his way out? Why? Why? Why?

I had been in this place called Akonko, somewhere in south-western Nigeria, since the day before and seeing the lifestyle of the people in this village I was marveled; nothing like I’d ever seen before. They were so carefree and not tensed unlike the city I live in where even the oxygen we breathe in is tensed. I’ve said it times and again that if there’s a reason to worry, then these people had more than enough reasons. Where there is no electricity, no good drinking water, no health care facility, no internet or mobile network source, school fees worth less than N1k seems unaffordable, schools are equal to a dead end and a lot more that can’t be written; I think there’s no better definition for misery than these but ironically these people didn’t see it as that but were even more carefree than people that had all that and more.

This butterfly was caught in a web and when I expected it to be worried and struggle its way out of the web, it just stood there and watched in patience. I’m guessing it had earlier been struggling and fighting to get out of the web and that didn’t seem to be working so he opted to try a calmer and stress-less method, it’s just a guess but I suppose the worry-free spirit was abundant in the village called Akonko where I captured this butterfly.

Relating this to our lives, as long as man lives there will always be reasons to worry and when you try worrying does it work? I can say 99% of the time it doesn’t work except you’re banking on the negligible 1%; so I was thinking why not emulate the Akonko approach and try the calmer method. It’ll cost you nothing to try anyway; let’s reduce the hypertension in the world and loosen the web easily, it all begins with you.

Just so you know I released the butterfly afterwards.

butterfly caught in a web in akonko

butterfly caught in a web in akonko

“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.

HOW WILL THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AFFECT YOUR #BUSINESS?

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.

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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

Under The SUN or In The Rain


Preparing for the week ahead and knowing well that the week should with the submission of my weekly internship report (a on or before 8:00am Monday morning stuff), I settled to fix this. But I had not gotten the inspiration to write through the weekend. Usually, I start writing Sunday morning and end by afternoon, but alas! Nothing has come to mind, this is serious gbege (trouble) o.

Then, at about 09:00pm, while pondering on what the past week was all about, two lines in the NYSC anthem;”…Under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness…” dropped on my mind. What could have brought the song to my mind that moment, NYSC anthem! I sang it about ten years ago, and here we are, having the lyrics cropping up fresh at a time like this…. I marveled. The words of the anthem are definitely pointers to Passion, Love and Commitment, this struck me absolutely. I then remembered what transpired in the past week established that these three (Passion, Love and Commitment) majors for Photography as well, even the week ahead poses to be tougher because of the lined up to-do list, something in me feels like a super human.

It was still post-NiPHEC, hands still on deck to make some deliverables; our Zambian speaker was still in town and still has an affiliation, as he hand-picked me as his Personal Assistant, so I had to fix personal things for him, not neglecting my office work which is primary. All these took me to some places, both pleasant and otherwise. Example was Aroloya in Lagos Island where I framed the certificates of Recognition for NiPHEC speakers. Very messy and disgusting, the previous day rain had worsened the situation. There are areas where I had to jump like a squirrel, tiptoe or even close my eyes because of some black water and stuffs around. And guess what, the best selling sector there is the Food market. I suddenly realized innumerable small-scale food canteens all round the place; there is virtually no corner you turn to that you don’t find at least five, and guess what, they had customers even taking turns to be attended to. Very alarming, cooked food in this kind of place! I was just seeing typhoid, dysentery… all around. Their air was not a good one as well, as the whole atmosphere was also full of smoke from Igbo (weed), I was almost holding my breath throughout my walk through the area, until I got to where i carried out my purpose of going to this amazing place (that was my first time).Where I did my framing job, show cased another story entirely. It established the reason why the rich will always be different from the poor; Excellence in Service Delivery and Customer Relations.

Truth be told, it is obvious the rich understands the concept of multiplying wealth, so their service delivery is outstandingly incomparable with that of some low class people. And they see whoever that complains as ‘’customers from hell”. Here is the response I got for ensuring I got a near neat and perfect job; “You are the only troublesome customer we have had in one year”, and I wondered what is wrong with the eyes and brains of other customers they had if the job I turned out from there was ‘trouble’ as one of the attendants voiced out.  I agree that some low class people deliver excellent service, those are the wise finding their way greatness. I wish seminars could be organized for the guys in that market to achieve excellent jobs and more satisfied customers.

”…Under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness…”, as it resonates, is gradually playing out because I don’t think I can or anyone else can pull through, especially absolutely dependent starters in this photography business, without upholding these lines.

However, despite the present staring challenges, I chose to see the positive and greatness because this is where Mosope belongs.

I MUST DIE THERE!


When you hear the word “I must die there” in this part of the world, a signal of “No retreat, no surrender” pops up. Oh yes, it is. A feel of “even in the midst of odds and hindrances, I will stick to this and I must achieve this.” That even when I am being overpowered or overwhelmed by challenges, or at the point of death, I will stay glued. I guess that is the height of commitment to what you believe in, and I also think until you get to this point, you don’t turn out in your best and you don’t achieve the best result.

I was encouraged to this point in a recent time. In the midst of listening to one of my mentors, beyond his words, I felt deep his passion and can match it with great results he has turned out. And I thought within me “really, my vision is worth my life.” If I don’t give it that, who will for me? Then he muttered those words, “I must die there.” Wow! that struck me, that is the word and attitude that will make this whole ‘me’ happen.

Day after day, I found myself resounding the sentence to myself. Though I had never come to the point of considering changing my mind, I have been stressed and stretched, felt bad and annoyed with myself and some people, even sometimes reacted. But in these times, that sentence just does magic for me. Just like the bible said of Jesus, “…for the glory laid before him, he endured the death of the cross…” So at every whip, the glory gets closer.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I have any other choice, this Must work! Loads of people want to learn how I made it, many want to say “didn’t we tell you?” A lot more would benefit from this move, so it MUST work.

You know one other interesting thing I find in this willpower I am getting acquainted to, the outstanding complacent part of me will be melting out as the days unfold and it pushes for constant positive thinking.

This whole process I have signed in for is getting more interesting by the day, this is definitely beyond just  making good images, this is a rebirth.

Many times when we see our mentors, we admire and quickly want to be like them. We don’t have an idea what has gone down into becoming who they are. Anyway, its all paying off, that is why we admire and aspire to be like them. I still have a whole lot to conquer.

Entrepreneurs really, deserves some constant great accolades and treat. Those guys are not cheap at all, they are treasured assets. Now I am understanding better, I appreciate it more and I will die there.

My name is Mosopefoluwa, I am proud to be a Photographer and an Entrepreneur in the making.

Why I Love UNSATISFIED Clients


On October 25, we covered the burial ceremony of one of our client‘s brother. Our client – a 73 year old woman – had hired us as the main photographer because she was impressed with the coverage we gave her for her 70 years birthday 3 years ago. Artistic, organized, well-packaged, creative….those were some of the words she used to describe the 70 birthday album.

So it was a no-brainer for her regarding who to call for a “creatively artistic” coverage of his brother’s burial. I would later discover that she apparently had a photographer that she had worked with for over 30 years: Uncle J Photos. Apparently Uncle J had been hired as the backup photographer.

Fast forward to the week of November 14. We called her to book an appointment so she could view the designs before we printed. She went through the digital designs, gave some corrections and gave us the go-ahead to print.

4 days after the album was delivered, I put a call through to her to ask what she thought of our latest artistic endeavor. It was almost as if she had the answer premeditated because I was barely through asking the question before she blurted out a LOUD “NO”. I was shocked. I thought we showed the pictures to her before we printed.

She told me that when compared with Uncle J Photos’ album, that our album was not “a detailed coverage of the event”. I wondered what she meant by “detailed” coverage knowing that the album was just a summary of what we assumed to be key moments of the events. I concluded I would visit her on November 26 to see Uncle J’s album.

I eventually discovered that November 26 was the day her husband will turn 80 years. She didn’t want us to bother coming because she didn’t want to pay for something she wouldn’t be satisfied with again. Upon arriving there, they had just finished praying for the husband. The main celebration wouldn’t be until December 15 and I have a second chance to re-deliver a more “satisfying” album to her if I wanted to be part of her husband’s birthday.

I eventually saw uncle J’s album and was very surprised that it wasn’t necessarily “finer” than ours; it just had more pictures on each page than ours. Apparently the client wanted us to cram more pictures on each page of the album. By so doing, we would have proven to her to have done a “detailed coverage”. I gladly collected the album we gave her and assured her that I’ll do my best to please her (a promise I now realize might be difficult to keep when dealing with a 74-year-old woman).

She appreciated my kind gesture and spontaneously introduced and recommended me to 2 of her best friends sitting with her. “Elophotos is one of the best photography outfits in Nigeria“, she muttered to her friends. I was surprised she was recommending me despite the fact that I had not completely satisfied her. What if I had not showed up that day to ask for the album back? Perhaps I would have lost the opportunity to have another 70-something-year-old as a client. I’m learning to be more patient on this job.

It then occured to me that it is clients like these that please me. I appreciate clients that challenge me to do better than what I delivered for them the last time. I appreciate it when they give me feedback on how they feel I can satisfy them better even if the feedback is contrary to my artistic beliefs. At the end of the day, when I’m able to satisfy these “unsatisfied” clients, they will provide the funds that I will use to send my daughter to Harvard primary school, buy my wife’s N500 bathing soap and ultimately get my BMW 540i Active Hybrid classic. If I’m not ready to challenge myself to satisfy them, I might as well close for business and relocate to my family house in the village (Abeokuta).

May God give me the grace to satisfy the unsatisfied clients that come my way. For in doing that, I will ultimately be raising an army of eloPhotos passionate ambassadors and marketers. May the God of Light help me on this photographic journey.
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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

Ronke Alao’s Burden of Freedom


The day had finally come when my stay at eloPhotos as an intern would come to an end. Six months had gone by like the breeze but not without an impact. It was just like yesterday when I started out as a young and innocent student, (I am still very much young and innocent). 

Six months of learning, meeting interesting people, improving my photography skills, learning some accounting skills, learning to work effectively in a male-dominated office and with a boss whose personality is shrouded in mystery. I almost felt I had to take a college course named, “Understanding Mr Seun”, to even begin to unravel the mystery. 

I once had my sister in-law ask me if I was going to “do freedom” at the end of my internship program. She was referring to the ceremony that typically holds when an apprentice finishes his/her training. Though it sounded amusing at the time, I think there is some truth to the fact that I have attained a level of freedom. 

