The PASSPORT Photographer


Some weeks ago a friend called me from church asking if I take passport photographs and of course my answer was “Yes”. He immediately said “ok, so how much is it for 8 copies?” I told him 5000naira. He was so surprised and he said the same thing you’re probably thinking right now: “Is it not passport, I can get 12 for N200 sef.” Of course it is just passport photographs and you can even get 20 for 200 or for free but the question is I’m I just an “ordinary” Photographer.

Sometimes in June, I did a free family portrait session for a potential client and (luckily for me) they loved it! Some days back, I got a call from them asking me to come take pictures for their anniversary and of cause they knew it wont be free, so I charged them. They were so surprised and they were like “just for pictures? It’s quite expensive we already marketed you to people and if its this expensive the won’t call you.” Of course at that point I knew they were not my client!

One reason I hate shooting for free is that the clients might actually not know the worth of what they are getting for free. And it’s sad.

You see, not everybody believed the gospel even when heard from Christ himself. They still didn’t drop their nets to follow him. In the same light, we should realize that not everybody is our client.

I hate it when I hear the question “is it not to take pictures?” But I’m glad to answer you here. Of course it’s just to take pictures but I’m not just a photographer. I’m a professional photographer. Not just because I use a professional camera, or because I trained at one of the best photography schools in Nigeria. It’s mainly because I’m different.

I’m sure you’ll doubt that until you get to see what I can do and some of what I’ve done. I am obviously not the best but I was worse. Feel free to ask for a “free” shoot (terms & conditions apply) & you should be convinced.

Attached here are photos I took last week. First, is the picture of elophotos academy most valuable gadgets: 2 books every trainee must read before the end of their 1st month. The second one is a picture of a solitary orange. During my practice session, I surprisingly saw only 1 orange on a BIG orange tree and made me imagine if it was just 1 person in the world, how lonely it will be. The third one is a picture I took practicing composition with patterns). I hope you find it creative.

Written by Temitope Adeniyan
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com 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.

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The HARVARD Client (PART 2)


And so it happened that I would find myself doing yet another job for the client from Harvard. This time around, it would be a portrait session for his family. It happened approximately 4 weeks after the incident in PART 1.

Location was at his mansion in Abuja. As at December 2008 when I found myself in his house, that would go down on record as the most beautiful house I had ever stepped into. It was situated in an estate in Abuja that I never knew existed. If you had taken a picture on the streets inside that estate, one would have thought you were in Dubai. It was that beautiful.

And there I was at 10pm preparing for what will also be the latest family portrait session I’ve had for a client. I was very conscious of making sure that I did not break or scratch anything. My guess was that I probably could not afford to pay for anything I accidentally damage.

The man’s 2 children had arrived from America the day before and had planned to spend just 3 days in Abuja. That night was the only time left for them to do the shoot. And so it happened that the session would start at around 11:30pm.

My first experience with the man had created an unconscious intimidating cloud over my head whenever I was with him. How else would you explain my being nervous in his presence. At one moment, he started directing the session and for some unknown reasons that created the impression within me that I was a LEARNER.

20 minutes into the session, my Harvard client would excuse himself to receive a visitor. I wondered within myself the type of visitor that would stop by one’s house at 11:50pm. Coincidentally, it would be the type that was the CEO of one of Africa’s biggest banks. Eventually, the guest CEO walked into the room we were having our session and his presence seemed to multiply my nervous quotient by 5. I was super nervous. Why? I can not say.

My nervousness increased when my client started bragging to his guest that I was the best photographer in town. If only he had seen some of the images I was taking. If only he could peep and see the blurry and dark images that I was trying to hide from him. “He’s the one that took my pictures during the event last month,” he continued. Although I knew it was a compliment, I don’t know why that gave me goose bumps.

Eventually the CEO’s visiting time was up and he would greet us all farewell. After he left, we continued the session from where we left off. 5 minutes into the session, I would eventually notice that my hands were shaking. I felt intimidated in the presence of this client. Perhaps I should have done some type of meditation before the shoot. Perhaps I should have taken some type of medication that would ease my nerves.

Matters got worse when the client’s son (who coincidentally happens to be attending Harvard also) asked me how much I was charging his father for the session. N100k was my reply. He shouted and asked me why I was so expensive. The father asked me the same question. I thought I had explained my charges to the man before agreeing to come to his house for the shoot. Perhaps the mistake I made was not to have come with a written document detailing the charges. I explained that N100k was the minimum I charge for going to a client’s house for home sessions. I assured him that I wasn’t trying to defraud him. His response? “Anyway, its for my house in America that I need the pictures for, so continue shooting.” I was more tensed.

(At this junction, its important to note that I don’t just write about my experience with some people just to narrate how terrible they are or how holy I am…the goal is that we learn one of two things from these “Super Story” encounters)

The shoot continued and a few minutes into the session, my N350k camera kit fell down. Remember that story about humpty dumpty falling down on a wall? This was worse. Eventually, that would be the last time my Olympus E3 camera functioned properly. Ultimately, I had to send the camera to Olympus in America for repairs. $500 later, the camera returned to me in pristine condition.

What hurt me more was the fact that I did not get a dime from that session. It wasn’t that the fallen camera damaged the pictures; we would eventually finish the shoot with my backup camera. The client eventually procrastinated choosing the pictures he wanted framed and I learnt key lessons that I doubt I’ll ever forget.

I learnt always to be confident no matter who I was shooting (even if the person is Jesus or Satan). I learnt always to have a backup camera for any job outside my office domain. I learnt to always ask for 80% of my fee before leaving the home of a family portrait client (especially someone I have never worked with before). I learnt to always put the strap of the camera on my neck during a shoot because if I had worn the strap, there’s a 99.999999% chance that the camera would not have gone the humpty dumpty route to destruction. I learnt to put it all in writing no matter what so that no one will accuse me of not informing them of my fees thereby resulting in unnecessary argument during a session.

That was December 2008. In 2012, I would eventually get a call from the same client requesting for a quote to do another job. I replied with a detailed email explaining to him that we still have an outstanding of N100k. He was furious. He called to explain that how can he owe me for pictures that he never did use. He explained that the presidency was after his life so he had to escape the country and seek asylum. And after 5 minutes of explanation, I found myself apologizing to him for not knowing what he went through.

But the lessons had been engraved in my heart the hard way. The Harvard Client will never be forgotten by this big-headed photographer. I am a better & wiser photopreneur because of him. So the next time you’re privileged to be one of the students in our Academy and I tell you to ALWAYS wear the strap of your camera on your neck (or shoulders), this is the reason why that rule came into being.

For one reason or the other, I have a funny feeling I might still do business with the HARVARD client one day. When that day comes, I shall by all means be READY.
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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

When Parents Are WRONG For The RIGHT Reasons


Recently I met with a parent who wanted to send his daughter to eloPhotos Academy. She had recently finished her WAEC exams and was waiting to do another exam next year. In the words of the parent, “we want her to while away time doing photography”.

I explained to the man that the training we offer is not for people who want to while away time. The training program offered at eloPhotos Academy is for those who have made a deliberate and conscious decision to follow diligently the pathway of photography till they discover the beauty of the light at the end of the tunnel. I told the parent that his investment in the training will be worthwhile if photography was what the daughter wanted as compared to forcing her to go and learn photography just to pass away time.

I would eventually ask the potential student why she was considering coming for a training in photography. Her response was surprisingly short: “that’s what they want me to do”. Something about the tone and mannerism that was expressed by her gave me the indication that eloPhotos Academy won’t enjoy training such a person.

Gone are the days when parents will instill their career of choice upon their children under the guise of “obey your parents in the Lord”. Gone are the days when most parents dreams & prayer is for their children to grow up to become doctors, lawyers, architects and bankers. If a child in 1980 were to declare to his parents that he wanted to be a comedian when he was grown, the parents might either give him “igbati”, cast out the demon in the child, or declare that their child was JOKING. We all know that now the comedy industry isn’t a joke.

Getting an education is good and I’m sure most parents mean well. What isn’t good is to ignore the innate abilities of a child and instill into their hearts the career we UNCONSCIOUSLY SELFISHLY want. The boy that seems to be prone to “destroying” gadgets as a small boy might be showing traits of an engineer. Such a child would most likely be unfulfilled if he ends up in the banking industry regardless of the money he makes.

This is the reason why I don’t shout on my daughter when it seems as if she’s talking “too much” or asking too much questions. Who knows, she might end up being a lawyer instead of the photographer that her dad is or the makeup artist that the mum is.

For this reason, we’ve added a pre-requisite assignment that must be done before we can consider admitting anyone to the 6 months program we run. One must write a 500-words minimum article on what a day in one’s life will be in 2020. There’s a probability that if you can’t see yourself in the 2020 photography industry, then perhaps spending 6 months in a photography school might not be a worthwhile use of your time especially if you just finished accumulating over 20 years of education.

I have a funny feeling we might not be admitting the daughter whose parents are forcing her to come study photography. As much as we need the money they’ll be paying, we’ll be saving the parents N150k of their money to use for other things. I’ll prefer if the desire to learn photography is coming from the daughter’s heart as compared to coming from the parents’ heart. But then again, what do I know: I’m just an accounting graduate who happens to find fulfillment in walking in his dream career: PHOTOGRAPHY
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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

2 Debtors & 1 Security Man Later


It happened last week Tuesday. The head of security at the estate where I reside decided he was going to hold the residents to ransom. Apparently, majority of the residents in the estate were owing significant sums of money to the security men. Eventually he decided that the embarrassment route was the best way to go to make all debtors pay.

I happened to be one of the debtors. Ever since the photography conference we organized in May, I’ve been unable to pay my outstanding with them as I had to resolve matters with other debtors that were sending me threats. I had explained my case to the head of security at least twice in the last 4 weeks. My total debt was now N12k (at N4k per month). On this faithful day, he would take us all by surprise.

I got to the estate gate by 7:15am on my way to drop my children in school only to see that the gate was barricaded and my security pal was standing at the entrance. “Oga, we no dey open gate for people wey never pay their dues,” he blurted out.

“Good morning sir. You know if I have, I’ll pay you…I don’t have it yet…once I get it, you’ll get paid,” I pleaded with him. Truth be told, I had just N1050 left with me that day and was even ready to take him to my ATM so he could see my account balance. Over 70% of funds that had been coming into my account had gone to settling some of the 25 vendors I owed (interestingly the most soothing words of encouragement during this time came from my mum when she told me that it was a good thing that the vendors allowed me to owe them because only people with good credit & goodwill are usually allowed to owe such big debts….I pray my goodwill account doesn’t run into deficit)

15 seconds later, I was taken aback when he grudgingly opened the gate and allowed me to pass along with my daughters. He even waved my daughters goodbye. Once again, I had benefited from implementing some principles I learnt from Dale Carnegie (How to win friends & influence people) & Herb Cohen (You can negotiate anything). One thing I have learnt over the years is not to talk to people anyway, especially those that seem to be of a lower social status.

Returning to the estate at 8am, there stood a woman with her 2 sons at the same gate arguing with the security man. The woman was calling the security man all sort of names: You must be stupid, you idiot, who gave you the ordasity (hope I’m right with the spelling of that) to embarrass us this way….. She went on and on in insulting the man. The irony of the it was that she’s one of those that owes the largest debt. If I were in her shoes, I would resort to pleading with him as against insulting the gateman while her 2 sons watched the free tuesday morning nollyhood movie.

2 hours later, she was still at the gate. The gateman was bent on not allowing her to pass until she made payment. It was then I was reminded by my subconscious that people like this security man are more powerful than they look. I know the jobs I’ve gotten as a result of befriending people like that. In one scenario, a “door woman” recommended me to her sister in Abuja who happened to be an event planner who happened to be planning the wedding of one of the senators of the House of Assembly. The wedding would turn out to be one of the most interesting I’ve covered till date…..and that coming from the recommendation of someone other people look down on.

According to my branding consultant, this ordinarily shouldn’t be something I should be writing about as it might send a message that connotes that Seun isn’t a BIG BOY after all. The message I want this to send however is for us to be conscious and deliberate about how we treat people of lower economic or social status. Be careful of how you treat or talk to that gateman, househelp, cook, driver or people you think are less important. You’ll be surprised the doors they can open or close for you depending on how you treat them. You’ll be very surprised…
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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

MELTED, MOLDED & MADE BY eloPhotos Academy


I wouldn’t mind being called PROUD because I’m simply PROUD of who and what I have become over the past few months. I was a seed planted at eloPhotos for 5 months and now it’s amazing to say I’ve become a blooming & glamorous flower.

I used to wonder how Femi Adewuyi, Micheal Adebiyi, Toye Peters, Kikelomo Koleosho, Ronke Alao (to mention a few) do the magic, until the eloPhotos anointing fell upon me like Peter on the day of Pentecost. Well I think you all should know that not all interns at eloPhotos get this anointing but I am one of the privileged.

Last week I was at Female CEOs Roundtable, a seminar organized alongside an exhibition at Eko Hotels and there I met a friend and colleague whom we started this dream together at DSAP (Daystar skill acquisition programme). She was so surprised to see me as she jumped at me like a fan to a celebrity. She asked how and what I did to get thus far (“far” to her was the fact that I was covering an event at Eko Hotels & Suites) and so she was so convinced I must have stepped up my game.

I was so excited at the way she looked at me like a big deal. I started to blush and smile in happiness as I told her that have been to eloPhotos academy, showing her some of my works on my Phone.

“WOW, this is so amazing”. This was what she kept saying to the point that I was beautifully embarrassed. I asked her what she was up to and she said she had not even decided on what to do yet at the moment. I stopped to wonder if she meant she had been confused for the same 5 months I have used to become what she called AMAZING. It was sad to know, but I was glad I did take a bold step into success.

