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.

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YES!! THAT’S THE KIND OF PHOTOGRAPHY I’M TALKING ABOUT


I reminisced over the past 9 months of my journey in photography, and I can’t but marvel at the level of progress I’ve made, and give thanks to God for His Mercy.
Between September and March, what I knew about photography and was doing, for me was very unsatisfactory. I had a lot of curiosities in me, many questions yearning for answers, and aspirations begging to be fulfilled. I remember a day I suggested to my former boss, Mr. Paul, that we do a documentary project for “Alakuko” – a town in Lagos; that we take pictures of major places in the area, and compile them together. He rightly agreed to my suggestion, that it is possible but also gave me reasons why it won’t be possible. The reasons were that we need better cameras and zoom lenses; we only had Nikon D40 cameras and 55mm lenses, we will be molested and so on. But the real reason I think is that he does not understand how such an endeavor will fetch him money and increase his artistry.
I also remember a day, he came back from a print lab called 5d in Ikeja – it was from him I first knew 5d and Fotoart print labs, he patronizes them for his photobook prints – and he said to me “Sodeeq, photography has gone far o, just imagine someone, going to the forests, taking pictures of trees, and selling them to foreign clients”. I was as amazed as he was. Photography? That’s cool then, that’s the kind of unusual things I’ll like to do, but I had no clue how it can be achieved. My dilemma then, made me appreciated more the nature-nurture theory in the psychology of education. The theory opines that human behavior is influenced by what has been deposited in him from birth (nature) and how his environment develop those traits (nurture). The theory is of the belief, that all knowledge has been in existence in the heart of a child, and it is the environment – teachers, parents, peers, social beliefs and values – around him that will ultimately determine if such knowledge will occupy his conscious mind.
In relation to me, what was in my heart then, and the reality around me, was at variance. I usually have flashes of thoughts of top photographers, great photography projects, and a better understanding of what photography really should be. But the environment couldn’t nurture my thoughts. It lacked the ingredients to bring to full consciousness those inner desires. I remember one of Sam Adeyemi’s teachings. Sam said, if you really will go far, what you have in the inside of you, should be bigger than what you have on the outside of you. For instance, if your current apartment is 3-bedroom flat in Ojodu, Lagos, your ‘inside’ should already be thinking of owning bigger properties in Dubai, Los Angeles, Abuja, and the likes. He revealed that anything that happens is only a physical manifestation of what has already existed in the realm of thoughts. He further revealed that, whatever he has achieved today, or the level he has attained, he has been there long before now, in the realm of thoughts, and it’ll be so injurious to him, if what currently exists in his thoughts, is not far beyond his current realities. Between the months of March and June, I’ve been privileged to be part of one of the best photography schools in Nigeria, eloPhotos academy, and the experience for me, is like that of a football player who after scoring a goal, says “I saw that goal” or a photographer that says “I saw that shot”. The experience has been “yes, that’s the king of photography I’m talking about”.
At eloPhotos academy, I’ve learnt a lot about the business of photography. It’s actually beyond pressing the shutter – a fact many photographers have not come to terms with. Photographers like Seun Akisanmi, Leke Adenuga, have proved this, and we shouldn’t be surprised, if these people, will be getting more financial rewards years to come, for their brilliant efforts, than the always-pressing-the shutter photographers, who have not understood the big business in photography. I must explore this medium to appreciate the management of eloPhotos academy especially Seun Akisanmi for being such a blessing to me and many upcoming photographers. Last year, I only had thoughts and hope, I never knew I would get here soon. I never knew Uche James Iroha can just be inches away, that I can always gist with Kikelomo Koleosho of red19 photography, or be in a NIPHEC planning meeting, I just believed anyway, that good things will come my way. I truly did not see whole proverbial staircase, I just took the first step, uncertain of what the future holds. And the day the step was taken was in March, when I didn’t tell Mr. Paul I wouldn’t come to work, and I didn’t tell my parents too. I just left home like I was going to work but instead visited elo photos academy to answer my curiosities, and all the way, I can proudly say, “yes, this is the kind of photography I’m talking about”.
I am Akorede Sodeeq and I am a photographer!

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.

