Learning from the pros’


My journey to eloPhotos academy began on 16th of June 2015 from NiPHEC and since then, sincerely my life has never been the same. Starting with a change in my location, wake up time, dressing, the amount of money I spend, my spiritual life and even in my relationship with people. Yes, I want to be a photographer but I never thought about all these. They are changes I didn’t bargain for, yet I’m so thankful. How could I have believed that I’ll be living in my sister’s house and feel as comfortable as home or wake up daily at 5am without sleeping my life out in the day? (although I did that a lot when I first got here) a lot has changed really; I don’t iron my clothes, I don’t even buy clothes that MUST be ironed before use unless I have no choice and never have I ever done that for anyone. On Monday, Miss Kike asked an intern to help iron out two clothes which she wanted to use for a backdrop, he did one and forgot to do the other, so she needed someone to do the rest which I willingly did. It was at that moment that it occurred to me that I was ironing for someone without a grudge. While I thought of it, I just concluded it was my anticipation towards the shoot it’s going to be used for but no, it’s all about the changes.
There was a one year cake smash shoot on that day and while we got the studio ready the baby’s parents got her dressed and in a bit, we were all set for the shoot. The baby walked into the studio dressed in a busy bee attire with little wings and an antenna on her head just like a bee. She actually looked more active than a one year old but she just wouldn’t smash her cake. I guess she was afraid of it. Her mum tried to get her to smash it but all she did was touch it once. Her mum and everyone else in the studio sang every nursery rhymes they knew. It was a colourful shoot and the pictures came out amazing.
During the week, Mr. Seun called us together and taught us how to get a silhouette and afterwards gave an assignment which everyone of us but Lemuel didn’t do and he was rewarded with a movie ticket. Nikon organised a programme “I AM ALIVE” where top photographers in the likes of South Africa’s Steven Segal, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Novo Isioro, Uche James Iroha, Emeka Okereke (Invisible borders) and Nikon representatives spoke and taught at length. It was big gathering of photographers, for sure I’ve been at the venue before but the feeling of déjà vu was overwhelming in the sense that it was organised just like NiPHEC. I met most people who also attended NiPHEC, it was a nice gathering for the event was an open call to photographers in Nigeria to send in their images from Nikon chose the best 30, Out of the 30 photographers shortlisted; one who sent in a very nice baby image never knew he was shortlisted; I felt bad for him though. There was also a lucky deep for ten out of the first hundred people at the event,  along with everything I received at event was also cold and catarrh. 
This week was really a blessed one indeed as I can’t forget to mention that my motivation came back on as I was reminded that I could practice with eloPhotos cameras.

Francisca Pius

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How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career


I almost couldn’t believe it was already Thursday. I mean, what happened earlier in the week? it’s not like I was in a coma or anything, the week just flew by very fast. I do remember now.

My boss (SEUN AKISANMI, for those who don’t know by now) had hinted at the fact that I was forgetting important details easily, so was he. In fact, he had ordered a Memory Book, (no kidding, he really ordered a book that teaches how to improve one’s memory). The book had not been delivered yet so I did the next best thing; I went on a BEANS diet.

How would eating beans everyday improve my memory? I had no clue, but somewhere in my pretty little brain, I believed it would. ‘More protein, less starch’ kind of thing so the beans marathon started on Monday. I had beans for breakfast three days in a row. I also had half a portion of beans for dinner on two of those days.

The beans I had for breakfast was not any kind of beans. It is the type called Ewa Agoyin. For people who never eat outside or grew up in a palace, Ewa Agoyin means nothing but for those of us who grew up in a place like Agege, Lagos, you know exactly what I am talking about.

I had a few friends while growing up who I have lost contact with but Ewa Agoyin is one childhood friend that I still get together with. Whenever we hang out, it is as though time never passed. So, you can imagine why this beans diet wasn’t a huge challenge for me.

Whether my memory diet worked or not is debatable. I believe it did to an extent but I had to put a stop to it on Thursday. I was tired of what this childhood friend was doing to my marriage. It was making me speak to my husband in a language I normally don’t speak. By “speak”, I don’t mean talking with my mouth (let him that readeth understand). For the reader who is still having trouble understanding, the beans diet was making me make noises through the posterior of my anatomy.

As I thought about what beans had done to me that week, I was glad my embarrassing moments were in the privacy of my home and in the presence of my husband. What if those moments happened while I was out on a job?

Imagine you are shooting a portrait session of a couple in a quiet location. You already have them in your award-winning pose and you know the angle from which you would be taking the shot. It would require you getting in the squatting position. Your clients are all smiles, they have their pose right and everything is playing out just the way you envisioned. You get in the squat position and just a fraction of a second before you press the shutter, you let out a batch of violent-sounding fart. One so loud it drowns whatever noise your shutter might have made.

It’s almost painful to imagine for me. I think that would be a perfect moment either for the ground to open up and swallow me or for the trumpet to sound and rapture takes place.

Perhaps you think my feelings are exaggerated. Only a man would feel it wasn’t such a big deal. I remember once having a teacher that habitually farted in class and would simply say,”Ha, I ate a lot of beans”, as if that was supposed to make it all better for his students.

Passing gas loudly in front of clients would be devastating for a female photographer, I think. No matter what my male colleagues say, I believe a man would experience some degree of embarrassment too; except the clients in question are childhood friends of yours and you all played the game, “loudest fart”, as kids.

What’s the whole point of me writing an elaborate post on how farting can erode your ego as a photographer? Well, you know it’s the little things we never think (or talk) about that affect our business and reputation as photographers. Clients won’t remember your brand of lens and could care less if you used a full-frame camera or not. What they would probably not forget is how loud your fart was. So before you go on a beans diet, think about how it might affect your client relations and your photography career as a whole.