I would have also been in her shoes if had not taken a wise decision when my dad pushed forward either buying a camera or going for a training. I CHOSE to be at eloPhotos, I CHOSE to wake up 3 am every day of the week, I CHOSE to sweep the editing room, to wash the toilet, I CHOSE to trek miles under a scorching sun within Lagos to get work done, I CHOSE to face the deadly traffic of Lagos for at least 3 hours every day, I CHOSE to stay up at night for night shoots, I CHOSE to keep having Photoshop fever, I CHOSE to work hard, I CHOSE to have sore feet after standing for hours covering events, I CHOSE to stay up editing all night, I CHOSE to always be a part of memory painting, I CHOSE to be MELTED, MOLDED and MADE by eloPhotos Academy. I CHOSE to be who and what I am today.

Who am I, you still may ask? I am Temitope Adeniyan and I am an “AMAZING” Photographer!


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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

Befriending the N200 million Photographer


So I found out recently that one of my photography mentors (of over 5years) has made an income of about N200 million from photography in the past 7 years. Even without knowing how much he earns, I had been fascinated with his achievements over the years.

I’ve learnt so much from him that would have costed me catastrophically if I had to make the mistakes myself without his guidance. More importantly, I’ve learnt that he has more weaknesses that aren’t palatable to me. Infact, despite my knowledge of his weaknesses, I made sure that there was an open channel of communication between us wherein he could still help out when I needed him.

Many people fail to realize that the mentor or person they admire has emotional and physical needs. A lot of people would rather be quick to get as much as they can from a mentor without giving something of value in exchange. I learnt this principle from my pastor years ago and decided to go with peace offerings on my first meeting with him: 5 high value photography books most of which were authored by his foreign mentors.

Apparently no one had ever given him books like that as a gift. I realized his time and knowledge were valuable and didn’t want to come across as ungrateful. The next time I called him, he had stored my name on his phone and just blurted out “Seun, how you dey?”. I was surprised but then again I wasn’t surprised. I had touched his heart and he was unconsciously bent on making sure he attends to my case whenever it showed up in his court of law. I recently updated my “account” with him by blessing him with a N100k photography printer.

Its a spiritual principle that many are not conscious of. Although, I can’t boast of having earned that much income in my years of photography, I was honored to have been considered a potential ambassadorial candidate by an international photography equipment company last year. Guess who my competitor was: my mentor. I would eventually not get the multi-million naira deal but I was appreciative of the fact that a world-class brand would consider me for such a deal. It gave me more courage to know that though my bank statement could not boast of N3 million, my N300 million retirement income was more feasible than I thought; as long as I have mentors like the N200 million photographer.

Some photographers miss it when they compare only the pictures that are being taken by other photographers. What they fail to analyze is how some photographers relate better with people to the extent that clients will pay premium price for their services.

The lesson to get from this is for us to be conscious of deliberating choosing the right mentors that will challenge us (and perhaps also quicken our steps) on our journey in life. Show me your mentors, and I’ll have an idea how you’ll turn out in 5-10 years time. I have over 20 mentors in photography because I’m conscious of where I’m going in the industry. But perhaps the bigger lesson to learn is to be conscious of being a blessing to the life of whoever you consider to be a mentor, coach or friend. That way, you’re likely to stand out in their mind whenever you contact them for help.

There are presently a number of protégés that I have that I’ll go the extra mile to help them out because of the simultaneous investment they’ve made in my life. One gave me an apple (the fruit not the computer/phone) gift yesterday and it touched my heart to know she was concerned about my health (since an apple a day keeps the doctor away…or something like that). Another got me a small book. One recently took me to the movies to watch the latest Transformers at Silverbird Cinemas. Its not until you buy me that 2014 BMW 540i that’s in your heart before you touch my heart….the 2012 model will do just fine. 🙂

This is one of those writeups that I’m not sure how to end. However, whatever you do, be deliberate about the types of photography friends and mentors you surround yourself with. They’ll either make or mar your destiny. As for me, I’m grateful to God for bringing across my way the N200 million photographer as a mentor. Enough said.
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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 SIKIRA Syndrome


Meet SIKIRA. She’s a lady in her late twenties who sells food beside our office. She used to sell only drinks and biscuits until many people in the neighborhood convinced her to open a canteen and start selling cooked food. I was one of those that told her she could make money selling food after she provided lunch for some of our elophotos academy students 3 years ago.

Apart from the fact that her food was outstanding, her personality was even more attractive. She was kind, courteous, and extremely friendly. And those traits seemed like the right ingredients that will go with someone selling food. Considering the fact that her “food” competitors lacked customer service, she was destined to stand out if she ventured in the business. Or so I thought.

Few weeks into the food business, I realized that a spirit had possessed Sikira. All of a sudden, she started insulting customers that came to buy food from her and her customer-service oriented nature went on a looooooooong vacation. She would frown at customers, shout at them, and with the support of her mother in the business, she’ll even tell some customers to carry their business elsewhere.

The interesting thing I discovered was that the more she insulted people – some of whom are her father’s age mate – the more customers kept coming to buy food from her. They kept coming for ONE reason: her food was delicious. So tasty was her delicacies that the thought of having her as my personal cook crossed my mind. I was surprised that people kept coming to buy from her despite the fact that she didn’t treat them with the utmost respect. But then again, I realized that a lot of us in this part of the world are “used” to being insulted and abused. Just look at the multitude of organizations in Nigeria with terrible customer service and you’ll wonder why they remain in business. MTN and Aero contractors will top my list of companies that fall in that category. Guaranty Trust Bank might eventually join the list if they don’t return my N20k that was swallowed by an ATM machine over 6 months ago.

It occurred to me that this was a BIG business opportunity. If someone that could provide the same service or product and simultaneously treat customers right, the sky is just the starting point of the profit potential.

Bringing the scenario back into the photography business. There are many photographers that have been in business only because the people that patronize them like the “products” that have been served them. The customer service however is another story. Our ultimate goal as photographers & business men (& women) who want to remain relevant in the industry for years to come – regardless of the introduction of new technology – is to build systems that are devoid of the SIKIRA SYNDROME. If we can achieve that, we might eventually not have to spend as much money in trying to advertise our products & services: our clients will become our BIGGEST & most effective marketers.

Until we get new companies that can provide the same quality of products and services that are offered by Sikira & MTN, we might just be stuck with them in the meantime. Eventually when a new food vendor with great customer service and delicious food (a combination that I’m confident is a possibility) arrives in our neighborhood, my colleagues and I have little or no option but to keep patronizing her.

Until then, I will do my best to make sure that the SIKIRA SYNDROME does not possess us at eloPhotos.
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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

Discovering the Customer-Service at DiscoveryAir


A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine recommended that I try out an airline that opened for business in June. He was so impressed with the customer-service that was extended to him during his trip to Abuja that he demanded that I give them a try.

I eventually flew with them and discovered that although they were not flying with BRAND NEW planes, the customer service I got made me feel BRAND NEW. No, this isn’t a paid advert by the company. I just thought that people out there – especially those that fly with companies like Aero-contractors who have repeatedly proven that they can treat customers anyhow – should know that they have a new option when it comes to traveling by air.

I wasn’t surprised when I checked to see that the flight was almost filled. And it wasn’t filled with people that were traveling by air for the very first time. I’m guessing that customers of other airlines decided to try DiscoverAir and see if they will get a better experience from what they were used to.

A better experience I eventually got. I even had to take a picture of the food pack just so that I can have enough evidence against them the day they decide to “reduce” the contents of the meal they give customers on board.

The last time I got such customer service was when I visited Transcorp Hilton Hotel (Abuja) in 2007. If they keep it up, I sense that one or two airlines that we’re all familiar with will eventually close business. I think you should try it out and feel free to drop you comments here if you were treated well or not. Just check them out at discoverair.com.ng and do let me know what your experience was like.


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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

Nude Photography & the Challenges of Being a Christian Publisher


I must admit that this is the longest title I’ve given a post. However the goal is to attempt to address an issue that I feel some readers of NowPictureThis Magazine might have regarding the latest edition. I might not succeed in “changing” many peoples’ mind regarding certain beliefs; however, I’ll succeed in expressing my point of view in a way that will perhaps help us discuss on this further.

It happened approximately 2 months ago. On a sunny tuesday afternoon, my 2pm appointment arrived at my office. We had met during the just concluded Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC) and he had communicated to me his heart desire to have me as his mentor. He was sure that I was one of those that will help guide him on his pathway to photography destiny.

After a few minutes of him hurling questions and “admiration” my way, I was quick to point out to him that I’m a man of interesting weaknesses. I urged him to be sure of what he was asking of me since I knew I wasn’t as perfect/great as my perceived social media image might have communicated. He insisted that since we have similar backgrounds in life, he was sure I was the mentor he needed.

Fast forward to 3:16pm. He was about to ask me the question he considered to be his last and final question. He brought out a copy of the 2nd edition of the photography magazine I published, opened to the pages in the magazine that had the attached “artistic” pictures, and then dropped the question of the century: “Sir, being the Christian that you profess to be, how can you put in your magazine pictures of naked women? What if a child picks up the magazine? Aren’t you making some people to fall into sin?”

At this point, you need to realize that this was a genuine question that had troubled the gentleman and he had waited till the last minute to utter his mind so as to get an answer that will soothe him. He was dead serious. At that point I had an idea how Jesus must have felt when the Pharisees & Saducees asked him questions that were designed to trap him. And no, I’m not comparing my gentleman friend to the hypocritical sect in Jesus’ time.

I explained to him that I admired the “artistic” elements in the first picture in black & white. Although the photographer, Deola Gold, would have done a better job explaining to him what the picture was about, I told him it was a picture that I felt was too artistic for me to even put in words.
I honestly could not explain to him why I featured the picture apart from the fact that I admired Deola’s work.

The second picture however had a clearer message that might have been missed by the average gentleman that stumbles on the page. Its a picture of a woman’s breasts taken by Aisha Augie-Kuta. What the consciousness of many men do not see in the picture is the two flowers covering the woman’s breast. I noticed that one of the flower was dying while the other was still fresh. Without having Aisha explain what that meant and considering that she’s has an artistic & creative mind, I concluded that there’s a high probability that the woman in the picture had breast cancer.

What a creative way to portray cancer of the breast, I thought. Even while attempting to give him the explanation, he did not want to look at the picture again. I explained to him that I personally do not take nude pictures of women because the creative elements in my oblongata can do more damage to me long after the photo session is over. I knew this as one of my weakness and therefore have never strayed near that area. However, I know an artistic picture when I see one and Deola and Aisha’s pictures were more artistic than obscene.

We argued back and forth about what God thinks and what the Bible says and about the role of my conscience in the matter. I eventually realized I was arguing a case that neither one of us could win. Perhaps if I was a younger Christian, I would not have published the pictures talkless of being friends with a photographer who is a Mentor & a Muslim. But…….

Come to think of it, that was the last day he contacted me. I hope he wasn’t disappointed at the point of view I expressed. However, it leads me to at least one major point I feel protégés should understand: mentors have issues they deal with and aren’t perfect people. Having a mentor shouldn’t mean that because you discovered that he’s a hot-tempered person, you conclude that he’s a bad person. Infact, knowing your mentors’ weaknesses should urge you to pray for him/her for overcoming grace. Relating with a mentor should be like eating fish: eat only the juicy flesh and leave the choking bones.

I think I’ve digressed a little there. After chatting with my friend, I began to doubt that I was a candidate of heaven. To be honest with you, I’m not even sure what to think of the pictures anymore…..although I still love them. I just pray that no 4 year old child will pick up the magazine and see the pictures and fall into sin as a result. I just pray that the church I attend won’t excommunicate me for publishing such pictures. I just pray that the real messages behind the pictures will be perceived for what I think they really are: creative & artistic platforms for addressing key societal issues.

Oh well, therein lies some of the challenges of being a “Christian” photography publisher. May God help me. Or what would you have done if you were in my shoes? Would you have published the pictures?


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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 Photography Coach


Meet the Photography Doctor. His name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi. Although he has a Bsc in Accounting from an American University, his vision is to see a Nigerian photography industry that is world class in all ramifications. Its a passion of his that is beyond just taking beautiful pictures. Its a passion that will not rest until photography & photographers are seen to be dignifying profession & people to be associated with. That is why he enjoys training people that have a passion to make it as photographers in this industry. That is why he will not rest until Nigeria can boast of 10,000 world-class photographers. The journey has begun, the task is possible.

If you plan on building a career in photography for the next 5-10 years, it will be to your utmost advantage to make him your friend, mentor & coach. Trust me on this. He is not a perfect man. He has made many mistakes (& achievements) in the business of photography. And that is one of the reasons he doesn’t want you (or anyone you know that is considering coming into the industry) to repeat the same mistakes. He can be reached on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com. You can also add him on BB: 28C47037

Your photography life will not be the same.
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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 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

An Open Letter To A Stranger


Dear Stranger,

You may ask why you are reading an open letter from an amateur photographer like me, but I sincerely want put an end to all your unanswered questions on why I chose photography. The truth is we photographers have learnt to shatter our silences and reach out to the world through the moments we create with every click and seconds of our lives.

You see, growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer, the reason being that in this part of the world you’ve got to be three things to be relevant- either a Doctor, a Lawyer, or an Engineer. So all I thought of was to grow up to become a Lawyer. Thank God for my Mum; she talked me out of it reminding me of my weakness which I would like to keep a secret.

After my dreams of becoming a Lawyer was prematurely cut short I dived into the dream of becoming a radio presenter. This dream grew more stronger by the day as I began to write scripts and recorded my voice on my “Walkman” mini mp3 Player. Hearing myself sound so good created an awesome feeling inside of me; I knew immediately that I would have sounded better on air with cheering fans out there. Maybe it is the fact that I really wanted to be celebrated, but I couldn’t sing or dance or act… at least I could talk… how else would I become a celebrity?