The Day I Shot Some Soldiers


I have stayed long enough in medical school to understand that almost everything has a technical term by which they are called, especially in the world of phobias. Phobia for almost everything has a name:
Claustrophobiafear of enclosure
Sitiophobia – fear of food
Anemophobia – fear of air
Coprophobia – fear of faecal matter
Anthrophobia – fear of flower
Phobophobia – fear of fear itself.

But fear of soldiers or guns, what do we call that? Or you think such phobias don’t exist? Trust me, they do. It was the worse thing that could happen to a harmless female photographer while behind the camera attempting to shoot some soldiers. Its interesting writing about it now, but at the very time it happened I wasn’t laughing.

The last two working days of the week was fun. Doing a funeral photography for the first, in the ancient city of Ibadan (I had only been there twice) was for me a fantastic experience. With that excitement, I jumped up and down, and from point to point, trying to capture interesting moments of the event. The service of song went well the day before the incidence am about to describe happened. So with that excitement, I went the next day, with my other female photographer colleague (the GREAT Ronke Alao),  to cover the lying in-state at the home of the deceased. Distinguished dignitaries were present at the event, so were their soldier entourages.

Just before the lying in state started, I decided to take photographs of other side events like the food session, the condolence register, a side view of the beautiful house etc. It was while I was doing this I noticed the soldiers standing with their guns and I thought that would also make some nice shots, thinking about it now, I realize how silly that decision was. Well thank God I did, at least, it gave me something to write about.

I didn’t even know what gave me the effrontery to move close to them in an attempt to take the shots. They stood in two groups, three soldiers in each group. I had taken a shot of the first group, and still feeling cool with myself, I started focusing my lens to shoot the second group. As I looked into the camera, I saw to my surprise the soldiers pointing their guns at me!!! Was that a pose or what I asked myself. Just then, one of them ordered me to come close.

At that point, all my excitement turned into cold flushes of fear and it traveled with turbulence through my blood vessels. I wished for rigor mortis (stiffening of my joint and muscles, the type seen in dead bodies; pardon my medical jargon) but my feet moved in the direction of the pointed guns. It all happened in a split of seconds, but that was long enough for my heart to travel down to my mouth. Thank God my boss had taught me about the importance of always having the camera strap on the neck, it saved my camera that day because I would have dropped it on the floor while shivering with fear, had the strapp not been on my neck.

“Why you dey snap us photo? Who you be? Who send you message? You no know say dem no dey snap soldier?”
– the soldiers asked me, All I could say was “Am sorry sir”, with a shivering voice. Another soldier ordered me to show them the picture of them I took. I quickly reached for the camera which was hanging on my neck and showed them the picture. They ordered me to delete it. “Yes sir” I replied and I reached for the delete key at once. “You sure say e no remain there”? one of them asked me wanting to know if I still had any other picture of them on the camera. “e don finish”, I replied, bending my knees with each response as a show of submission, respect and humility. They threatened that they would deal with me if they ever saw me point the camera at them again. Well, they really didn’t have to tell me that, I had learnt my lessons.

Just while I thought the discussion had ended and I turned my back to leave, one of the soldiers ordered me to come back, I obeyed at once. I was surprised when I  looked up & saw a pitiful look on his face, as if pitying me for all I just went through (I wondered what the look was about). “I for deal with you today, but na this your innocent look save you”. Was that supposed to make me happy or trying to put himself in my good books, or was he just trying to sound the last warning, I wondered. Anyway, I said a sober thank you and stylishly moved fast to leave the vicinity of the soldiers, before they changed their mind about the mercy they had had on me.

As I reminisce the scene, I couldn’t stop being baffled at how much fear I had for the soldiers. I guess I was more afraid of the gun than of the soldiers themselves. Well may be its more of phobia for gun then. I have a feeling they did all that because I am a lady, I doubt if they would have done that much ‘shakara’ if it was a guy. Well, sounds like some form of achievement. I can boldly say now that I have been at gun point because of Photography (what a heroic feeling!). I also couldn’t stop wondering why the soldiers would not want their picture taken and at how much of mountain they made out of a molehill. Anyway, you should have seen the way I avoided the soldiers all through the rest of the event. I made sure I kept my distance from them and our paths never crossed again.