Freedom from having to leave home 5.30am and engage in the undesirable rush for a vehicle to get to Ketu; freedom from having to ride in buses that are three-quarter-filled with green plantain instead of humans, (Buses from Ketu heading to Ogba do this to me); freedom from being the “chief accountant” at eloPhotos and dealing with colleagues that aren’t sometimes helpful when it comes to keeping the books; freedom from washing the eloPhotos restroom every week and whenever a ghost uses it without flushing. So many things to be free from but what does it really mean for me?

In life, I have come to learn that freedom in itself can come with its burden. The higher you go, the more responsibilities you have. A servant/slave doesn’t have to think much or worry. You have your tasks laid out for you. Nothing is left to the imagination so you just keep working. I was no slave at eloPhotos and I had to engage myself mentally and sometimes emotionally, to accomplish the tasks set before me but sailing out on the boat of “freedom” to run my own show makes me aware of this thing called the ‘Burden of freedom’. 

When I wake up at 5am on Monday morning and remember I don’t have to be at the office or struggle at the bus stop; when I realize that the clients I will be negotiating with henceforth, would not be eloPhotos’ clients but mine; when I realize what I now do with my waking moments is left to me and I can’t blame Mr Seun for encumbering me with tasks, thereby preventing me from reading or doing whatever or when there is no boss to reiterate the need for me to practice on my Camera. Yes, the burden of freedom stares me right in the face. Not that I don’t know what to do or how to move ahead in this phase of life. I do and perhaps that’s the challenge.  Not knowing what to do can be a beautiful comfort zone that I sometimes wish I was clueless. 

The burden of freedom; it is knowing that you are free and answer to no one yet your freedom compels you to want to be a servant who serves others and bring them to the light of God whether as a photographer or writer. It is knowing that, though you are free, you were purchased with a price and your life is not your own. You still answer to God Almighty, the one who wakes you every morning and keeps your heart pumping.  Also, it is knowing that my destiny is somewhat attached to someone else’s and I need to take action on why my creator put me on this planet.

As the Burden of Freedom stares me in the face, I refuse to shrink back knowing it’s a good kind of burden. One that propels me to be all I was made to be and touch the lives I was made to touch in this journey called life. As the congratulatory messages roll in and farewell tributes drip like honey, I say to myself, “Ronke, bask in the euphoria but not for long. There is work yet to be done”. 

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

Life Lessons From Van Damme & Volvo Trucks


By the time you’re through reading this and watching the 77 seconds video embedded within, over 10124 people would have been inspired to be the best at what they do.

It happened on November 16. As I logged unto the University of Internet to get my daily dose of inspirational education, I stumbled upon the 77 seconds video that Volvo Trucks did with Van Damme. I did not hesitate to click on the link and within one minute of watching it, I discovered that the teary gland in my eyes had resumed from their 5 month break; I was in tears.

Now, wait a minute before concluding that this Seun Akisanmi is too teary for your liking. You see, I’ve been on a recent journey to learn and digest as much information as possible that will help me in the pathway of destiny that has been set before me. Hence my reason for ensuring that I’m connected to an internet that will be a platform of continuous education for me. What stood out of the advert and jumped right into my face (hence causing the tears to burst out) was a lesson God had been impressing on my heart lately: the importance of being the best at what you do. Eventually if you’re diligent at harnessing the talents & gifts that has been entrusted into your life (and don’t you dare insult God by saying you don’t have any gifts/talents), eventually you will stand before kings and not mere men. Here was Van Damme, an actor that many of us have associated with martial arts fight scenes in movies in the 90s. What on earth is he doing associating himself with Volvo Trucks?

Apparently, there must have been a marketing meeting at Volvo trucks months ago when someone popped up a question: “Which brand can we associate our brand with that will ultimately help increase the sales of the latest edition of our trucks?” A few names popped up but Van Damme was concluded on for reasons only known to them. Perhaps it was because he happened to be one of the very few celebrity actors that could perform such a stunt. Perhaps because he doesn’t seem to have a notable stain on his image/brand. Either way, I’m sure Volvo Trucks is impressed at the amount of views the advertisement is getting now.

Consequently, I resolved to be consistent at whatever it is I’m doing now that many people might consider irrelevant (albeit they’re very relevant to my distant future). I resolve to keep writing, training and inspiring people to stand out and be the best at whatever they do (not just photography). Eventually, my seemingly tiny steps of dedication and commitment will get the attention and audience of the people/organization that matters. And although I might not be driving fine cars or using the latest photography gadgets now, theses steps of dedication will ultimately lead to me having to choose which company’s ambassadorship proposal I want to go with in 2020. It was almost as if all the years of practicing that particular stunt seems to be paying off for him now.

I was reminded of the poem I recited at a recently concluded Leadership Conference. I had written the poem (Corruption: Not an Option) approximately 9 years ago. I had even recited it about 5 times within the last 9 years. I eventually gave up on poetry because I felt it wasn’t bringing food to the table of my family of 4. After the recitation I did on November 6, I got a call from a gentleman who asked for my full name over the phone. He asked to see me in person and when I eventually saw him, I was thanked for being a blessing with the recitation and given an envelope that included a check that will put food on my family’s table for 6 months. YES, 6 months feeding allowance. In my heart I fainted when I saw the figure. I almost thought there must be a mistake somewhere. I was getting rewarded for a 5 minute poetry recitation (that took me 2 weeks to compose in October 2004) with an amount greater than what some wedding clients will pay eloPhotos for their wedding photography. I was shocked. I was in tears. And I was inspired to utilize to the greatest heights all the talents that has been entrusted within me.

And that is why I cried when I saw the Volvo Trucks commercial. I’ve watched it over 10 times in the last 3 days and each time, it moves me to inspirational tears. I will be the best at what I do. I will not just walk past on the sandy path of life, I will make a mark. I will not just be a photographer, father, friend, cinematographer, poet or son….I WILL ADD the word “INSPIRATIONAL” to all those roles. Enough of my babbling. Watch the video.

 

The Ideal Gift for Seun Akisanmi


Take a deep breath……..
Concentrate on this screen……..
As you begin reading the words of this article
You’re reminded of how much of a blessing Seun Akisanmi has been to your “photography” life
You’re thinking to yourself “What can I get for Mr Seun Akisanmi that will be a blessing to him”
It then occurs to you that he’s been ranting about one particular BMW 540i car like that.
It also occurs to you that he’s been using the same ragged BlackBerry Curve 1 for more than 2 years.
It occurs to you that someone like him (stay with me now, don’t lose focus yet… its the same Seun Akisanmi we’re still talking about) deserves the BlackBerry Q10.
You pause from reading this article because you want to check your account balance to decide which one you can afford to surprise him with. You make a decision on the one you can afford.
You ask around for how and where you can meet this Mr Seun Akisanmi so you can deliver this surprise gift.
Upon surprising him with your gift of choice, you realize how elated he can get.
You realize that his expressionless face sometimes requires the right stimuli to turn it on.
You realize how easy it is to be someone Seun Akisanmi will henceforth consider a “good friend”.
You realize that you have not been hypnotized or cajoled into getting him this gift.
You realize the extent of impact you made when he places his hands on your shoulder and with water dripping from his eyes, he mutters “This is the best day of my life”.
At the sight of the tears (especially being conscious of the fact that you haven’t seen this much water come forth from his face), you wake up from your dream. You ask yourself “Was that really a dream?”

Its now up to you to decide if its a dream or if its reality.
Its now up to you. 🙂

Beyond A Photographer’s Viewfinder


My name is ONOS and here’s my photographic view of my first few days as an intern at eloPhotos Studios.

The week started on a different note with the Monday morning devotion back in place. It was a time where we fellowshipped with one another and committed the activities of the new week into God’s hands. It started with a few worship songs by Mr. Tayo Babalola and thereafter a brief exhortation was given by Mr. Seun Akisanmi. He talked about the power of the tongue as he emphasized on the need for us to be watchful of what we say to others as it will go a long way.

At about 9am, training commenced with intensive lectures on composition in photography by Mr. Samuel and Mr. Afolabi. Both facilitators made me to understand better that beyond a photographer’s viewfinder is the art of composition which is placing or arranging visual elements or ingredients in a work of art. Mr. Afolabi talked extensively on the famous Rule of Thirds that basically has to do with the photographer placing the subject off the centre of the frame. The rule of perspective, 70-30, 80-20, and 50-50, were also discussed in detail.

Mr. Samuel went further to say that good or correct composition is impossible to define precisely and there are no hard and fast rule to follow that ensures good composition in every photograph. According to him, there are only principles and elements that provide a means of achieving pleasing composition when applied properly. Some of these principles and elements he made mention of are balance, shape and lines, pattern, texture, tone, contrast, framing, foreground, background, lighting, volume, simplicity, subject placement, center of interest and the viewpoint/camera angle.

The facilitators expantiated on the art of composition, types of photography, and the forms of photographing on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Mr Samuel the forms of photographing has to do with portraits and landscape. Some of the types of photography he mentioned and discussed were fashion, travel, event/concept, wedding, advertising/product, food, underwater, sport, war, aerial, documentary/street, portraiture, landscape/nature, wildlife, architectural, and lifestyle photography.

On Wednesday, Mr. Afolabi of 4labi 4tos and Mr. Adebayo of Twelve 05 photography talked explicitly on documentary/street and product/food photography respectively.

Training on Thursday happened to be very insightful as the pricing and business aspect of photography were treated in-depth by the lead facilitator Mr. Samuel. He advised us as upcoming photographers to never be too quick to give a price to a client over the phone. He said we should try to calculate all the cost involved. Cost that will be involved includes transportation, printing, producing album book, framing, camera/equipment rental, accommodation, design of album, creative fee, refreshment, and cost of going with an assistant and all these should all be considered during the calculations.

He went further to say that it is fair to charge 5% of the cost of your camera/equipment as an equipment rental fee. He also said that in calculating profit you either markup which has to do with using a multiplying factor or you use a percentage on your cost as profit. A client’s bill is the addition of the cost plus the profit.

On Friday, training sessions continued with Mr. Samuel lecturing on light and the use of studio lighting gadgets. Series of practice sessions were done inside the studio and later outside the premises with the use reflectors to bring in more light to a subject. The day ended with a studio shoot session that involved two models, a makeup artist and a hair stylist where I assisted in holding the reflector and adjusting the main and fill light.

Finally during the cause of the shoot, I noticed that the models had their preferred sides which they loved to be photographed. The makeup and hair style done on the models helped to enhance their looks and make their beauty quite flattering. I also found out from my colleagues that photographing models may not be lucrative as compared to shooting weddings. However, models are certainly the most easy and beautiful clients to shoot and will most likely be repeat customers year after year when they need to build up their portfolio.

My name is Onos & I’m proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.