Ronke Alao
Writer |Photographer|Poet

 

604800 Seconds In The Life Of A FEMALE Photographer


The new week started like any other. I got to work at 7.15am, did some cleaning till about 8am and we started morning devotion. I had the privilege of sharing with my colleagues from the Holy Bible . The text was taken from Colossians 3:23&24: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

In essence, it isn’t only working in church that counts as working for God, our “secular” job should also be seen as working for God because it really is. So, even when the people we appear to work for are not meeting up with the expectations we have of them, we should remember that Christ is the one we are serving even on that job.

After devotion, I got started on the task at hand; redoing the photobook cover that I didn’t get right the previous week. About half an hour later, I started doing intermittent dances and singing funny songs. Whether I was simply happy or getting high on sniffing too much adhesive, I really did not know.

Several minutes later…I don’t know how long it took really, probably lost my sense of time temporarily. Anyway, after a while, I finished the photobook. It was better than the last but still not decent-looking. Mr Seun’s verdict? Well, I had to do it again the next day. Now I understand how it must feel for babies growing teeth. It hurt but I had to go through this experience…or do I really have to?

The ride home to Ikorodu after closing hours was rough. As if the terrible traffic wasn’t enough torture, the bus driver drove like he was practicing his next role as the stuntman in the movie, “The Expendables”. It was interesting to hear fellow passengers calling their loved ones to ‘report’ the reckless driver, as if that would somehow set him straight.

As we approached Ikorodu, I got so hungry and couldn’t wait to get home. On getting off the bus, I smelt roasted corn and could not resist. I bought a couple and sunk my teeth into it right there on the street. No time for observing dining etiquette, this was an emergency. The hunger was so intense that it felt like my eyes were popping out of their sockets.

I eventually got to the spot where my hubby usually picks me up and I was so glad to see him. He watched with interest as I “attacked” the corn. Though my husband isn’t a big fan of roadside foods and wouldn’t eat on the street to save his life, he knew this was no time to preach it to me. The corn was a life-saver.

My husband asked how my day went and I told him I had to do the photobook again. I was hoping he would feel very sorry for me and join my pity-party. Instead, he held me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s an opportunity to learn”. I instantly felt like there was a conspiracy somewhere and my husband and my boss were in on it.

On Tuesday, with the help of Mr Seun Akisanmi, I finally got the fundamentals of photobook binding and I made the best photobook ever! Completing the project was like reaching a waterfall after several days of walking through the dry desert. Sweet relief!

The evening commute was crazy as usual. I gave my husband periodic updates on where I was at . The traffic was terrible. He sent me a message saying, “I love you”. That melted the stress off me instantly. Just then, I noticed the guy sitting beside me in the bus was peeking at my messages. What nonsense, is privacy too much to ask for in a Lagos bus?

The rough ride to Ikorodu ended when I got off the bus. Was so glad to see my husband waiting for me as usual. I don’t know what these past three months, (that I have spent training at eloPhotos), would have been like for me if not for his understanding and support. I got in the car and heard the Mary Mary song, “Shackles”, playing. How appropriate. I felt so free having completed the photobook. I couldn’t help but do a wild dance in the car as my husband bursted out laughing. As I did my crazy dance, I wondered again if I was just happy or had sniffed too much adhesive. Who knows?

My day on Wednesday felt weird. Not having to do a photobook cover after being haunted by one for almost a week felt good. I got busy working on the monthly statement of expenses. I am not an accountant and I don’t play one on TV. In fact, I don’t enjoy counting cash or balancing accounts but somehow, I have been given this responsibility at eloPhotos so here I was. The more I tried to collate the figures, the more it seemed the number jumped off the page and mocked me.

I got done with the July statement and then had the privilege of watching Mr Seun do a kind of photobook we have never done before. I couldn’t possibly describe it. You have to see it to appreciate its beauty.

Thursday began on a rainy note; thank God I had my small umbrella. The commute to work would have been uneventful if not for the wonderful driver that thought speeding by and splashing me with water from the waist down was such a great idea! Interestingly, I had my earphones on at that time and was listening to my audio Bible. A few seconds after I got ‘sprayed’, the words I heard from the audio Bible was, “Forgive whatever grievances you have against one another”. God does have an interesting sense of humor, doesn’t He?

The main project of the day was a conceptual photo shoot of a depressed unemployed man, staring blankly at a sign that read “No Vacancy”. It was such fun. Elozi, a client of ours whose wedding we will be covering in October at Warri, came around to discuss final details and also to confirm the names of the photographers she’ll need to make airline ticket reservations for.

Somehow, I feel the week sped by pretty fast. Before I knew it, Friday was here. I mostly did administrative duties – attending to a colleague who needed to rent some equipment, burning CDs for past participants of NiPHEC and reconciling the account. Keeping the books have been such a huge challenge. It’s as though numbers don’t like me and play wicked tricks on me.

As I draft these words on my Blackberry phone, while sitting in a bus headed for Ikorodu, I saw an amazing sight. It was of a driver of a giant bus who took advantage of the almost non-moving traffic by heeding the call of nature. Yes, he urinated right there in the middle of traffic, on the famous Ikorodu road. When he was finished with business, he got back in the bus, it was then I noticed the bus he was driving had the inscription, “Lagos State Waste Management Authority”. Yeah, their driver sure knows how to manage waste!

Anyway, that’s how my week went down. Till we meet again online next week, here’s to hoping that my diary of experience at eloPhotos is of help to your photography career/hobby.

I’m Ronke Alao & I’m proud to be the ONLY female PHOTOGRAPHER at eloPhotos.

Cheers