YES It Is POSSIBLE


It is not only with God that all things are possible. With Seun Akisanmi, all you need ask is “Is it possible?” and the default answer you get is a big “Yes” irrespective of the request intended. I guess he is just exhibiting his father’s trait, he doesn’t believe anything is impossible, don’t bother dare him with it. This was our new discovery as we walk off to fixing some jobs this past week. While my colleague talked about how it was wisdom to ask to join me in the task and how taking the “is it possible?” route helps enhance the kind of favorable response, something popped up in my head, I smiled and muttered “wow, report caption.” You can imagine where my mind went to! This report thing, no be small thing o, you will just get creative by all means.

It is easy to believe the realness of something especially when it is repeated severally or more than one person is saying or doing it, it is pretty difficult to stand alone, you even have to doubt your sanity at some of those times. What saves you at those times is your confidence in the information you have of the subject matter and that is why true and sound knowledge is required to excel. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have a fore sound knowledge of picture editing from eloPhotos or I was not confident of this, I would have been so tossed here and there by these incompetent photo labs who apparently need to fix/service their printing machines. Imagine what the problem is when an image with originally color green coming out as color blue, what! What could have happened, I sensed it was their ink, but was told they use chemicals instead of ink when I approached them. This is definitely the printer’s error, but this print guy won’t accept, he kept hammering on “I only brightened the image.” How on earth does exposure affect color!? The guy unrepentantly kept ranting foolishly, would not even allow me make my point even when the business owners came to intervene. It doesn’t seem customers’ satisfaction mean so much to them too as they were just concerned about the recent cost of print papers. Of what benefit is wasting time there, we are obviously not on the same level of knowledge. I left everything furious; my money (they were obviously not going to refund that) and their horrible papers, I am a Professional Photographer, and I can never deliver that to my client, No way! I made them understand that before I left.

The next day, I went to another lab only to get the same issue. Now, this almost got me confused, but for my sound training, I would have believed what the other print lab guy pointed was the issue- my editing. I complained, they adjusted their machine and got a “near the color” print. I accepted the result (I was tired of the whole process), only for me to be called by the first print lab that their engineer has rectify the problem in the machine and they have printed another. Of a truth when I saw it, it was the real color even better than the latter print.

So I learnt, never follow the crowd or be intimidated by them, they possibly are not right. Get sound knowledge and confidently take it on, you can be the only right person amidst multitude on a matter.

This is Mosopefoluwa Onanusi taking life lessons.

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DISCIPLINE AND THE LESSONS


The world is staged on the eternal journey of people, the dreams and the reality they conceived. There is truth to the idea of places before its inhabitants, but so also people are interests of the places they live. The Newton law of Gravity, Einstein concept of time and space, the ingenuity of the Apple boss, Steve Jobs in technological designs and creativity, the rise of the richest men of the new age during the industrial age of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the best of men is men at its best. One thing is certain the world had evolved through a state of entropy catalyzed by temporary state of insanity and abnormality.

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”  ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

In every generation while some leave to standout, others are captive of their fears, successes, talents and backgrounds. The world moves round its axis, the people move in a moving world. The idea of static is a concept of negativism or reverse motion; forward or backward as there are no mid-state.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are who are, a product of our thought, our relationships and companies, the books we read and the choice we make. We live to tell a story, as one day we seize to exist (in this world) and the story we tell is a constituent of an evolving world, the magnitude and size is dependent on what we say and how we say them. We are shaped daily by our relationships sometime not in the short while but in the long run we live to tell the stories of our influences. The beauty of life is not to build a world of others but to build a world through the help and the input of others.

The status and the experience of one shape the story of the other; a relationship status quo, ‘the mentor, mentee’, ‘the teacher, student’, ‘the coach, trainee’. The purpose is clear one grooms the other, ‘the less is blessed of the greater’. 

While the word of a mentor are worth more than a 1000 shekels, the coach’s training and instruction speaks more than a 1000 word. The student/mentee is good for it; he is baptized in a lake of hot and ice. He is gathered; molded and formed He is the product of servant hood.

Like one master once clearly instructed his servants ‘go out into the highways and the lanes…, the words of my coach is clear; ‘ I train and teach’, ‘I pay attention to details’, I am a leader. The lessons are straight and heard ‘little foxes destroy the vine’ ‘be like your boss’

THIRTY AND SEVEN YEARS: Oluwaseun


hdb facebook creative [1024x768]It was October 31st

Many years back

The whines of the new baby filled the room

He brought joy that hearts could not resist

And songs of gratefulness on the lips of all

The Akinola-Akisanmi-heir had finally arrived

Oluwaseun!

“Omo oko ni”

The true son of his father

With traits passed on; the world couldn’t deny,

That another Akisanmi had just landed the earth

Proof that blood is thicker than water

He grew;

Wise and brilliant, resilient and ambitious

Like Joseph, full of dreams waiting to be birthed

and like Jesus, with purpose paramount on his heart.

He had grounds to break,

Heights to climb and impossibilities to dare

And these things, he had resolved to do

When the burdens, responsibilities and trials hit hard,

And no succour was in sight,

Then the Light came,

And they walked it all through.

PS: they still walk that path through

His youth, full of experiences

His busy fingers never failed to pour

His journal; daily encounters still receive

Some revealed, many stuck in pages

“It’s not just possible”

How his ears so detest to hear the words

Because the entirety of his living

Has defied the impossibilities

Role model, teacher, mentor and father

Just one left; loving husband

The sands of time have received a man; yet great

The previous years, I must say have been;

Years of building scars,

And raising a star,

Fighting battles,

Winning some; losing some

Your humility, resilience and integrity

These things amaze me

Your pursuit of excellence

They’ve not been fruitless

Your writing, words and actions,

Blessings indeed they have been

In all these thirty and seven years

One thing I must say

Oluwaseun

#HBDMrSeun

Boluwatife AKINDELE

*omo oko means one’s legitimate child

*Oluwaseun: All thanks be to God

3 Lessons from the night shoot


It all started when I and a fellow colleague decided to try out some stuff during the night at the office. Thursday soon came and we had discussed earnestly on how we wanted to put so many things to practice and work on during the night. It didn’t take quite long before the day ended and everyone else departed from the office. We had dinner and then started some work. We started with shooting some videos inside the studio till we concluded on the concept we wanted to get outside. In no time, we got our equipments ready and moved into the dark to shoot. He modelled for me while I was behind the camera. As we began to shoot into the night, my mind began to notice somethings around. I looked away in order to focus on the shoot but was till determined to get something out of them. The moment the shoot ended, I pleaded with my colleague to give me a few minutes as I decided to translate those moments into what I had in mind. Those things I saw earlier were lights; lights from the different bulbs in the surrounding. I immediately knew what those lights could translate into so I set my camera and I began to shoot. I had always seen bokeh pictures severally on the internet but had never had the opportunity to produce anyone myself. I leveraged on the opportunity I had then and began to make those dream pictures of mine. After I took a couple of pictures, we retired into the studio, copied the pictures to my system and then retired to sleep as it was going early into the next morning at that time. I decided I was going to work on the pictures the next morning because I was feeling so sleepy already.

I honestly felt like I hadn’t slept enough when my alarm rang at around 4: 00am which made me put it off and continue my sleep. I can bet that virtually everyone has had that sleepy experience before. Later on, I woke up and prepared for the day which had eventually come. Fast forward to when I began the editing of those pictures. It was at that time some stuff began to dawn on me. I was beginning to see so many things that I had not noticed at all during the shoot. I would be sharing just 5 lessons from the shoot.

  1. LIGHT IS ALWAYS NOTICED!

Whether the light is as small as that coming from a nokia torch or as wide as that of a car’s headlamp, one thing I noticed was that, the light was always noticed. I feel that many times we get too carried away by the quest to be popular and famous that we forget to shine our light. Impact is a form of light and should be the goal of each and every one of us. Hence, we not only impact, we can get the fame and popularity that is embedded in being lights. I think I’d rather chase impact and get both impact and popularity than chase popularity and end up frustrated. There’s no how you chase impact and you wouldn’t be famous/ popular. This just makes me remember a part of the bible; Matthew 5:14 – 16 that says

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick: and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

  1. LIGHT ELIMINATES DARKNESS

However or whenever a form of light is introduced, it eliminates whichever form of darkness that it in the surroundings. Darkness flees whenever light is introduced. I began to think that the reason why some things could seem dark or misunderstood to me was because light had not been shone on that sphere.

  1. LIGHT HAS A SPHERE OF INFLUENCE

Even the sun does not light up the whole world at the same time. It works on some parts and then, when the earth revolves, the other parts of the earth are lit. Be it in business, art, education, entertainment, there is a sphere of influence that each of us occupies where we can always shine as lights. We obviously cannot shine everywhere but we all have been placed in strategic positions where we can shine and reflect the glory of God.

The lessons to learn from the night shoot are too numerous to write in one article. I have learnt quite a good number of things and I hope you have too

I am Boluwatife Akindele and I am a photographer.

The Shola we met


After visiting the Photo-garage some months ago, our next trip was to Shola Animashaun Photography at Ikeja, last week. The visit was full of learning, just like the former.

We got to the studio around 11 am, Thursday morning, and were welcomed by some students in training during a lighting painting practice session. The students painted different shapes like the cross, rectangle and so on.

We waited for some minutes for the CEO himself to arrive. The 6ft plus award-winning photographer was not looking too well, and he really wasn’t. Shola might have been exhausted from enormous photography work demands.

The meeting started with a short introduction of everyone present. And followed by our series of ‘burning questions’ as Shola later described it on his facebook page.

The first question was by our tutor, Mr Toye, on how Shola started his photography career and his experience so far. It was as though, we were listening to the reading of a movie script. How will it not be? A man is asked a question as such, and one would expect him to summarize a journey of over a decade in some minutes.

Everyone has their own stories, and Shola was not different. If you think, everything Shola achieved today is by chance, you need to meet this man. He actually worked for what he has. He narrated some menial jobs he had to do to make a living before starting photography. Shola really worked hard to develop his photography skill right from the beginning. He was not lucky to have a photography academy he could learn from, or a willing-to-teach photographer that put him through.
Shola was however fortunate to be introduced to someone who will later teach him some basic lighting techniques. For most of these times. Shola couldn’t understand what ISO, Aperture, or Shutter Speed meant. For few years, starting in photography, he couldn’t navigate through the exposure triangle, but found solace shooting in Auto mode.

Shola is happily married to his ‘girlfriend’ as he introduced her. His kids won’t just let him be, as they interrupted him at intervals, during his meeting. Shola is very sensitive to noise, it really disturbed him, and he would caution his students or his kids most times. There was even a time he got so disturbed, that he asked one of his students to get his child busy with an academic work.

Shola was very friendly with his students of both genders, and I imagined if they were a family, and indeed they were. The loving Mrs. Animashaun, who seemed to be reserved, is also a tutor at the academy. She teaches the use of the Photoshop software. The funny Shola said he only taught her how to remove pimples, but she has now become a master.

We eventually moved our meeting outside the studio, to the premises as Shola couldn’t tolerate the noise level in the studio anymore. Shola further elaborated on his works and plans in photography and his family as well. A perception that Shola’s success is tied to the goodwill of his brother, is wrong. As far as there may be people you think will help you, Shola believes one should not expect such help, and he admonished us to the same. This has been his guiding principle so far, as he said, “Never expect anyone to help you”, but seek your help only from God, the Almighty. The meeting ended with a group picture taken by one of Shola’s kids, Tobiloba, using Shola’s mobile phone. Tobiloba is actually a photographer in the making.

Sodeeq Akorede

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10 Players; One goal!


“Pheeeew!”
That was the sound of the referee’s whistle which signified the beginning of the match. In no time, the game began! There was so much noise from the team hailing the team F. looks so much like team M didn’t have much supporters on the field of play. With so much skill and teamwork, the players from team F passed the ball to each other. She exhibited so much dexterity in handling the soccer ball on the 105 by 68 meter – field. T passed to A, after which A to M. M approached the goal post with eyes that said “This is mine!” She swung her hands high in the air and then….
I yawned noisily. I guess it was just one of my so called naughty dreams.
Of course, what were you expecting? I ain’t no fan of football but this was more than a football match. When you see 10married women come together to form a team towards a cause then you know that this is more than a football match.
Ever since late July, Mr. Seun Akisanmi had always told us about a group of women who were planning a surprise party for their husbands which they tagged “Husbands day”. I thought it was more of a ladies joke sort of until I got to meet two of them some weeks back. Listening to them talk about their various experiences in their marriage made me get goose bumps about the whole marriage thingy. The previous week was the time we got to conclude the various sessions with the remaining 8 women in the group of 10 as the event was scheduled to hold on Saturday.
Diplomatic, you might call them; but that’s what they are. A team of women that know what they want and know the right way to go about accomplishing it. A few lessons I learnt from the experience with them as I knew that implementing them in my life as a whole would go a long way in creating the better me.
In a brief, I learnt the importance of teamwork, appreciation, associations, goal setting and togetherness.
So she passed the ball to Player A and Player A skilfully approached the goal post. The goalkeeper was looking tensed already. It was looking like magic. How the women seems to proficiently handle the ball against his team dazed him. In a few seconds, she was right in front of him. He blinked his eyes, cleaned the beads of sweat which had adorned his face and in a twinkle of the eye, the ball had found its way into the goalpost. The whole field was ablaze with shouts of joy. All the members and fans of Team F couldn’t contain their joy; they ran all over the filled with chants of praise for team F. Team F had scored against Team M. Then, the strangest thing happened, both members of the different teams hugged themselves as a measure of appreciation of the amount of work done from both teams. Well, I hope you understand… I can be weird at times.
I am Boluwatife Akindele and I am a photographer!