A Photography Internship Without Regret


There is a common saying which says “there is no limit to learning in life; in any place we find ourselves there are always salient lessons hidden that we patiently need to learn if moving to the next level is our utmost desire. Also, it is often said that the very second a man stops learning, he immediately starts his journey to the grave beyond.

Hi everyone, am elated entering the creative writing chamber once again after a few weeks break, not that I just decided to fold my hands,  it’s just that l’ve been occupied with other creative stuffs except writing. As a matter of fact my presence right now is to share in details diverse lessons I have learnt as an intern at eloPhotos which all together has made me a better person & Photographer.

Without much ado, let me delve into these lessons one after the other. Being an intern at eloPhotos has helped me in setting specific goals and working towards achieving them has made me believe strongly that having directional goals go a long way in turning unique dreams into reality even in the face of all odds. Now talking  about goals, I understood that your goal doesn’t have to be an edifice at the onset (am not saying we shouldn’t have lofty dreams), we can as well start from little. Making deliberate plans to achieve daily set goals invariably builds one’s confidence to achieve greater long-term goals.

Also, the business, creative & technical side of photography is something have been exposed to at eloPhotos academy. I have embraced them heartily and it has been a platform for me to build a world-class photography brand. Needless to say I’ve joined eloPhotos  in the cause to changing the shallow mindset of the populace as regards Nigerian Photography.

The next lesson I will like to share on is ATTITUDE which entails right & positive disposition to work and to people, especially one’s colleagues. I realized that one’s disposition to work (i.e. ability to do things appropriately and to carry out assignment with or without supervision) helps in bringing out the best in me. Likewise, our manner of speech, temperament, and approach to people either make or mar our success in life. Human relation is a crucial factor which needs to be developed more than the creative pro-skills.

Being at the right place at the right time, with the right knowledge and tools are essential in making an impact in life. Also, making adequate mental, physical preparation for rare opportunities that seldom comes our way is something that requires conscious effort.  And the more opportunities I tend to have to hold the camera and shoot, the more confidence I gather and this is a universal principle which applies to all. Hence, confidence, a good self esteem and vital photography elements are what you get on platter of gold at the academy.

However, in case you are having difficulties in getting your brand accepted by the masses (out there), it won’t take you forever to learn the right marketing skills to apply to bait your targeted clients. Trust me, it works effectively. Your next challenge will now be timeliness, managing and treating your client right. The bottom line invariably should be your clients which ultimately turn out to be your indirect marketers.

Readers are leaders. At this moment, I would like to buttress two traits simultaneously.  The reading habit and the leadership traits. Howbeit differently they exist, they are neatly interwoven. “You can’t give what you don’t have”. Learning under a gem that exhibits a reading culture as his second nature has intensified my curiosity and broadened my horizon thus making me yearn for more. The academy is the one adequately equipped with a library of books that address key issues in the business arena. The more I make the library my companion, the more I receive an in-depth insight on the subject matter.

Punctuality is the soul of every business. Perhaps you were born with lateness habit and you are considering yourself a CEO in the next few months, you better look for a solution centre to drive that habit far from your reins.  Clients have tagged many photographers as perpetual late-comers which I don’t think is a good testimonial to any brand. To curb this, at eloPhotos academy, cultivating a punctuality habit is one of those traits learnt though not penciled in black and white as part of the module.

Moreover, I have learnt to go about my daily activities with a deep sense of humility, accept constructive criticism with an open mind and treat my colleagues with due respect.

Overall, having my internship at eloPhotos has been a worthwhile experience. An experience that has built and launched my photography career beyond my initial expectation. My cumulative experience can perfectly be liken to a year old baby driving a BMW car based on the amount of knowledge acquired; no doubt “knowledge is power”. It’s been exactly a year down the lane, looking back, I have no regret.

Photographically yours,
Tosin Bakre

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Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013.
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Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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5 Reasons to Learn Photography at eloPhotos Academy


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1) We’ve helped to build the foundation of more professional photographers in the last four years than any other training academy. Just ask the following outfits for confirmation: La Royal Photography, Red 19 Photography, 4labi 4tos, Mint Photos, Oleku Photos, Made fotos, Lamzy Photography, Greenshots Photography, Kakadu Photography, Jobi Photos, Freeze Photography, Photography by Maximus, Living Memories Photography, Novo Images, Sazzy E Cre8tive Concepts, Eastward Eden Photography, la Belleza Photography, Nobis Photography & L’enigma Studios.

2) Our seasoned facilitators are good at what they do. Although it’s hard to believe one could learn so much in just 10 days, we go the extra mile to make sure you fully comprehend what is being taught. Let’s just say you’ll end up saving yourself 9 years of stress and failure if you heed to what we teach within 10 days.

3) If after the first day of class you’re completely unsatisfied with what you’ve learnt, we’ll gladly refund your money if you request. We’re just that confident of what we teach.

4) Our emphasis is more on the person behind the camera and not just the camera itself. We believe that a photographer should be so grounded that he can use any camera that comes his way (be it Nikon, Canon, Sony or Olympus).

5) I, Oluwaseun Akisanmi, am one of the best people to have as your friend and mentor in the photography industry. Although I’m yet to win any award in photography, my goal is to raise world-class award-winning photographers. I usually don’t rest until I’m sure I’ve done my best to address whatever question you bring my way. Like a caring father, I will not let go of you until you make it in the industry. I usually don’t brag but that’s one thing I’m known for. Attend our academy and you’ll be our photography friend for life…..except we end up separating due to one party’s character flaw. Either way, you have little to lose.

Go ahead, give us a call on 08120129149 or 08023008873 and let’s help kick-start your photography career.

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The Reason I Charge Exorbitant fees for our Workshops


REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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So I got a text message a few days ago that read thus: “…I guess each one of us is collecting a free copy of PICTURE THIS Magazine, that’s why we’ll be paying 2k for this upcoming seminar. If you keep increasing the fee like this, people like us will stop coming.”

Apparently a few photographers are upset that the fee we’re charging for the upcoming workshop on November 4 has been raised to 2k (as compared to the 1k that was paid for the last workshop in August). The argument was that if I can charge N1k for a workshop where the likes of Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Shola Animashaun, Ade Plumtre & Leke Adenuga facilitated, which BIGGER facilicitators will I be bringing for the November workshop to warrant a whopping 100% increase in the fee.

This is my attempt to justify the exorbitant fee.

First of all the last workshop in August was partly financed by Duduprintz Media. The hall that was used at Best Western costs only N250k and Duduprintz (in collaboration with HP) dropped almost half of the amount. If they had not done that, there’s a chance participants would have paid more than the N1k that was paid.

Secondly, each speaker that spoke did not get a dime in compensation. They came because of the relationship I had with them and because they all have a passion to impart on the next (and present) generation of photographers. The only compensation that I gave them was a complimentary copy of the magazine and a pack of Tantalizer’s fried rice and chicken. I didn’t even give Kelechi N10k to fuel his Toyota Sequoia for transporting him to & from the venue. If every participant had been charged N10k for what we got that day, I think it would still have been a token of appreciation for what we got. Heck, I ought to have paid the facilitators a token of a minimum of N100k each for what they shared with us that day.

Thirdly, the main facilitator that will be speaking at the forthcoming workshop will not be speaking for FREE. Though he’s been a friend of mine and our personal BRAND coach, I insisted that it won’t be fair if I don’t give Emmanuel Bright a small token (compared to what he normally charges for such workshops). Try getting a BRAND consultant and you’ll have an idea of the cost implications.

Fourthly, no other company is helping to foot the expenses associated with this workshop (venue, flyers, etc). Everything is being footed by eloPhotos. And if you think our primary objective is to make money from such gatherings, well……nothing I can write here will probably change your mind.

Lastly, I’ll be allocating about N100 for each participant to cover the cost of buying donuts and bottle water. Sorry, we would have ordered for a meal at Tantalizer’s but that will require us to charge a more ridiculously exorbitant fee.

I sincerely hope these exuberant workshop fees won’t make you stop attending our gatherings. And in case that happens, I apologize for such inconveniences. If there are any other companies that you might know of that will gladly foot the bill associated with these type of workshops, I’ll appreciate if you let me know so that we can be charging N100 as gate fee.

The deadline for registering with N2000 was October 31st and I sure hope you have registered. If you haven’t, you can still pay N2500 to register between now and November 4, 2012. As for me, I’m looking forward to the 2 “surprise” speakers” we’ll be having. Missing this workshop might very well be the reason why I might not be a great photographer……

Plan to attend the workshop on November 4: The Multi-Million Naira Photography Brand
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Plan to take a course at our ACADEMY
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Daystar Skill Acquisition Project SET 9: A New Class of Photographers


Just concluded a basic training program at Daystar for 48 students of photography. Attached are a couple of “creative” pictures taken by students in the class. Let me know the one you like the most & why.


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Plan to attend the workshop on November 4: The Multi-Million Naira Photography Brand

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Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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The Gathering of 201 Nigerian Photographers


REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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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

 

FINALLY OUT: PICTURE THIS Magazine


REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE AT eloPhotos Academy TODAY. CLICK HERE for more information
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The long-awaited foremost photography magazine for hobbyists & professionals is out: PICTURE THIS.

For N1k it should be available in all major bookstores & magazine/vendors’ stands (in Lagos) within a week. However you can also arrange to get your copy from any of the partners listed below depending on the area that is closest to you.

Feel free to call us on 234-8079243366 or 234-7038244433 if there’s a location not listed herein that you can help out with. Like I mentioned earlier, more bookstores and magazine vendors will be added in a few days. For orders of 5 or more copies, kindly give us a call and we’ll deliver to any address within Lagos State. Feel free to share on your social media network.