Apart from that incidence, the whole event went smoothly, I had maximum fun doing what I love to do. Other than the photography excitement, it was an opportunity for me to think again about life and its essence. As I watched the remains of the deceased lie still in the casket and being committed to mother earth, I asked myself: is this where it all ends? Whether we like it or not, one day, this body we all carry about, and we sometimes tend to give all the attention, all of our runnings about, the troubles and cares and fears of this earth, will end in that lonely chamber called GRAVE. Of course with long life, we’ll be satisfied, but there’s still an inevitable end. This earth is more like a sojourn, there’s a place we all are returning to afterall. We seem to forget that fact sometimes, or do we simply not care about what happens to our souls when the body perishes? (That is if we even believe we have souls in the first place).

” What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and looses his soul, or what shall a man give in Exchange for his own soul? Mark 8:36-37. Ponder about this.

I’m Damilola Opawale & you can call me the Soldier Photographer

 

A Week of being “Time Conscious”


As long as you get there before it’s over you’re never late. – James J. Walker

Have you ever waited for someone to deliver a job?
My week started with a joyful heart of shooting at a court registry of a couple taking an oath. Colleague and I got to the venue as early as 10am(“Timeliness”, one of our core values), with the information from couple that, event will commence by 11am. We had to sit under a tree waiting for the couple to show up until 12noon when the rain started to drizzle, Colleague and I had to get a shield under the venue building to stay dry. We called the Bride and she had to ask about the venue if we were there and how we got there, which we described to her how we got there.

At 1:30pm, we saw the Groom coming down a stairs leading to the Registry with his sister. He was glad to see us, and told us how close the Bride was. At 2:45pm, the bride came and we all went into the registry room almost immediately. Right in the registry room, the couple were called into the main office for some signage while we remain in the hall where the oath would be taken. At 3:30pm, the Registrar came in with the couple for the oath taking which lasted for just 20mins. We had some pictures of the couple during the oath taking and after the oath had been taken.

Then, at 4:00pm the couple requested if colleague and I would go home with them to take some picture sessions at the Brides house. We agreed on condition to get back with us to the studio to pick up our stuffs and also to inform our Boss. We got to studio at 5pm, informed our Boss and left almost immediately to join the couple who were waiting for us at the superstore. By 6:15pm, we were already at the brides house. They settled us in and the couple went upstairs for a change of cloth that lasted them about an hour plus.

Eventually, colleague and I started the shoot which lasted for 90mins, lovely and funny posses. At 8:30pm we rounded up and the couple requested for a pre-wedding shoot session for the next day, the conversation lasted for an hour. Colleague and I agreed to take their pre-wedding shoot after the agreement of time(11:30am) where and how to meet next day. At 9:30pm Colleague and I left for our respective residence, I got home 10:35pm.

On Tuesday, colleague and I got to the studio to pick up other gadgets that would be needed for the pre-wedding shoot. At 10am, my colleague called on the bride who replied, that she would give a call to inform us when to leave our studio and promised to inform us when she would be leaving in order not to keep us waiting for so long as she did previously. The period of waiting began, my colleague and I couldn’t concentrate much at the studio while we were expecting the Bride or the Grooms call. At 2pm, we couldn’t take it anymore, and decided to call the Brides line which was switched off. This made us called the Groom, who also told us, how his Bride has not been reachable.

During the waiting period, I had to go get some printing inks. At 3pm, the Bride eventually called to inform us of the change of venue (Alausa Gardens) for the shoot. We agreed since that was what she wanted and promised to be at the venue soon after she’s confirmed with the Groom. At 5pm(closing hour), we didn’t hear anything from the couple again. We had to call the couples mobile, which was not reachable. Colleague and I told our Boss about the issue and he asked us to give them few more minutes, which we gave till 5:30pm, still didn’t hear anything from them. So, we left the Studio for our respective homes, since its closing hour. At exactly 5:55pm, my colleague called to inform me that, the Bride has eventually contacted him, even with the threat that once the shoot is not taken today it will never be taken again.