Along the line even after having all it takes to be a successful radio presenter (a degree and a little experience) the dream dropped dead. I’m sure you want to know why? It dropped dead when a humble sincere friend of mine heard my mix tape and sincerely advised me not to try doing this on radio because I might get arrested. Funny, right? It was really a sincere opinion that hurt me badly but ….

If I couldn’t be a celebrity and I obviously didn’t have the qualification to be a Doctor, a Lawyer or a Banker. I can be better right, I can be something more than “Relevant” more than the red carpet and all. So I sat, pondered and wondered, what could I offer the world? How could I be a part of it and be remembered even while I’m gone? It was at this moment that I decided to be a part of two things that could live beyond life. I decided to be a Writer and a Photographer the two finest and treasured art.

So Unstrange Stranger, I’m glad to let you know that my thought didn’t end on the couch or on the pillow; my dream didn’t end with a deep breathe. I didn’t stop at being hopeful. I am now a “professional” photographer, I am now a part of making peoples’ dreams come true, a part of making people see with my vision, a part of painting and creating memories. I could always even live while am dead, I am Magnificient. I am a Writographer.

So perfect stranger, If you must know I now work with my Mentor; a perfect way to mould a dream you would say. Its alsready my 3rd week at eloPhotos. I was a part of painting memories at three different events last week and for the first time with the Camera around my neck, infront of hundreds of people, I felt RELEVANT and CELEBRATED! What else can I ask for? I’m living a life of purpose.

Writographically Yours,
Temitope Adeniyan
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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

POOR PEOPLE DON’T LIVE HERE


Earlier this year, I was privileged to have been invited by Yetunde Babaeko to her house for a “small” social gathering. Apparently she didn’t like the way top photographers only saw each other during NiPHEC 2013; she wanted to create a networking atmosphere where we could keep in touch with each other without having to wait for a conference gathering like NiPHEC.

Present at the friday night gathering were photography mentors like Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga, Seyi Body-Lawson & Uche James Iroha. Looking back, I’m not sure what exactly I had done or achieved to have been invited to such a meeting…..but that’s a thought for another day. It will turn out to be quite an insightful networking experience that I’m glad I was present at.

I listened ardently to the gist every other photographer was bringing to the table. From SEX to cigarettes to clubbing in New York to photographing stingy clients….it was as if I was in a seminar titled “How Great Photographers Think”. As if trying to soak in everyone’s gist, I found out in retrospect that the words of my mouth were few that night. I was there to appreciate and know more about how these photography colleagues of mine THINK. I had no regrets whatsoever.

I particularly enjoyed almost every discussion Kelechi Amadi-Obi brought to the table. Although some of our values were not in total alignment, I found myself praying to God for a mind as crazily creative as Kelechi’s. One of the experiences he shared with us was about his experience with a particular security man about a decade ago.

In what seemed like an attempt to understand how the rich think, Kelechi decided (in the early 2000s) that he would use the services of a creche located inside Shonibare Estate in Maryland. For those of us that might not know, owning a property in Shonibare Estate implies directly or indirectly that your net worth is over N1billion: only the rich live there.

The security men at the entrance of the estate would easily identify someone who doesn’t live in the estate by the type of car the person was driving. In those days, the reputation Kelechi’s car had was nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, he knew what he was looking for by attempting to “enter” the inner circle environs of the rich.

On one particular day, a security man stopped him at the 2nd entrance of the estate and after a quick psychological analysis of Kelechi & his car he blurted out (perhaps without much thought) “Poor People Don’t Live Here….where are you going?” He then told Kelechi that people like him (I.e. Kelechi) are not welcomed in a rich man’s estate like Shonibare Estate. Besides, he continued, that particular entrance was strictly for the use of residents of the estate. After much pleading by Kelechi to enter the estate (because he was going to pick up his child from the creche situated within), the security man insisted that he should turn back and use the main entrance.

Kelechi was offended especially because he felt that the economy status of the security man did not warrant him to make such a statement especially since he (I.e. The security man) was not considered to be in the class of rich men. He would think of what to do to make him realize that “Kelechi isn’t a poor man” (though his car might suggest otherwise).

The next day, Kelechi decided to use the same entrance where he was denied entrance. Upon discovering that the security man in question was not on duty, he gave those on duty N1000 and told them to have a great day. The day after, he did the same thing. On the third day, upon arriving at the same entrance and meeting the security man, Kelechi willingly put his “rich” car in reverse and headed for the next entrance. While reversing he noticed that the other security men were pleading with him to go ahead and enter but Kelechi would not bend to their pleas because according to the “rich” security man, “Kelechi was a poor man”.

Kelechi continued with his plan for about a week until the other security men started getting angry with their colleague for insulting a “rich” man like Kelechi in such a manner. Apparently, even the rich residents of the estate don’t tip them in such a way and here comes someone that treats them “well” but is being denied entrance by one security man because he didn’t have a beautiful car. Eventually the same security man approached Kelechi and apologized for making such a blasphemous statement. Kelechi’s point had settled in.

The moral of the story might not necessarily have anything to do with photography but I got an insight on how to handle situations in a non-conventional (but creative) way. You might take this the wrong way but I thought within myself that what Kelechi did was wisdom. He used wisely his actions to prove wrongly what someone said about him. I learnt that one shouldn’t be quick to reply people’s accusations with words. In most cases, its wiser to “do” than to “say“. If people “say” you’re a fool, prove them wrong by your “actions“. If people say you’re “poor“, let the combination of all your actions ultimately make them regret saying that.

Ofcourse, the ultimate wisdom is to realize that you can’t be stopping at every junction in life to be “proving” yourself to people that might think otherwise. Just focus on doing what you know how to do best and eventually they will see the results of your labour and change their minds about what they “thought” or “said” you were. Some people thought photography as a profession was going to be my worst decision ever. The same people that “thought” that have paid me millions of Naira for my photography services.

Enough of my babbling. Whenever you meet people that think you don’t deserve something, take it as an encouragement “pill” to make you focus on your vision and destiny. Ultimately and in due season, those who thought you don’t deserve it will realize that its actually people like you (Yes, YOU) that really deserve it.
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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

eloPhotos Office Policy Changes


We appreciate our clients and colleagues and are always thinking of ways to serve you best. We would like to acquaint you with some of our policies designed to serve you better.

1. To better attend to you and satisfy your needs, from henceforth we’ll receive  you at our reception area and not the editing room or studio.

2. We respect your time and also know that you appreciate having our undivided attention when you come around. For this reason, we ask that you please schedule an appointment, (at least 24-48 hours prior to your visit), with our staff before visiting. As a result of having to shoot on locations or train outside the office (or sometimes in the office), fixing an appointment will help ensure that we attend to you promptly and also help us become more efficient at managing our time.

For further inquiries on our training an services, kindly send us a mail at info@elophotos.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you promptly. You can also add us on your BlackBerry (271E3BC8), Facebook, Twitter & Youtube.

Thanks for your cooperation as we earnestly look forward to serving you better.

 

My Best Pre-Wedding Shoot Yet: EWOMA & ROTIMI


So I had one of the best times few days ago when I shot Ewoma & Rotimi. Usually before any shoot I get a little nervous because most clients expectations of me seems too lofty for me to achieve. After cooling myself down with Gala and Ribena, the session started around 3:30pm after the last service in my church (Daystar Christian Centre). The major reason i decided on using the church compound for the location was because i was having a mild headache (perhaps from my nervousness) and I didn’t want to postpone the shoot or stress myself or the couple.

Rotimi who started out as a shy “groom” ended up performing beyond my expectations. I was assisted by my able colleague and Aliko Dangote Photographer, Michael Babalola and together we were able to come up with the pictures below. The camera i decided to use was one that i got in 2008 (Olympus e330 with a 50mm – 200mm lens) in an attempt to reaffirm to myself the idea of whether or not great pictures are made by a camera or by the camera holder. In this situation, i think the combination of my assistant (Michael) and the couple resulted in the following pictures. Let us know what you think.

How To Write A Great Profile About YOURSELF


So a few people have approached me over time to ask how to write their profiles. Each one had apparently read mine and wondered what a wonderful job I did. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with such a “resume” without the help of a few people. This isn’t for everyone but if you feel the need to have a profile to market your personal brand then this might help. The costlier alternative will be to hire a profile “expert” if you feel my process is too daunting a task for you to achieve.

First, get at least 6 people to help out on this journey to “profiling” destiny. It helps if half of the people don’t know you as much as the other half. Now ask them (in a kind manner ofcourse considering the fact that you’re not paying them any currency) to write down 6 sentences they consider to be true about you. Note that at this junction, some of what they might write down are considered “prophecies”; they’re realities that have not fully manifested in you yet. For example, you might be considered to be “kind” by your acquaintances and “too generous” by your close friends. It depends on who you’re asking.

Collate all the sentences about you and review and edit for accurate information. Note that you want the profile structured in such a way that it promotes you as a human being (not an angel) that people will love to meet and work with. If you’ve gotten to this point, you should get enough data to work around creating a profile like the one my team did for me (appearing below this article). Once you’ve collected their “answer sheets”, make sure you get them LUNCH to replenish the energy they dispensed during the tedious task of exercising their brain in order to help your personal brand.

Once you’ve done all these, give your final review copy to someone you consider to be a creative writer to review for you. It helps of course if the person is your friend so that you don’t get charged much for this “review” session. I don’t mind reviewing it for you if you can send it to info@elophotos.com along with a BlackBerry Q10 or a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone (to my physical address ofcourse…before some clown “emails” me a phone).

There you have it. You’ve created a profile that should represents a mini-resume of your life. With this you can update your “About Me” section on your social media platform. Let me know if this FREE profiling seminar helped.

Here’s what my team of 6 came up with about one Seun Akisanmi. Enjoy.

Seun Akisanmi is a talented, creative, God-fearing, teacher and educator with an unusual business mindset. His passion for photography was ignited after his mum got him a Christmas present in 1998: a Samsung camera. After many years as a hobbyist, he ventured fully in a career of professional photography in 2006 when he founded ELOPHOTOS STUDIOS (www.elophotos.com), an outfit that delivers world-class photography services. Since then he has covered numerous events and projects, one of which included the photography coverage of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja for their 2009 calender.
His unique selling point is his gentle and calm personality and the ability to add a touch of creativity while capturing every moment of an occasion.
In 2007, he began attracting a number of people some of which included photographers that had been in the industry for a while. They wanted to get the same results that he was getting in the management of his photography business. Subsequently, he began quarterly seminars where photographers gathered to discuss their challenges and were educated on the art & business of photography.
A photography facilitator in Daystar Skill Acquisition Project {Dsap}, he received his Bsc in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois, U.S.A.
In February 2010, he established ELOPHOTOS ACADEMY (EA), an institute with a vision of raising world–class photographers. EA offers basic and advance photography courses for intending photographers and hobbyists. The results have been mind–blowing.
Over the years, he has been able to build a photography team while he runs his busy schedule, usually between Abuja and Lagos.
He left his position at eloPhotos Studios in December 2012 to start Seun Akisanmi Studios, a premium imaging brand providing creative & stunning documentation of life, people & places.
He is happily married to Ofure who also shares in his passion for photography. Together they reside in Lagos with their 2 beautiful princesses, Ebenezer & Anuoluwapo

 

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS


My week officially started on Tuesday. No, I didn’t skip work on Monday but as I stood in line at Silverbird Cinemas for ‘free’ popcorn and drink; the sweet aroma of the corn filtering through my nostrils and enveloping my sinuses, I felt like my week had just started.

The trip to the movies was sponsored by eloPhotos as a treat/field trip of some sorts. There’s something about seeing great movies that sharpens one’s artistic mind.

Not too long after arriving at the movies, I saw about five photography colleagues that had come to see the same movie I came to see, Elysium. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps we photographers should speak to the management of Silverbird Cinemas and see if we can strike a deal, where photographers enjoy a movie discount.

While still waiting to get my free snack, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying, “…you could go in and see the movie for ten minutes, then come back out and the popcorn line wouldn’t be so long anymore”. I didn’t have to turn to recognize the voice; it was my boss. I couldn’t believe Mr Seun was back at the Cinema to see the same movie for the third time! I had left him and the rest of the team at the office since they all had seen the movie. No one knew Mr Seun had plans to ‘sneak’ out of the office to see the movie again.

I finally got my popcorn and fanta then found the cinema room. The movie ran for a little less than two hours and in one word, I would simply describe it as AWESOME. In case you haven’t seen it, I do not want to spoil the fun for you so I won’t give you the gist. GO SEE IT.

Tuesday ended on an interesting note. My alternate cellphone got lost in a bus and I didn’t realize it till I got home. I tried appealing to the good nature of whoever picked it by sending text messages; since he/ she wouldn’t pick my call. It didn’t work.

The next day came along and I lost an earring. Perhaps I am having my things walk away from me, one at a time. The day’s highlight was having Maximus of Phaneross Photography come and speak to eloPhotos interns on the topic, “Improving Your Photography”. It was an insightful 3-hours lecture.

As if the week had not been strange enough for me, Wednesday afternoon had to have it’s own element of weirdness. I boarded a bus headed for Ikorodu from Ojota. Just before we got to Ikorodu, I found that almost everyone in the bus was talking about some guy, a muslim cleric, who died years ago. They said he recently made an ‘appearance’ on the wall of a mosque at Owode area. His image was said to have appeared on a wall. People were reported to have taken pictures of this wonder and were now selling 5 X 7″ photo prints in traffic. Strange story or biggest scam of the year? You decide.