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UNILAG, Akoka. Dolapo 08029494655 bbpin 238388A3

UNILAG, Dept of Mass Comm. Abiola Oladeinde 08025687884 bbpin 296E30C1

SURULERE:
1) Samuel 07038244433 bbpin 21894759
2) Michael 08063482462
3) Tosin 08028629706 bbpin 22CEF99A
4) Lara 08038930888 bbpin 2371B3F2

ABEOKUTA: Damilola 07066490511, 08027636933
bbpin 28B60E72

APAPA/AJEGUNLE: Maximus 08095001309
bbpin 271DF530

EGBEDA: Segun 08137544841 bbpin 294747E1

OGBA: Olusegun 08055591040 bbpin 227D6448

LEKKI/AJAH: Furz 08133215368 bbpin 229DF347

SHANGISHA: Dmayo 08080806882 bbpin 29F26582

BARIGA: Lekan 08035649655 bbpin 2775FEC1

FESTAC/AGO/OKOTA: Shade 08121110627 bbpin 28C98C5C

BERGER: Olamide 08024583984 bbpin 231798AC

AJUWON/AKUTE/IJU/CANAANLAND: Kikelomo 08028599886 bbpin 222C59E3

AKUTE/LAMBE: Favour 08024494106

AKOWONJO/IYANA IPAJA/ EGBEDA: Yemi 08023255066

IKEJA: Godson 08022313820

OGBA: Tosin 08022935383 bbpin 21F62AA8

WARRI,DELTA STATE: Michael 08025378879 bbpin 235A85A1

Mr Bode Adeosun
Business Centre
1,Thomas Laniyan Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08068891515

Mr Bernard Ogbonna
TrippleSkills Communications
3,Thomas Laniyan Street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08023939189

Lisha’s Books & Stationery Store
1, Alade Lawal Street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08027563270, 08024228126

Mr. Joseph
QuickShop Supermarket
16, Oyedele Ogunniyi Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08083278508

Mrs. Savini
Books 4 All Stores
28, Olorunlogbon Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08033018080

Miss Blessing
HealthServe Pharmacy
4,Alhaja Oluwakemi street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08165520994

Happiness alli
Airport hotel, awolowo way, IKEJA
08187665743

Oge
17 kodesho street, opp KFC, IKEJA
07035707027

Orji
44 awolowo way, IKEJA
08038184672

Mrs. Bukola Bolaji – 08033128835, 07023331224
S. Mofenik
9, Ajose Street, Mende-Maryland,
Lagos.

Hope – 08066005770
Branama Kitchen
11, Ajose Street, Mende-Maryland,
Lagos.

Mr. Olufemi A. Taiwo – 08033512502, 08055895167
Yes! Photography
11, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi,
Lagos.

Chinwe – 08033030779
Mr. Kenneth, CEO – 08033079056
Ebili Junior Stores & Supermarket
18, Olorunlogbon Street, Anthony Village, Lagos

The Hub Media Store
Palms Shopping Mall
Lekki, Lagos

Laterna Ventures Limited
13, Oko-Awo Close, Off
Adetokunbo Ademola Street,
Victoria Island,
Lagos State, Nigeria

If you cant find a location near you and would like to be a distributor or sales agent, contact us on 234-8079243366 or 234-7038244433
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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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REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
———————————–
Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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Photography Courses at eloPhotos Academy


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Module 1: Introduction to Digital Photography Gain control and confidence in your digital photography – with a strong emphasis on exposure. This course is designed to help you appreciate the different functions, controls and options in the exciting digital dimension. The class will also examine how aperture and ISO settings work together with shutter speeds to create different photographic effects.

Key Features
• Camera Wheels, Deals, and Decisions
• Aperture – Depth of Field & more
• Shutter Speed – Fast or Slow, Which Way to Go?
• White Balance
• ISO Settings
• Focusing – Understanding focus and how it relates to your image
• Flash – How to make the most from your flash, but not letting the flash make a mess of your image.
• To Shop or Not to Shop – a potential shopping list of accessories and other photo gear you may want some day.
• How to take better digital pictures.
• And many more.

Duration: 2 days
Course Fee: N40,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 3 & 4, 2012 OR January 7 & 8, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 1 & 8, 2012 OR January 12 & 19, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 2: Lighting & Composition Whether you want to create compelling head shots, professional group or family portraits, or interesting self-portraits, you can learn how to successfully light and compose your subjects in an indoor, controlled studio environment. In this class we’ll teach you how to make the most of studio lights. Effectively use “Natural” light, Learn how to be sensitive to light, one of the two main ingredients that go into making great photographs. In this class you will find out how to become a “pro” at working with natural light. You will learn to use natural light to take your images to the next level – to having them be seen as fine art. You will explore topics that will immediately transform your work, such as backlighting and window light.

Duration: 1 day
Course Fee: N20,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 5, 2012 OR January 9, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 15, 2012 OR January 26, 2013
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 3: Business of Photography In this course, you’ll be deciding whether or not you need a studio. We’ll discuss the importance of documented agreements. Other topics to be discussed include: negotiating for a job, Creating a business structure, pricing your work, customer service, branding your photography and the importance of Packaging.

Duration: 2 days
Course Fee: N40,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 6 & 7, 2012 OR January 10 & 11, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 22 & 29, 2012 OR February 2 & 9, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 4: The Digital Darkroom In this course you’ll learn the components of a photographer’s digital darkroom. You’ll also learn how to edit with Photoshop. Master the nuances of this powerful image-editing software. Do you find reading software manuals frustrating? Are you struggling to overcome the infamous learning curve that comes with Adobe Photoshop? Then join us as we deliver a great introduction to the program, and we always excels at answering your questions and critiquing your photos.

Key Features
• Basic Setup & Workflow
• Rotating and Cropping
• Layers and Levels
• Retouching with Cloning and the Healing Brush
• Curves, Color Balance, and Hue/Saturation
• Resolution, Image Sizing and Sharpening
• Fun, friendly introduction to Photoshop.
• Learn the basic functions, as well as special tips for enhancing and adjusting your images.
• Gain confidence in using Photoshop.
• Learn how to design an album with Photoshop
•Printing technologies, types of photography print papers, deciding to print in a Lab or at home.

Duration: 3 days
Course Fee:
N50,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 10-12, 2012 OR January 14-16, 2013
Weekend SETS: October 6, 13 & 20, 2012 OR February 16, 23 & March 2, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 5: Website & Social Media for Photographers In this course you’ll learn how to design & manage your photography website using WordPress. You’ll also learn the importance of using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) as a necessary branding and marketing tool.

Duration: 1 day
Course Fee:
N20,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 13, 2012 OR January 17, 2013
Weekend SETS: October 27, 2012 OR March 9, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

REGISTER FOR ALL 5 MODULES & SAVE N20k. REGISTRATION CLOSES WHEN A CLASS OF 20 STUDENTS HAS BEEN REACHED.

VENUE:
12b Fagba Crescent, Off Acme Rd, Agidingbi, Ikeja

After making payment into our company account, send an email to info@elophotos.com to get a copy of the application form. Download the form, print, fill and bring it on the first day of class to the venue with two passport photographs along with the teller of the bank deposit. For further inquiries, contact us on 234-8079243366, 234-7038244433, 234-8120129149, 234-8101590358 or info@elophotos.com

You can also visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/elophotos for more information

For the Digital Darkroom Module, it is recommended that you bring your laptop for editing your pictures

Refreshment & Course materials will be provided along with a professional digital SLR camera for each participant for practice sessions. Please note that the camera is for practice purposes during the training and would not be taken home by participants

Payment should be made into out Stanbic IBTC account 7200147969 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises) or our GTB account 211744703110 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises)

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TESTIMONIALS

The basic course in Photography is the best thing that has happened to me this year. When I decided to take the course, I didn’t know what to expect, but now, I must say it has been worth my while. I have learnt so much already I can’t wait to go out there and start making magic through pictures. Big ups to Emmagination, Damilola “DAMELL” Elliot & Shola Animashaun, they really inspired me. Please, keep up the good work. Desi Okiemute

I have always thought of photography as a form of artistic creative expression. When I first began using a camera nearly 30 years ago, I always wanted to be able to take pictures that showed the beauty and variation that is the life experience all around us at all times. After the uncertain results that came out of my self taught efforts over the years, I finally got the opportunity for proper lessons with the Basic Course in Photography offered at eloPhotos Academy. After the first 3 lessons, I had already learnt some critical lessons that will enable me take the kind of pictures I have only previously dreamt of taking.”Painting with light”! That is a definition I have gained from the course.The course is a relaxed, practical and interactive one with several tips from experienced photographers. Very commendable training! Now it is up to me to decide to what level I want to take my photography – competent beautiful pictures as an amateur or as an artistic professional! Dr. Olayinka Longe

I really enjoyed the business aspect of the training. The lectures on character, integrity, packaging, good customer service and branding were awesome. In a nutshell, it was a wonderful decision I made by attending the training because I absolutely got more than my money’s worth. Oloyede Afolabi

eloPhotos is the place to be. Within the 8 days of the training, I’ve been able to acquire sound technical and theoretical skills in photography. The training package is so educative such that all the ingredients necessary for growth and development are included. I especially enjoyed the Branding and Marketing aspect of the training. In fact, I have decided to inform all my relatives and friends that they should not bother trying to get me a job in the telecommunications, or banking and oil industry; I’ve finally gotten a JOB. Olumide Oshikominu

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…raising world-class photographers
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Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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The Photography Gadget Criminal


So I’ve gotten more than a couple of pings and calls in recent times asking me for the best photography equipment to buy.

“Mr Seun, what do you think of the Canon 600D?”
“Mr Seun, should I buy the Nikon D4?”
“I’m thinking of buying a Bowens Gemini light kit”

The list goes on. But what is interesting is that fact that these questions are being asked by photographers that (in my own opinion) have “enough” gadgets to cater for their present photography needs. But NO, they tell me they want to be like me and have 3-8 cameras. Besides, (according to these perpetrators) that’s a good sign that you’ve “arrived” and are doing well in the industry.

The first question that I ask in an attempt to answer their questions is “Why do you think you need this new equipment?” Most of the time the answer I get is not sound business-wise. I understand that it is a good thing to have a backup camera, but that should not be at the expense of your bank account running into a ZERO balance.

And that leads me to the other question: why should you have to empty (or in some cases, BORROW money) your bank account to buy the Nikon D4 just because you want to be like Scott Kelby or Joe Mcnally? It might make sense emotionally but that is not a wise way to run a “profitable” photography business….especially if you’ve not gotten jobs recently and you’re assuming the new equipment will bring jobs…. Yeah right. In that case, I’ll tattoo the American flag on my forehead so I could be granted citizenship of USA.

So here’s my take if at all you’ve analyzed logically (not emotionally) your need for new photography equipment. If you’re planning to invest $6500 to buy a Canon 1Dx, it makes business sense to have an extra $6500 in your bank account after the purchase. If I’m going to buy a BMW Active Hybrid 540i for $60k, it will be foolish of me to proceed with the purchase if I do not have $60k in financial investment or reserves. This is a habit that is that is practiced by the wealthiest people on earth.

So if I feel I really need the BMW 540i that I’ve so much talked about, it will be to my advantage to start thinking of practical business activities that I would be engaged in that will ultimately fetch me $120k. For only then will my wealth extend beyond the gadgets or possessions in my possession.

So before you commit another crime of buying equipment that you probably don’t really NEED yet, think twice and consult the opinion of at least 3 mentors. Enough written.

