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

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The Academy Choice That Won


The year was fast coming to an end and I was thinking and putting plans together for the forthcoming year, it has really been a beautiful one so far and I thank God for been awesome in so many ways. My father would always say the best investment that can be made in life is the investment of self development so I always bear that in mind in everything I was doing.

I recently changed my job, it was the end of my first year on the job and I was still in training and it was going to be over in another one year, the fact is that I was not really feeling what I was doing, the pay at the end of the day didn’t have so much of a whao effect but it was good enough to get me good food, clothing, run around and even go on a good date. I was beginning to think I can’t be jumping jobs; the search to get the exact job I want wasn’t fruitful yet. I mostly went for graduate trainee schemes and hoped that at the end of the day, I would get the opportunity in the particular career path in which I really wanted for myself.

I had other talents and skills so I thought to myself in d process of waiting for my wishes in the official settings to fall in place, I can develop my skills and take it to another level. At that particular time I wasn’t really doing so much at weekends so I decided to engage myself. I had always been very interested in arts from a very tender age. I used to draw and paint and also enjoyed making everything around me look good. Two thoughts came to my mind, Photography and Events Management.

I was thinking which was going to come first, the two are related in one form or the other but I am just one person who can’t be divided into two parts. My love and passion for taking pictures made this one very easy choice for me, I started looking for institutes, facilities and academies in Lagos who has opportunities for exploration that fitted into what I was looking for.

I came across so many academies, some with just phone numbers and addresses. I wasn’t looking for something like that. I needed an established academy where I could see their works in display and some other values of learning and knowledge garnering. I was eager for self development. Something stunned me in my search I came across the names of this academy eloPhotos Academy and Shola Animashaun Academy. I checked their works and was really motivated, they had their different unique styles and their works both showed they were very good at what they did. I decided to send an e-mail to both academies to see who would woo me or win an additional student to their academy.

Some weeks later, I didn’t get any replies to any of the mails sent so I just assumed my mail did not deliver, I went back to both sites to pick their respective contact phone numbers. I read various articles and testimonials on students who had finished from the academies and it sounded good but at that moment I was still confused on what academy I was going to choose, I had picked up the contact numbers so I decided to place the calls out immediately. I talked to representatives of both academies and made enquiries and got all the details of what I needed to know.

I decided to send the mails I sent earlier to the academies again, I did and eloPhotos academy replied me first, they gradually began to win my heart. I got the price for the course I was going to do and also the information on how and where to pay. I visited the site frequently to see I wasn’t making any mistakes & each day I was on the site I saw something different. Maybe a picture I had not seen before then or an article/testimonial from past students of the academy. I started searching, saving and looking for funds and also looking forward to the day I will commence classes. When I slept I had dreams of what the place would be like and how good I would be by the end of the course.

I got the funds and paid in full, the year was almost running to an end, I had a friend who was also in the business full time. He was and has always been an inspiration to me. I was thinking I wanted to learn photography and I hadn’t got my camera, (I didn’t want to be a farmer with no tools) so I spoke often with this my friend (Demola Ajayi) we had some personal classes together on the type of camera to buy and he advised me on a particular model which I eventually purchased later.

The year ended and my class was to start in a week time. I was so happy and anxious to start classes. The day came, I attended the first class and my expectations were met and not dampened. The facilitator of the first class (Toye Peters) was so sure about everything he said and I held on to this particular word of his ‘by the end of this class you would become a professional photographer’. Trust me, am not bragging or hyping the academy: I have only attended 3 of 10 classes of 5 modules and I can comfortably cover a major event now with minimal supervision. I can wonder the magic that must have been made and skills I would have possessed at the end of the course. I am glad I made this choice, the academy choice that WON.

It is important to note that all that was written here is just my personal opinion. In case you are just like me and intend to take courses or training in photography I can refer you to three of the best institutes in Lagos, you either with me the CEO of 1209 Photography (but that academy is still under construction in my head). Until then its Mr Shola Animashaun of Shola Animashaun Photography Academy or Mr. Seun Akisanmi of eloPhotos Academy.