Lagos being the crazy city it is, I never run out of amazing things to see everyday. Things such as a man holding the cab door open for a lady to enter first. This happened on Thursday. I was taken aback, surprised to see this guy who didn’t know me, open the door for me. This may seem ordinary to you but after a week of seeing even pregnant ladies been pushed off by desperate passengers hoping to get in a bus, seeing a gentleman was very refreshing.

Thursday turned out to be a busy day. We had an event-Dieko and Tunbosun’s engagement- to cover. I headed to the groom’s hotel room to take shots of him while my colleague covered the bride. The groom was quite camera-shy but after chatting with him and doing my best to make him relax, he got comfortable with having his pictures taken.

The event was fun to cover and will stand out in my mind as the first event where I was served food. If I had any doubts in my mind about wedding photography been physically challenging, those doubts got cleared on Friday morning. I woke up wondering what hit me. I became very aware of muscles I never knew I had. My leg felt like it had 50 kg weights strapped to it.

On Friday, we had what you could call a strategy meeting. Mr Seun Akisanmi met with the interns and discussed what we learnt at the previous day’s event and what we could do better subsequently; especially on saturday for the church wedding and reception.

On my way home on Friday, I met a former school colleague at Ojota and we got talking. We both graduated from the same faculty. He asked if I worked close by. I was dressed very casually but looked smart. I proudly told him, “I am now a photographer and work at Ikeja”. I think I impressed myself with the confidence with which I said it. It felt good.

It was a week full of fun, weird happenings and ridiculous stuff but I am glad it is over.

My name is Ronke Alao & I am proud to be a female photographer.

 

Street Shooters Photowalk: Destination MILE 12


This is to inform you that the Street Shooters NG are set to go out on another photo-walk on September 5.

This time around, we are looking at the overcoming Nigerian; not the struggling Nigerian. We are looking at people that have remained
resilient & dogged in making their lives & families work. We are looking at people whose lives are faced with challenges but who still dare to stand & put all challenges aside. Therefore, we have decided to work with the theme: UNBROKEN.

Unbroken are the road sweepers, keeping the streets clean to make a living. Unbroken is the guy selling gala in traffic so that he won’t steal. Unbroken is the boy selling bread along the bus-stop. Unbroken is the recharge card seller. Unbroken is the car wash boy. Unbroken are the people hawking in traffic. The list is endless.

Even the qualities & brands of cars in Lagos shows the exceptional unbroken spirit of Nigerians. Hotels, filling stations, constructions
of all kinds going on, shopping complexes springing up everywhere shows we are unbroken.

Photographically speaking, this theme alone is broad. Unbroken has a lot of emotion. Unbroken suggest something that has been tested, tried, trusted, rugged & righteous.

We are saying that despite all that has threatened to break us both as individuals & as a nation, we have remained unbroken. It is a communication that we all need to reunite; to reassure ourselves again, that we are all Nigerians. Our spirits cannot be broken, not by ethic or religious divide.

Come Thursday, 5th September 2013, the Street Shooters NG are going to Mile 12 to capture images of hard-working Nigerians engaged in various money-making activities.

The best 100 images from this walk will be compiled & printed into a photobook which will be sent to the Lagos State Government.

To be a part of this event, just show up at Mile 12 by 11am on Thursday, 5th September 2013. Meet-up is under the Mile 12 bridge where the blue BRT buses park.

RSVP: 08060435734

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?

Beyond A Photographer’s Viewfinder


My name is ONOS and here’s my photographic view of my first few days as an intern at eloPhotos Studios.

The week started on a different note with the Monday morning devotion back in place. It was a time where we fellowshipped with one another and committed the activities of the new week into God’s hands. It started with a few worship songs by Mr. Tayo Babalola and thereafter a brief exhortation was given by Mr. Seun Akisanmi. He talked about the power of the tongue as he emphasized on the need for us to be watchful of what we say to others as it will go a long way.

At about 9am, training commenced with intensive lectures on composition in photography by Mr. Samuel and Mr. Afolabi. Both facilitators made me to understand better that beyond a photographer’s viewfinder is the art of composition which is placing or arranging visual elements or ingredients in a work of art. Mr. Afolabi talked extensively on the famous Rule of Thirds that basically has to do with the photographer placing the subject off the centre of the frame. The rule of perspective, 70-30, 80-20, and 50-50, were also discussed in detail.

Mr. Samuel went further to say that good or correct composition is impossible to define precisely and there are no hard and fast rule to follow that ensures good composition in every photograph. According to him, there are only principles and elements that provide a means of achieving pleasing composition when applied properly. Some of these principles and elements he made mention of are balance, shape and lines, pattern, texture, tone, contrast, framing, foreground, background, lighting, volume, simplicity, subject placement, center of interest and the viewpoint/camera angle.

The facilitators expantiated on the art of composition, types of photography, and the forms of photographing on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Mr Samuel the forms of photographing has to do with portraits and landscape. Some of the types of photography he mentioned and discussed were fashion, travel, event/concept, wedding, advertising/product, food, underwater, sport, war, aerial, documentary/street, portraiture, landscape/nature, wildlife, architectural, and lifestyle photography.

On Wednesday, Mr. Afolabi of 4labi 4tos and Mr. Adebayo of Twelve 05 photography talked explicitly on documentary/street and product/food photography respectively.

Training on Thursday happened to be very insightful as the pricing and business aspect of photography were treated in-depth by the lead facilitator Mr. Samuel. He advised us as upcoming photographers to never be too quick to give a price to a client over the phone. He said we should try to calculate all the cost involved. Cost that will be involved includes transportation, printing, producing album book, framing, camera/equipment rental, accommodation, design of album, creative fee, refreshment, and cost of going with an assistant and all these should all be considered during the calculations.

He went further to say that it is fair to charge 5% of the cost of your camera/equipment as an equipment rental fee. He also said that in calculating profit you either markup which has to do with using a multiplying factor or you use a percentage on your cost as profit. A client’s bill is the addition of the cost plus the profit.

On Friday, training sessions continued with Mr. Samuel lecturing on light and the use of studio lighting gadgets. Series of practice sessions were done inside the studio and later outside the premises with the use reflectors to bring in more light to a subject. The day ended with a studio shoot session that involved two models, a makeup artist and a hair stylist where I assisted in holding the reflector and adjusting the main and fill light.

Finally during the cause of the shoot, I noticed that the models had their preferred sides which they loved to be photographed. The makeup and hair style done on the models helped to enhance their looks and make their beauty quite flattering. I also found out from my colleagues that photographing models may not be lucrative as compared to shooting weddings. However, models are certainly the most easy and beautiful clients to shoot and will most likely be repeat customers year after year when they need to build up their portfolio.

My name is Onos & I’m proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.

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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Diary of a GHOST PHOTOGRAPHER


It’s MONDAY, August 19 and also World Photography Day Celebration in Lagos, Nigeria. My day at the office(eloPhotos) started with Emmanuel and I cleaning up. He swept while I cleaned the toilet and mopped. Shortly after, Mr Samuel and Mr Seun arrived.

Weekly morning devotion began at about 8.20 am with songs of worship and thanksgiving. Mr Seun shared with us the importance of being mindful of what we say, not confessing negatively, basically taming the tongue.

Devotion ended at about 8.45am. I went straight to the business of eating breakfast before heading out to Freedom Park, Broad Street on Lagos Island-venue of the World Photography Day Celebration -with two of my colleagues; Tayo and Emmanuel.

We arrived at the venue around 11am to a room full of photographers. Speakers at the event included Yemi Royal, Leke Adenuga ,Body Lawson and Don Barber. The interactive session was filled with interesting comments like “My camera is more important than my wife”, “We photographers don’t love one another”, “Some of you are carrying ‘cars’ on your shoulder”, “You don’t snap, you create images” and so forth.

Tayo and I shot some fun pictures outside of the hall where the event took place. It was my first time at Freedom park and I think I like the scenery. After the interactive session, a community photo-walk was held. I chose to stay back though. I know, I can be boring sometimes. The photo exhibition followed right after the photowalk.

TUESDAY
I woke up with an upset stomach. Not the “I need to find the toilet fast” kind, but the “It feels like I had poison for dinner last night” kind of tummy upset. The pain was intermittent, I knew breakfast would be out of the question but that I could still resume at the office.
Got to the bus stop at about 5.45am and waited a few minutes hoping to get a vehicle headed for Ketu. It’s not unusual for private car owners to pick passengers up for a fee. That’s how we roll in Ikorodu.

Soon enough, a man driving a white truck showed up and beckoned. I ran a few steps to catch up and got in. It was then I realized he was only interested in picking me up. He ignored other passengers that ran up to the vehicle.

I said a faint “good morning” as we rode along. There was no response. I thought, “This is very strange, perhaps I am being kidnapped”. The silence grew. About eight minutes later, the man asked me in Yoruba, “Don’t you talk in the mornings?”.”I do talk”, I said with a laugh. At this point, I could feel the pangs of pain in my tummy a little bit. Perhaps if I took a nap, my tummy wouldn’t hurt as much, but how could I possibly sleep when I don’t know this mysterious guy who picked me?

“What is your name?” he asked. “Ronke”, I answered, wondering where the conversation would lead. At the mention of my name, he seemed surprised and said loudly in Yoruba,”Did I pick up a ghost this morning ? Please let me see your face?” Oh great! So now I am a ghost. Why does my morning commute always have to be like something out of a cheap Yoruba movie? The guy actually switched on the light in the truck to take a good look at my face.
I later understood his strange behavior when he told me his wife died a couple of years ago and her name was Ronke. He later asked what my profession was and I told him I was a photographer. I wasn’t prepared for his next question. He simply blurted, “Oo ka’we ni?”, which is Yoruba for “Aren’t you educated?” Hmmm, that makes me an uneducated ghost. Somehow to him, photography is a profession for the unlearned. Rather than feel insulted by his question, I was simply amused. I told him I was educated and not only that, but my boss is also a trained accountant.

He later asked about my marital status and I told him I was married. He then asked,”Is it okay if I snatch you from your husband?”. I didn’t know if it was a joke or some lame attempt to flirt with me. Either way, I wasn’t in for it. “No you can’t”, I replied as I winced a little from the pain in my tummy. He dropped me off at Ojota where I took a bus headed for Ogba.

On getting to work, I swallowed a very small clove of garlic, (no I am not crazy, just desperate), which helped with my tummy troubles but I still didn’t feel like I could eat. I did eventually eat beans with bread before closing at about 5:30pm.

Going back home after work came with its share of drama. The first vehicle I boarded heading to Ikorodu was abruptly stopped by policemen. Apparently, he joined the “express” from the service lane at the wrong spot. I got a refund of my cab fare and headed to Ketu to get a bus.

The next bus I boarded? So much craziness, from people fighting and screaming because of seats to the lady selling Vitamin C tablets that cure ulcer, (believe it or not, it sold like hot cakes).

WEDNESDAY
Had an uneventful commute to work. Got to work super early on Wednesday (7.03am). I went straight to my assigned chore – cleaning the restroom. I have been nicknamed “Restroom Officer” by my colleagues. I take toilet business serious. I am one of those weird Nigerians that believe the restroom shouldn’t be a place you endure but rather that you enjoy. It’s one of those things that set us apart from animals. The fact that signs like “”Do not urinate” are a common sight in our city is a shame. Using a clean restroom makes us feel human, I think…

Also worked on minutes of the last meeting held. Gosh, if people thought of the fact that someone had to type up minutes of the meeting, perhaps they would talk less, I hope.

Had fun interacting with the teenagers participating in the summer bootcamp before the start of class. Oh, to be young again!

Bunmi, one of the couples whose wedding we recently covered, came around to pick her wedding frames that afternoon. My colleagues and I had the interesting task of taking passport photos that are creative, ones we could make ID cards with. Whoever heard of a creative passport photo? It’s the weird element of eloPhotos that makes me love working there.

Getting home on Wednesday was a torment. I closed a few minutes past 5pm and didnt get home till 9.20pm! The traffic to Ikorodu was horrendous. Seemed like everyone was trying to run out of Lagos or something. At moments like this, the idea of me relocating to the village becomes very romantic. Lagos is crazy.

THURSDAY
It turned out to be one of those days that I could have sworn wasn’t up to 24hours. Got to work, did some light reading, ran a few errands and shaka boom! The day is over.
Going back home took a dramatic turn when the bus driver threatened to drop all the passengers in the middle of nowhere if he didn’t get all of his money. He said the Transport fare collected was N50 less than what it should have been. What is with bus drivers who wont get a conductor and think passengers owe them a favor of collecting their money for them? I tire o

FRIDAY
Oh sweet Friday. I am so happy I want to kiss the sky! My weekends are usually short but at least I get to have one to spend with my hubby this time. No events to cover this weekend, as far as I know…

My major project/challenge/weight on my shoulders for the day was completing the sample photo book I had started work on several days ago. Hand-making a photo book myself isnt my favorite thing to do. I tried to avoid doing this one but just as I was trying hard not to, Mr Seun (My boss) had things set in motion such that there was no running away from this responsibility.

Soon as I got materials ready for the photobook cover, I started work, got down on my knees and got dirty. After God knows how long, the photobook came out looking like a plastic surgery gone bad. Mr Seun wouldn’t accept it. He jokingly said,”If you deliver this to a client,he or she will get you arrested by the police” Then he told me I had to redo it on Monday. Honestly, the thought of doing the photobook again made a police arrest sound more appealing.

At times like this, I wish excellence wasn’t so important to my boss, but if it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be working with him in the first place right?

Eventful week it was. Looking forward to the next.

DD: D DISOBEDIENT Daughter


So I decided to meet the parents of one of the most intelligent girls in my 8-year-old class. Well the meeting was more of a coincidence than a decision. We were privileged to be on the same bus heading to the same destination. As we alighted from the bus, I quickly approached the mum to talk with her.