To learn more about the business success habits of great photographers, plan to attend the forthcoming forum on taking your photography business to the next level. Next session is Sunday August 26, 2012. Facilitators include Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Yetunde (Camara Studios), Leke Adenuga, Shola Animashaun & ………. Be part of the largest gathering of professional photographers in 2012. Your business will not remain the same. More details to come.

Photographically Yours,

Oluwaseun Akisanmi
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Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013. Register before December 28 & get a 50% discount
———————————–
Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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The Wedding Kelechi Amadi-Obi offered to cover for $600


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So while discussing with a photographer colleague the other day, I asked him how much he enjoyed covering Celebrity X’s wedding. He laughed it off and went ahead to give a break down of the deal. Now before you proceed, please note that this is not fiction: it happened to people I (and perhaps U) know very well. We’ll call the photographer C & the celebrity X.

Photographer C first met Celebrity X earlier this year when he came seeking for the services of a professional photographer. C came highly recommended and the meeting was arranged. Upon arriving at the studio of C, X was shocked when he was given a bill of $500 for the session. “But it’s just a few soft copies I need” X exclaimed. “I know this one photographer J that can give me this same session for $80″, he continued. C explained that that was the worth of the value he was bringing to the table and that photographer J was probably also charging what he felt he was worth”.

After much discussion and pleading, photographer C decided to do the session for Celebrity X without charging a dime. Knowing that Celebrity X was very popular, perhaps it will go a long way in establishing a rapour that will bring more business in the future, he thought. The session came, the session went and over 30 soft copies later, Celebrity X was convinced that there are PHOTOGRAPHERS & there are photographers. He loved the pictures. I loved the pictures. The resulting pictures were so beautiful that I even considered going for a training session with Photographer C on how to use “studio” lights.

Fast forward to a few months later, Celebrity X came back for some more. This time he was getting married and required the world class services of photographer C for the wedding day. But first, Celebrity X needed a pre-wedding session so the pictures could be used to “advertise” to the world that “Lagbaja & Tamedo” are getting married.

Once again, Celebrity X was shocked at the bill that was presented him for the pre-wedding session. “Haba, don’t forget that you’re the one covering the main wedding”, he kidded. “Do you want to scare me away now?” After much pleading and nagging, photographer C gave a discount for the session. He figured that since he’ll be covering the wedding, he has little to loose.

Once again, the pictures that ensued proved to Celebrity X that photography was indeed the Divine calling of photographer C. The pictures were (according to the choice of words used by one of my clients) “tastefully finished”.

Alas, the wedding day drew nigh. It was time to finalize the photography details of the main day. Once again, Celebrity X shouted when he got a bill of over $2000. Now at this point, the gentleman in photographer C was already getting angry. “What does this man take me for?” he asked himself. What made matters worse was when Celebrity X blurted out that “even Kelechi Amadi-Obi has offered to collect $800 for covering the wedding”.

The indirect question being posed to my colleague was thus: “Who are you to charge me more than what Kelechi has offered to take?” To say that photographer C was furious will be an understatement of the year. He nicely told Celebrity X to proceed with using the services of Kelechi Amadi-Obi since his (i.e. Photographer C) bill is not favorable.

Now at this point you need to understand that Celebrity X is the type of client that although I would have turned down since the first meeting, many photographers would have considered it a privilege to be his official wedding photographer. He was well known. He’s still very well known.

Although I knew (just like photographer C) that Celebrity X was lying through his teeth, I decided to call and confirm if indeed Kelechi covered the wedding. I called Kelechi Amadi-Obi’s studios 3 days ago (June 25, 2012) and discussed the issue with them. I wanted to confirm if it was indeed true. His project Manager laughed me off and said “that is a BIG LIE”. He told me that the minimum Kelechi takes for a wedding coverage and delivery of soft copies on a cd is $6000. (WoW. When I grow up, I definitely want to be like Kelechi.)

So what lessons are to be learnt here? You be the judge. But whatever it is you’ve learnt from this, please make sure it includes not being ridiculed or tossed to & fro by a potential client that might look or talk like Celebrity X. I eventually met a photographer that saw the wedding pictures of X (let’s no longer call him a Celebrity): the pictures were “nothing to write home about” for a person of his class.

Buttom line is this: know your worth, price accordingly and don’t take sh** from anyone that seeks to ridicule your great work (assuming ofcourse it’s great) by comparing you to another photographer.

By the way, if you were Photographer C, what would you have done in each scenario of meeting X. (This is definitely an interesting simultaneous equation in which it isn’t necessary to Find X).

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Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013. Register before December 28 & get a 50% discount
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Dear fan, pls forgive us for watermarking our pictures in a distracting way


Dear fan,

Thanks for writing us to let us know how our watermark is distracting you from appreciating the beauty of our pictures. You also noted that our logo was too big and adds to the confusion. For this grave offense, I’m writing to express our sincere apologies while simultaneously attempting to give some explanations as to why that is so.

Please rest assured that it is not our fault that we watermark our pictures in such a way. In the beginning, it was not so. In times past we posted our pictures on facebook without any form of watermark or logo because we were so excited about the beauty that we thought existed in the pictures; so excited that we couldn’t wait to let the world know.

Our excitement was eventually dampened when we discovered that newspaper, magazine & media companies (e.g. This Day newspaper, Vanguard newspaper & Wedding Shakara magazine) hired scouts who scavenged social media sites (like facebook) in search of the same beautiful pictures that entertained you. Our initial goal was not just to entertain you; we wanted fans like you to see that we were capable of creating beautiful pictures like the ones we uploaded so that you will in turn hire us and thereby ultimately make a positive impact in our bank accounts.

It was to our disappointment however when we realized that these pictures were being used in ways that negatively impacted our financial balance sheet. I felt cheated. We felt cheated. After discovering what these media giants, sorry, media cowards….after discovering what these media cowards had done (I.e. using our hard-earned pictures without our permission or any compensation), we weighed our options: to sue or not to sue, that was the question.

Although many of my compatriots were in support of us suing the companies, we decided that we didn’t have the emotional stamina to withstand such suits. The second best option we were left with was to watermark our pictures in such a way that will make it a little difficult for these organizations to use while simultaneously expressing the beauty in the pictures to fans like you. Apparently, we seemed to have succeeded in the former intent while failing wholefully in the latter. We beg for your much-needed forgiveness.

As a way of showing how remorseful we are, our management & board have unanimously agreed that we reduce the size of our logo & watermark by 2% so as to make the pictures more fun to view. Please bear with us as this is a temporary solution to a national crisis.

On behalf of the team at eloPhotos, I apologize again for any inconveniences this might have caused your eyes and hope that you’ll still consider hiring us when you’re in need of world-class photography services.

Eternally photographically yours,

Seun Akisanmi,
MD, CEO, Chairman, Chief Photographer & Watermarker,
eloPhotos
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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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A photo session with Yinka


Yinka is an interesting personality. A fan of our page on facebook (facebook.com/elophotos), she was one of the chosen winners of a mini quiz we did in february. She came over-prepared for the session. The first 10 mins of the session proved she was a little nervous but she eventually expressed herself freely the moment I asked my two assistants to leave the studio. I hope the pictures gives you an idea of how adventurous she can be. Enjoy


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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 2


Lesson 2:………………..ok I must admit that I’m a little blank here as to what this lesson ought to be. Here’s where you help out a brother in need: suggest a title. All I know was she was making some beautiful music that will make any father (earthly or heavenly) smile. Enjoy


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30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 1


We begin this series by showcasing wonderful and life-teaching moments in the life of the superstar supermodel Anuoluwapo. Here we watch her as she teaches us the practical lesson we ought to learn from Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going

Or better yet, let’s call it “Project OCCUPY CHOCOLATE”. Enjoy


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40 pictures for the price of 10: Another photographer’s dilemma


So it happened again. Another scenario where a photographer excitedly forgot to have a written agreement. Each time I hear stories like these, I get increasingly angry at the way photographers engage in unprofessional conducts. In most cases, the client is not to be blamed: put the blame on the photographer that has not earned the title “professional”.

It all started with this particular client that wanted a photoshoot for her upcoming book. The photographer billed her $125 (N20k) for the session and agreed that 10 high resolution pictures of her choice will be edited and given on a dvd. The session lasted for about 4 hours after which the photographer gave the client 150 low resolution files on a dvd for her to choose 10 from. Apparently, the client was over-satisfied with the quality of the pictures that came out of the session: so satisfied that she decided to choose 40 pictures. She then called the photographer that her husband wants 40 pictures edited instead of the “verbally” agreed upon 10 pictures. The photographer explained that it will cost extra. The client laughed it off and insinuated that the photographer did not just take pictures for a living but apparently had added comedy as a multiple stream of income.

When the photographer told me this a few hours ago (& I hope both parties are reading this), I wasn’t upset with the client: I was upset with the photographer that did not put into writing an agreement that would have considered common scenarios like these. We seem to be quick at collecting “deposits” from clients but we forget that there ought to be a written agreement before any money changes hands.

Always put it in writing. Write down everything and anything that could prevent both parties from having unnecessary arguments. Even if it’s your uncle or sister that hired you, at least do yourself a favor by writing down the expectations of both parties and send a copy to the client’s (your uncle or sister ie) email for confirmation. If you don’t know what to put in an agreement, google “Legal forms & agreements for photographers” and you can start from there. Better yet, check out a copy of our sample agreement for wedding clients.

Stop blaming the client for “cheating” you or being unreasonable and start being more professional. Either that or some of us might as well start implementing plan B: an 8am – 5pm salary job in any organization that can offer to give us our daily bread .

It’s your call
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My Mother Clocks 15


Yes, she really did. My mother was born on february 29, 1952. So technically, she has only witnessed her birthday 15 times. Kindly pause for a moment and give her a “hip hip hip hurray” 15 times. I’m serious.

She’s a jewel. She has made so many investments in my life that I don’t think I’ll be where I am today if not for her. Should we mention the multitude of times she has taken me to different pastors for prayer & deliverance in my younger & troublesome years? Or should we mention how she successfully convinced my dad to send abroad for my university education? Or should we mention how she visited me in the USA during the christmas of 1998 and bought me my best christmas gift till date: a samsung film camera.

She’s been a blessing. And I use this medium to celebrate her at 15. Thanks for investing the film camera. The photography industry will forever be grateful to you.
Attached are a few of the pictures I took at the celebration. Try not to smile too much at my early days: I’m still innocent & cute 🙂


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What’s the family price?