3 MONTHS TO GO


While I put pen to paper to compose the usual piece that we are meant to submit on or before Monday morning at 8am, it dawned on me how little I had done through the whole week. Initially I felt the sole idea of this writing thing is basically to help our writing skills, brighten up our grammar and maybe build our diction but that isn’t the only case for me. I try as much as possible to put down in details that which I have done, what I learnt, my mistakes that I noticed, what amazes me, what blows my mind, what I find not very good and other side attraction like the new babe I meet e.t.c. Writing the weekly report for me is like preparing my own report card with my hand and in doing this, I see a lot about myself that I didn’t realize all through the week.
This report is no different from my usual style of putting a check on my performance. Having spent relatively 120 minutes in a week living my life as a photography trainee at eloPhotos, I realized that I found it a bit challenging to put down something worth writing as a report, something worth reading about. The challenge is not even putting together the report but tangibly stating what I learnt and the image that I produced. It gives me concern that I still struggle to state in specific term what I achieved in the week as an Elophotos trainee.
The truth is that I didn’t go the whole week strolling around eloPhotos office, wondering how beautiful my female colleagues are, pulling the truck to fetch water, going errand, buying food, pacing from Strait gate School to eloPhotos office back and forth. I learnt quite a lot on editing. Miss kike taught me her work flow on Photoshop (portraiture, layering). I also learnt customer relationship and expressed the fruit of the spirit (Patience) in some cases where clients have chosen to provoke me. I also learnt that a hard and tough client can be bought over. I learnt a little here a little there too.
Doing all this things seems normal to me now, not worth making my report. Maybe I need to take things easy here, may be not, maybe I have a very high expectation, maybe I am reacting to the fact that my hunger for achieving the goals I set for myself at eloPhotos is nowhere near satisfaction reach.
I will clock 3month on Tuesday 18/08/15 at Elophotos. It’s exactly half time for me at Elophotos on Tuesday. I will then have just 3 more months left to learn all I can learn at Elophotos as a trainee. 3 more months to read as much books as possible on the book shelf,  3 more months to learn some magical Photoshop technique, 3 more months to create outstanding images, 3 more months to eat “wanke”, bread and beans and laratu rice every morning, 3 more months to compulsorily resume at an office at 8am, 3 more months to learn those business techniques from Mr Seun, 3 more months to make as much mistakes that I can and find someone  to correct me almost immediately, 3 more months to be a better person, 3 more months to make that quantum leap, 3 more months to be the best that I can be. Unfortunately, my tuition fee also runs out in 3month and I pray at the end of 3month I can put together a beautiful piece narrating how I was able achieve a whole lot in the space of 3 months.
Thank you for taking time to read.
Tunde Talabi

A bucket or a pipeline


What’s the wisest thing to do to make sure you never run out of water in your house?

Will you haul buckets as you need water, or have a pipeline system that connects your house to the water source?

This simple analogy, if well thought about, is enough for us to comprehend the basics of personal finance. Money they say doesn’t come with a user manual. In the modern world, almost everything rests on money. It is the most-spoken language of exchange and transaction. More than this, money is the wlanguage of comfort and luxury that man craves for. Thinking of water as money, who will have more between the one who has to go out to get a fixed pay every time? Or the one has built a system (a business, investment, e.t.c.). A question we can also ask here is;

Where is money?

Or should I say, where does money reside?
In the Bank?

Maybe, but not totally.

Money actually resides with people. The more people we can meet their wants or needs, the more
money we have. Getting the water into your house using a pipeline system is no joke; it requires hard work, a lot of time, and patience. Unlike, hauling buckets to the stream, when you can just take some kegs or buckets and you have water for some time before fetching another. So is money, building a business or investment is no child’s play, it requires more hard work than to be fixedly paid 12 times a year. The day you are not fetching is the day you are not taking your bath. So the times you don’t work, are times you don’t have money.

Hauling buckets or building a pipeline is a story I first read in one of Robert Kiyosaki’s book; Cashflow Quadrant. It’s a story of a village in need of easily accessible water. So they sought for people who will help supply water to the village. Of the bids received, Eden and Hazard were awarded the contract individually, to make supply. (I use Eden and Hazard to replace the original names used in the story, which I can’t remember presently).

Eden quickly hit the ground running. He started supply immediately. He bought buckets and would go to the river to fetch water into the village. He worked hard every day to meet demands, and was making a lot of money. He would wake up very early to make water available for morning needs and would also fetch in the evening when people would have returned from work, and would need water for domestic chores. Business was booming for Eden. Soon, he bought more buckets, and employed workers. He enjoyed the market alone, because Hazard was yet to start business. Although, Eden couldn’t meet daily demand totally.

Hazard was nowhere to be found. The chiefs and the villagers were worried. They had deliberately awarded the contracts to both of them, so they could enjoy maximum water supply and good pricing as a result of the competition. The village was getting worried with Eden’s monopoly.

For 6 months, Hazards was yet to start supply. Hazard had been an example of the popular quote that if given 6 hours to cut a tree, 4hours should be used to sharpen the sword. Immediately after being awarded the contract, Hazard knew what he wanted to do, and the kind of business model he wanted to run. He knew people would not only need water in the morning and evening alone but every time. He also knew they wanted clean, quality and affordable one. More so, that water should also be in abundance. He knew hauling buckets won’t get him there. So he contracted a construction company to help build a pipeline from the river to the village.

Hazard had spent the past six months sealing agreements with different partners involved with the projects including Banks, and the only thing left is consent of the village. He explained his idea to the chiefs and it enjoyed a consensus acceptance and approval. Soon, the project began.

It took another 6months before the project was completed. Hazard could then start supplying water, but he started in style. The King commissioned the project, and the first supply was made to the King’s Palace. The water was fresher, cleaner, and cheaper than Eden’s. Moreso, Hazard could supply each household its water demand for a week. Hazard’s water gained a massive market acceptability, and more than that, new business opportunities arrived. The villagers needed containers to store water, since it’s now in abundance. So, Hazard started importing plastic drums to the village, which can contain more water than traditional pots. The neighbouring villages also started demanding for Hazard’s water. This meant Hazard needed expansion.

Eden on the other hand was getting frustrated. He was losing his customers, and workers too. He tried selling at Hazard’s price, but was running at loss. The few sales he made was from people of the neighbouring village, and he knew soon, Hazard’s water would get there.

How much will be okay to cater for your needs, your wants, and that of your family. Does your work have the capability to cater for you for a long period of time, even without necessarily “working”? Understanding the pipeline principle, is key to appreciate that, to always have resources to meet our desires, there must be a pipe that connects the source and our own pockets. Usually, such pipes are businesses and investments.

Whether we haul buckets, or build a pipeline, we’ll all have money, but not in same proportion. The choice is ours to make. To need to work all the time for a fixed pay, or to make some early sacrifices, build a business or an investment portfolio, and sleep as the bank account rises. The choice again is ours, we are the CEOs of our lives.

Sodeeq Akorede.

elophotos october sessionPlan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy.

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

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MY INITIATION STORY


At this moment, I can only imagine many of us unconsciously remembering on or more of those stories we were told in the past about someone who got initiated into a cult and/or one of those Nollywood films we had watched in the past that had done quite a lot of damage to our mind-sets over a lot of things.

On a more serious note now, it’s the initiation story or rather, my initiation story! Wanna know how it happened? Let’s go….. I know you’d enjoy this!

FRIDAY, 10TH JULY 1:40 PM

“Ko si isu o. isu ti won” (Meaning – there’s no yam; yam is now expensive)!

That statement broke my heart for a few seconds or more. I had never expected this at all. At that moment, I was at crossroads and needed to make an important decision.

Some minutes earlier, I was at our editing room at eloPhotos; confused, tired, weak and hungry. The weather had not helped matters at all as the rain made me “hungrier” or so I thought! I needed to get something to eat but had little or no amount of money to spend on that. It’s quite funny how fast I have turned into one who is very conscious about how he spends money even though I never studied economics throughout secondary school. Well, when the realization of somethings dawn on you, responsibility shows face. So I concluded then that I was going to get fifty naira yam which of course I had concluded would cater for my hunger needs till I left the office that evening.  Another intern had shared my views and had agreed to do same!

Obviously, I was stuck with this food seller who said she didn’t have yam because yam was expensive in the market and for me, beans wasn’t an option. I was almost thinking I was going to remain hungry throughout the day until…

“Would you rather eat wanke?” Yewande asked.

Yewande is a colleague at eloPhotos; another intern and wanke was one term my ears had grown accustomed to hearing ever since I started the internship programme. What “wanke” meant in English I didn’t know and what it was composed of, I didn’t know likewise! Sluggishly, I answered in the positive. I really didn’t know what I was in for but I felt it would be nice. To confirm my heart rumbles, I asked Yewande again if the meal was sweet. She answered me in the positive and it just did it for me!

If it was sweet and had been eaten every intern at eloPhotos and they were still in love with it, then it’s a go. I added that she should just serve me “wanke” fifty naira. I was a bit shy having to say that but then, it was my money and she wasn’t giving me any extra o! In no time, she was done serving the food and we were fast on our way back to the studio to have a delicious wanke meal! In a few minutes, I was initiated; not to any cult but to the wanke club. All I knew about the wanke meal was that it was made majorly from rice. It was later I got to discover that many of the interns got initiated too after they began the internship at eloPhotos. So, my case wasnt any different. It was quite shocking for some to see that I was eating this generational meal but then I had no option.

Come to think of it, I just remembered I had a balance of fifty naira to collect from this “wanke” woman. Forgoing it wasn’t an option at all. I know I would remember to collect it or maybe use it to buy another plate of wanke. Anyways, that’s my decision to make not yours!

Are you planning to come to eloPhotos, please do not forget to ask where wanke is sold and have your initiation soon!

My name is Boluwatife Akindele, recent initiate into the wanke club and proud Photographer!

When Photographers meet


One of the most common things amongst us as photographers today is our hostility towards each other. When we meet at events regardless of where, when and how, it seems as though it’s so difficult for us to synergize. The hostility sometimes is not even limited to our colleagues, but to other vendors such as the videographers, the caterers, decorators, masters of ceremony, the event planners just to mention a few.

I’ve been hostile too towards some photographers on some occasions in the past; there are also some of my colleagues who have had similar experiences too and we do share our experiences. Deep inside of me, despite our argument for the justification of our attitude, I believe the reverse should be the case. We should rather have good relationships than keep unnecessary malice.

Some of the reasons I’ve observed that cause this rift are;

Photographer trying to monopolize others,

Inferiority complex of some photographers,

Intimidation by gadgets,

Physical struggle and fight, in taking pictures,

Ineffective communication,

Bad manners, and so on.

I was privileged to be part of the eloPhotos team that covered Ibrahim and Shalewa’s traditional and engagement ceremony at Ruby Garden Event Centre Lekki, Lagos. There, I had a different experience
with a colleague photographer whom we met at the groom’s house. I had been in Mr. Ibrahim’s house early, and I’d started shooting his accessories till another man arrived, introducing himself as a Jubril. Some minutes later, he started preparing his gadgets. Alas! He was a photographer, I thought I was going to be the only one.

At first, I felt threatened. But I remembered the teachings of Oluwaseun Akisanmi and Toye Peters. Mr. Seun Akisanmi will always tell us to make friends with both photographers and other vendors at events and truly, the benefits of such relationships outweigh the cost. This is one of the reasons, Seun recommends the book; How to Win Influence Friends and Influence People for every photographer to read. How well we can network with others will go a long way in affecting our business growth.

I started talking to Jubril at intervals, during the shoot, and for most times, he was reluctant to answer, probably, he was avoiding being distracted but I chose to be friendly, no matter what. We
didn’t scramble for shots, and the groom too was very cooperative. He relaxed himself for us to pose him, and switched focus gently between our lenses. After we finished, I asked Jubril if he has a ride, and if
I could go with him to the event venue.

“No problem” he replied. I had just saved myself the burden of public transport, and I also saved myself up to #500. Thinking that the relationship had ended, it hadn’t. I enjoyed another benefit later. There was an after-party when the engagement ceremony ended at around 7pm, and I was asked by the team to stay behind to cover it. Jubril too was there with his colleague, Lanre of LibranEye Photography. I took pictures and I had fun too, watching guys and ladies alternate dance-steps between the songs as played by DJ Sose. Jubril too showed his expertise on the dance-floor, and even gave me his phone, to record his dance.

At Around 10pm, my camera battery was low, and I couldn’t take pictures again. I checked the bag the team had left with me, and I couldn’t find the extra-battery I was told was there so I had to take my
leave.

“Hey Jubril! I’m leaving”.

“Oh! Why?”

“I’m out of battery.”

“Eeyah, okay. We’ll meet some other time.”

“Ehhmmm, Jubril, let me have your number.”

“Okay, 070…………” “Thank you.”

I was approaching Lekki Expressway, opposite the venue, when I heard a voice calling my name. I looked back, and it was Jubril.

“Are you in a hurry?”

“Hmmmmm, not really.”

“Where are you going to?” He asked.
“Agbado Ijaiye”.

“Okay, I’m going to Ile-Epo, and I can drop you at Abule-Egba.”

“Wow, thank you very much.”

“But just wait for me for some minutes, I’ll soon be through.”

We had a few minutes of conversation and there it was! I had just signed a deal with Mr. Jubril.

I was filled with relief inside of me.

A free-ride again to Abule Egba, where I can just take a #50 bus to final destination.

I thought to myself, if I had been hostile towards him in the morning, he
wouldn’t have shown such a kind gesture.

The benefits of making friends with our colleagues may not always come in this form, and may not even be immediate but the long and short term benefits are innumerable. Added to my contacts now are two new photographers, and whenever, we meet again, we are no more strangers

Sodeeq Akorede

ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET GO – My first day at school


SUNDAY, 5TH JULY 2015. 9:37 pm

I had just finished a chaper of Don Soderquist’s The Walmart way – The inspiring story of one of the world’s biggest (or biggest if I’m not mistaken) retail store and more than ever I felt so inspired to be a part of the eloPhotos experience (My internship programme) and give whatever it takes to be at the top of my game at school which had been scheduled to kick off the next day!

Still sunk in memories of the book, I began to pen a few things in my jotter which would form the basis of what I planned to achieve during my stay at eloPhotos! As much as I was eagerly passionate about it, I was worried! Well, not until I remembered God’s word for me in 1 Peter 5:7 encouraging me to cast all my cares on Him.

I concluded to myself that I was going to take things as they come and give my best at everything I would lay my hands upon. I tried reading… couldn’t just concentrate as many images and ideas bugged me real hard… The last time I had this experience was probably when I was to resume senior secondary school which was my first boarding school experience. No doubt, the next day was gonna be the beginning of a life changing encounter. I just couldn’t wait for it!