“I’m DD’s class teacher and I just want to tell you that you have a very intelligent and smart girl as a daughter and she’s one of the best students in my class,” I declared. “I hope she’s appreciated at home?” She smiled and thanked me for the “nice comment” and just as I was about to go about my business, she called me back as if she forgot to give me something.

“I’ve been wanting to report DD to her teacher,” she exclaimed. “You see, lately DD has been a very disobedient child. I told her I’ll report her to you and would appreciate if you’ll help to talk to her.” I told her I’ll do my best and proceeded to walk to class with DD.

“So what is this disobedience thing I hear from your mum,” I quizzed. She was silent for about 3 seconds as if trying to choose wisely her next few words. She proceeded to pour out her heart in the 3 minutes duration of the walk to class.

“Don’t mind my mum. She wants me to be a doctor when I grow up and I insisted I want to be a musician. I’ve even written a few songs and my dad says that I’m not serious. They tell me I’m being disobedient because I’m not going to choose the career they want for me. Maybe my mum think I’ll fail at being a musician the way she failed at being a model. She used to be a model before you know. She used to model for my aunty’s fashion store when she was younger. All I know is that I want to be a musician when I grow up.”

I was shocked. This girl was talking as if she was 25. Even her dress sense was beyond her age; mature and elegant. Maybe she got that from her mum. Either way, I had no doubt DD was resolved to be a musician when she grows up. I had to caution her not to be argumentative with her parents when it comes to the issue. I told her that she should still harbor her dream for music and when the right time comes, even her parents will have no doubt that music is her passion. Or what should I have told her? I was a little short of words and would appreciate your input.

Anyway, we decided to come up with a 10days foundational program to help build a child’s dream of becoming a photographer when they’re grown up. For ages 7-19, the bootcamp will commence on August 12 and end on August 23, 2013. For more information, click here
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A Photography Internship Without Regret


There is a common saying which says “there is no limit to learning in life; in any place we find ourselves there are always salient lessons hidden that we patiently need to learn if moving to the next level is our utmost desire. Also, it is often said that the very second a man stops learning, he immediately starts his journey to the grave beyond.

Hi everyone, am elated entering the creative writing chamber once again after a few weeks break, not that I just decided to fold my hands,  it’s just that l’ve been occupied with other creative stuffs except writing. As a matter of fact my presence right now is to share in details diverse lessons I have learnt as an intern at eloPhotos which all together has made me a better person & Photographer.

Without much ado, let me delve into these lessons one after the other. Being an intern at eloPhotos has helped me in setting specific goals and working towards achieving them has made me believe strongly that having directional goals go a long way in turning unique dreams into reality even in the face of all odds. Now talking  about goals, I understood that your goal doesn’t have to be an edifice at the onset (am not saying we shouldn’t have lofty dreams), we can as well start from little. Making deliberate plans to achieve daily set goals invariably builds one’s confidence to achieve greater long-term goals.

Also, the business, creative & technical side of photography is something have been exposed to at eloPhotos academy. I have embraced them heartily and it has been a platform for me to build a world-class photography brand. Needless to say I’ve joined eloPhotos  in the cause to changing the shallow mindset of the populace as regards Nigerian Photography.

The next lesson I will like to share on is ATTITUDE which entails right & positive disposition to work and to people, especially one’s colleagues. I realized that one’s disposition to work (i.e. ability to do things appropriately and to carry out assignment with or without supervision) helps in bringing out the best in me. Likewise, our manner of speech, temperament, and approach to people either make or mar our success in life. Human relation is a crucial factor which needs to be developed more than the creative pro-skills.

Being at the right place at the right time, with the right knowledge and tools are essential in making an impact in life. Also, making adequate mental, physical preparation for rare opportunities that seldom comes our way is something that requires conscious effort.  And the more opportunities I tend to have to hold the camera and shoot, the more confidence I gather and this is a universal principle which applies to all. Hence, confidence, a good self esteem and vital photography elements are what you get on platter of gold at the academy.

However, in case you are having difficulties in getting your brand accepted by the masses (out there), it won’t take you forever to learn the right marketing skills to apply to bait your targeted clients. Trust me, it works effectively. Your next challenge will now be timeliness, managing and treating your client right. The bottom line invariably should be your clients which ultimately turn out to be your indirect marketers.

Readers are leaders. At this moment, I would like to buttress two traits simultaneously.  The reading habit and the leadership traits. Howbeit differently they exist, they are neatly interwoven. “You can’t give what you don’t have”. Learning under a gem that exhibits a reading culture as his second nature has intensified my curiosity and broadened my horizon thus making me yearn for more. The academy is the one adequately equipped with a library of books that address key issues in the business arena. The more I make the library my companion, the more I receive an in-depth insight on the subject matter.

Punctuality is the soul of every business. Perhaps you were born with lateness habit and you are considering yourself a CEO in the next few months, you better look for a solution centre to drive that habit far from your reins.  Clients have tagged many photographers as perpetual late-comers which I don’t think is a good testimonial to any brand. To curb this, at eloPhotos academy, cultivating a punctuality habit is one of those traits learnt though not penciled in black and white as part of the module.

Moreover, I have learnt to go about my daily activities with a deep sense of humility, accept constructive criticism with an open mind and treat my colleagues with due respect.

Overall, having my internship at eloPhotos has been a worthwhile experience. An experience that has built and launched my photography career beyond my initial expectation. My cumulative experience can perfectly be liken to a year old baby driving a BMW car based on the amount of knowledge acquired; no doubt “knowledge is power”. It’s been exactly a year down the lane, looking back, I have no regret.

Photographically yours,
Tosin Bakre

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5 Reasons to Learn Photography at eloPhotos Academy


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1) We’ve helped to build the foundation of more professional photographers in the last four years than any other training academy. Just ask the following outfits for confirmation: La Royal Photography, Red 19 Photography, 4labi 4tos, Mint Photos, Oleku Photos, Made fotos, Lamzy Photography, Greenshots Photography, Kakadu Photography, Jobi Photos, Freeze Photography, Photography by Maximus, Living Memories Photography, Novo Images, Sazzy E Cre8tive Concepts, Eastward Eden Photography, la Belleza Photography, Nobis Photography & L’enigma Studios.

2) Our seasoned facilitators are good at what they do. Although it’s hard to believe one could learn so much in just 10 days, we go the extra mile to make sure you fully comprehend what is being taught. Let’s just say you’ll end up saving yourself 9 years of stress and failure if you heed to what we teach within 10 days.

3) If after the first day of class you’re completely unsatisfied with what you’ve learnt, we’ll gladly refund your money if you request. We’re just that confident of what we teach.

4) Our emphasis is more on the person behind the camera and not just the camera itself. We believe that a photographer should be so grounded that he can use any camera that comes his way (be it Nikon, Canon, Sony or Olympus).

5) I, Oluwaseun Akisanmi, am one of the best people to have as your friend and mentor in the photography industry. Although I’m yet to win any award in photography, my goal is to raise world-class award-winning photographers. I usually don’t rest until I’m sure I’ve done my best to address whatever question you bring my way. Like a caring father, I will not let go of you until you make it in the industry. I usually don’t brag but that’s one thing I’m known for. Attend our academy and you’ll be our photography friend for life…..except we end up separating due to one party’s character flaw. Either way, you have little to lose.

Go ahead, give us a call on 08120129149 or 08023008873 and let’s help kick-start your photography career.

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A Photographic Encounter with a Pastor’s Family


So I got a call on November 16 from a pastor I hold in high esteem. She needed our photography services for her daughter’s birthday party scheduled for November 17. I explained to her that I was already engaged for that day and would have to send 2 of my assistants to do the job. She insisted that the people I send must have the same level of professionalism I bring to the table. I assured her that they will not fall short of her expectations. We agreed that my colleagues will get to her house by 2pm and was quick to bring to her attention the cost implications. I didn’t charge her much. I really didn’t.

November 17, 2012. My assistants were scheduled to leave the office by 1pm in order to be able to get to the client’s place by 2pm. 1pm will eventually turn to 1:40pm and my assistants were amiss. I tried calling 2 photographers I could count on to see if they could urgently fill in for me. Chinedu (Nedum Photography) wouldn’t have been able to get there earlier than 3pm and Michael Adebiyi (Michael Adebiyi Photography) wasn’t responding to his calls. I was at a crossroad.

I eventually decided to cut short the photography class I was teaching at our academy because I figured that I could easily reschedule the training for the next Saturday; the birthday coverage couldn’t be rescheduled. If my students had not given me permission to leave, I probably would not be writing this piece now; I would be recuperating from chronic depression. Thank God it was the last day of class and I had just about 3 hours of teaching left. Thank God they heeded to my plea.

1:45pm. I would set out in my wife’s BMW 318i and attempt to get to the client’s house in 30 minutes. Indeed, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. But if I was to get there by 2:15pm latest, I could not afford to drive like a gentleman. I picked my phone and with a sad heart called the client to tell her I would be 15 minutes late. She replied sternly that they would be leaving the house by 2:20pm and I should do my best.

2:15pm. After enduring a gruesome drive (of which I would not attempt again for another 5 years), I found myself entering the clients house. I got a better revelation of how beautiful heaven would be. THE MANSION WAS BEAUTIFUL. I proceeded to have the shortest photo shoot I would have in a long time. After taking a picture of dad+mum+celebrant with the cake, I was escorted outside by the client as the time had come for them to leave the house.

2:20pm. I was shocked by the level of time management that was practiced by this role-model family. If I had gotten there by 2:30pm, I would have heard the famous “Sorry, you just missed them” from smile-less BEMIL security guards. First lesson noted: always have have Ja Rule/Ashanti’s hit single at the back of your mind….ALWAYS ON TIME.

2:55pm. We got to the destined location of the “small” party and I discovered that no guest had arrived. Apparently, each guest thought it would be unAFRICAN if they got to the party at the time it was supposed to start. The client was unsurprisingly shocked. “Nigerians and African time,” she thought.

3:05pm. I quickly took a 5-minute break to ingest the 2 gala and lucozade I just got so that I would have energy for the 2-hour-turned-4-hour party that was about to start. Thank God for gala. What would the son of man do without gala, a photographer’s quick snack whose price is yet to be affected by the removal of the subsidy of petrol. Thank God for gala.

5:55pm. The father of the celebrant shows up at the party venue. I would eventually realize the reason why he wisely chose not to follow us in the first place. I discovered that this pastor that I so much revere was much more popular than I had envisioned. From the waiters in the restaurant to a few uninvited party guests, you could hear them whisper in solemn voices: “Is that not Pastor *******?”

6:06pm. I discovered that as many as had the guts to summon courage within themselves walked up to the Pastor and asked him to pray for them. It was them I realized that if this man had been with his family from 3pm, the venue would have turned to a church service where the children of God brought their prayer request to the servant of God. I found myself a little nervous in his presence also.

“Seun presently runs a photography school,” the pastor’s wife said as a way of an informal introduction. “Perhaps you should pray for him.” I hesitated and noted that I didn’t want to disturb this man that I hold in high esteem. “Common, receive grace my friend,” the wife scolded. And I found myself bowing for about 120 seconds while I was being prayed for. “God grant him FAVOUR & WISDOM……… In Jesus Name.

It was after parting ways with the family that it occurred to me the levity of the prayer we sometimes pray.

God make me an envy to the nations….
God make me a super star….
I will be a role-model to be envied….
Nations shall hear of me…..

Prayers that I had often said without much thought. Will I be ready for the burden that comes with the answers to such prayers? Will I be ready to deal with the fact that I can’t do freely what I used to freely do? Would I be patient and humble enough to handle the weight of the restriction to my whereabouts when my fame is spread abroad? I wasn’t too sure of the answers.

As I drove home with my party pack, I was lost in thought on how things might look like when I’m made. Once again I became thankful for the people photography has brought my way; people who make me appreciate where I’m coming from, enjoy where I am & realize that I still have a long way to go.

Question is CAN I HANDLE IT?
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Daystar Skill Acquisition Project SET 9: A New Class of Photographers


Just concluded a basic training program at Daystar for 48 students of photography. Attached are a couple of “creative” pictures taken by students in the class. Let me know the one you like the most & why.


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Plan to attend the workshop on November 4: The Multi-Million Naira Photography Brand

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Why I Would Not Be A Great Photographer


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My name is Lagbaja Alakori Tamedo, chief photographer at Lagbaja Alakori Tamedo Photography. I am one you would consider a professional photographer: one whose main source of livelihood comes from providing people with the photography services they need & want. I’ve been in the business now for over 1 year and I think its safe to say that I’ve “paid my dues”.

I recently sat down one saturday morning and attempted to diagnose the source of some of the symptoms I seem to be experiencing in my life and business. I realized that business has not been “moving” in the last 6 months as much as I thought it would and I decided to pen out reasons why I don’t think I will turn out to be a “GREAT” photographer in this industry.

First of all, I realize that I don’t seem to rub minds with photographer friends and colleagues that have been labeled as “successful” by many standards. I mostly hang out with fellow photographers that don’t challenge me to be a better person all-round. I realize that even though I’ve been to seminars where the likes of Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Scott Kelby, Shola Animashaun and Tunji Sarunmi have lectured, I still haven’t seen the effect on my business. Could it be that I procrastinate on the implementation of the advice given me by these people. I think so. I prefer gossiping with my fellow like-minded compatriots on how much better “technically” we are compared to those so-called “successful” photographers that depend on the use of Adobe Photoshop to make their works stand out. Heck, my pictures are wonderful straight out from the camera. ….Yet I seem not to make a comfortable living from this booming venture.

Secondly, I realize that I’m not too keen on making my customers satisfied no matter what. On the contrary, I seem to be meeting a lot of customers that complain and nag about how they want their face airbrushed or the background of their pictures changed to the White House. Why can’t they just understand that I don’t like any form of “advance” editing that will distort the state of my original artwork. Yes, I know they’re the ones paying but for heaven’s sake, I’m the one creating the images…I’m the artist.