My Colleague concluded that the pre-wedding shoot is still going to take place at the same venue, that we should head back to the Studio to pick our gadgets. Got to the Studio, informed our Boss about the situation, and he was interested in the shoot and he also decided to go along with us since its now obvious that we are having a night shoot which we had never experienced before.(New Knowledge).

We all got to the venue(Alausa Gardens) at 7:20pm, met the couple and there Sisters who had already liased with the guards at the venue. Meeting the couple, we apologized for keeping them waiting and they did likewise, for all the troubles they’ve made us experience and the time wasted. We began the shoot at exactly 7:40pm with our Boss manning the camera while colleague and I held the flashes for him while shooting with the trigger on camera.

At 8:25pm, the couple were asked to change into a new outfit if they had any, they were glad to do that. The outfit changing took nothing less than 45mins for the couple to change into. The shooting continued and eventually ended at 9:45pm. We all departed with lovely smiles on our faces, though we(Colleague and I) were completely stressed out. I got home 10:25pm.

In conclusion, the rest of the week was filled with activities, that got me returning home at late hours.I will never forget an experience of walking a long distance looking for where to trim photobook.

Morals from the Experience……

*Shooting at night isn’t bad at all. Now I know there is no time i can’t carry my camera to shoot. *No matter how stressed you can be, always give your smile
*Always see the good in other people and appreciate them for it *Make every effort to be available before the said set time *No one is perfect they say, you can be perfect still

TIME…… is the coin of our life, we must take care of how we spend it. Carl Sandburg

I’m Emmanuel Awosanmi & I work at eloPhotos Studios

Rantings of a Weird Photographer


I am Ronke Alao, member of staff, Elophotos. My work week starts on Mondays. Monday mornings are always hectic for me, not because I hate my job (like a lot of people do), but because I live in Ikorodu and work at Ikeja. Now, Ikorodu to Ikeja is only about 20 miles and that should only take 35 minutes of drive time at the most. It takes me about 30minutes to get to work – but only in my dreams. In reality, leaving home any later than 5.15am on Mondays, is a sure guarantee that I wouldn’t make it to work at 8am.

The crowd at the bus stop on Monday mornings could only have crawled out of fresh earth. Don’t tell me these people all live in Ikorodu. Apparently, some folks live in Ikorodu only on weekends and stay in “Lagos” during the work week. That means traffic on Friday evenings is also usually a nightmare because that’s when the ghost residents return to Ikorodu.

This write-up is intended to tell you about how this past week went but all I have mentioned so far is the traffic. Pardon me, it’s hard getting past it. The unique thing about Ikorodu is that a lot of private individuals pick passengers up for a fee. Usually about the same as what buses charge. Smart way to pay for gas if you ask me.

Some skills I have developed to cope with traffic include RWR, Bird’s eye and Bold face.

RWR
This refers to “rushing without rushing”. Rushing with 10 people to get in a car that will only sit 4 passengers is not my cup of tea. But there’s a way I crank up the speed of my legs without running when there’s a good chance I can get in a car.

Bird’s Eye
This is “stretching” your eyes to see far and beyond what the average eye sees. I can spot a car several feet away and figure out in the fraction of a second if it’s one that would stop to pick passengers.

Bold Face
My favorite skill of all, it refers to wearing confidence like a shirt and having a facial expression that commands attention. So sometimes it could be me attempting to get in a car even after the driver has indicated that he won’t be picking passengers. It could also be waving down a car that looks expensive because people usually don’t do that. I figure if I would be sitting in traffic for 2hours, I might as well be very comfortable.

A couple of weeks ago, I got picked up by a kind man (or so I thought)who decided to give me a lift to Ketu. He later told me he was going towards Ikeja and I was so glad. But just then, he started telling me he wanted me to have his baby! I thought,” this is the stuff Nollywood is made of”.

I don’t watch a lot of T.V and I always thought this was as a result of my busy schedule but now I think it’s just because my day gets filled with drama so why waste time watching boring shows?

You may have enjoyed reading this write-up and if that is the case, I say “thank you” for your time. If you are reading and thinking, “what is the whole point? What is her main message?”. I do not have a “point”. What you’ve read is simply the rantings of a weird photographer. You shouldn’t take life too seriously,take the liberty to rant sometimes. It’s healthy.