MONDAY, 4TH JULY 2015. 4:20 AM

Waking up very early in the morning wasn’t quite of an issue; having to hand over everything to God simply does the trick for me. With my mind set on the goal – not getting to school late, I did every single thing with respect to time. Don’t ask me why I didn’t want to get to school late. If you’ve done your assignment well, *Lol you’d know by now that Mr. Seun hates late coming with a passion. Sometimes I wonder whether he had once had a terrible experience with late coming. I had waited for this moment all my life and here it was. In no time, I was ready to go to school and for me, I was beginning to “smell” fulfilment even though for me it was still miles away.

Anyone who had seen me going to the park would have thought I was almost late for a flight. All that occupied my mind was the experience that was about to begin.

Fast forward to when I alighted at First gate bus stop (The bus stop just few meters away from eloPhotos). Walking, jogging, running, sincerely I don’t know what I was doing. At that moment, I felt like Paul in Philippians 3:14 “pressing on towards the goal”.

“Akin!!!” (My surname is Akindele, hence the use of Akin as the call in this story) My heart skipped a beat. I would recognize Mr. Seun’s voice even in the deepest of oceans. I had heard that voice over and over again even in my dreams. Come to think of it, I think I had a dream the night before about Mr. Seun. Now I can’t even properly recollect. I took a walk back to meet him and his first daughter (the famous Anuoluwapo). The details of our conversation, I won’t reveal. Now before you think anything, it was just one of the normal teacher – student instructions oh and nothing more!

Monday, 4th JULY 2015. 8:00 am

I heard voices singing and for a second I thought of the angels singing Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. In a few minutes I knew it was the morning devotion I had read about for so many months now. I joined them in worshipping and it reminded me of the quiet time I had some hours earlier in the day. It’s quite funny how my brain works; how that virtually everything reminds me of something else. I believe I’m weird; quite strange and unusual. I enjoyed every single moment of the worship. It was led by a colleague I later got to know is named Tunde. Then, the moment of truth was here when we had to sit and hear our boss of life (Mr. Seun Akisanmi) talk to us. Just before you think of another thing it reminded me of, just let me continue my story. My mind went places again. As we laughed and laughed, I almost imagined how interesting it would have been for the 12 disciples listening to Jesus sitting in rounds. He wasn’t Jesus but for real, we were and still are his disciples! Over time, I have discovered that I never get bored listening to Mr. Seun. I always love looking into his eyes as he talks. It has formed a great inspiration for me personally. I was almost thinking of just remaining in eloPhotos for a life time. I felt quite strange in the midst of these guys; it was my first time and I was unfamiliar with anyone except of course the one and only Mr. Seun. Mr. Seun had to introduce me to the whole class as the newest intern and I had to join everyone in narrating how the previous week had gone. This for me, helped my accountability life. I now knew that apart from God, there still is someone I need to report myself to every week.

Oh no, don’t tell me I forgot to tell you this, just during the introduction, Mr. Seun dropped the shocker; Anuoluwapo, his first daughter had told him that I looked like a secondary school student! Strange right, well I guess that was a pointer to the fact that I needed to… no. I’d just be myself. I wished I had given her the little gift in my bag though.

After the disciple experience, we had quite a short time to “flex” just before our class began. The class was taken by Mr. Toye Peters and we had a great time, I must confess. I wished this experience would just continue – for us to listen to photography gist on and on and on. Oh…did I tell you I saw the spectacular Miss kike. She was also around for our devotion even though she wasn’t FULLY with us. Every day I get an opportunity to take a close look at her, I’m always awed ‘cuz to me, nothing is special about her o – just small, light complexioned and all but she has such a big brain, big heart and tack sharp images *Lol (I learnt that also from http://www.elophotos.com). Of a truth, as a lady, she inspires me. She makes me just want to go the extra mile in photography. By the way, her full name is Kikelomo Koleosho and the name of her outfit is Red 19 photography (I bet that rings a bell).

So, back to 12b Fagba crescent Agidingbi, (That was just a proverbial way of mentioning eloPhotos studios); I had a real time familiarizing myself with the environment and of course with the interns learning photography. We had a bit of practicing with the camera and all. It’s really funny how time just flies when you’re at eloPhotos especially when you have to talk business with Mr. Seun; you just get inspired all the way. I felt like spending some more time but then, I had to go home.

I was tired, weak and hungry but at the same time joyful, inspired and fired up! My first day at school sorry eloPhotos was an experience to be written in one’s diary. I got home a bit late – You know how traffic can be in Lasgidi nah but I was really happy to have made such a great decision. I couldn’t wait for the next day to come

I am Boluwatife Akindele and more than ever, I’m proud to be a photographer and to be associated with eloPhotos academy!

The Galatians 6:7 Principle


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

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

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

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

I am Emmanuel Obanijesu Omole and I am a photographer.

One long week at eloPhotos


Another adventure as a new intern at the ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY began on Monday 13th, July 2015. As usual, Mondays are always a busy day here in Lagos, nevertheless as I dress up to go work ,there is this big picture in my heart, and the consciousness that  I’m a  new intern at the prestigious ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY, makes  me feel like there’s nothing I can’t achieve. This first just concluded week has been such an adventurous one for me. I arrived ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY at about 7am on
Monday; thoughts of how things were being done at the academy flooded my heart, and thoughts of getting acquainted to my new classmates. Before long, virtually all the students were come together for the morning devotion, it was a once in a life time devotional prayer and praise session, as one of the interns named BOLUWATIFE AKINDELE filled the room with worship, as we all praises to the lord, before TUNDE TALABI; another intern lead us in an Holy Ghost filled prayer session. One would mistake the academy for a prayer meeting this particular Monday.

After benediction, a roster with portions of chores was read out and everyone got busy putting things in other. After we finished the chore assigned to us all, it was time for the business of the day which of course was learning photography. .After the class ended, it was practical time. Myself and a few of my colleagues went shooting images at the road side just to help us attain perfection in the area of photography that our teacher; MR TOYE PETERS had earlier taught us in the class.

As the night drew near, I thought to myself how could I be better at what I do, the answer came the next day when our highly esteemed director; SIR SEUN AKISANMI, called us for a meeting with him. For me, it was not just a meeting but a turning point in my life and my chosen career. He spoke about some basic imperfections, and gave advice to us all. There were many instructions and guidelines he gave
us in his words which sent chills to our spines. One of such questions which struck me was when he asked, “WHAT QUALITY IN YOU WILL MAKE A CLIENT HIRE YOU ABOVE ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER?”

The room was filled with dead faces and minds trying to fathom what answer to give to this question. The answers from other interns weren’t really convincing to me as I couldn’t think of what would make a client hire me above another photographer. As the meeting was coming to an end he gave us an assignment to take 10 different head shots of people in our vicinity. After thinking of where to get 10 headshots, an idea of going to the mall at Alausa Ikeja came and I was happy that some of my colleagues liked the idea, followed me and it was a great time at the mall. Talking to people I’ve never met to allow me
take a head shot of them proved to be herculean task, but we got a few nice shots and went back to the academy.

In less than a week, I’m now used to everyone at the eloPhotos Academy. Thursday was a very busy day for everyone at the academy as some were busy completing the frames that were to be used at a 70th birthday of a client, the preceding day which was a Friday, some were charging batteries to be used, others running errands so as to make the Fridays event on point, if I end without expressing my gratitude to an exceptional intern whose character towards me was nice, then I’m just like that basket that can’t hold
water, it was past the hour of 4 when YEWANDE an intern  came to me and said,

“I noticed that since you came to this academy, have not seen you eating before, are you fasting?”

I reluctantly smiled and replied I wasn’t fasting but I might have been overwhelmed by the purpose for which I was here than watching over what to eat. She left and when she returned few minutes later, and she asked me to accompany her to get food, only to find out she was actually buying the food for me. I was left humbled by her kind heartedness and I want her to know I sincerely appreciated the food. Friday came and it was the anticipated birthday of our client. I was be privileged to be a backup photographer at the event which started at the church before we moved down to the reception at the Muson centre Onikan, for the reception of the ceremony. It was a big birthday party as many dignitaries were present, too much to mention after taking shots over shots the birthday came to an end we headed back to the academy. It was a wonderful outing for me and I knew it was the same for my colleagues too. I
really want to say a big thank you to SIR SEUN AKISANMI; CERTIFIED OLUYA for giving me the opportunity to be a part of what I love to do best; freezing time through photographs …..

I am King Lemuel and I am a photographer.

A day in my life in 2020: Jide Jokodola


What a great day, I shouted from my bed around 6:30am in room 202 of the world’s only 7 star hotel; Burj Al Arab, Dubai United Arab Emirate. I wonder how all my nights on earth could have been if I have to the opportunity to sleep in this luxurious apartment. May be that was why I woke up late…smiles. I am so excited and I see it as a great privilege not to only lodge here, but to meet and network with the who’s who of the world. It’s Friday 6th March 2020, I thank God for bringing me thus far, and all in my mind is my presentation today at the Gulf Photo Plus Conference for the next two days. I am also eager to meet my mentor; Mr Seun Akisanmi, who is a Guest Speaker and would be speaking on “The Business of Photography”

As I prayed, my phone rings; picking my phone during prayers isn’t an option so I waited patiently till my prayers ended only to check after to see that my wife was the caller! Apparently, she thought I had forgotten my duty of calling her every morning – I never can! The view from this magnificent building overwhelmed me that I forgot to call her early. Although, she does not like it when I travel for long especially for my documentary projects, she supports and loves my works. I quickly pick my phone to call her back; with great enthusiasm, she calls me by my pet name and I smile, calling hers too.

My wife reports about how our twins passed excellently in their last examination and I cannot but congratulate her for her motherly supervision. My project tour has taken me away from home for 2 months now. In fact, she describes how proud she was when Taiwo won the award category of the Overall Best student in Science and Kenny; the Most Creative Art student in their school’s annual award day. It gladdened me to hear that. Without hesitation, I told her about the referral I got. It was the portrait I took Magaret Chan, the former Director General of the World Health Organization at the World Economic Forum annual meeting some years back that attracted and made their Executive Board to invite to cover this 2020 annual meeting. It took quite a while for my wife to remember the experience I had during the shoot because she knows I have quite a huge portfolio of dignitaries.

Interestingly, I had a research on the nature and weather of the whole continent of Asia that had to be submitted to the National Geographic Magazine by the end of April. Although, I had traveled to about seven countries in Asia sometimes last year, I could not continue because of the cold temperature at the mountainous far North of Burma, South East Asia that really affected my health. Therefore, I had to finish up my conference here and quickly travel to Cambodia and Cyprus, which I didn’t forget to tell my wife. I had also been granted by the Prime Minister of Lebanon to take the pictures of the hills and people they want to put in their new 500 Lebanese pound currency, marking their 77th year of Independence from France.

I had been so engrossed in talking to my wife till I noticed the time was 8:14 am. Wow! I had to end the call in the midst of the conversation in order to prepare for my presentation which was scheduled for 11:00am. It was time to check my mail. I get loads and loads of mails on a minute basis that it gives me quite an ache having to check these mails one to another. The moment I opened the mail, my attention was drawn to a particular mail. I had received a mail by the largest photography and imaging show; PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo in North America, if not the world. I’ve been asked to be one of the Keynote Speakers in that year’s October conference. Apparently, they’ve would have seen my works on Al Jazeera recently about “The Beautiful Drug Addict”, the documentary about the Columbian women. I took the portraits of teenagers and women into drugs and their involvement in drugs and crime, in the view to attract humanitarian intervention.

Consequently, another mail that got my attention was the one from the World Health Organization which was inviting me to become one of their Ambassadors in Africa. Wow! This to me was a great opportunity indeed. In fact, this to me is a dream come true; to be a Diplomat of internationally recognized organization. Actually, this may have been as a result of the documentary I did in the remote areas of Ogun state, Nigeria and Mindanao village in Mozambique about “Combating Child Hunger” in 2007.

At 10:30am, dressed up and ready for the D-day and at my door step is one of the organizers of GPP, Dubai conference. Opening the door, I found out that there are also about four protocols to guard me through the elevator. I never know I am this so influential in Dubai too. Sir, we have a limousine ready for you downstairs and it’s going to be a 5 minutes drive to the event centre, the organizer said. 5-minutes limousine drive! In my mind, I thought this would have been an over-pampering technique for not paying my Speech fee. Arriving at centre, seeing the welcoming team gives me another perspective about my life. This is an ovation I never received in my entirely life thus far. My presence attracting the press around the world, with flash lights on me here and there, I stepped to the red carpet for a couple of interviews. I try to imagine the numbers of cameras with burst mode towards me. Looking ahead to seeing my most humble mentor, Mr. Seun Akisanmi, with his customized designer jacket coming down from his BMW 9 Series, I marveled at such the huge crowd that rushed at him despite the Guards, Police Officers and Security Experts around him. I quickly rounded up my interview to meet him. Very elated meeting me as a Guest Speaker too, he cracked a joke and we laughed together as we walked inside together.

The peak of it all was that the award category as “The Photographer of the Year”. As the nominees were called, I panic and as eventually my name was called, I stood up in enthusiasm to receive my award. After the whole event, I was taken back to my luxurious room. I stood at the mirror to magnify my creator for such a great privilege of this achievement. Thanks to the people that helped me thus far; Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Pastor Bola Odutola, Rev’d Folajimi Sadiq, Mr. Seun Akisanmi, my family and most beautiful wife.

Ojo James’ day in 2025


14th August 2025

“Yaaaawwwnnn.” I deserve a rest, don’t I?

My body had to let out the fatigue that had built-up within her. The yawn was a testimony to the fact that my body needed a break from all the activities it had been through that day. I took a lazy look up at the wall clock in my hotel room and I realized my thoughts have actually not been in “today” but in “yesterday”. The time on the clock read 01:27 hours and I began to wonder what time I returned to my room. I picked up my diary to pen down the events of today, I meant of yesterday and as I wondered where it all started from, everything came right back…

My day had started quite early as usual at 04:15 hours of the 13th August. The alarm had sung her usual melody for me as I dragged myself out of bed into the bathroom to wash my face. I returned to my study table to have a look at my files and get them ordered in readiness for the day. I would be speaking at a conference organized by the Ministry of Environment of our dear country on a topic titled “Industrialization; its Impact on our Environment and the Restoration Process.” I had been invited based on my documentations that I had put together, in motion and in still photographs, which the government had come across.