All these people that call themselves “clients” are just so hard to please. I’m tired of returning their missed calls or calling them just to say hello and wish them “Happy Birthdays” & “Happy Anniversaries”. Their complains break my heart. If only they know how much I try to please……. Perhaps I should really consider reading the 2 books recommended by my psychologist Sam Adeyemi: 1) How to win friends & influence people by Dale Carnegie & 2) You can negotiate anything by Herb Cohen. Maybe the books will help. Maybe not. I would never know until I read them.

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REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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Thirdly, I can’t seem to remember the reason why I decided to go into photography in the first place. Was it the passion I thought I had or was it because I was inspired by how much money could be made when I saw photographers like Yomi Siffre & Fred Eikonworld charging big bucks for weddings 5yrs ago. Was it just for the money that I ventured into this business. I can’t seem to remember. All I remember was getting a $4000 loan from my uncle Bill Gates Tamedo to buy the Canon 5d MK II kit that I started my business with. May God help me

Lastly, I seem not to have the capacity to collaborate with people that are bent on promoting the industry for good. For example, one would think I would be glad to witness the recent launching of a Nigerian photography magazine, PICTURE THIS. The first thing that crossed my mind was “who is this Igbo guy trying to rip us off by selling in print what we already know about”. Then to make matters worse, the publisher chose to use Kelechi Amadi-Obi as the front cover of the first edition. By what standard are they even using to say that he is a role-model. If only they know how much better my works are than Kelechi’s…… The point is, it’s just difficult for me to support or be a part of anything that will help the industry grow beyond catering for my bank account.

These are some of the reason why I feel I “MAY” not turn out to be a great photographer. Maybe I should consider being a make-up artist or carpenter….. May God help me. Perhaps more importantly, I should seriously consider attending the photography workshop organized by eloPhotos on November 4, 2012 at Ikeja.

This is my plight. This is my dilemma. Or what do you suggest I do to remedy my situation?

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The Gathering of 201 Nigerian Photographers


REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
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So we witnessed the largest gathering of Nigerian photographers on August 26, 2012. Attached herein are a few pictures taken at the recently concluded workshop on “Running a Profitable Photography Business”.

Facilitators included Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Yetunde Babaeko, Leke Adenuga, Shola Animashaun, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Folake Ojeikere & Ade Plumptre. If you missed this gathering of 201 Nigerian photographers, don’t miss the next workshop slated for November 4, 2012.

The Photography Revolution has begun.
Get a copy of Nigeria’s first photography magazine: PICTURE THIS. Click here for a list of agents near you

 

FINALLY OUT: PICTURE THIS Magazine


REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE AT eloPhotos Academy TODAY. CLICK HERE for more information
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The long-awaited foremost photography magazine for hobbyists & professionals is out: PICTURE THIS.

For N1k it should be available in all major bookstores & magazine/vendors’ stands (in Lagos) within a week. However you can also arrange to get your copy from any of the partners listed below depending on the area that is closest to you.

Feel free to call us on 234-8079243366 or 234-7038244433 if there’s a location not listed herein that you can help out with. Like I mentioned earlier, more bookstores and magazine vendors will be added in a few days. For orders of 5 or more copies, kindly give us a call and we’ll deliver to any address within Lagos State. Feel free to share on your social media network.

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UNILAG, Akoka. Dolapo 08029494655 bbpin 238388A3

UNILAG, Dept of Mass Comm. Abiola Oladeinde 08025687884 bbpin 296E30C1

SURULERE:
1) Samuel 07038244433 bbpin 21894759
2) Michael 08063482462
3) Tosin 08028629706 bbpin 22CEF99A
4) Lara 08038930888 bbpin 2371B3F2

ABEOKUTA: Damilola 07066490511, 08027636933
bbpin 28B60E72

APAPA/AJEGUNLE: Maximus 08095001309
bbpin 271DF530

EGBEDA: Segun 08137544841 bbpin 294747E1

OGBA: Olusegun 08055591040 bbpin 227D6448

LEKKI/AJAH: Furz 08133215368 bbpin 229DF347

SHANGISHA: Dmayo 08080806882 bbpin 29F26582

BARIGA: Lekan 08035649655 bbpin 2775FEC1

FESTAC/AGO/OKOTA: Shade 08121110627 bbpin 28C98C5C

BERGER: Olamide 08024583984 bbpin 231798AC

AJUWON/AKUTE/IJU/CANAANLAND: Kikelomo 08028599886 bbpin 222C59E3

AKUTE/LAMBE: Favour 08024494106

AKOWONJO/IYANA IPAJA/ EGBEDA: Yemi 08023255066

IKEJA: Godson 08022313820

OGBA: Tosin 08022935383 bbpin 21F62AA8

WARRI,DELTA STATE: Michael 08025378879 bbpin 235A85A1

Mr Bode Adeosun
Business Centre
1,Thomas Laniyan Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08068891515

Mr Bernard Ogbonna
TrippleSkills Communications
3,Thomas Laniyan Street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08023939189

Lisha’s Books & Stationery Store
1, Alade Lawal Street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08027563270, 08024228126

Mr. Joseph
QuickShop Supermarket
16, Oyedele Ogunniyi Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08083278508

Mrs. Savini
Books 4 All Stores
28, Olorunlogbon Street,
ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08033018080

Miss Blessing
HealthServe Pharmacy
4,Alhaja Oluwakemi street, ANTHONY VILLAGE, Lagos.
08165520994

Happiness alli
Airport hotel, awolowo way, IKEJA
08187665743

Oge
17 kodesho street, opp KFC, IKEJA
07035707027

Orji
44 awolowo way, IKEJA
08038184672

Mrs. Bukola Bolaji – 08033128835, 07023331224
S. Mofenik
9, Ajose Street, Mende-Maryland,
Lagos.

Hope – 08066005770
Branama Kitchen
11, Ajose Street, Mende-Maryland,
Lagos.

Mr. Olufemi A. Taiwo – 08033512502, 08055895167
Yes! Photography
11, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi,
Lagos.

Chinwe – 08033030779
Mr. Kenneth, CEO – 08033079056
Ebili Junior Stores & Supermarket
18, Olorunlogbon Street, Anthony Village, Lagos

The Hub Media Store
Palms Shopping Mall
Lekki, Lagos

Laterna Ventures Limited
13, Oko-Awo Close, Off
Adetokunbo Ademola Street,
Victoria Island,
Lagos State, Nigeria

If you cant find a location near you and would like to be a distributor or sales agent, contact us on 234-8079243366 or 234-7038244433
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HELP!!! My Family Don’t Appreciate My Photography!!!


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He sent me a bb message asking to see me urgently. He was frustrated. After finding his way to our office 24 hours later, he was getting ready to explain the ordeal he had been through.

His name is Lagbaja Tamedo & his cousin had approached him to ask for his photography services as his contribution to the forthcoming wedding. Since Lagbaja was financially broke, he had told the cousin that instead of making a financial contribution, he’ll give him a whopping 60% discount off the photography bill. The discounted bill would come to $320 (N50,000). He figured that should be enough to cover his basic cost of production for the album he’ll be delivering to the cousin. The cousin agreed to his terms.

3 weeks after the wedding, the cousin was calling my Lagbaja to ask for the wedding album. My friend asked him for the $320 payment he ought to have received before the wedding and an argument ensued. The cousin argued that he did not agree to pay such an amount and that he thought that the photographer will be giving his photography services free of charge. The cousin started insulting our photographer friend and that infuriated him (I.e. Lagbaja). This wasn’t the first time a family member will treat him thus. That was when he pinged me for my advice.

My first response was that he should accept responsibility for what has happened. I strongly advice against being so quick to “donate” one’s professional services to family members just because they’re family members. In my experience, it’s usually those closest to you that don’t seem to appreciate the creative juices flowing in your veins. Just ask Jesus when he attempted to do miracles in his hometown.

I asked him why he didn’t put it in writing so as to reduce the chances of an argument later on. I asked him why the cousin didn’t pay the discounted bill weeks before the wedding date. The chances of getting your bill paid by a client are significantly reduced if they don’t pay 80% of the bill 2-4 weeks before the wedding date: it will end up being another prayer point that the host of heaven will have to deal with. Like my mentor once said, God gave us a brain so we’ll give God less work to do.

I told him that one of the few people on earth I don’t bother writing an agreement for is my father: his memory is as sharp as Usain Bolt is fast. ALWAYS put everything down in writing. You’ll be grateful you did.

I asked him to go ahead and deliver the album to the cousin whether or not he pays because the photographer’s reputation will still be at stake. Although this was a hard pill to swallow, I knew that a disgruntled customer (or cousin) will be a better marketer of his/her experiences with you than a satisfied customer. An unsatisfied customer will tell 10 other people while a satisfied customer will testify to less than 5 people.

Finally, I convinced him to attend the forthcoming photography workshop on Running a Profitable Photography Business. He’ll have the opportunity learning great business tips from the likes of Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga (QF), Shola Animashaun, Folake Ojeikere & Yetunde Babaeko.

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REGISTER FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY MODULE BEFORE December 28, 2012 and get 50% OFF. CLICK HERE for more information
———————————–
Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/eloPhotos

 

Photography Courses at eloPhotos Academy


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Module 1: Introduction to Digital Photography Gain control and confidence in your digital photography – with a strong emphasis on exposure. This course is designed to help you appreciate the different functions, controls and options in the exciting digital dimension. The class will also examine how aperture and ISO settings work together with shutter speeds to create different photographic effects.

Key Features
• Camera Wheels, Deals, and Decisions
• Aperture – Depth of Field & more
• Shutter Speed – Fast or Slow, Which Way to Go?
• White Balance
• ISO Settings
• Focusing – Understanding focus and how it relates to your image
• Flash – How to make the most from your flash, but not letting the flash make a mess of your image.
• To Shop or Not to Shop – a potential shopping list of accessories and other photo gear you may want some day.
• How to take better digital pictures.
• And many more.

Duration: 2 days
Course Fee: N40,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 3 & 4, 2012 OR January 7 & 8, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 1 & 8, 2012 OR January 12 & 19, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 2: Lighting & Composition Whether you want to create compelling head shots, professional group or family portraits, or interesting self-portraits, you can learn how to successfully light and compose your subjects in an indoor, controlled studio environment. In this class we’ll teach you how to make the most of studio lights. Effectively use “Natural” light, Learn how to be sensitive to light, one of the two main ingredients that go into making great photographs. In this class you will find out how to become a “pro” at working with natural light. You will learn to use natural light to take your images to the next level – to having them be seen as fine art. You will explore topics that will immediately transform your work, such as backlighting and window light.

Duration: 1 day
Course Fee: N20,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 5, 2012 OR January 9, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 15, 2012 OR January 26, 2013
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 3: Business of Photography In this course, you’ll be deciding whether or not you need a studio. We’ll discuss the importance of documented agreements. Other topics to be discussed include: negotiating for a job, Creating a business structure, pricing your work, customer service, branding your photography and the importance of Packaging.

Duration: 2 days
Course Fee: N40,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 6 & 7, 2012 OR January 10 & 11, 2013
Weekend SETS: September 22 & 29, 2012 OR February 2 & 9, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 4: The Digital Darkroom In this course you’ll learn the components of a photographer’s digital darkroom. You’ll also learn how to edit with Photoshop. Master the nuances of this powerful image-editing software. Do you find reading software manuals frustrating? Are you struggling to overcome the infamous learning curve that comes with Adobe Photoshop? Then join us as we deliver a great introduction to the program, and we always excels at answering your questions and critiquing your photos.

Key Features
• Basic Setup & Workflow
• Rotating and Cropping
• Layers and Levels
• Retouching with Cloning and the Healing Brush
• Curves, Color Balance, and Hue/Saturation
• Resolution, Image Sizing and Sharpening
• Fun, friendly introduction to Photoshop.
• Learn the basic functions, as well as special tips for enhancing and adjusting your images.
• Gain confidence in using Photoshop.
• Learn how to design an album with Photoshop
•Printing technologies, types of photography print papers, deciding to print in a Lab or at home.

Duration: 3 days
Course Fee:
N50,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 10-12, 2012 OR January 14-16, 2013
Weekend SETS: October 6, 13 & 20, 2012 OR February 16, 23 & March 2, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

Module 5: Website & Social Media for Photographers In this course you’ll learn how to design & manage your photography website using WordPress. You’ll also learn the importance of using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) as a necessary branding and marketing tool.

Duration: 1 day
Course Fee:
N20,000
DATES:
Weekday SETS: December 13, 2012 OR January 17, 2013
Weekend SETS: October 27, 2012 OR March 9, 2013.
Registration closes when a class of 20 students has been reached

REGISTER FOR ALL 5 MODULES & SAVE N20k. REGISTRATION CLOSES WHEN A CLASS OF 20 STUDENTS HAS BEEN REACHED.