So I got a call from one of my dad’s friends. She was calling to make inquiries on how much we would charge her for covering her sister’s forthcoming wedding. I explained to her that our packages start from $2000 and was surprised when she shouted back at me the amount I mentioned. That’s when she asked me “what’s the family price?” I explained to her that I don’t give discounts and she was really surprised for the second time.

For me this was business and one way or the other we all belong to a family. Whether it’s the family of God, church family, family of your enemies or one’s household family, the fact that I’m associated with you one way or the other should not automatically translate into charging less than our standard package. To me business was business.

The fact that you know the CEO of Coca-cola, MTN, Guinness, or Exxon-Mobil does not mean you would pay lesser for their services than what every other person was paying. If that was the norm, then having family as one’s clients would not make one’s business profitable.

As I explained further to her, she was shocked that I would talk to her that way. I wasn’t rude and she knew it: I was just being real with her. As she laughed on the phone she shouted “Mr Seun Akisanmi, is that what it has come to?”. I told her that giving discounts will not benefit me as I do not want to be 70 yrs old before I make enough money to buy a house. I’m not greedy but just think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if I buy my dream house this year. I’m fed up with being a tenant: its high time I own my house.

I told her that its not good for my business if I give her a discount for the wedding day and someone else calls me later to book us at our “standard rates” for that same day. It won’t be good for my business, family or no family. I told her that it isn’t a bad idea if I’m giving my dad a monthly allowance of $6000 considering all he has done for me & it is with the money I make that would enable me to do that. She laughed.

I asked how much her budget was so I could recommend another photographer I can vouch for. She said she had no budget. I hate when potential clients tell me they have no budget. Usually it implies that they don’t value photography enough to “plan” for it. She concluded that she’ll call me back in 24 hrs. Its 24 hrs after the 24 hrs and I still haven’t gotten the call.

In my experience, the concept of “family price” is one that isn’t too good for business in the long run. How do you eventually convince them that there’s no discount when they come again and again.

Although it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to offer “family price”, its something that tends to backfire more times than you would expect.

Its your call

N.B. Its ok to share this on your facebook wall or twitter if you’ve ever been asked that question: “WHAT’s THE FAMILY PRICE?”
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A Photographer’s Computer


So I just got a Hp laptop for our office. We needed a fast processing system that could help with the video editing we’ve been doing. Up until now, we’ve been using a colleague’s system whose specifications could handle hd video editing. It was also a coincidence that the topic we discussed yesterday with the present weekend set of BCP (Basic Course in Photography) was the Digital Darkroom, with emphasis on the ideal minimum components of a photographer’s computer. So I decided it will be nice to share with anyone considering getting a system for their photography business.

The following are the 3 major specifications to look out for when purchasing a computer system:
1) Processor Speed. Its ideal to get at least a Pentium 4 processor. Nowadays, we have faster processors like Dual Core, i3, i5 & i7 with i7 being the most expensive and fastest processor I’m aware of. The faster your processor, the more likely you’ll be saving some time while in your “Digital Darkroom”. The processor on the system I got is i5. Good enough for me

2) RAM. Also referred to as temporary memory, it is usually measured in GB. Ideally, you should aim to get a system with a minimum of 2GB memory. The more the pictures you want to be editing in Photoshop, the larger your RAM ought to be especially if you dont want to be waiting a few seconds before your system responds to an action. The memory on our new system is 6GB. I was aiming for 8GB but I can live with 6GB for now.

3) Hard disk space. Although its very possible to work entirely with an external harddisk, an internal hard disk with a minimum of 100GB is ok to start with. The more space you have for storing your data on the system the better for you, as long as you remember to BACKUP YOUR DATA. The hard disk space on the new system is 750GB.

So that’s just my opinion of 3 of the important specifications to lookout for in a system. It also helps to make sure you’re getting a new system (especially when it comes to laptops because they’re more delicate and fragile than desktops) so as to take advantage of the warranty options. Hp has been known to deal with systems under warranty to the customer’s satisfaction. That’s one other reason I eventually settled for them for our second laptop in 5 years.

One other reason I settled for a laptop instead of a desktop was because of the option to get extra laptop batteries that could give me up to 6 hours of work without external power. With that, I have a quieter option to fueling and using my generator. Just search on amazon.com for a 9cell or 12cell battery for your laptop brand/model.

It’s your call. Choose wisely

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Photographer of the week: Dipo Odetoyinbo


Transcript of the interview session with renowned Photographer, Dipo Odetoyinbo (Black Child Photography)

When did you KNOW you wanted to become a Photographer?
My journey into photography has been a love affair. I have always been artistically inclined. I’ve been into fashion, I’ve done a bit of drama and I sang for a long time. It was when I went to serve in Kano state, on the way from the orientation camp to the village where we were posted, there was this beautiful scenery. The journey lasted about an hour and was over in the blink of the eye. It was the beauty of the scenery that struck me and I felt I had to capture that beauty. I guess that was where that ‘knowing’ first started because I knew I wanted to share this beauty with the whole world.

Tell us more about your career in photography and the challenges you experienced.
I studied Microbiology in the University of Ibadan, but from my second year I knew it wasn’t it for me. I needed to do more with what came to me naturally. I needed to do a little more self discovery. I had good grades and all that, but I knew art is where I am really very good at. That very point, I decided to make it a career. I started out as a hobbyist taking pictures of landscape and nature and a few portraits. I started posting my pictures and it seemed people liked it and wanted more. A lot of people asked me to come and take their picture and I said no, no.
I was so strong and I had to do something about it because even as an amateur a lot of people felt I could take it professionally. I decided I could, but I didn’t know what the business side of it will take. Although I had been into business before I knew running a business wasn’t simple. I knew I could do whatever it takes and that I could imagine myself still doing this at age seventy.

The challenges I had are the same that faces most of us artists. The case of doing something you love so passionately, but when it comes to the end of the month it’s not like someone is going to pay you. The real challenges were the business side: how do I create this beautiful work of art and get someone to pay me for it? I also came to the point where I knew I had to do something that was relevant to as many people as possible. Art is a medium of self-expression but I found after a bit of research that I had to be more relevant.

Who were your mentors when you were starting out?
It’s funny people can inspire you but you haven’t met them personally. I have largely been self taught. But I read the works of so many great people for inspiration. I read a lot of Bryan Peterson’s books and Scott Kelby. I knew more of what was going on the international scene for a year of so. But since I was to be based here in Nigeria, I needed to know what people around here were doing. I met Mr Leke Adenuga of QF and he showed me quite a bit of how to go about the business side of it. Also through HO9 I met Kelechi Amadi-Obi, I met Barret Akpokabayen, and a few others & they have been very instrumental in helping me out.

Getting into wedding photography, I remember meeting Mr Seun Akisanmi who really showed me the ropes of the business side (before that I had made many blunders!) and it was like a corrective measure. I also had a few assists from Michael Adebiyi, who went with me to some weddings and would help cover some and he was really instrumental.

Which Photographer on earth do you admire the most?
Strictly speaking Work and personality wise, one of the people I admire most is Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Just looking at his works alone has been so inspirational. It’s because of the aesthetics and the fine-art. Meeting him one-on-one has also inspired me and because he makes me feel like I can do it too.

Tell us your worst photography experience so far?
I think I have had so many experiences that have made me re-consider this business. I remember a few years back I was called for a series of jobs by the same client, a party, portrait session, two events and so on. After we spoke he deposited some money into my account, promising that he will pay the balance later. So I focussed on delivery and I did all that I could, including getting a make-up artist for all the coverage. So when I delivered everything and it was time to get my balance, he started dragging.

The mistake I made was that I did not sign a contract with him and delivering all without collecting much. I had invested my own money for a lot of the work and it [must have] seemed like I had a lot of money and I had made my profit and that was why I still had so much balance to collect.
That has been the nastiest experience so far and till date I have not collected that money.

What is that one WOW “client” experience that you wish could be repeated with all your clients?
I won’t site one client in particular. I have several clients who have become big-time marketers for me. That just really excites me; when you work for somebody and they go out of their way to ensure that every one they know hires you, if they can afford it.

How far are you willing to go with this “Photography”?
Like I said , it was a love affair for me initially, and I didn’t stumble into photography just like that, but I made up my mind that whatever it takes I am going to make it work. I believe it’s finding out your own niche and doing what makes you stand out and not doing what everybody else does. So many people are coming into the industry, (that’s good because it gives it a prestigious look) but having so many more graduates who are leaving their degree and coming into the business, shows that it is such a fantastic industry and it requires differentiation and stating in your area of strength for it stand out.

Why should a client hire you amidst the sea of photographers in Nigeria?
For me I like to ask a lot of questions and find out a lot about the client to be able to fashion out what works for them to bring out the best. A lot of people want to look exactly the way some of my works appear and I have to explain to them why I took the pictures they’re looking at in a certain way. I think my attention to detail stands me out. For my pre-wedding shoots, I usually want to go all out.

Are you affordable?
I think I am quite affordable. That is relative, because I have a lot of very good work out there that I am sure of. So I have created different packages for weddings. On the average it starts at $900 (N150k) and goes up depending on the options that go into the package based on what the client needs. It all depends on what the client needs although we have a whole gamut of packages that cover what clients usually expect.

What is your advice for newbies coming into the industry?
I would say spend time learning and training. It’s not every one that holds a camera that is a photographer. Learn how to take pictures, learn the art and very importantly learn the business side of it. The business aspect of it is very important to whatever it is you are doing.

Assume you wake up on Feb 20, 2020 what will your dream day look like?
I have always loved travelling. I guess it would be the day I get a call from South Africa to come do a shoot there. I said South Africa because a lot of photographers are trained there and peoole still come from all over the world to get their training there. By then , I would [want to] have an outfit that has really grown and I would have a lot of people under the same umbrella and I would have branched out into a few other fields I won’t mention now. Photography is the good foundation for the other things that come with it.

Any plans for a training platform for apprentists?
I keep getting phonecalls from people saying they want to come learn photography, but I have learnt that talk is cheap! Then I remember approaching one of my mentors once for that kind of request and I had to do a re-think when I realised I wouldn’t have the kind of time it was going to require. I had to look for another way around it. So as much as I love to create a platform for others, not everyone fits in and even though you have just a few rules, they take it for granted. I love to share knowledge so I have an internship program right now but that can’t accommodate many people, but as time goes on I intend to take on more people.
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Black Child Photography is a Visual Communication Outfit geared at providing our esteemed clients with high quality images that speak to the viewer and passes across pre-planned specific messages to targeted audiences.

www.blackchildphotography.com
Email: blackchild247@gmail.com
Telephone: +234 80-2360-1026, +234 80-9056-9305

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A Photo Session with the Twins at 2


So my nephews (or is it nieces) were 2 about 2 weeks ago and being the official family photographer I was compelled to give them a 2nd photo session (the 1st being their 1yr old birthday) that lasted for 2hours. It was a tumultuous session that made me realize the importance of being a patient person. Amidst cries & laughter we attempted to get a few nice pictures depicted below.