“How did I get here?” I asked myself. As I recollected and reconnected events, I permitted myself to enjoy the golden moments of the past that put definition to the present.

It all happened five months ago when I got contacted by National Geographic in the United States of America due to some of my works in images that had been observed over time. The voice, which belonged to the Head of Environment and Conservations, Mrs. Joanne Praiser, discussed about hiring my services for a photo experience that they felt was going to be out of this world and she added that “we really do not wanna miss this moment because we have waited for it for four years.” “What could this moment be?” I thought within myself. I was humbled. I was told to make preparations as I would have to be flown in to discuss the brief. When the brief was discussed, I realized it was really out of this world. We were going to have our photoshoots on another planet, planet Mars! Whoa!

National Geographic had partnered with NASA, such that the latter would assist the former with her spacecrafts to get to Mars as a result of the timing of the closeness of Earth to Mars all because this doesn’t happen often: just once in every two years. I could go on and on with the collaboration but then, it was an awesome experience for me. On the team was renowned photo-environmentalist, Joel Satore as well as the Engelman brothers, Charlie and Kirby. How these guys have grown!

I took a quick look at the time and realized it was 06:47 hours. Well, I felt I still had some time on my hands; the conference was not going to start until 09:00 hours. There was enough time to sieve through the prepared scheduled list for the day aside the conference; it prompted me to make that quick business call to my planner on one of my exhibitions that would be coming up in two weeks from now. And having gotten assurances on the flow of the process, I returned back to my preparations briefly before I went into the showers to make myself ready physically. By 08:30 hours, I was en route the conference centre at the High View Spaces at the nation’s capital, Abuja.

As a national event, it was graced by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the minister and state commissioners of Environment; other ministers in the federation; environmentalists and environmental photographers alike.

I did not have to mount the podium until about noon. My presentation was purely based on my documentations in pictures…motion and still. It comprised of my trip to Mars, how marveled the crowd was!; pictures of Mars from the distance was observed but all in all, the climax was stepping out of the spacecraft, to take pictures of the sandy-rocky surface of Mars. As part of our assignment of saving our world, we took as many thriving plants from Mars to be cultivated on earth since it had been proven that they would also thrive so well on earth and do much better than the plants we have on earth in terms of carbondioxide usage. Well, that’s biology. I ended my session; it erupted in hall wide applause. It was really cool to be a success in environmental photojournalism.

True to plans, we ended at 14:30 hours and thereafter went into an hour meeting with the top echelons of the nation. Afterwards, we stepped out to assigned areas of the environment to cultivate the plants in turns. The environment would be safe again and fitter for life.

At 20:15 hours, there was the capstone event, a cocktail party that had works of photographers exhibited, albeit, a tip of the iceberg for the coming exhibition that was going to hold in Lagos in two weeks.

I returned to my hotel at about 23:18 hours. Could I pick up the phone to call her now? I gave it a try…it rang, and kept on ringing. Just as I was about to hang up, my wife picked up the call at the other end. I was excited to hear the voice of the one who had backed me up and given every inch of her support to a man who has been away of late more than been around. Is this the price of being successful in my profession as a photojournalist? She seems to understand but then, I knew I’ll have to work on this to make my home front continue to thrive. Our kids have been bedded, my regards I did forward to them. “My Choice, I will be home again in 24 hours, thanks for your support all along, I love you real big.” “Love you too and see you soon”, she responded.

I went back to work afterwards, sifting through files.

“Yaaaawwwnnn.” I deserve a rest, don’t I? And the time was 01:27 hours of the 14th of August, 2025. Happier than ever was I as a photographer!

My name is Ojo, James O., C.E.O, Kim Canon Photos.

The week I met Youssuf Karsh


It’s Sunday! And it’s really funny how time flies!

The wedding I had assisted in shooting a day before really got a great hold of me. I didn’t feel like getting out my bed, but I still had to; I didn’t have an option anyways. I obviously couldn’t miss church service because of sleep.

With my eyes open and meditating on a few things, I felt like I had been hit so hard with a baton as my whole body ached. Who says photography is small business? I bet such needs a surgery. Amidst all the pains, I managed to get up to prepare myself for church service and in some time I was ready to go and fellowship with the brethren.

Service went well; not as usual but with a new experience. Every new service day opens me up another dimension. If you claim not to go to a church because of hypocrisy, I bet you’re just killing yourself. I moved on to a relative’s house and spent some time there; blood they say is thicker than water. As much as I wanted to enjoy the Sunday with my relatives, I knew I had to prepare for Monday. Having to think of Monday always tickles me. There’s no place like eloPhotos! That’s where you work with fulfillment in mind.

Monday came and seemed like one that had lots of potentials in it for me. Getting late to work wasn’t an option; I had learnt that from Mr.Seun, so I had to do everything in time in order to get to work early in time for the devotion.

Introduction to Digital Photography was the course Mr. Toye started with us on Monday, 29th June 2015.For me, I was so curious to know how Photography had evolved or transformed into what it is now making me pay precise attention to the class. I truly enjoyed the class.

Bingo! An idea dropped in my heart! I reached for a physics textbook which talked more on the idea of light and understanding it in order to fully grasp its potentials in my photographs even though I wasn’t a science student back at school.

During the class with Mr Toye few of my colleagues complained of boredom, I guess everyone has what interests them ‘cuz for me it was great fun.

Tuesday 30th, started on a good note too; continuation of Introduction to Digital photography , Mr Toye told us how the pin hole camera was the first camera, what really struck me was the fact that a man named George Eastman the inventor of Kodak lost relevance when digital Photography came into being.. He didn’t move with the flow of digital Photography and so most people don’t even use the “film” for pictures anymore, it is now the era of Memory cards as storage. He must have really lost ooo! It was another experience for me when I and a colleague was sent to picture works to print Toyin and Joe’s pictures. I had always known that most people in Nigeria don’t have a good customer relationship, but I have not stopped thinking and often times asking why mostly printers give people attitude, is it that they don’t enjoy what they do?  Well! Things will change soon- I believe.

Our program in church started on Wednesday and there was no point missing it. (Day 1 of the 7 days of glory).

We started our class on the discussion of our different researches given to us as an assignment  about Youssuf Karsh on Wednesday, 1st July, 2015. The terrible experience Youssuf Karsh had in his childhood days reminded me of mine ..hmmmmm! Even though his own wasn’t deliberate, mine was. That’s another issue for another day though. We were taught about image quality and the different file formats which exist. We discussed about types of photography and I learnt that there is a difference between forms and types of Photography. We had another assignment still about Youssuf Karsh and Ansel Adams. If you’re gonna make it in Mr. Toye’s class, then you must be a good assignment doer. He never gets tired of giving assignments

On Thursday, it was a privilege for me to minute Mr Seun’s meeting with Mr Kolawole, initially I thought it wasn’t so good an idea to involve a 3rd person in their discussion but it dawned on me that I was getting opportunities faster than I could imagine to handle people’s confidentiality which will help me in training my own members of staff in future. It was something I learnt from COZA though I practised this first when I worked as an admin officer for a little while in my former place of work (Fairview School). After the meeting, I joined my colleagues and we were divided into groups to share our views about Ansel Adams and Youssuf Karsh’s works respectively. We ended the lessons after airing our views about the ancient photographers and we called it a day after which I left for our Day 2 of the 7 days of Glory at COZA.

“Thank God it’s Friday” is what almost everyone says in Nigeria. I spent most part of that day outside the studio, I went to Mr clever’s office accompanied by Francisca for the collection of the photobook which wasn’t ready and I headed to computer village and spent something not planned for to fix my laptop’s sreen sensitivity.

We had a weekend class with Mr.Toye at Elophotos with a new Student and the week ended well.Hmmm! What a productive week! I never really got to meet Youssuf Karsh but his legacy lives on. I got to read so much about him that I now feel I’ve met him in reality

I am YewandeOladipo, a Photographer and I’ve met Youssuf Karsh.

At the top of the building


It has become a common cliche today among some photographers to say that the industry is flooded and there are now too many people pressing the shutter, which shrinks the  individual photographer’s market share, turnover, and profit. This mindset is as untrue as believing that all phones are thesame. Everybody knows that a Tecno H5 is not same as a Samsung Galaxy.

Understandably, running a business in this age, can be very challenging especially in a great country like Nigeria, where it requires a lot of doggedness, tenacity, perseverance as personal attributes, and flexibility to change, prompt innovation, foresight,
as business features, to succeed and edge competitors but, one of the business lessons the 21st century has taught us is that there is always a unique place for every business willing to pay the price, a vacuum which usually is even too large for it alone to fill.

As much as I am also not totally immune from this ‘incorrect thinking’, it was an experience that taught me once again to think the right way.
I was part of the team that shot the Episode 12 of the
First Nigeria Photography TV show, the Gospel of Photography, and it was shot at the top of a 4-storey building not far from eloPhotos Academy at Ikeja. The location was a change from the usual, which mostly is the studio, and it was also a reflection of dynamism, which is a core culture of eloPhotos.

At the top of the building, during the shoot, I felt different. I was
seeing the environment I’ve always seen, in a different way. It was a beauty to behold. To the east, I  could see the busy Lateef Jakande road, tops of different buildings, as well as planted tress. Other sides too seemed similar especially to the north, where the palm tress at the end of Acme Road, formed a pattern, beautiful for the photographic eye. It was from this beauty I saw around, I started drawing similes to being at the top in work and most importantly in life.

Firstly, I realized there was large expanse of space, which made it easy to see far and wide, down and top, all at the same time. It was quite different from the ground where it seems as if there are houses everywhere and everybody is struggling for survival. I correlated this with the need for a photographer or any other person regardless of profession or field of interest to nurture the desire to be at the top.

Up there, there are only unique competitors, because at that level, only unique and valuable companies thrive, like Google, Apple e.t.c and this can only be achieved by building a formidable brand over the years. Businesses at this level can see and connect with the industry leaders, explore the abundance and opportunities around, erode the lack mentality. This is true for
everything and anything; if we must get the best out of our lives, be it our jobs, marriage, or any other thing, its always best to be at the top.

Secondly, I had the freedom to choose where to look, yet not losing sight of the other sides. I could choose to focus on looking at a place,
an an swiftly shift my attention to other sides if circumstance
demands. I liken this to opportunity of diversification which being at the top offers. When starting out in any venture, its normal to choose a specialization or to focus wholly on one’s profession while ignoring other things. But the privilege being at the top offers is that you can spread your tentacles to explore and exploit other business opportunities around you, to diversify investments, and capitalize on new ventures as they appear, to identify industry loopholes, and far emerging opportunities.

Thirdly, I realized one of the major things that make LandscapePhotography a wonderful aspect of photography. And it is the art of revealing the beauty of any place in the world no matter how rough or clean it might seem. The view of a city, a town, a village or even a small locality from the top is just phenomenal. No wonder one will see a picture of  the ‘brown roofs’ in Ibadan, and will exclaim ‘WOW’. The environment may look like an old-ghetto down below, but when at the top, we see the same place differently.

In lieu of this, I strongly suggest that once in a while, we go to the top of a tall building, preferably in an environment we are used to. It might seem simple but I think the experience can affect all aspects of our lives positively. At the top there are no worries, not that those worries have suddenly died, but they’ve actually gone on exile in the face of the beauty your eye beholds up there. And this is not only true for Lagos, it can be practiced anywhere.

The experience reinforced the conviction in my heart it is a fallacy
of reasoning that one can’t  make a headway in photography or any other profession because the industry is flooded. This is very untrue. Being at the top in business requires uniqueness and value, and whenwe say the industry is flooded, we are actually revealing our own inadequacies, and saying that we can’t pay the price to be there, because in reality, everywhere and anywhere, people are plenty down below, but at the top, there are only few people who make things happen. You can be one of them.

GO TO THE TOP OF A TALL BUILDING TODAY AND TRANSLATE THE EXPERIENCE.
Wondering who effectively translated the building top experience? My name is Akorede Sodeeq and I’m a Top Photographer.

The Day I Shot Jesus: Chapter 1


10 MINUTES TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION.” The Captain’s voice made me a little nervous. I had boarded the underground oceanic train that ran across the New Atlantic Ocean. The sight was unbelievable. Who would have thought that an underground train from New York to Israel via the ocean will be feasible. The year was 2137 and I had been commissioned to provide portraits of His Royal Majesty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

He had seen a portrait I did for prophet Jeremiah & Adam in the year 2136 and had been intrigued. He decided he was due for another session. The last time He had a photo shoot was in 2092 in Israel. I would be the 3rd human being (1st African) to give His Royal Majesty a session. How would I go about it. I wondered what specifically intrigued him about Jeremiah and Adam’s pictures. What a honor indeed it would be to carve a portrait for the one that created my being. Almost as if he could hear my thoughts, he interrupted: PEACE. Suddenly I had this overwhelming peace and confidence that this was indeed one of the reasons he had created me…..for such a session. It would be a session after which the world would see another side of Jesus that they had not seen. More importantly, this would be the first portrait that would be taken by a man and exhibited in the Lord’s Temple in Heaven. What a privilege.

We passed Jerusalem Institute of Technology and I realized I had just 2 more minutes to the underground train’s final destination. I took a last glance at the last portrait that Jesus took. Though blind & crippled in his pre-rapture life, Sou was able to get a portrait of Jesus laughing his heart out. You could see from the picture that the photographer had really said or done something that made the King of Earth burst out in laughter while simultaneously using his hands to cover his eyes. I looked at the scar on His hand. He didn’t have to go to the Cross but I’m glad he did. The picture had gone viral and was still considered the most downloaded “real” picture of Jesus in Human history. Who would have thought Jesus could laugh like that.

I turned to my assistant, Folu, and asked if all was good to go. He replied in the affirmative. He confirmed that the makeup artist had arrived at the New Gate Hotel in Jerusalem. Considered the headquarters of the world, Jerusalem had blossomed (in all spheres) in the last few decades as a result of the physical presence of Jesus.