Pixelatiously yours,
Adedayo Oluwatobi
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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

During & After A Photographer’s Internship


Its amazing how time flies so fast. It was just like yesterday when I started my six months internship training at elophotos. I still could remember how thoughts of uncertainty clouded my mind on how I am going to adapt to this six months of full dedication and commitment to professional photography. Indeed it was a huge task of life I have to face and overcome. As I pen down these words, am truly delighted that I am almost near completion of my internship and am so grateful to God almighty who has been with me all along.

Precisely, on the 1st day of August 2013, I started this amazing journey as an intern at elophotos. Ever since then, I have had the privilege of working, training and learning from some of the industry finest. Likes of Seun Akisanmi, Samuel Ijiyokunola, Ronke Alao, Babalola Tayo, Emmanuel Awosanmi, Afolabi Oloyede, Samba Owabie, Toye Peters and a host of others. These individuals have greatly helped to sharpen my skills and knowledge to become a better photographer.

In retrospect, I have basically acquired skills and knowledge on the technicalities of handling and using the DSLR cameras. I have greatly improved on the art of creating good composition. To a large extent, I have understood the science of photography especially when it comes to light, lenses and how best to use and manipulate them to create stunning images. I have known how to design album spreads, retouch and enhance digital images using Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Lightroom. Also I have had knowledge on how to use the Proshow Producer software to prepare wonderful music slideshows.

The last few months of my training has greatly exposed me to event coverage ranging from weddings, birthdays, naming ceremonies, burials, family portraits, studio shoots and a whole lot more. It has offered me the opportunity to strengthen my network base by enabling me meet new people, develop relationships with friends, colleagues, relatives and family members. I have had the opportunity of facilitating classes for beginners on the introduction to digital photography.

My internship training has given me the opportunity of attending various workshops and seminars. I have been able to participate in a two weeks intensive training on the introduction to digital photography, also I have attended workshop on composition and studio lighting, the “what ever it takes” held in Warri, TEDx Lagos, British council workshops, Creative Enterprise workshops, workshop on accounting and business management and a host of others.

The internship has also offered me access of reading wide range of motivational and photography related books as elophotos boast of a rich library. With the readily available fast 4G Shift internet at eloPhotos, accessing the internet for information is a whole lot easier. I have had the privilege of making personal research on photography and beyond. I have also had the opportunity to watch lots of youtube videos on photography. Also, I had occasionally visited other professional photographers’ sites that got me inspired by their works.

So what comes next after I must have successfully completed my internship at eloPhotos? For me the answer is quite simple. I plan on starting up my photography outfit. First and foremost, I intend to create a brand name for my photography outfit and build on it. I plan on registering a suitable outfit name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria. Thereafter I intend to create and develop my own blog and website. I will try as much as possible to effectively advertise and promote my brand name on social media.

Again, it is crucial for me to start doing jobs for family members, relatives and friends with the motive of not necessarily to make money but to build on my portfolio. I intend to make myself readily available to assist other professional photographers in covering their events. Also attending workshops, seminars and conferences will be a paramount focus as I would want to develop myself further. I have planned on attending the forth coming NiPHEC 2014 conference starting in April 29, 2014.

As far as photography is concern, there are a whole lot on my mind I have planned to do and achieve. Planning on getting a camera and other basic equipment, plan on getting paid jobs for events coverage, plan on having a studio and office space, plan on offering photography training services and lot more. But they say; the journey of a thousand mile begins with one step. As I wind down my adventurous internship journey at eloPhotos soonest, it is important for me to stay focus and take that bold step of getting to startup.

Conclusively, so far it has been a worthwhile experience at eloPhotos. I quickly want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported and inspired me this far. Finally to Mr Seun Akisanmi, I really want to say big thanks for being such an incredible mentor, guide and teacher to me. Sir, you amaze me with your wisdom, insight and simplest of personality. I so much treasure the time I have so far worked with you. I strongly believe you are going to make a significant impact on the world of photography and beyond. And just like the popular Warri slang would say; Oga I greet you softly softly.

My name is Onos & I invite you to get ready for my entry into the professional world of PHOTOGRAPHY.