At the end of the session, I had more respect for the wonderful parents depicted in therein. Although I know they’re not identical twins I still find it difficult to differentiate Fadeke from Folake. Maybe 2yrs of living in the same house with them will solve that challenge. Either way, it was fun doing the shoot & I can’t wait for the twins to be 3.

Pictures taken with Olympus E3, 12-60mm lens, Bowens 500 gemini light kit, a few chivita fruit juice & an abundance of patience & love.

Looking at the pictures, don’t you just feel like having twins? 🙂 it is well

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A Colorless Photo Session With Bisola & OMJ


It all began on January 31st, 2012. I tweeted that I felt like giving someone a photo session. She was the first the respond with a good reason. I sent her an email with my conditions

…there’s a good chance that we’ll choose some of the pictures taken to showcase on our blog, website, exhibitions, competitions or future books I’ll be writing. We’ll watermark the pictures that will be put online so that will reduce the chance of it be used by anyone else. We will never sell your pictures to anyone. If I’m the one that will be taking the pictures and will not have the right to use the pictures for these purposes, it significantly reduces the level of creativity I’ll be bringing to the table…..except ofcourse you’re paying an amount that will really motivate me. Just tot I be frank with you upfront. Let me know what you think and we can take it from there & decide on a mutually convenient date

It was ok with her. 2 weeks later we were having fun with her handsome boy in our studios. I decided to go colorless. The rest is history. Let the pictures tell you the story of what went down. Pictures taken with an Olympus E3, 12-60mm f2.8 lens & Bowens Gemini studio lights kit.


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PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE WEEK 5: Kelechi Amadi-Obi (TRANSCRIPT)


We met with Kelechi on Valentine Day’s eve and had a heart-to-heart talk. He just concluded a photo session with Jay Martins and was eager to share with us about his journey so far in photography. The following is the transcript of the 45-minute interview that ensued

Tell us who you are & how you got into photography?
My Name is Kelechi Amadi-Obi. I went to secondary school in Government college Umuahia, after my primary school (Library Avenue primary school, Umuahia again) so I pretty much grew up in my city. Right from childhood , I had always been fascinated with visual arts, usually the best artist of the class in primary school. My primary school was next to the library (hence it’s name), in fact my mum was the headmistress of the school.

My house was next to the school. I had developed the habit of research early and going to the art shelf in the library. Whatever craft I needed to learn I knew early on that I could learn it on my own. I discovered great wisdom hidden in all the books. I became obsessed with trying to master the wisdom of any book I was reading.

By the time I finished secondary school it was obvious I could communicate through the art of the visual though I never thought about how to make a living from it. I didn’t see any gallery or museum or art school in my area. I’d never met a real artist and only read about them in books. So I thought it was something only done in Europe. So back then, when I would make a drawing, I would tell my little sister then that ‘This is a masterpiece!’ I tried to visualise myself [being] like Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Picasso, but it all seemed like a fantasy world.

But when it came to choosing my career, this was story: My family is a family of lawyers. My father was a high court judge and only two professions were recognised in my house; you were either a medical doctor or a lawyer. So I chose law after passing my JAMB examination and gained admission into University of Nigeria (Nnsuka) [UNN]. It was there, [UNN] that my eyes were opened and In fact, I attended ACCA exhibition in Bonna gallery in Enugu then. I was in the midst of real artists. I thought ‘this is it! People actually live this kind of life!’ I immediately grew comfortable with that, and while I was studying law, I was practising my art, and became popular for it. I chose a brand name De’ Zulu (from a movie Chaka De Zulu, who I thought really kicked ass) for business name.

It was in my third year I made the decision I would become a full time artist after I finished law school. But I was not going to be a drop-out because people would misunderstand me. I also found out that in law, there were some things that would benefit me.
After finishing law school, I settled in Lagos with my aunt (Aunty Nnena) and by then my father was late. The only thing I could afford then was a cardboard paper and pencil. So I said, “Great, let’s start making art!”
Freshly out of law school, that was a stubborn and ridiculous thing to do.

It was atop my aunt’s balcony I started making art-works. The first time I went to shop for frames for the artworks the owner of the frame shop asked, ‘’Are these works for sale?’’ I answered, ‘oh, they are N10,000 each” and he bought all five of them! I thought, wow! From nothing to N50,000…. I blew N25,000 immediately on art materials.
I went back to continue with painting. I was amazed at how easy it was to sell those artworks. A friend of mine who was also a fellow artist, came around and found what I was doing interesting. So he said he knew a few people who are collectors. He packed all the works I had that morning and in the evening he came back with N100,000 cash after collecting his commission. Incredible! It became clear I could make a living in Lagos as an artist.
Eventually I had an exhibition, followed by another, and the rest is history. I became popular and was absorbed into the art world of Lagos.

Gradually I was using the camera to take photos for my paintings as reference materials, and as I did I realised I needed to master lighting. More of my paintings were of the human figure and I needed to photograph models for them. I liked to look at the way light falls on the body in the different shapes and forms. I got deeper and deeper into controlling the way light goes into the shutter, through the aperture to make an exposure. So I could thoroughly underexpose a picture or slightly over-expose it to get a kind of feel [I wanted].

While doing that I had mastered the little intricacies of photography. It struck me that some of the photos I was making were already finished artworks. I started hanging out with more artists. I would visit the likes of Don Barbar (even he had collected some of my paintings he found interesting) and he would take me to his dark-room to develop some prints. I was amazed that what I saw was just like my paintings. I then started using Uche James Iroha’s dark room while he was working in Dolphin Studios in Surulere to process my works which I shot in black and white. Soon after, I got my own dark-room. This made my interest in photography come up even more.

It was all just fun, and I wasn’t making a dime from photography at the time. Until a guy (also a photographer himself) came in from Germany to curate an African art exhibition, as part of the biennial, in Bamako Mali. He wanted to have eleven photographers. Someone had told him about my collection of nudes and he came around, looked at them and found them quite interesting. And since he thought they were good enough for the exhibition, I got invited to Bamako Mali. Uche James Iroha, TY Bello, Amaeze Ojekere (representing his dad) and others from diaspora, Mali and Senegal, South Africa were all participants in this exhibition. It was like an art exhibition Olympics for Black Africa!

There were curators and scouts from all over Europe. Some of the curators from Italy came over and after liking my work, they invited me to come and exhibit in Italy. They took my contact [info] and sent me tickets .
Upon returning, myself, Uche James Iroha, TY Bello and Amaeze Ojekere came together to form a group called Depth of Field – a collective of artists who wanted to spend time creating work. And soon we were exhibiting in France, Germany, England, New York and we became very popular. That even sucked me deeper into photography. While this was happening it was my work as a painter that was providing my upkeep.

Gradually people & advertising agencies came to me with briefs for an artistic advertising shoot. When they came I would say, Sure, I’ll work with you, but these are my terms…… Then they would say no, and propose things like N30,000 per scenario. My response would always be , ‘Sorry, I don’t work that way. If you want to call me, you pay for my day and that starts from N150,000 to N200,000. You want me to work for you, it means paying premium for my time. I had gotten advice from Don Barbar about the advertising agencies not having respect for photographers and how not to let myself be treated that way.

So I would walk away from big jobs, but when I did get a job [on my terms] and the brief was given to me, I wouldn’t sleep over it. Even if it was a brief on Still Life photography, I would spend the night, the next day, and so on, studying about it, test-shooting it and then do some more reading again until I mastered it… just to make sure I deliver on my promise.

So if I had been given N150,000, I will make sure I deliver a N250,000 – quality of work. The philosophy then was if I gave the client more, the extra that I was giving them was actually payment for advertising. This is because the person I was shooting for will then go round telling others, “this guy is awesome!” It worked like magic. So while I didn’t get many jobs, the ones I got took a lot of time, a lot of people banged their phones on me, saying who is this guy? Because I would not shoot at the price they were calling. I told the ad agencies, ‘the guys who were doing jobs at N20,000 0r N30,000 per scenario were shooting themselves in the foot by doing too many jobs, and having no time for research to perfect their skills or even money to purchase equipment.’ In the long run you advertisers will run out of good material to work with and you will be compelled to import photographers from the UK, costing you more than three times my bill. So I am actually saving you money!”

As if I was clairvoyant, it happened just as I said. The ad agencies got stranded when big clients came from overseas looking for a certain quality of work and very few photographers who could deliver that quality.
That was how I began and continued to grow, and since then I have not changed [my principles]. Over the years I have been researching continuously to learn new tricks to push the threshold of my craft. I want to be in the place, where the most difficult challenge is what I want to face, so that when I conquer it, it becomes normal [to do so], and then I look for another challenge, more difficult and I face it.

So as time went on, I started enjoying my own personal shoots and I make sure that even in spite of all the commercial work one is doing, I find time to express myself as an artist and that is where I am now.

Please enlighten us about how the issue on copyrights apply to photographers in the Nigerian photography industry
Under the copyright act , the rights to a work of art, resides in the person who makes the work of art. In relation to photography, it is the photographer. It does have exceptions, where such rights are limited, like if it is an image of an individual, there are circumstances where you must obtain a release from the individual. You don’t go shooting somebody’s photo and then go selling it for a corporation to do an advert with. THAT WOULD BE INFRINGEMENT and you could be sued. Somebody’s right ends at the point where another person’s begins. But if you got a model release that tells you that you can do whatever you want with the image, then there is no problem.

If you are taking pictures of landscape or even people in a crowd, you won’t get sued. In terms of doing commercial work it Is still applicable. Whenever you do a shoot, under the law, the rights to those images still reside with you. Photographers are advised to, in writing, give their clients license to use their images for definite time duration within a definite geographical area. That is what you are being paid for in addition to your expertise. If it is not written, the right still resides with the photographer automatically.
How do I deal with this? When I am having a client relationship, my interest is to make sure the client gets what he wants. A lot of people who are into advertising don’t even want to use the images for more than 6 months. But if they indicate that they want to use all over the world, say for twenty years, then you bill them accordingly. The usage matters and that is why I advise that you put this into consideration.

Even though it is a shoot that is for one scenario, it is the usage that determines the billing. It is based on what you have told me that it is to be used for a product [packaging]that I come up with my bill of N1.5 million. If they complain that “isn’t it just for a single scenario?” – I tell them If you have commissioned me to shoot the image for use on your product [branding] I cannot restrict your usage in terms of location (country), time duration or even format. In that case it will even be a disservice not to give them the rights, but your client should know that different types of usage attract different kinds of fees. It is as simple as that.