I took another glimpse of my camera before getting off the train. I had just purchased the new SILT K5 which came with a whopping 2.16 zettapixels image sensor. A picture taken with this baby will result in over 2 billion trillion pixels if I take time to count. That should be enough to document the session. I felt fulfilled knowing that the camera’s first assignment would be to snap the creator of the universe. I smiled.

“Phone call for you sir,” Folu interrupted. It was the makeup artist. She was wondering why we are yet to get to the hotel. “Don’t worry Ofure, we’ll be there in 6 minutes.” I dropped the call and hurriedly boarded the…..

To be continued….

The 9-cities Photography Workshop Tour Begins…


We’re gearing up for the 9-city workshop tour teaching on

“OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF RUNNING A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS”.

The photography industry in Nigeria is on the verge of a BOOM. Positioning your photography business rightly (irregardless of your current challenges) will help you maximize the benefits that are ahead. Join us in any of the cities listed below and be part of the photography brands that will remain relevant come 2025 & beyond. We’re excitedly looking forward to meeting you. Workshop time for all locations: 9am – 1pm.

April 22: Abuja
IHVN Training Room, 1st Floor, Millennium Builders Plaza(Old Nitel Building). Plot 251 Herbert Macauly Way, Almost opposite NNPC Towers. CBD Abuja

April 24: Jos
To be announced

April 27: Kaduna
Mediatrix
NNPC 1st Gate

April 29: Port Harcourt
Photostation Studio, No 60 Old Refinery Road Elelenwo

May 1: Lagos
eloPhotos Studio, 12b fagba crescent, off acme rd, agidingbi Ikeja

May 4: Ibadan
No 20, Awolowo Avenue, Old Bodija, Ibadan

May 6: Illorin
Yemi Ajala Studios, No 26, Eastern Reservoir Road, Tanke, Ilorin

May 8: Warri
STUDIOREFOCUS, shop G8 CK Value Plaza, Opposite Permanent Camp, by Police Post Orhuworun-Dsc, Warri.

May 11: Enugu
To be announced

Once payment of N2,000 has been made into Diamond Bank account number 0060967085 (Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference Enterprises), send an email with your full name & teller number or transaction id.

For further inquiries, send a mail to register@elophotos.com or call Jide (0808 839 8029) or  Femi (0703 334 3250)

Kindly share/retweet/rebroadcast

….And then She KISSED me


Earlier this month, I was invited by the leadership of Daystar Christian Centre to render one of my poems at their forthcoming Excellence in Leadership Conference. It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to bless thousands of people with a 5-minute rendition that was composed almost a decade earlier in my time of pain.

November 6 arrived and I found myself on the “pulpit” at approximately 10:58am. After reciting a poem that was appropriate for the theme of the conference (Corruption-Free Leadership), the applause and “congratulatory” messages I got was overwhelming. All of a sudden, it SEEMED I had become a celebrity overnight. One of my colleagues at work later told me that he got up at the end of the recitation and shouted (to the “pretty” lady beside him) “THAT IS MY BOSS RIGHT THERE”.

seun akisanmi excellence in leadership conference

With Pastor Sam Adeyemi giving me a handshake, Pastor Nike Adeyemi giving me a thumbs up, Fela Durotoye asking for my contact details…..I wondered what was it really that I did that touched their hearts. Whatever it was, it was titled “Corruption: Not an Option” and it resonated a determination within the hearts of the audience that it was possible to live a life void of corruption in a corruption-congested society.

And so it happened that as I attended Day 2 of the conference, I met one of my photography protégé at the entrance of the church building. Before I could say “Hi”, she hugged me and gave me a kiss on my right cheek. I was shy, I felt nervous, I was awe-struck. “That was the first time I’ll see you recite a poem on stage and I just want you to know that I’m proud of you and I’ve missed you”. Those were her words.

If you were eavesdropping on the 40 seconds encounter we had together, you would have thought that Seun Akisanmi was having an affair with someone who couldn’t make it a secret anymore. It all happened so fast that I didn’t see it coming. “Thank God” was all I could say to her. Perhaps it felt more awkward because I was carrying my 235-days-old daughter and she was staring at this aunty that just gave her dad a kiss. I could have sworn that my daughter thought she was my girlfriend.

In a way I could sense the state of her heart….the lady’s heart, that is. She was proud to be associated with someone she would consider a success & role-model by her definition. I knew she had no “corrupt” motives. But then it got me thinking. With this level of fame, it would be easy for me to get into an extra-marital affair with a lady that holds me in such high esteem. Afterall, some of our leaders in church & society seem to be doing it. Instead of saving her real name on my phone, I’ll probably just save it as “Akeem Battery-Charger” or “Gas Cooker Messenger” so that my wife will not be suspicious. Infact, with a church of this size I could easily have 7 girlfriends that will be servicing me for each different day of the week. It will be so easy.

And then it occurred to me that “whatsoever is hidden shall be brought to light” and that it will only take a matter of time for the thing I do in the “secret places” to be made manifest to the world. Just like the poetry recitation was able to reach over 10,000 people within a 5minute time frame (though no one saw me when I was composing it in October 2004), my act of “corruption” would reach a greater number at a faster rate. I made a decision that in my marriage, corruption will not be an option.

Subsequently I realized the burden & pressure that is being placed unconsciously on people that are regarded as stars, role-models or celebrities. People expect a higher standard of living from their role-models. Consequently, I now have to think twice (& sometimes thrice) before doing things like beating the traffic light, urinating in public places or “fighting” with a driver that just collided with my 2012 BMW 540i ActiveHybrid car. That really got me thinking.

Consequently, I made a resolution that no KISS or LADY or JOB or PERSON or SITUATION will be given the authority to mar the great destiny that awaits me. I know it won’t be easy and that’s why I’ll deliberately surround myself with people and resources that will help me to declare BOLDLY without any compromise that CORRUPTION WILL NOT BE AN OPTION.

 

The Day I Was ARRESTED in Ekiti for…


It was indeed an August occasion. One that I would never forget. I had been invited by Obasola Bamigbola to teach on the Business of Photography to a class hungry photographers in Ado-Ekiti. He had proposed we charge a fee of N2k and limit attendance to 10 students and I suggested we reduce the fee so as to reduce the excuse of the average potential participant for not making it because it was “too expensive”.

The workshop was to hold on August 28 by 7:30am and I eventually got to the city around 1am. My sleep was short, my excitement was high, my expectation was optimistic. After a short meeting at 7am with one of Ekiti’s finest photographers, Femi Adagunodo, I headed to the location where the workshop was to be held (Glintz Multimedia).

The time was almost 8am and my nervous quotient was raised by a factor of 100. Just 5 more minutes and the workshop would start officially. Suddenly, I heard the voice of someone that sounded like a thug. He was asking for confirmation of where the photography workshop was to hold. After Obasola answered him in the affirmative, he insisted that no one should leave the room that we were all under arrest. Truth be told, I honestly thought it was a joke.

After summoning his fellow thug compatriots, I realized that we were being treated like criminals whose crime was murder. At that moment, I knew that the police really isn’t your friend. Or are they? I was about to find out.

After arriving at the police station, we were directed to the office of the person that was supposedly the “oga at the top”. I was appalled at the level of treatment a police official hurled at a citizen before hearing their side of the story of whatever they were charged with. Apparently, the unwritten rule is that you’re “guilty until proven innocent”. The Oga would eventually ask the other 8-10 photographers that were arrested with us to step outside while Seun Akisanmi (that’s me) and Obasola Bamigbola remain in the room.

Present in the same room were three individuals that had apparently filed the petition that warranted our arrests. The OgaATtheTOP flipped though a few pages of stapled petition papers and with a disfigured face (as if he just drank bitter leaf juice), demanded to know who I was and what I was doing in their terrain. After a 60-second brief reply to his interrogative question, I started glancing through the pages of my internal memory book to see who I might have offended enough to petition the police for my arrest. Could it be the 23 NiPHEC vendors I still owe one outstanding or the other? Could it be my mother-in-law that I’m yet to deliver her 60th birthday album? Could it be my friend whose daughter’s birthday album was still in my archives? I was blank.

The charges against me was three-fold and had been initiated by the leadership of the Ekiti State Association of PROFESSIONAL Photographers. The first charge against me was that I had advertised a training program that was part of an embezzlement scheme to defraud participants of their hard-earned N1000 and present certificates to them that will make them go into the photography world and “spoil” their market. It sounds funny right? You should have seen how I was smiling when I heard that. The words “preposterous” and “ludicrous” began to play table tennis in my medula oblongata (sorry, I’m a distant relative of Senator Patrick Too Much Grammar).

The second charge was that we claimed to be PROFESSIONAL Photographers without associating ourselves with the “alpha & omega” association of professional photographers in the industry. At this point I was looking at the faces of the 3 accusers of the brethren, two of whom were older than my father. Suddenly, I felt sorry for them after reading what seemed to be deep bitterness in their eyes. They were really cross with me that we didn’t liaise with their association before advertising such a workshop. Honestly, I felt compassion for them in my soul.

At that very moment, I had a mini-trance that gave me an understanding of what people like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr went through. I was encouraged knowing instinctively what such an incidence will do to the proliferation of the gospel of photography. I smiled. I frowned. The thought of such “association” members loosing their “market” share of clients to the advent of digital technology made me feel sorry for a set of people that were unwilling to acclimatized to the wind of “positive” change blowing in the industry.

The third charge against me was read: that Seun Akisanmi & Obasola Bamgbola have done a similar workshop in the last one year and embezzled participants’ N1000 without offering them value for their money. At that moment, the two words that were playing table-tennis in my head had a tie: this was both preposterous and ludicrous.

I honestly don’t feel it necessary to even start explaining the speech I gave in my defense. The summary of what I later “educated” the clueless Oga of police was that IT IS NOT COMPULSORY to join an association of skilled workers (barbing, photography, hair styling, makeup artistry, etc) before you can practice what you’re passionate about. Ofcourse if what you do for a living involves risking someone’s life one way or the order (e.g. Medicine, law, etc) you’ll need a license from a governing authority. But photography hasn’t gotten to that level yet (anywhere in the world) that you’ll need a license for practicing.

We were at the station for almost 3 hours and were eventually dismissed after lawyers from the Justice Department came to our aid to educate the association executives and Police on our right to willfully join an association. According to Section 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria, we have the right to “peaceful” assembly and association. If photography associations feel threatened by the new generation of photographers rising up now, the foundation of their tenets of association needs to be re-visited. Especially when I’m being accused of training people that will get into the industry and start charging N50 per picture instead of N100. If only they know we’re out to raise world-class photographers and not just Ekiti-based local champions.

I left the police station with a sorry heart for the system of Policing we have in this country. The same Oga of Police (along with his assistant) that had disrespected us when we showed up at the station were now asking us to “give them something”. I gave him something quite alright. I looked into my wallet and handed him the last copy of a small rectangular paper I had on me: my NiPHEC complimentary card. If he was surprised, it didn’t show on his face.

The workshop was eventually rescheduled to 2pm and we had a fulfilling time in the presence of the Lord, sorry, participating Photographers. Getting back to Lagos, I sensed within me that the industry is on the right track of transformation. Incidences like this one will only help promote the impact photography is having (and will continue to have) in our society. I also made a resolution not to be forced to join an association whose mentality borders on the belief that the sky is too SMALL for all us to fly.

So after being arrested in Ekiti for being an associationless photography preacher & practitioner, my passion for what I do has been renewed. Dear WORLD, get ready for the revolution that is coming…

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Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com for a detailed list of options of classes to take at eloPhotos Academy. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness. A new session begins November 3, 2014
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Participants of the Ado-Ekiti Photography Workshop

The HARVARD Client


To be upfront, this will be one of the most difficult writeup I will put up because its an account I had with a client who happens to be one who “might” sue me. But then again, I’m not mentioning anyone’s names and there shouldn’t be any cause for a lawsuit….just that he might not hire me again. Either way, I strongly believe there’s a lesson or two to be learnt herein. Anyways, here goes nothing.

A few years ago, I was privileged to have worked with a client that would eventually go down in my books as one of the “most interesting clients ever”. I met him during an exhibition I had in Transcorp Hilton Hotel (Abuja) in 2008. He would eventually hire me to cover a ceremony in his hometown during which he’ll be given a chieftancy title by the king of the town.

It was supposed to be a 4-6 hour event in which he was to pay N200k for a standard album. I drafted an agreement that required him to make a deposit of 50% of the total fee before I flew to his hometown for the coverage. The main day finally arrived and after a bunch of seemingly legitimate reasons why he had not made the deposit, I decided to take a risk and pay for the flight from my own pocket.

Upon arriving at my airport destination, I headed straight to my clients’ house and met him in full preparation for the event. I stylishly asked for the deposit and was abruptly reprimanded for coming across as someone who liked money too much. “Can’t you see that I’m busy….I’ll get you the deposit once I’m free”. Being the optimistic person that I am, I chose to take him by his word.

10 hours later after the event was over, I was faced with the challenge of making the same presentation. This time around the reason that was given was that he was too tired after a tedious chieftancy ceremony to address mundane financial matters like mine. I would eventually withdraw back to the room he had lodged me in the “boys quarters” behind his mansion.

That night, I would eventually make friends with the man’s cook & driver because they lived in the room adjacent mine. Listening in on the discussions the cook & driver were having, I discovered that my rich client was not the type that treated his subordinates with dignity. Many atimes he would shout at them and call them names in the presence of visitors and dignitaries. I eventually found myself giving thanks to God that I wasn’t a staff of this client. I eventually spent 3 days at the client house and could almost write a book based on the experiences the cook, driver and gateman have had with the man over the years.

On my second night in the clients villa, I remember the cook storming into the room and shouting at the top of his voice (ofcourse he knew that oga could not hear him).
“This oga no get sense o, abi no be me wey be him cook he suppose dey treat very nice….me wey fit poison am if I want…but my mama no raise me up like that if not I for show am pepper”.
He murmured and complained for over 30 minutes about how his “master” had just cursed him out in front of guest for forgetting to bring a tray of glasses for drinking water. Little did I know I was about to have my own memorable experience.