VENUE:
12b Fagba Crescent, Off Acme Rd, Agidingbi, Ikeja

After making payment into our company account, send an email to info@elophotos.com to get a copy of the application form. Download the form, print, fill and bring it on the first day of class to the venue with two passport photographs along with the teller of the bank deposit. For further inquiries, contact us on 234-8079243366, 234-7038244433, 234-8120129149, 234-8101590358 or info@elophotos.com

You can also visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/elophotos for more information

For the Digital Darkroom Module, it is recommended that you bring your laptop for editing your pictures

Refreshment & Course materials will be provided along with a professional digital SLR camera for each participant for practice sessions. Please note that the camera is for practice purposes during the training and would not be taken home by participants

Payment should be made into out Stanbic IBTC account 7200147969 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises) or our GTB account 211744703110 (eloPhotos Studio Enterprises)

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TESTIMONIALS

The basic course in Photography is the best thing that has happened to me this year. When I decided to take the course, I didn’t know what to expect, but now, I must say it has been worth my while. I have learnt so much already I can’t wait to go out there and start making magic through pictures. Big ups to Emmagination, Damilola “DAMELL” Elliot & Shola Animashaun, they really inspired me. Please, keep up the good work. Desi Okiemute

I have always thought of photography as a form of artistic creative expression. When I first began using a camera nearly 30 years ago, I always wanted to be able to take pictures that showed the beauty and variation that is the life experience all around us at all times. After the uncertain results that came out of my self taught efforts over the years, I finally got the opportunity for proper lessons with the Basic Course in Photography offered at eloPhotos Academy. After the first 3 lessons, I had already learnt some critical lessons that will enable me take the kind of pictures I have only previously dreamt of taking.”Painting with light”! That is a definition I have gained from the course.The course is a relaxed, practical and interactive one with several tips from experienced photographers. Very commendable training! Now it is up to me to decide to what level I want to take my photography – competent beautiful pictures as an amateur or as an artistic professional! Dr. Olayinka Longe

I really enjoyed the business aspect of the training. The lectures on character, integrity, packaging, good customer service and branding were awesome. In a nutshell, it was a wonderful decision I made by attending the training because I absolutely got more than my money’s worth. Oloyede Afolabi

eloPhotos is the place to be. Within the 8 days of the training, I’ve been able to acquire sound technical and theoretical skills in photography. The training package is so educative such that all the ingredients necessary for growth and development are included. I especially enjoyed the Branding and Marketing aspect of the training. In fact, I have decided to inform all my relatives and friends that they should not bother trying to get me a job in the telecommunications, or banking and oil industry; I’ve finally gotten a JOB. Olumide Oshikominu

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…raising world-class photographers
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The Photography Gadget Criminal


So I’ve gotten more than a couple of pings and calls in recent times asking me for the best photography equipment to buy.

“Mr Seun, what do you think of the Canon 600D?”
“Mr Seun, should I buy the Nikon D4?”
“I’m thinking of buying a Bowens Gemini light kit”

The list goes on. But what is interesting is that fact that these questions are being asked by photographers that (in my own opinion) have “enough” gadgets to cater for their present photography needs. But NO, they tell me they want to be like me and have 3-8 cameras. Besides, (according to these perpetrators) that’s a good sign that you’ve “arrived” and are doing well in the industry.

The first question that I ask in an attempt to answer their questions is “Why do you think you need this new equipment?” Most of the time the answer I get is not sound business-wise. I understand that it is a good thing to have a backup camera, but that should not be at the expense of your bank account running into a ZERO balance.

And that leads me to the other question: why should you have to empty (or in some cases, BORROW money) your bank account to buy the Nikon D4 just because you want to be like Scott Kelby or Joe Mcnally? It might make sense emotionally but that is not a wise way to run a “profitable” photography business….especially if you’ve not gotten jobs recently and you’re assuming the new equipment will bring jobs…. Yeah right. In that case, I’ll tattoo the American flag on my forehead so I could be granted citizenship of USA.

So here’s my take if at all you’ve analyzed logically (not emotionally) your need for new photography equipment. If you’re planning to invest $6500 to buy a Canon 1Dx, it makes business sense to have an extra $6500 in your bank account after the purchase. If I’m going to buy a BMW Active Hybrid 540i for $60k, it will be foolish of me to proceed with the purchase if I do not have $60k in financial investment or reserves. This is a habit that is that is practiced by the wealthiest people on earth.

So if I feel I really need the BMW 540i that I’ve so much talked about, it will be to my advantage to start thinking of practical business activities that I would be engaged in that will ultimately fetch me $120k. For only then will my wealth extend beyond the gadgets or possessions in my possession.

So before you commit another crime of buying equipment that you probably don’t really NEED yet, think twice and consult the opinion of at least 3 mentors. Enough written.

To learn more about the business success habits of great photographers, plan to attend the forthcoming forum on taking your photography business to the next level. Next session is Sunday August 26, 2012. Facilitators include Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Yetunde (Camara Studios), Leke Adenuga, Shola Animashaun & ………. Be part of the largest gathering of professional photographers in 2012. Your business will not remain the same. More details to come.

Photographically Yours,

Oluwaseun Akisanmi
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Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013. Register before December 28 & get a 50% discount
———————————–
Get your copy of Nigeria’s 1st Photography Magazine PICTURE THIS
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The Wedding Kelechi Amadi-Obi offered to cover for $600


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So while discussing with a photographer colleague the other day, I asked him how much he enjoyed covering Celebrity X’s wedding. He laughed it off and went ahead to give a break down of the deal. Now before you proceed, please note that this is not fiction: it happened to people I (and perhaps U) know very well. We’ll call the photographer C & the celebrity X.

Photographer C first met Celebrity X earlier this year when he came seeking for the services of a professional photographer. C came highly recommended and the meeting was arranged. Upon arriving at the studio of C, X was shocked when he was given a bill of $500 for the session. “But it’s just a few soft copies I need” X exclaimed. “I know this one photographer J that can give me this same session for $80″, he continued. C explained that that was the worth of the value he was bringing to the table and that photographer J was probably also charging what he felt he was worth”.

After much discussion and pleading, photographer C decided to do the session for Celebrity X without charging a dime. Knowing that Celebrity X was very popular, perhaps it will go a long way in establishing a rapour that will bring more business in the future, he thought. The session came, the session went and over 30 soft copies later, Celebrity X was convinced that there are PHOTOGRAPHERS & there are photographers. He loved the pictures. I loved the pictures. The resulting pictures were so beautiful that I even considered going for a training session with Photographer C on how to use “studio” lights.

Fast forward to a few months later, Celebrity X came back for some more. This time he was getting married and required the world class services of photographer C for the wedding day. But first, Celebrity X needed a pre-wedding session so the pictures could be used to “advertise” to the world that “Lagbaja & Tamedo” are getting married.

Once again, Celebrity X was shocked at the bill that was presented him for the pre-wedding session. “Haba, don’t forget that you’re the one covering the main wedding”, he kidded. “Do you want to scare me away now?” After much pleading and nagging, photographer C gave a discount for the session. He figured that since he’ll be covering the wedding, he has little to loose.

Once again, the pictures that ensued proved to Celebrity X that photography was indeed the Divine calling of photographer C. The pictures were (according to the choice of words used by one of my clients) “tastefully finished”.

Alas, the wedding day drew nigh. It was time to finalize the photography details of the main day. Once again, Celebrity X shouted when he got a bill of over $2000. Now at this point, the gentleman in photographer C was already getting angry. “What does this man take me for?” he asked himself. What made matters worse was when Celebrity X blurted out that “even Kelechi Amadi-Obi has offered to collect $800 for covering the wedding”.

The indirect question being posed to my colleague was thus: “Who are you to charge me more than what Kelechi has offered to take?” To say that photographer C was furious will be an understatement of the year. He nicely told Celebrity X to proceed with using the services of Kelechi Amadi-Obi since his (i.e. Photographer C) bill is not favorable.

Now at this point you need to understand that Celebrity X is the type of client that although I would have turned down since the first meeting, many photographers would have considered it a privilege to be his official wedding photographer. He was well known. He’s still very well known.

Although I knew (just like photographer C) that Celebrity X was lying through his teeth, I decided to call and confirm if indeed Kelechi covered the wedding. I called Kelechi Amadi-Obi’s studios 3 days ago (June 25, 2012) and discussed the issue with them. I wanted to confirm if it was indeed true. His project Manager laughed me off and said “that is a BIG LIE”. He told me that the minimum Kelechi takes for a wedding coverage and delivery of soft copies on a cd is $6000. (WoW. When I grow up, I definitely want to be like Kelechi.)

So what lessons are to be learnt here? You be the judge. But whatever it is you’ve learnt from this, please make sure it includes not being ridiculed or tossed to & fro by a potential client that might look or talk like Celebrity X. I eventually met a photographer that saw the wedding pictures of X (let’s no longer call him a Celebrity): the pictures were “nothing to write home about” for a person of his class.

Buttom line is this: know your worth, price accordingly and don’t take sh** from anyone that seeks to ridicule your great work (assuming ofcourse it’s great) by comparing you to another photographer.

By the way, if you were Photographer C, what would you have done in each scenario of meeting X. (This is definitely an interesting simultaneous equation in which it isn’t necessary to Find X).

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Discover 5 reasons why you should learn photography at eloPhotos ACADEMY. A new weekend session begins January 12, 2013. Register before December 28 & get a 50% discount
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The Mercedes Benz Client


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I met him on a sunny afternoon on March 10, the day Wiz Kid made me cry. Although his composure didn’t look like one that could afford our services, I had developed a mindset of not judging a book by its cover. He asked for our complimentary card and I gladly gave him adding that our minimum package for home service family portraits was $625. He said it was ok by him and that he would call us when he was ready.

I would eventually get his promised call 13 days later. He was calling to book a session for April 1. I reminded him what the minimum cost implications was and was a bit surprised when he told me it was expensive. He asked me if I could “reduce” the price for him and I “nicely” told him that I couldn’t. I explained to him that I’m sure he was well aware of the fact that there are photographers that can do the session for him for $200 or less. I reminded him of the quality of the jobs he saw at our exhibition stand 13 days earlier. My persuasion didn’t last for more than 20 seconds and I was surprised when he said “no problem”. I explained to him the importance of me getting his email address so I could send a “mini-agreement” or summary of everything we just discussed. He gave me the address and I sent the following message a few days later:

Hope your family is doing great? Just wanted to confirm Saturday’s session and give u a summary of what to expect. We should be arriving at your place by 10am and will be coming with a makeup artist to help do the makeup of your wife. The session would last about 2-3 hours after which we’ll upload the pictures to a pass-worded folder on http://www.eloclients.com by Tuesday afternoon. We usually prefer a cheque payment of at least N80k to be made at the end of the session. The framed pics will be delivered 1 week after you’ve made your choice of 3 pics of 13by19 frames. 10 edited softcopies of your choice will also be given upon delivery of the frames. We look forward to making you a satisfied client. Kindly confirm if 10am is still ok by you. Thanks

I instantaneously got a call from him telling me that I made a mistake in the message: the session was supposed to be on Sunday not Saturday. You see, I was a little nervous writing a client I had never dealt with before and demanding that he pay me 80% of my minimum package before he even dreams of getting anything delivered. I have had clients in time past who gave all manner of excuses just so they would delay in making a deposit. I was glad this client was going to be different. Or was he? I was about to find out.

April 1 arrived in a jiffy and I was all set to shoot the family. One of our assistants that was supposed to follow us changed plans at the last-minute. Because we had planned to go in his car, we found ourselves running 30 minutes behind schedule because we were looking for a taxi. The client had called to ask us to come by noon because there was a chance he could still be in church. I told him we should be there by 12:30pm and was able to get there 10 minutes earlier than planned.

The house was one of the biggest & FINEST houses I’ve been to in my life. We pressed the bell but got no response. We hit the “armored” gate but knew that it was almost impossible for the inhabitants of the house to hear us. It was blistering hot outside and I called my client over 28 times to let him know we were outside. No response. If this was a prank for April fool’s day, it was working quite alright. My colleagues were already getting tired of this client that had chosen to disrespect the 2 beautiful assistants on this sunny day. We laughed, almost cried and proceeded to buy 8 pure water sachets to hydrate our fast-dehydrating human vessels.

1:29pm. Still no response to the multitude of my calls. I was getting angry. I hate dealing with clients or colleagues that don’t know how to keep to time. Could it be that he had forgotten? For Christ’s sake, he called me the night before to confirm.

Time check: 1:45pm. I asked my colleagues to wait for me while I go look for a taxi to get us back to the office. I couldn’t handle the waiting under the sun anymore. Suddenly my phone rang and our client was on the other end of the line asking if we were at his house yet. He explained that he was held up in a meeting and just finished. He then proceeded to call his wife (who had been at home all this while with the children) to ask her to open the gate for us.

WOW!!!!. That was the 3-letter word that proceeded from my mouth when I entered the compound. I have never met someone who had so many Mercedes-Benz cars. By the way, how many does one really need. According to this client of mine, 4 is a good start. I began trying to estimate the total costs of the cars alone and guessed it wouldn’t be less than $375,000 (about N60million). WOW!!! Just for cars. How much will the house and the contents be worth. It is well with my soul.

E350, G55, GL450 & S550 were the models I saw. Mercedes will probably have him on their list of “Priority” clients. I’m sure they send him birthday cards also. Either way, I was glad to be reminded that the type of clients I love to serve still exist in Lagos, Nigeria.

Enter the house. I immediately discovered that I had made the terrible mistake of not finding out how many children the client had (and their ages). If I had known that I would be dealing with 4 children between the ages of 6 years & 3 months, I would have read more books on children photography. For some reasons, I don’t know why I thought he had just 2 children in their teens. I would soon discover that having 4 children is one of the ways God imbibes the virtue of “Patience” in the life of a parent. It was something else working with the wonderful children: patience was definitely a necessary virtue.

A bigger surprise awaited me when the wife of my client finally came down to meet us in the living room. I was shocked. I would have sworn that she was the daughter of the client I had been chatting with. In her early thirties, she will prove to be one of the most beautiful mother-of-4 I have ever met. She was beautiful. She is beautiful. I guess it is impossible not to have a beautiful wife when you have enough money to be one of Mercedes top customers. Only God knows the type of soap and cream that she uses to get such flawless skin. Perhaps, I would discover the soap when my wealth manifest.