Once an oil company called me to do a shoot for their oil rig. After we had discussed on the fees, they were like after the shoot is done, I will sign a relinquishment of all rights to the images. I said in that case therefore the agreed bill then increases by 800%. If I am not to have any relationship with my work forever after, even to put it on my website, then I will bill you for it. I ended up not working with them and I was very glad I didn’t.

I think what we do serves a purpose beyond just taking photographs. We are people with opinions. As a photographer, you are a storyteller, a chronicler of history, and our work also promotes social engineering and influencing culture.

For me, photography is your first impression. When someone says Nigeria has a bad image, I take it very literally. What Nigeria has is bad imagery. Bad photography. We do not have enough people being patronized by the right people. So you may visit the Nigerian embassy in France and see booklets about Nigeria, full of tourists’ photos, pixellated because they were stolen off the internet, with absolutely no regard for the photographer, while at the airport in Capetown, I see uncountable numbers of coffee table books in a mad duplication of excellence. Amazing South Africa, so many [different] books [with pictures] taken by excellent photographers who have spent hours trying to duplicate (recreate) these images over and over again!

This reflects in their economy as people see the place [South Africa] and keep trooping there in spite of the violence. We haven’t even started [over here] with photographing our environment – I tell you! It’s amazing!

Could you explain your typical workflow from when a client engages you to when you deliver the images?
The first thing is you get a call. Usually it goes like, ‘’Mr K, we have this brief we want you to shoot – please can we know the price?’’(The price is the first thing they jump to…) continues ‘’It’s not a complicated concept, can you tell us how much you will charge?’’ I will respond that at this stage I don’t think we should be talking about price, but you can send me a written brief of the concept so I can go through it to see if it is what I can deliver to you adequately.

So I stall, and if they are people I have not worked with before, I try to set up a meeting to discuss their concept. Because whoever is on the other side [of the phone] is probably comparing your price with those of others he has written down on the paper in front of him. To him you are just another photographer over the phone, until they see how you are going to execute their brief and solve their problem. I believe this is more important than the price I am going to charge.

So when we meet, and I see the brief, I will itemise what is needed (costs) e.g location and let them also know the latitude of the most extreme scenarios (unforeseen) of the cost of equipment and time! At this point, they may say “it’s just three people smiling!”… I say that means three scenarios and this is what is required, the lighting needed, the method of making them smile and so on, the casting for the kind of feel needed and even for the seemingly simple smiling requires the right type of model.

So through it all I am trying to bring my own expertise into the brief and by the time we are through [discussing] I give them the bill and tell them they have to pay 75% – 80% upfront or we don’t have a deal. (Ad Agencies can make thirty days turn to sixty days and you start wondering, has their client paid them? And they could have been paid a long time ago and be telling you that they are still being owed).

So we establish with the client that they are ready and the date agreed is solid. When they come for the shoot, when it’s done, we have a little time for re-touching (most ad-agencies want to do their re-touching themselves) and then we look through the images and give them the best ones in high resolution.

And if you are shooting PR images for an individual say maybe an artiste, again it starts when they call, concept is discussed and we set up a date and they pay their cheque. On the day of the shoot, we do our work and we give them low resolution files that are watermarked ‘for view only’ for them to review in the comfort of their home and decide the specific ones (up to the number that comes with the package) that they want (I rarely go beyond 20 images), so that we can edit them.
For weddings and events those now include physical media like books and even CDs that will attract different prices.

How do you market to get your clients?
I’ve found out there is no better marketing than referrals [from satisfied clients]. Unless you want to do mass marketing and you have a factory of photographers that cater for everyone. You are the premium brand. You are not just a commodity, you are a brand. It is each person that has experienced your work that goes to tell 10 other people that you are good. So the dilemma now becomes how do you convince someone who has previously used a service similar to yours for N150,000 to pay N1.5 million? Well I could include a discount say 20%, but I never start negotiating without a rock bottom walk-away price that I will not go below in my head already.

The way to become a brand that attracts premium fees is as simple as this: be a promise-keeper over and over again. Let everyone that uses your services always come back when they see that you have over-delivered beyond their expectation. And it’s not just coming back alone but telling others with passion about how they think they underpaid you the worth of your work. So my best advertisers are my clients who I have paid for their advertising by giving them more than they came expecting to get. I will not charge N5, but if I charge N2 million I will make sure he [the client] gets quality work that he cannot bring Nick Knight from New York for N10 million to do! That will leave him wondering, did I underpay this guy?

Even if it is a free job, forgetting about the money, make sure you convert that client to a moving billboard. Whatever you do, make the client happy and satisfied. Also some clients may not be happy with their job, and I may even offer them a refund until I find a way to give them the satisfaction needed. It is all about integrity and client satisfaction and once people know that is what your brand is you can charge whatever you want.

What do you want to tell newbies in the photography industry?
Passion is required! But passion is not enough. You must understand that this is not a lazy man’s job. So it is passion that makes you do all the [grunt] work happily and gives you advantage over the person who lacks passion.

Some just want to photograph beautiful ladies without understanding the details of how the camera works and all that.. the physics, the mathematics and f-stops and all that doesn’t make it so seem so glamorous. So fiddle with the camera and learn how it works and if you are sure that this is what yo want to do, do not sleep – shoot!

With every squeeze of the shutter release, you must strive to take a better shot than the last. Put in your all. If it was easy , everybody will be good at it. If you have passion for it, you will succeed.

What where you attempting to achieve with the introduction of MANIA magazine?
It is one of my projects that developed out of frustration. I love shooting fashion, though the local fashion industry is not as lucrative as the other advanced economies that have understood the economies of scale. They can design a shirt and Prêt-à-porter & 2 million units of it are sold in one week. Crazy amount of money! The Dolce & Gabbanas are dressing the world in jeans, selling belts and perfumes. So on the catwalk they are merely having fun, the big money is in the factories in China churning out their products. So when it comes to paying a photographer they don’t bat an eyelid paying you N200 million!

Over here the industry has just started and it’s lacking that kind of energy and money. But I love fashion. A lot of the magazines cannot afford the work I would love and that made me feel limited. So I created that magazine to open that creative box to show what is possible so I could break the glass ceiling above my head. So far it’s been beautiful, tough but beautiful. We were publishing bi-monthly before but now we are going monthly.

What final words do you have for fans & clients that are watching/reading this?
Do what you love, work at it! But don’t ask me for pocket money!

To view more of Kelechi Amadi-Obi’s works, visit his website at www.kelechiamadiobi.com

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A photo session in the middle of the road


It happened yesterday night. While shooting the video for an episode of PICTURE THIS, we were interrupted by a series of car horns by the traffic near my office. It then occurred to me how lovely it would be to do a photo shoot in the middle of the road. I decided not to think too much about it. “JUST DO IT” is a motto I live by. I grabbed my Olympus e-3 (ISO 100 & shutter speed 2 seconds), a 12-60mm lens & the nearest model I could lay my hands on: LARA (coincidentally she was 6 feet from me).

VOILA! Although I admit it was a little risky, the task was fun considering the fact that I was working with an adventurous model. The following were a few of the pictures we came up with at Lateef Jakande rd, Agidingbi. Next destination: Third Mainland bridge.

For your road & expressway photo sessions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

WARNING!!
Children: Do not try this at home!
Adults: Make sure you have Life Insurance coverage & a WILL before trying this.

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Have You Photographed Any Popular Person?


That was the question asked by one of the children I teach in church. Some were a little repulsed to hear that I am a photographer. Most of them want to become doctors, lawyers and engineers. Photography, to them, fell within the profession of barbers, hairstylists & mechanics who were considered to be “poor”. They even made it a prayer request that “I will never become a photographer in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I attempted (and hopefully succeeded) in explaining to them why photography, like any other great profession, is a noble one and that one could become a millionaire as a photographer. Most of them doubted me & laughed at me…..and that’s when a 9-yr old girl popped the question: “So have you ever photographed any popular person?”
I paused and thought within. I was almost in Jesus’ shoes when tricky questions like these were hurled at Him.

I explained to the girl that being popular is an objective opinion. By “popular” I reckoned she was referring to the known celebrities in town. Also, the fact that someone is popular does not mean they are willing to pay your photography bill. Interestingly, some celebrities in this part of the world usually want “free” photography because of their celebrity status. They argue that it is a priviledge for you (I.e. the upcoming or established photographer) to be photographing them. They argue that they are helping your career by giving you such an opportunity. May God help them.

I remember an example Kelechi Amadi-Obi (www.kelechiamadiobi.com) once gave about a celebrity artist he once encountered. The gentleman walked into Kelechi’s office and requested for a photo session. To his dismay, he was shocked that Kelechi would dare charge him for the session. The following “brief” discussion ensued.

Artist: Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know it is a priviledge for you to photograph me?
Kelechi: (showing him the door), I’ll appreciate it if you kindly leave my office. It’s obvious you’ve come to the wrong studio

Anyway, I concluded my response (to the girl that quizzed me) by telling her that my strategy was to raise an army of photographers that will photograph popular people. I am yet to take pictures of POPULAR people but will be fulfilled knowing that someone I mentored is taking those pictures. Enough said, I proceeded to teach the main curicullum for the the sunday school class & hoped that one day I would be given the priviledge to photograph a popular person (in exhange for CASH).

N.B. If you’re a POPULAR person (or know one) in need of world-class photography services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t worry, our fees won’t give you a heart attack. Looking forward to hearing from you. 🙂

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My Meeting With Aisha Augie-Kuta


I finally met her in person. She’s one of the photographers that made me almost ashamed of the quality of photography I bring to the table: I’m always inspired when I see her work.

She picked me up at about 12noon on January 18. It was as if she was the one about to interview me. She was so excited about finally meeting the person she had only seen on youtube. I like the fact that despite the fame she has achieved in recent years (in photography), she remains humble at heart. I was even more nervous when she introduced me to her colleagues as her BOSS. Now that was a good joke.

She drove me to her studio in Maitama District and 2hrs+ later, I was thanking God for the meeting. Although the interview was meant to reveal to the world more about who she is as a photographerr (& her journey thus far), I felt that I just attended a workshop on “LIFE & PHOTOGRAPHY”

If there’s one thing I learnt, it’s that I should be a humble & teachable person regardless of how many awards or accolades I might accumulate. Thanks again for your time, Aisha.

We’ll keep you posted once the interview/video is available for viewing.

Lessons From a Family Portrait Session


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

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