After getting another excuse on the second day, I would eventually have my way on the 3rd day. By the 3rd day of being in my clients mansion, I was already getting scared of him as if he was my boss. I gathered all the courage within and asked for an audience with him. By now he knew what I wanted to see him for: a deposit of N100k for the photography job he had hired me for.

As I approached his room, his PA walked out of the room and almost collided with me. I was surprised to discover that this thirty-something year old beautiful daughter of Eve was in tears. Apparently she had just been dealt with verbally by the same “master” that I was about to meet. I swallowed my saliva as if in a plane that was about to take off. I was more nervous now. I hope this man’s words won’t leave me in tears by the time I was done. I shrugged off the feeling knowing that he wasn’t my boss and that he was just a man. Except he had 7 heads like a beast in the bible, I shouldn’t be afraid of him. Or should I? I was about to find out.

He was laying down on his bed when I walked in. 2 of his best friends were in the room. After a few seconds of repeating the same requisition I had been making for the past 2 days, I handed out to him a printed A4 paper that documented the agreement we had regarding the job at hand and asked him to sign. It was then he flared up and threw the paper back at me.

“How dare you give an agreement to a Harvard Law Graduate. Don’t you know that its improper to issue a contract to a lawyer? Rather it’s a lawyer that should issue out a contract that will require your signature”.

Up until then, I did not know that my world-renowned client was a graduate of Harvard Law School. Up until then, I didnt know that it was “illegal” to present contracts that required a signature to a “law” graduate. I took in a deep breath and for 2.5 seconds thought of what to say in response to the declarations of my lawyer client.

I found myself apologizing to him for not knowing that I was disrespecting him without my knowledge. I explained to him that I was only protecting his interest by putting on paper everything that I promised him I would deliver. Ofcourse I knew that I was protecting my interest against lawyers like that. While expressing my heartfelt apologies to the man through my then-nervous mouth, I was uttering desperate prayers to God in my heart. My singular prayer was for God not to make me treat people the way this rich Harvard client treated people.

He eventually signed the document grudgingly and reached into his bag for a bundle of N1000 notes. What he did thereafter touched my heart and made me feel more sorry for him. He hurled the bundle of N1000 notes at me and asked me to leave his room. The bundle fell right in front of me without hitting me. It was then I knew that God had indeed blessed me with a patient spirit. Had I possessed half of the nature of one of my mentors, I would have walked up to him, return the money, given him a dirty slap (which might have landed me in jail ofcourse), and walked out of the house that night only to later remember that my belongings were still in his mansion. But a patient man I was (and hopefully still am).

I picked up the pack of N1000 notes, counted it twice to be sure it was not short a Naira less than N100k. Realizing that my deposit was complete, I thanked him very much and walked out of the room. I would later thank God for not walking out in tears as the PA had done a few minutes earlier.

Over the years, I’ve dealt with some clients that seemed to have graduated from the same class as my Harvard client. Over the years, I’ve realized that patience is a virtue that will help a photographer like me not to kill some people before their time. Over the years, I’ve realized that my propensity to take rubbish from someone is directly proportional to the money they’re paying me. Yes, I know that can be vain but God has used many Harvard clients to put food on my family’s table over the years. Although I usually don’t do jobs again for clients like that, I’ve found out that they’ve been examples of people that I pray to God that “when I grow up in riches, do not make me like this person”.

Or if it was you that a client threw N100k at, what will you do? Be honest now.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

The ESAU Moment


The date was April 8, 2013. Time stamp 1pm. I was sitting in the reception of one of the most respected companies in Nigeria. Waiting patiently for my appointment with who I considered to be the MD.

A week earlier, MD had seen in the newspapers the press released we issued regarding the 1st Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference. Somewhere in the newspaper article, it was mentioned that one ‘Seun Akisanmi’ was the one organizing the conference that will help escalate the journey of placing Nigerian photography & photographers on the world map. I instantly recognized the number when I saw the missed call just after wednesday church service. I had given MD a photo session 6 months earlier and knew somewhere at the back of my mind that we would meet again.

Meet again we would eventually do. I returned the call and was given an appointment to meet him in his office. He mentioned that he saw the article and wanted to see how he could help sponsor the event to success. I was ecstatic. I was excited. The person I had been trying to get his attention was finally giving me audience.
He would eventually enter the reception 30minutes later and apologized for being late. He went straight to the point. After extending his applause to me for daring such an ambitious feat, he mentioned that he was going to make a VOLUNTARY donation to help make the program a success.

N500,000. I was shocked. I was grateful. At that very moment, that would be the largest “voluntary” donation someone would bring to the NiPHEC table. The last person that dropped his contribution issued out a check of N250k and I was shocked. N500,000 from another person that believed in the NiPHEC dream would eventually increase the shock level to gear 3.

I was quick to let him know how eternally grateful I was for the proposed donation. He was quicker to let me know that he needed a favor from me in exchange for the “voluntary” donation. Little did I know that my shock level was about to get to gear 5.

In exchange for the funds, he’ll appreciate if I place his name as the EXECUTIVE PRODUCER on all NiPHEC publicity materials that will be going out. I told him that was not possible. Without hesitation, I explained that NiPHEC was not a NOLLYWOOD movie (ok, I actually didn’t use the word “NOLLYWOOD”) that’s in need of an Executive Director. I looked over to the side where my assistant was sitting and watched to see the expression on her face. She seemed speechless.

MD insisted that it was a small token I could do for him in exchange for his kind gesture. I reminded him promptly that I thought he said it was a voluntary donation and not a transaction. Looking back at the whole scene now reminded me of the scenario that must have played out when Esau was in need of a FOOD sponsor for his stomach and Jacob was offering ASARO for Esau’s future destiny. It was an Esau moment for me and I wasn’t about to repeat history the Esau way.

I calmly explained to MD that what he was asking for was worth more than N500k. At that moment I was grateful for the negotiation tactics I had learned from Herb Cohen in YOU CAN NEGOTIATE ANYTHING. I reasoned with him that I had invested too much intellectually to have someone pay that amount for what seemed to be the “rights” of the dream. I told him that an appropriate figure for such a title would be more like N10million. He seemed a little surprised that I would dare to decline his offer. He seemed to be someone that didn’t like getting NO for an answer. That day he’ll receive a tough NO he’ll have to swallow.

For over 200 seconds he gave me more reasons why he wasn’t asking me for too much and how the voluntary donation would be beneficial to a cause that had not secured any sponsors. He asked me to go home and think about it before giving a reply. I told him there was nothing to think about. N500k was too small a token to pay for the title of Executive Producer of NiPHEC. He would eventually disburse the funds without getting his request. I would eventually realize that my passion for change in the photography industry was a bigger dream than I had imagined and that no Esau moment would defraud me of my destiny.

Come to think of it, if Esau had been a better negotiator, he would have gotten the plate of porridge for free. At least I got the N500k for free.

I write this not to insult or ridicule MD in any way. In fact, that encounter with MD helped me to realize that the lack of funds is not an excuse for failure. If your dream is big enough, it will attract helpers of destinies that will help fund the projects. MD helped me to realize that the dream of a more professional & appreciated photography industry is more feasible than I thought. And he wanted to get the credit for it. The credit would eventually go to the God that gives the vision. For only HE alone can touch the hearts of those that will help with the PROVISION.

So next time you’re faced with an Esau moment – an employer asking you for sex in exchange for a job or promotion, a contractor asking for a token before he can give you the job, a situation that requires you to tell a small white lie for things to be in your favor – always realize that whatever decision you make will impact generations to come. Sometimes the easiest choice to make could be the most difficult…especially when you’re in dire need of the N500k. I’m still in debt as a result of not getting enough sponsors as I anticipated but I have no regrets that the dreams that are within me will attract the resources that will be necessary to bring them to fruition.

I know my blabbing can seem much atimes but the buttomline message is this: When you encounter your Esau moments (trust me, everyone eventually does), don’t sell your destiny for a plate of porridge.
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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

Dad, My Leg Is Hurting Me


That was the sentence hurled at me by my 300week old daughter. We were on our daily trip from her school to the house when the bus dropped us at the junction of our final destination. “Daddy, I said my leg is hurting,” she murmured as if I didn’t hear her the first time.

So what do you want me to do about it?
She answered my question by repeating her statement. We would eventually walk the 4-minute-long trip to the house. I felt within me that since a requisition had not been made, I wasn’t obliged to do anything. Usually in time past, I would carry her 25 kg weight on my 65 kg body while happily walking the 55 metre distance to her 6 by 4 ft bed. But on that day, she would cry & grumble while she walked the entire distance.

The next day, after getting down from the same similar bus, she would hurl the exact same sentence at me. "Daddy, my leg is hurting me”. (At this junction, its important to note that nothing is wrong with her legs, she just likes the idea of me carrying her on my back each time we’re approaching the house).

“So what do you want me to do about it?”
She proceeded to speak the words that I wished she had spoken the previous day. “PLEASE CARRY ME“.
I was touched. Almost moved to tears. As I happily carried her on my back for the rest of the mini-marathon back to the house, I thought of how many of us have approached our mentors or God with the complaints of the problem we’re going through instead of asking for the specific HELP that we want.

I thought of the many times that I would complain to God that I was broke instead of asking him for ideas that will make me rich. I thought of my protege that was complaining about too many photographers in Nigeria instead of him to ask for strategies that will make him stand out of the lot. I thought of the many times I complained to God or people about the many wrongs in our great country…..instead of just praying for wisdom and courage to be a solution provider. And then I found myself at the doorstep of where I call HOME.

Dropping Anuoluwapo from my back, I assured her of my love for her. I told her not to be afraid to ask me for whatever she wanted (though I must admit that the requisitions can be sometimes annoying). I told her that its my desire to make sure I do my best to put a smile on her face and fulfillment in her soul. And it was at that moment I could sense God saying the very same words to me.

Once again, this might not be a message for only photographers. However, the message ought to be clear: “Complaining” & "Murmuring” won’t get you far. Start ASKING for the specific HELP you need and start BECOMING a solution provider to your generation.

Ask & you shall receive, seek & you shall find, knock & the door shall be opened unto you…….
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Unstructured Ramblings of a JJC Photographer


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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for eloPhotos.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Onodje Oshevwiyore


It was some minutes past 6:00a.m when I finally woke up from my standard family Italian sized bed. Just beside me standing was my lovely wife holding a tray containing already prepared toasted bread, fried eggs with a cup of lipton tea. Honestly in my mind I wondered when she had got the time to have prepared this delicious meal for me, must be pretty early she woke up, I thought to myself. With a delightful smile on my face I said to her “Good morning My Page”. Really sweet and thoughtful of you to have made me breakfast, thank you. Do you know most times I wonder what in this world I will be doing without you. I love you so much my dearest. I then gave her a kiss and we both asked how our night went.
   
Words might not just be enough for me to best describe the lady that shares my life with me. Anyway she is this cute average height lady with slender figure and well shaped curves at the right places. It is the combination of her physical attributes, her ability to wear cloth well and her inherent good taste of fashion that constantly gives her an elegance of appearance that is quite unique. Her smile is one of the amazing things I have ever seen. Truly captivating indeed I must say. No doubt you would want to say that I am lucky but I rather consider myself so blessed. She is the one that constantly fills my thoughts, the closest to my heart and someone I fondly would call “My Page”, “My Love and “Best Friend”. Her name is Cindy and she is twenty nine years old. 
   
After taking my breakfast, I undressed and went straight into the bathroom where I took a steaming hot shower, stretching and flexing my arms above my head and twisting my shoulders from side to side in a bid to exercise a little bit. Ten minutes later, I came out of the bathroom. I immediately started dressing up. I wore a pair of black trousers on a customized black suit with a white long sleeve inside and a brown Italian shoe to go with it. After dressing up, I glanced for a few minutes, the previous day’s vanguard newspaper where I read an article on “Repositioning the Nigerian Entertainment Industry”. It was now 7:20am and I am fully set to go out for the busy business day schedule ahead. 
   
I quickly stepped out into the bedroom corridor, pushed open the door exactly opposite mine and went inside my kid’s bedroom. I just wanted to say hello before leaving and also check how far they have gone in preparing for school. Am so blessed with two amazing and lovely kids; Richard and Mary. Richard, now 5years old is the elder while Mary will be 3years old by March next year. The presence of these two beautiful kids in my family brings my wife and I so much joy and happiness that words can’t possibly express.
     
My presence alone in their room elated so much joy and excitement as they both rushed towards me and hugged me. “Good morning Daddy” they greeted me. Morning kids, I replied. I hope you guys are now set for school? “Almost dad” as they replied in an angelic tone. Am sorry I wouldn’t be able to take you guys to school this morning as promised yesterday. Daddy has to rush off to the office as soon as possible for an unplanned meeting scheduled by 8:45am. But never worry kids, Mummy will drop you two in school today. I promise to take you guys to school tomorrow. I have to go now, hope to see you two when I get back in the evening. Always remember that daddy loves you both so dearly. Love you too dad, as they both replied with smiles on their faces. Ok, bye!
   
After a brief chat with my wife, I eventually stepped out of the house at new layout Jakpa road Effurun Delta State. At about 7:35am, I drove off from my apartment in my range rover 2018 model. My apartment is a newly built four bedrooms bungalow that has a big sitting and a dining room, a well sized kitchen with a store room, four standard sized rooms with their individual toilet, a separate visitors’ toilet and finally a car parking garage. The apartment has a well spacious surrounding as it was built on a 100 by 100 feet plot of land. One lovely thing about this edifice is the fact that it has a simple architectural design. The surrounding also has lots of beautiful flowers worth admiring.
     
On my way to the office I thought about how well my various businesses are doing. I thought of how my photography outfit “Oshez360 studios” which started some six years ago has now become a well known brand name for event coverage, portraits, product and food, advertisement, training and consultancy. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my outfit 8. Not a bad rating you would want to say. The secret of our success story lies in the fact that we do whatever it takes to satisfy our esteemed clients by delivering quality services. We are bent on creating lasting memories.
     
Before getting to the premises of Oshez360 studios, I thought of the welding inspection company that was established more than a year ago where I am an active partner. I thought of how the company is about to make a major breakthrough of winning the contract bid for the welding inspection of a 52km pipeline project worth over 100 million naira. “Wow! We are not doing badly at all” I said to myself.
     
