A Farewell Tribute to a Great Writer, Photographer & Friend


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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day in My Life in 2020: Ronke Alao

Challenges Of Being A Female Photographer

A Poem Called HONESTY

The Day I Had A Dead FLY Served For Dinner

My Unforgettable Learning Experience at WHATEVERITTAKES Lagos

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer

LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City

Photography Studio Rental in Lagos: Kiki Melissa Studios

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

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career

WARNING: READ BEFORE YOU TRAIN AT eloPhotos

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS

604800 Seconds In The Life Of A FEMALE Photographer

Rantings of a Weird Photographer

AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective

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


I recently had the privilege of being the official photographer at my niece’s naming ceremony. I was so excited at the news of her birth, not only because I just love baby girls; my excitement was also due to the fact that this second niece of mine was born on the birthday of the first niece . How cool is that? It was almost as if I knew her because I did a maternity shoot for her mum – my sister in-law – while she was pregnant with this baby niece.

A couple of days after the birth, my sister in-law sent me a message asking if I would “help cover the event”. Not wanting to assume that it was a request to do the job for free, I promptly said, “Sure!” and went ahead to send her the bill. No need beating around the bush, right? I explained what the package would include. Whether she was surprised at the fact that I was charging for the job or that I was charging the amount I had quoted is uncertain. She said she would get back to me and I knew that was a polite way of saying, “Never mind, it is too expensive”.

Later that day, I told my husband about the fact that my sister in-law wants to hire me and I am charging her such and such. Well, my husband burst out laughing like he had just heard the latest joke from Basket Mouth. I wondered what was so funny and also if he would laugh if I was the caterer and wanted to charge for that service. I politely asked my loving husband why he laughed so hard. He said he thought the fact that I would charge someone like my sister in-law was funny since I have a close relationship with her. If my accountant-husband who supports my career, more than anyone else I know, could say that…God help me. I explained to him that business was business.

Just when I thought I was going to attend the event as a guest, my able sister in-law got back to me and asked if I could just deliver edited soft copies. Sounded fair to me and we agreed on a price. The big day came around. I was supposed to be assisted by a colleague (Onos) but to my surprise, Mr Seun Akisanmi showed up too to assist.

It was a beautiful event overall and I was thankful for the opportunity to learn the following first hand:

1. Charging family members for your service as a photographer is sheer wisdom. Get comfortable with the idea. Even non profit organizations do have to make a profit to stay afloat. Blood might be thicker than water but it wont buy you a lens or camera.

2. Just because your client is a family member doesn’t mean you slack on the standards you have set for yourself. Give it your very best. This could be easier if you are being paid. At least it was for me.

3. Still talking about the money subject, (I am not money-crazy but hey, good looks and charm wasn’t enough to buy my camera. Nikon still wanted cash), no one cares whether you are being paid or if it is some random act of kindness on your part. So it may be better to charge for the service even if you don’t need the money. Once you agree to cover the event, you are the photographer. Yes, you are like any other photographer at that family event so you aren’t attending as a family member.

I didn’t get ‘special recognition’ as family member. In fact, my dad ‘warned’ me not to “flash light” in his granddaughter’s eyes while one of my brothers,(not the baby’s father), told me I was not supposed to eat during the event. It was all meant to be a joke, a serious kind of joke if you know what I mean.

4. Covering a family event can come with its own distractions while on the job. Family friends may not recognize the fact that you are there as a vendor. I had one or two friends of the family who kept calling me to come do this or that. They didn’t realize they were distracting me from my job. I had to nicely ignore their requests.

Hope those tips help the next time you act as official photographer at a family function. I ended up not eating at the event but was able to pack a bowl of rice to eat on my way home. I wish I had the opportunity to sample the assorted drinks served but hey, it’s okay, I got paid enough to buy myself a drink.

Photographically Yours,
Ronke Alao
CEO Everywoman’s Heart
http://www.everywomansheart.com