I also thought of my one acre plot of land farm investment located at my home town in Agbarha Otor, Ughelli. The farm land currently has a livestock, fishery and crop section. And it is being administrated by a capable manager. I finally thought of the real estate project I intend to embark on in a couple of months from now. It will be a storey building containing four (4) two bedroom bungalows that will be built on the recently 100 by 100 plot of land I acquired at Osubi, Delta State. From my projection it is going to be a worthwhile investment.
     
After about 35 minutes of leaving my apartment at new layout, I arrived at my office. Oshez360 studios is a four bedroom bungalow rented as office space and it was strategically redesigned to accommodate a studio, an editing room, reception and my own personal office. At the reception I met my secretary, Mrs. Rebecca who gave me a quick briefing of my schedule for the day. Good Morning Sir, “here is your schedule for today; you have a meeting shortly with Miss Rose at 8:45am, thereafter a meeting by 1:00pm in Ikeja Lagos with the regional marketing and brand manager of PZ Industries plc as regards some of their products shoot. Your flight to Lagos has been scheduled for 11:00am and a return flight by 3:15pm. Finally Sir, you planned on visiting your farm land at Agbarha Otor by 5pm”. “Thanks so much for the briefing” I said her and then worked straight to my office.
     
The meeting with Miss Rose went well as anticipated and it only lasted for less than an hour. She agreed to our terms of the contract and has decided on hiring our services. My outfit will be covering the photography aspect of her wedding ceremony to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It is going to be a two days event with Friday and Saturday which is the 23rd and 24th of October 2020 as the traditional and white wedding ceremony respectively. That is roughly a month and two weeks from now. We billed her half a million for the two days event. The amount will exclude flight reservation and bookings for the three photographers covering the event as well as their hotel accommodation and feeding that will also be taken care of by the client. It was a pretty good deal for us I must say.
     
It was a quick trip to Lagos. The Arik airline I boarded from Osubi airport in Warri to Ikeja in Lagos only lasted for 45 minutes. Straight from the airport, I took a taxi to PZ main office at Ikeja. At about 12:30pm I successful gained entrance into the company premises after I have undergone the compulsory security check at the gate. My meeting with the regional brand manager didn’t go as expected as we couldn’t reach an agreement on major issues as regards pricing differences and the products right that I wasn’t too comfortable with. A rescheduled date for the meeting will be arranged soonest for us to be able to finalize on the terms and conditions of the contract.
     
Some minutes to 4pm, my returned flight landed at the Osubi airport. At that moment I felt so tired but still needed to visit my farm land at Agbarha Otor since it has been a while I went there. I quickly put a call through to my admin manager to inform him that I was on my way coming. At about 4:55pm, I got to my farm and walked straight to the office of the admin manager. He briefed me on the activities of the farm most especially as regards production and sales progress. I later went round the farm accompanied by him to see things for myself.
   
At about 6pm I drove off from the farm and headed straight to Warri. On my way, all I could think of was my lovely wife and our two beautiful kids back home. They are no doubt the ones I so much treasured in my life. I feel so blessed to have them around me. I just can’t wait to be home to see them once again. With a smile on my face, I said to myself loudly, “Home sweet home, here I come”.

Proudly WEIRD & Loving It


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegetables - Eat and Live

Photographically Yours,
Damilola Opawale

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.

 

A Photographer’s PSALM


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

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

There is none like you o Lord; you are great

Numerous are your works; uncountable are your deeds

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

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

You are empirical: revealing your way to the feeble

Only the child at heart can comprehend

Therefore From the depth of my heart

I confess that you are great.

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

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

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

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

Toye Peters

Your Photographer Psalmist

An Interview with a PHOTOBOOK Binder


A few months ago, we interviewed Mr Femi of Pro House, a Lagos-based PHOTOBOOK binder (album maker). The following transcript was as a result of our meeting.

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I am an artist. I love craft work. While on campus studying mass communication, I took a course in advertising & public relations. I had always loved doing something geared towards a targeted audience and the photography industry has a structure with a targeted audience to please, so I fell in love with it. Its like a cycle; from the client to the photographer who executes the job, edits and designs the book, who then takes it to the print lab, then the final output in most cases is done by a good photobook binder. It then goes back to the photographer who delivers it to the client. In other words, good print and good binding helps the Photographer stand out. This is the reason I tell photographers that their job, the way they edit and their style of binding is their signage.

What will be the cause of a bad/damaged photo book?

From my experience, I want to give credit to the earliest teachers that started experimenting on lenses; the likes of Joan Guitermeg that discovered the movable plate for printing in German and George Eastman Kodak who did alot in early photography development. Before the emergence of digital camera, we had the silver halide film camera but now everybody is embracing digital photography because the technology of the digital camera is everywhere. You can easily buy one, master the settings and start using it. An average photographer wants his job in time, howbeit some clients do contribute to the lateness of some jobs I had once met a client who stayed up to six months before he brought his job and wanted a miracle to happen in a day, “I want my job” “I want my job”, “I want to travel to UK”. They want to bring their job in the morning and get it in the evening or in four hours time.

Let me emphasize that from my experience in photobook binding, a book is like a slow elastic material. Get any book from home or abroad, try folding and squeezing it inside a cylinder, leave it in there for two weeks, by the time you remove it from that cylinder, it will take the shape of that cylinder. So, a very good book comes out by giving the binder quality time, preferablly three working days. If you really want to step it up into something unique, use a different kind of binding called cold gum binding. Cold gum binding takes a longer period of time because it needs something that will shape it and press it like a cast press. Which means after all the necessary arrangement with the wet gum, you have to put it in a special casing and press it for about two-three days, after which it turns into a solid shape such that trimming gives it an odorless perfectly trimmed structure of a decent book .

Presently now as a binder, I am doing almost 77% of my technical work under one roof, which gives me the option of doing either heat or cold lamination. I have recently developed another way of getting the cold gum binding done within twelve hours or even six hours by introducing a cold laminating system that does it faster alongside with a good trimmer that can trim well depending on your taste. However, l will advise any photographer that wants a unique job to give the binder time in order for the binder to be creative.

What are your recommendations for a photo book to last longer?

Before I went into professional photo book binding , I spent money to do six different kind of books and sent it to eateries where people came in, opened, and threw it around for six months, afterwards I collected them back and took notes on each of the look of the photo book. From my findings, I estimated averagely that thirty people opened and threw it around per day. These gave me a technical input of what to do to make a photobook last longer for any photographer.

Some photographers believe in voluminous photo books, I know of a friend who loves to do fifty spreads and for a book to last longer, 25 spreads is ideal, even if the client can’t pay and what you have done is like 4 combined books, we’ll take the pain to counsel the client, let the client know what’s going to happen if the book is voluminous. If you have 25 spreads for a 12 by 24 or 12 by 18, the binder will be creative enough to use some beautiful glue sheet media board within it to give a considerable size of photo book which is not too big and will last longer. If it is too weighty, the book tends to have problem at the groove. I would advise photographers to avoid voluminous photo book except the book/ sheet is very light. If the sheet is not light, then you should be using a photo paper. You shouldn’t exceed thirty spreads.

In this Industry, how can you make your product speak for you?

O.k! In terms of making your product speak for you, I’ve said this over time to photographers… I was a photographer before I joined the Binding business. To anybody that will listen or read this interview, I want you to know that success is not complete until you’ve raised another successor. For you to have success, you must teach your successors how to be unique. For example, if I enroll as a trainee with photographer A, and have undergone training with him over some couple of years, after graduation, I shouldn’t be shooting and packaging my product and services in similar ways as his. I should be different (unique).

In our company (Pro House), when we started out in photo book commercially, our carrier bag was different. Presently, we still have four brand new bags that has not been introduced to the market; the lesson here is that you must learn to be unique in the way you package, the way you shoot, your business card, the way you attend to your clients etc, should reflect your uniqueness. Its a vital requirement for any person who wants to standout in business.

There are some brands that have stood the test of time, once you see the colors and logos of such brands they stand out, you must learn to be unique. In today’s photo book business especially in this part of our world, if you place ten different photo books down and our work is also placed alongside the others, a client who does photo book in Lagos can identify easily the one done in Pro House. Presently, I am working on a full “picture bag” photo book binding that will have the picture of the client on it, and the photographer’s logo on the bag too.

What will be the cause of a binder doing an imperfect Jobs?

To be honest, you can’t give out what you do not have. I must give kudos to all binders who work in this part of the world particularly in Lagos. I was on facebook sometimes ago and stumbled over a guy (an Italian) based in U.S. He engaged me in discussion to find out what I do, I told him what I do and mailed him some pictures of what I had done.

The CONCEPTUAL QUADRUPLETS


On October 31st, I celebrated my 35th birthday in my office shooting Adeyosoye. The concept we had in mind was what we titled “the good, the bad & the ugly”. It was more technical than I had envisioned (& we eventually added a 4th personality) but we were able to get over the session after about 7 hours of shooting and changing personalities. For those of you that called to wish me a happy birthday, shooting this set of quadruplets was the reason I wasn’t able to answer my phone. What do you like or don’t like about the final output.

finalbc

A MEDICAL DOCTOR’s Photographic Perspective: wHaTeVeRiTtAkEs


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

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

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

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

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

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

In less than a week, I’m starting to see business in new light. I am relating better with my clients and already working on my online presence.  If I have the chance to go to whateverittakes again, I  won’t go alone. I am taking my photo assistant along.
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My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos


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

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

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

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

by Ronke Alao

 

WHATEVERITTAKES: The elo Experience in WARRI


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The FASTEST Way To Destroy Your Photography Business


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

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

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

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

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

 

An Attempt to Overcome My Shyness


Just so you know, I’ve been seeing a shrink lately in an attempt to help combat my tendency to be shy. Yes I can be very shy. But this is one of the many attempts to overcome that shyness.

I am hereby boldly declaring that as my birthday approaches in less than 60 hours time (on October 31st to be precise), I would not mind any or all of the following gift items:
Techno Phantom A+, Blackberry Q10 (New or London Used), Samsung Galaxy 4 phone, 2012 BMW 540i Active Hybrid, A 3 bedroom Apartment situated in a choice estate in Ikeja (or the financial Equivalent), A core i5 Intel laptop for my wife, canon 70D or Canon 5D Mark III (with or without any lens), forgiveness (FULL or in PART) of any debt I might be owing you (YES, YOU), or any financial contribution you feel led in your generous heart to give towards the celebration of my 35 years on planet earth.

There. I feel a heavy burden of shyness has been lifted of my shoulders already.

Yours BOLDLY,
Oluwaseun Akisanmi

 

…And the Bride DIED


On October 4, I concluded a deal with a wedding client that would have turned out to be one of the most interesting I’ve had this year. I covered the sister’s wedding 4 years ago and they insisted that it is “Seun Akisanmi” in person that they want to cover the one-day event. We had been talking for about 2 weeks but the deal was finally sealed on October 4. Or so I thought.

For a wedding that was supposed to hold before the end of the year, they ought to have dropped a part payment of at least 80% to help secure and lock down the date on my calendar. What made me more excited about the job was that the pay was good; good enough to help reduce my outstanding deficits. I gave thanks to God for the timely job.

And so it happened that I gave the client a call on October 12 to remind them about the importance of making a financial commitment. It was then I was told that the bride-to-be died on October 5 (the day after the deal was sealed). I was heartbroken twice: first for a selfish reason and secondly for the groom.

I wondered how the groom must have felt knowing that the person he was about to be married to died a few weeks before the wedding. And for reasons that perhaps could have been treated properly; malaria/typhoid. I was heartbroken because of the loss of financial resources that could have lifted some of my burdens. It was at that moment I realized that some people that weep at funerals do so for reasons beyond what people think. I realized some perhaps are heartbroken because the dead will not be able to pay back the N52 million debt he owed before his demise.

Beyond my selfish reasons, I realized the importance of the relationship I have with this client (and all my clients). I realized that every client that comes my way is for a specific purpose. Consequently, I asked myself the following question: Would this have happened if I had been praying for the client?

Perhaps if I had spent time praying for this client (something which I usually don’t do and only remember to do sometimes for selfish reasons), will the story be written thus? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m beginning to be more conscious of the spiritual aspect of my connections with people. I’m beginning to realize that every client, protege or mentor in my life is there for a reason. And the least I can do (without first considering the financial rewards that might come my way) is to pray for them.

The tragedy still weighs on my heart and I wondered if it could have been averted. At least I’ll be $3500 better if the bride had not died. God help us, God help us all.

#whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

 

Introduction to PHOTOPRENEUR 101: A Lecture by Dangote’s Photographer


Accounting is a subject I have never really liked, probably
because my dad is an accountant and if I had shown interest in it, it would have led to a lot of father-son debate while growing up (if you know what I mean) or I don’t like the fact that it’s not dynamic. With that in mind, you could actually picture how I felt when Mr Seun
called to tell me that his dad would be coming to take us on ‘being accountable’ this week. As fate would have it, it turned out to be a life changing experience.

Bright and early Monday morning, Mr Akin Akisanmi was in our office 30min before his scheduled appointment. And to find out later that he was coming from Ijebu that morning, and still made it on-time for his engagement was not surprising(talk about like father, like son). So, not to come across selfish, I have decided to share some cogent point of the lecture with you this one time before I begin to charge for it anyway.(Stop rolling your eyes)

KNOW GOD
You are probably wondering what this has got to do with accounting, so before you start to think I am sick in the head, let me set the record straight. No matter what you do, you have to put God first and to put God first, you need to have a relationship with him.

What baffles me about this is that am not sure if most of us actually realize that having a relationship with God is for our own selfish reason. To have a relationship with him means to know God through his words, abide by his principles and be appreciative of whatever God has
done for us. When God is in it, it works better. I think I need to stop here on this point and let your professional Pastors take it from there.

CAREER
Normally before you start talking money and accountability, you obviously should have a career generating the income but I am not sure what abnormally will look like because I have never tried it thou. As a career person, your number one selling point is (& should be) timeliness.

When you give an appointment, get there ON TIME; it saves you the stress of giving excuses and stands you out as a serious business person. Get to work early (I have never heard of someone, punished for being early) and stay much longer if need be.

As an entrepreneur, you need to take proper care of your business. Never allow the output of some people affect your input. An example; say you design a photobook and send it to the lab for printing. Picking up
the print at later date, you discover they had messed it up. Make them pay for the reprint and not you.

Keep your product in the mind of your client by little gesture of kindness; like calling them on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries or even every two weeks. That way they keep remembering “Lagbaja photography are nice people, they actually called me on my birthday”.

KEEP RECORDS
For you to determine that your passion can pay your
bills, you need to keep records. This means separating your business from your person for evaluation sake. At the beginning of a business year, sit-down and write out your spending profile for the whole year. Calculate how many jobs will get you there. Write down the maximum and
minimum value you will charge your clients with respect to the number of jobs. Oh! Not to forget, never go below your minimum price for any job. You know what they say ‘like begets like’.

This is getting boring and my fingers are begging for mercy; those are cues for me to stop writing. However, if you feel you need more, kindly enroll for the master class: WHATEVERITTAKES.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a photopreneur on the verge of doing WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out. By the way, isn’t the title of this write up a funky one? What do you think?

Doing WHATEVERITTAKES To Standout


WHATEVERITTAKES WORKSHOPimage

I’ve met a number of photopreneurs in the last few months who are struggling with their business. After having gone bankrupt with the organization of the recently concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), you might as well consider my business as topping the list of photographers running business at a loss (in accounting terms). I’ve learnt so much (about business, life, marriage, politics, friendship & family) in the last 365 days than in all my previous years of living.

Photography for me as been a passion beyond what words can express. Ever since I got my first camera in December 1998, a sense of unconscious fulfillment seems to subconsciously overwhelm me whenever I take. pictures. Turning the hobby into a business has brought its challenges. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that photography is where I belong; Photography & I are here to stay.

At this junction, I challenge many photopreneurs in this industry (including those about to start a career in photography) to stop for a moment and ask yourself if you’re ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out in this seemingly crowded & congested business. What if you were told that shaving your eyebrow, (something most men reading this have never done in their life), would help take your business to the next level, would you do it? What if you were told that you don’t need an office or a business loan to get out of the financial mess you’ve gotten yourself into, will you believe that? Are you ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES?

Knowing that there’s no immediate plan B for me gives me no choice but to be more determined to make sure the legacy I leave behind, (as a businessman, father, husband, son & friend), can be likened to the impact Steve Jobs had on the technology industry. More importantly, I’m conscious of living a life that will hopefully lead men to the one that has given me a reason to live: Jesus Christ.

If your goal is to run a successful photography business, I invite you to subscribe to this site and watch out for more inspiring notes I’ll be sharing with you. For those that will like to take it a step further, you can register to be a part of the 7-hours workshop I’ll be running in 7 cities (October 23: Warri, October 28: Lagos, October 29: Ibadan, November 2: Lagos, November 5: Ilorin, November 7: Abuja, November 19: Port Harcort & November 12: Kano) in the country beginning October 23, 2013. It’s a one day workshop where I’ll be sharing practical steps you can take (a process of which I’ve gone through & presently going through) to build a world-class business structure. We’ll be discussing the following topics:

*Impact of Social Media Implementation (Facebook, Twitter, etc) on your business
*Financial Accountability and your Business
*Marketing Techniques of a Desperate Businessman
*Customer Service in a Photography Business
*Creating Multiple Streams of income as a Photographer
*& other pressing issues (as time permits)

Workshop fee is N12,500 and you can send a mail to info@elophotos.com for more details. For those that are looking at a more comprehensive training that includes the techicalities of handling a camera, plan to attend the last session of our 10-day course on Photography (November 25 – December 6, 2013) and you can get 30% off the training fees. Send a mail to info@elophotos.com (or add me on bb: 271e3bc8) for more details or visit our ACADEMY page

Get ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to stand out.

Don’t Quit Until You’ve Tried 17 TIMES


Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So it happened that I finally got fed up of the rice and beans breakfast I had been having in the office for the past 3 months. On the morning of September 13, I asked my colleague to help me get yam and plantain so my stomach could experience a difference in atmospheric conditions.

 

He returned 10 minutes later and declared that no one was selling yam in the area. Apparently he had suffered a temporary amnesia else he would have remembered that you don’t report back on an assignment without results; you should always do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get it done. So it was that after allowing him to return my bowl to the store room in the office, I went to get the same bowl and secretly headed out of the office to seek for my loved & lost yam.

 

The first place I stopped by happened to be one of the hottest food selling joints in Agidingbi. They were so much in demand that even though the attendants shout and scream at the hungry clients, the clients still keep coming back often with an apology for making “Mama Put” angry. The attendant told me categorically that there was no restaurant in the area that sells yam. Apparently the attendant must have descended from the same lineage as my colleague that I sent to help me acquire the asset earlier; they seemed to be speaking the same language.

 

40 minutes and 14 mini-restaurants later, I became frustrated that I could not find one canteen that sold yam. Perhaps what my colleague said was true. Perhaps no one was indeed selling yam in the area that morning. Perhaps this was an opportunity in disguise for me to start a yam-selling business and call it “eloYam Canteen” with the slogan “Delivering HOT YAM, YOUR WAY” (or something like that). Perhaps my belief in the phrase “Nothing is Impossible” was overrated.

 

I decided not to give up. How will that make me look in front of my compatriots. That I do not practice what I preach. That going the extra mile will give you results beyond the average mind. I wasn’t about to give up.

 

Approaching the 16th canteen, it would seem that all hope was lost. The canteen had finished selling all the food they had and they were busy washing the plates. It was just 10:20am. Maybe I should just settle for rice and stew since that’s what is available everywhere. Afterall, it wasn’t as if I saw it in a vision that if I don’t eat yam and plantain that morning, the wife of my youth will run away with my 2 princesses to marry Bill Gates teenage son.

 

But I reluctantly decided to try one more time. It was then I noticed another “undercover” canteen just 2 buildings from where I was standing. I had passed that building over 10 times in the last year and did not know that it housed a canteen. I asked the woman washing plates outside if they had yam. “Go inside and buy it” was her response and I was almost doubting she heard me correctly. I thought no one sold yam in the entire area. I asked her again and she blurted “Go INSIDE”.

 

Entering through the doorway that was only wide enough to allow one slim person enter per time, I met a crowd of about 8 people waiting to get their portion of dream food. After waiting for about 2 minutes, I decided I did not want to waste my time to queue up for 15 minutes only to discover they didn’t sell yam. So I just shouted to the women selling the food “Is there Yam?” A mixture of doubt, surprise, fulfillment and happiness enveloped my soul when she replied in the affirmative. Finally I FOUND YAM. Finally YAM FOUND ME.

 

You should have seen my facial expression when the attendant opened the pot of boiled yam and began serving me my portion of destiny-fulfilling yams. I was elated. So elated that I decided to spend the entire N180 I brought to give myself a yam and plantain treat (normally, I wouldn’t have spent more than N100). Funny enough, if the person in front of me had ordered N200 worth of yam, the canteen would have run out of yam to sell consequently making me to relocate to my yam-filled village of Abeokuta. Thank God there was still yam for my soul.

 

Getting back to the office, I narrated my ordeal in search of the long lost yam. It seemed quite weird to some of my colleagues but I think the message was successfully passed across: DON’T TELL ME SOMETHING IS IMPOSSIBLE or UNACHIEVABLE. Infact, if anyone working with or for me strongly believes that its not possible for them to do what I ask of them, that might be the last time we work together.

 

I’ve learnt in my few years of experimenting as an entrepreneur that whatever you put your mind to do or achieve will come to pass if you’re persistent and especially if God is working with you. So except it is the JAMB exams you’ve unsuccessfully passed in the last 16 years, never give up at trying until you’ve tried 17 TIMES. That’s my new motto. That’s my renewed way of thinking.

 

Anyone up for some yam?

 

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. 🙂

Pictures from Ado-Ekiti Photowalk


It was a good time for all the “Give A Child A Book” crew, touching lives at the CHARITY PHOTOWALK on 28th August between 9am and 1pm as Notebooks, storybooks, motivational books and stationery items were given to the children around the slum in Ado-Ekiti. Areas visited included Oja Oba, Lekeleke, Atikankan, Ijigbo, Sabo, Orere-Owu and Oke Yinmi.

Glory be to God for the success of the event because over one thousand lives were impacted through the project. The following pictures shows a glimpse of the fun on that day. Pictures courtesy of the Photowalk organizers: Obasola Photography.

A Photographer’s Greatest ASPIRATION


Have you ever asked yourself what your ultimate goal is as a photographer? Where will all these picture-taking skill get you at the end of the day? What will make you fulfilled the most as a photographer? What will put a lasting smile on your face at the end of your photography career?

These are questions I believe every full time professional photographer should ask perhaps before proceeding further in this increasingly growing “okada” business. Perhaps if the answer is clearly known to oneself and written out on a plain sheet, then we would have a clearer idea on the pathway to take to reach the desired destination.

Is your end game as a photographer to buy the 2013 BMW 540i series (like some photographers I know of)?. Or is it to buy a 6-bedroom Duplex on Banana Island? Or perhaps to own an apartment in Donald Trump Towers? Or will you be fulfilled using the photography riches you get in 25 years time to build an estate for the homeless? Or will fulfillment come in the form of being the first photography professor in the University of your dreams?

As long as you have a clear goal, I don’t believe these aspirations are necessarily wrong. The important thing is to have an ultimate goal at the back of your mind. Perhaps it will give you renewed energy and focus on your journey to the land of Photography Destiny. Perhaps it will make you be a better manager of the resources entrusted to you at the moment. Perhaps it will make you realize how much more important you need to build a solid foundation in this increasingly growing & challenging profession. Being prepared is key here. The amount of time it took to build the foundation of the World Trade Centre is not the same time it took to build the 3-floored building where you leave (unless maybe your building is the White House).

As for my ultimate aspirations. My ultimate goal on earth is to have made a foundational and institutional impact in the lives of at least 10,000 photographers thereby helping to take photography as a career to the same enviable position where law & medicine are placed.

My ultimate heavenly aspiration is to be the official photographer that will cover the wedding ceremony that will witness the unification of the church to Jesus Christ. Its the grandest of all wedding that will ever take place (in eternity and in time) and I will be there as the OFFICIAL Photographer to document it. I do not know the camera I’ll use or the amount of albums my Lord will order but I will be there for the coverage. That is my GREATEST ASPIRATION.

My name is Seun Akisanmi and I’m proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER that will fulfill destiny.

What is your greatest aspiration?

Photowalk Pictures of WPD Celebration at Freedom Park, Lagos


Attached are some of the pictures taken at the World Photography Day Celebration on August 19, 2013. Pictures taken by Tayo & Emmanuel.

I’ll Shoot for FREE if…


I’ve been recently having a number of proposals from potential clients asking me to shoot for free. These requests inspired the pictures below. Hope I’m not asking for too much? What do you think?

The Caption on the white board reads:
I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER. I’ll shoot for FREE if you’ll take care of my family, pay my kids’ school fees, pay 4my accommodation &buy me a 2013 BMW 540i.

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The Lady Without A Weakness


“I HAVE NO WEAKNESSES!”
Those were the words uttered by a young lady I was interviewing last week for the position of a customer service representative in a photography studio. I met Sikira on my visit to the studio of a colleague, Damilola, in Abeokuta. Damilola had just gotten an office space and was in need of a staff to help her out.

I tried reasoning with Damilola the importance of being conscious of the type of person one hires as staff to represent one’s brand. Interviewing Sikira was an experience that Dami and I will not forget. The following are some of the questions & answers that transpired during the interview.

Q: When was the last time you worked in any organization
A: 12 years ago

Q: Do you have what it takes to be a great & effective “Customer Service Representative”?
A: By God’s grace

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Meeting people, traveling & reading

Q: What books have you read recently apart from the Bible?
A: I can’t remember.

Q: What books have you read in the past 5 years?
A: I can’t remember

Q: Mention 4 great reasons why we should hire you for this position
A: First, I do whatever it takes to get a job done. Second, I’m a child of God. Those are the reasons that come to mind.

Q: Do you have any weaknesses (by weaknesses, I mean issues that you presently have with yourself that you’re working on)
A: I have no weaknesses. The Lord is my strength.

Q: What expectations or questions do you have towards your new boss if you’re taken for this job?
A: I have no expectations.

Q: So you wouldn’t mind if you were paid N1,000 at month end for your services or if you were asked to work 8 days in a week?
A: Ofcourse I’ll like to be paid very well.

Q: So how much will be enough to make you smile at the end of every month?
A: (smiling)…I’m already smiling now sef

The interview lasted for almost 1 hour and I understood why many graduates will remain unemployed for a long while. How on earth can you mention “reading” as a hobby and not remember the book you recently read? How can you be a human being and not have any weaknesses? It is people like these that some companies hire and wonder why customers are not patronizing them.

It is better to run a photography studio/business as the only staff than to have someone like Sikira standing in for you when you’re not around. Many organizations have lost potential revenues/profits because they hired people that had “reading” as hobbies but the last book that was read was “Eze goes to school”.

A word is enough for the wise. In choosing those that you’ll call staff, be very deliberate and meticulous as you may very well be digging the grave of your business. Whatever happens, never hire the lady that does no have a weakness.

7 Days After 7 Years


Its been 7 days after 7 years
And here I am laying on this bed
Thinking about all the times
Your words have brought succor
To the depths of my being
I’m thinking of the days I was glad
That I finally met someone
Who understands me more than my family
Someone who thinks I’m weirdly wonderful
In ways that had not been expressed to me by family
Someone who thought I was an Angel
Without an earthly address
I’m thinking of the many times
I had business ideas few people believed in
You were a source if inspiration
You are a source of inspiration
Forgive me for the many times
I considered Photography my 1st LOVE
If only I was conscious of the fact that
Without “elo” there would not be any “photos”
My words might not weigh much now
My bank account might not buy much now
But with you by my side for the next 70 years
I’ll be the luckiest, blessed, wealthiest, finest, meekest, photographer/husband/father/christian/friend that has walked on earth since Moses, Solomon & David (put together)
Here’s to wishing you a happy 7 years plus 7 days Anniversary.

Dedicated to the elo in eloPhotos,
My sweetheart, my wife, my friend
Elohiaghe Ofure Akisanmi