All this while, the husband (the one I had been liaising with all along), was not even at home. He left a message that we should begin the session and that he’ll join us when he arrives. He finally arrived as we were setting up our lights and I would later discover that 4 Mercedes-Benz were not the total number of cars he had

On a serious note, my 2 thumbs are aching me so much that I’ll have to conclude this by 11pm tomorrow evening (i.e. 11pm April 23, 2012)
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Apparently the car he drove in with was a Range Rover Sport. This gentleman was living life well. The scenario made me wonder how many cars I’ll end up having in 5 years time; I don’t think I’ll have up to 5 though.

I found him to be one of the most humble rich men I had ever met. Sometimes its a little hard describing what “humility” is all about but this man was definitely a humble gentleman. Watching how he talked gently to the wife and scolded wisely the children, I felt like I was in a “Family Affairs” class.

The session started and I had to explain to the couple that it is important they do not scold the children during the entire session of over 2 hours as this will seriously affect the countenance of the children in the pictures. The only thing they should strive to do is to pamper the children as much as possible for the duration of the shoot; punishment for misbehavior can always be given once the shoot is over.

One thing that struck me about this family was the fact that there wasn’t any single picture of any of the family member in sight; this was going to be their first family portrait session. I was surprised. I was humbled.

They changed into 3 different outfits and we moved from the living room to the swimming pool area and we were through by 5pm. After the session, the gentleman offered us some refreshments. I usually refuse to be entertained by clients until I’m done with the shoot because I’m always eager to get the job out of the way; besides I can always “refresh” myself once I leave the client’s place.

I asked him if he’ll like to review the pictures and was surprised at the response he gave. “I do not have the mental capacity at the moment to view the pictures.” Wow. This wasn’t just a client with too much money, this was a client with a lot of grammar. Apparently, the shoot had worn him out and he was being beckoned by the wife to come eat at the dining table.

“What name should I put on the cheque?” I usually like this part of the day. Few minutes later, I was holding in my hands a 6″ by 2″ rectangular paper that had figures written in it with the power to make me SMILE. He seemed to trust me that I would deliver the pictures on my word.

The question I then ask myself was whether this client was worth waiting for under the sun for as long as I did. With that rectangular piece of paper in my hand, you can’t guess wrong what my answer is. This was one scenario where it pays to be patient. It pays to give your client the benefit of a doubt because there might be a good reason why they showed up late or did something that pissed you off. It’s up to you to determine how much you can take but like the Yoruba proverb says “He who is patient will successfully cook a stone.”

The only challenge I have however with this client now is that he refuses to pick my call or reply my texts. I uploaded his pictures to http://www.eloclients.com and have been calling him to let me know the pictures he would have us frame so that we could get it over with. I realize he is a busy man but feel a little guilty that I’ve “eaten” his money without delivering the “goods”. Ok, maybe I’m not guilty. But if you were to put yourself in my shoes, what will you do to get the attention of this Mercedes-Benz client to choose the pictures he wants framed. Help me out.
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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/eloPhotos

My experience at eloPhotos: Adetunji Oremosu


A couple of years ago, probably in my most assuming and uninformed manner, I did not expect taking on the standards of running photography business to be any more challenging or thoroughly tasking than anything I had already tried my hands on. I mean, I had already experienced running an online magazine where we paid for the services of a few photographers. I had even accompanied some of them on field jobs and was even present at photo shoots. Photography? it was all fun and just a breeze-through, I thought.

More than one thing was skewed about this thinking as I was soon to find out. Although I was paying photographers to do what they knew how to do best, I never really gave much thought to what it entailed. At that time, there was little to nothing to guide me into the that intangible yet indispensable entrepreneurial thinking that seemed to reverberate through all the interactions I had with photographers like it was some unmapped code in their DNA.

Fast forward to today. It was no less than 4 months ago my enlightenment journey was about to commence and in no better place than eloPhotos. I had walked in sure-footedly that day in November. So confident that after the two weeks in Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme that I participated in a month before, I had what it took to have it made as a photographer. What I discovered has made me more than a little wiser! In summary I found the following truths:

1. An entrepreneur can never do away with the priceless leverage that mentorship from those who have gone ahead provides. By the day mentorship was never in short supply neither was the opportunity to put into immediate practice what needed to be actualised for it to have its maximum impact. We were not just ‘hearers’ but ‘doers’ of the insightful instruction we had benefited from. By so doing we had accelerated learning that, though it was not exclusive of mistakes, (and mistakes are part of learning) but they certainly were not doomed to be the kind of mistakes that wise counsel from those who had threaded the path before us can seriously help to avoid.

2. There were the reminders that apart from your technical skill (and mind you a lot of that is required at the next level of photography), your stamina and physical ability is not left out either. As ‘gladiators’ in the photographic arena, even if you had the know-how, you still needed to know how to be up and doing if you were going to get great work done and achieve great results. It did not let up as the standards of client satisfaction and the accompanying demands for levels of service grew. You did what had to be done and like I once said, we don’t give up, we go on!

3. Equipment handling? Oh piece of cake right? Wrong! If you had the privilege of being in the midst of this calibre of photographic equipment, you had to take time to know the rules of their care, appropriate usage and storage. Clearly I learnt how lenses and lights are more than just that; the are like your eyes and how well you treasure your eyes is how well you treasure the equipment. So neither they nor their environment could afford to be dirty! Nor could areas for handling workflows from all aspects to the ‘digital darkroom’. What about client-accessed areas? You probably guessed! So well it’s cut and dry that maintenance culture and cleanliness standards will improve (and they did) even if you have managed the British Monarchy’s royal cars in your previous life.

4. You are your own best marketer. The point is your persona is very much part of your unique selling point. If you didn’t know, the emphasis on adequate personal “best” dressing and the occasional use of stylized costumes on some outings would convince you. At least on one occasion the costume did make the job easy for an introvert like myself to introduce concepts in conversation with persons I would otherwise have not had the temerity to approach.

Then of course, there was and still is the impact of engaging the cyberspace and as a lot of blogging skills and social media marketing is required, we found ourselves inundated with trainings and opportunities for training in both! Did I mention that my erstwhile magazine publishing days was in cyberspace? Well I rapidly discovered how little I knew including how foolish I had been to be conned by a web designer who did little above what I now learnt by myself in the process of marketing my photography.

Ah, on a lighter yet important note, I learnt one more thing about brand consistency – from ensuring to always type eloPhotos with a small case “e” and a capital case ‘P’

5. I did not know how making youtube videos could literally be an asset to your photography or any business and not only did I get involved in making them more professionally, I learnt from Google (yes – youtube came to Nigeria and courtesy of eloPhotos, I was at the launch-out event) the ways and tips to ensuring that they get seen, engaged with and possibly yield the kind of results (leads) my business needs.

6. Outings, outings, outings – what is a photography training (or trainee) without the outings to go get some good practice on? Ok so I have quite a number under my belt (courtesy of my stay at eloPhotos) like wedding photography, event photography (like When I shot Wizkid and Banky W), sports photography, even children photography, naming ceremony, and environmental portraiture and fashion/model shoots. The list is endless.

7. If you thought you had printing locked down, you really need to see it done to know what it takes. And so I am already hoping one day to still undergo even more training still. But the foundation was made solid at eloPhotos. Everything made sense and all came together to form this crystal thought, ‘what you think you see is what you think you edit, but may not be what you see in print’. And so I have learnt to be even more discriminatory when using a print lab. I also ensure that I use monitors with best color renditions for my editing & not to let inexperienced hands even at (reputedly) great print labs handle my print jobs anyhow.

8. The commandments of Client Satisfaction are all summed up thus: “the client is the one who pays the money”. And doing everything to satisfy, delight and retain a client (who in turn will be my best marketer) has become my ultimate goal. Working on that part of me is still in progress because anything I do should be of the highest possible quality. I wont stop at satisfaction, my goal is to delight & retain the client even if it means taking certifiable courses on Interpersonal Interaction Psychology. Buttom line is I don’t mind becoming like my boss at eloPhotos who seems a master of this science (or art)

So in nutshell, I can’t finish telling you all I have been able to do in just four months at eloPhotos, but if you meet me outside on the streets please stop me and ask me for more!

Adetunji Oremosu
http://freshmusemedia.wordpress.com
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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/eloPhotos

Dear fan, pls forgive us for watermarking our pictures in a distracting way


Dear fan,

Thanks for writing us to let us know how our watermark is distracting you from appreciating the beauty of our pictures. You also noted that our logo was too big and adds to the confusion. For this grave offense, I’m writing to express our sincere apologies while simultaneously attempting to give some explanations as to why that is so.

Please rest assured that it is not our fault that we watermark our pictures in such a way. In the beginning, it was not so. In times past we posted our pictures on facebook without any form of watermark or logo because we were so excited about the beauty that we thought existed in the pictures; so excited that we couldn’t wait to let the world know.

Our excitement was eventually dampened when we discovered that newspaper, magazine & media companies (e.g. This Day newspaper, Vanguard newspaper & Wedding Shakara magazine) hired scouts who scavenged social media sites (like facebook) in search of the same beautiful pictures that entertained you. Our initial goal was not just to entertain you; we wanted fans like you to see that we were capable of creating beautiful pictures like the ones we uploaded so that you will in turn hire us and thereby ultimately make a positive impact in our bank accounts.

It was to our disappointment however when we realized that these pictures were being used in ways that negatively impacted our financial balance sheet. I felt cheated. We felt cheated. After discovering what these media giants, sorry, media cowards….after discovering what these media cowards had done (I.e. using our hard-earned pictures without our permission or any compensation), we weighed our options: to sue or not to sue, that was the question.

Although many of my compatriots were in support of us suing the companies, we decided that we didn’t have the emotional stamina to withstand such suits. The second best option we were left with was to watermark our pictures in such a way that will make it a little difficult for these organizations to use while simultaneously expressing the beauty in the pictures to fans like you. Apparently, we seemed to have succeeded in the former intent while failing wholefully in the latter. We beg for your much-needed forgiveness.

As a way of showing how remorseful we are, our management & board have unanimously agreed that we reduce the size of our logo & watermark by 2% so as to make the pictures more fun to view. Please bear with us as this is a temporary solution to a national crisis.

On behalf of the team at eloPhotos, I apologize again for any inconveniences this might have caused your eyes and hope that you’ll still consider hiring us when you’re in need of world-class photography services.

Eternally photographically yours,

Seun Akisanmi,
MD, CEO, Chairman, Chief Photographer & Watermarker,
eloPhotos
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Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/eloPhotos

30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 2


Lesson 2:………………..ok I must admit that I’m a little blank here as to what this lesson ought to be. Here’s where you help out a brother in need: suggest a title. All I know was she was making some beautiful music that will make any father (earthly or heavenly) smile. Enjoy


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30 Great Lessons from ANUOLUWAPO: Lesson 1


We begin this series by showcasing wonderful and life-teaching moments in the life of the superstar supermodel Anuoluwapo. Here we watch her as she teaches us the practical lesson we ought to learn from Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going

Or better yet, let’s call it “Project OCCUPY CHOCOLATE”. Enjoy


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40 pictures for the price of 10: Another photographer’s dilemma


So it happened again. Another scenario where a photographer excitedly forgot to have a written agreement. Each time I hear stories like these, I get increasingly angry at the way photographers engage in unprofessional conducts. In most cases, the client is not to be blamed: put the blame on the photographer that has not earned the title “professional”.

It all started with this particular client that wanted a photoshoot for her upcoming book. The photographer billed her $125 (N20k) for the session and agreed that 10 high resolution pictures of her choice will be edited and given on a dvd. The session lasted for about 4 hours after which the photographer gave the client 150 low resolution files on a dvd for her to choose 10 from. Apparently, the client was over-satisfied with the quality of the pictures that came out of the session: so satisfied that she decided to choose 40 pictures. She then called the photographer that her husband wants 40 pictures edited instead of the “verbally” agreed upon 10 pictures. The photographer explained that it will cost extra. The client laughed it off and insinuated that the photographer did not just take pictures for a living but apparently had added comedy as a multiple stream of income.

When the photographer told me this a few hours ago (& I hope both parties are reading this), I wasn’t upset with the client: I was upset with the photographer that did not put into writing an agreement that would have considered common scenarios like these. We seem to be quick at collecting “deposits” from clients but we forget that there ought to be a written agreement before any money changes hands.

Always put it in writing. Write down everything and anything that could prevent both parties from having unnecessary arguments. Even if it’s your uncle or sister that hired you, at least do yourself a favor by writing down the expectations of both parties and send a copy to the client’s (your uncle or sister ie) email for confirmation. If you don’t know what to put in an agreement, google “Legal forms & agreements for photographers” and you can start from there. Better yet, check out a copy of our sample agreement for wedding clients.

Stop blaming the client for “cheating” you or being unreasonable and start being more professional. Either that or some of us might as well start implementing plan B: an 8am – 5pm salary job in any organization that can offer to give us our daily bread .

It’s your call
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A Photographer’s Computer


So I just got a Hp laptop for our office. We needed a fast processing system that could help with the video editing we’ve been doing. Up until now, we’ve been using a colleague’s system whose specifications could handle hd video editing. It was also a coincidence that the topic we discussed yesterday with the present weekend set of BCP (Basic Course in Photography) was the Digital Darkroom, with emphasis on the ideal minimum components of a photographer’s computer. So I decided it will be nice to share with anyone considering getting a system for their photography business.

The following are the 3 major specifications to look out for when purchasing a computer system:
1) Processor Speed. Its ideal to get at least a Pentium 4 processor. Nowadays, we have faster processors like Dual Core, i3, i5 & i7 with i7 being the most expensive and fastest processor I’m aware of. The faster your processor, the more likely you’ll be saving some time while in your “Digital Darkroom”. The processor on the system I got is i5. Good enough for me

2) RAM. Also referred to as temporary memory, it is usually measured in GB. Ideally, you should aim to get a system with a minimum of 2GB memory. The more the pictures you want to be editing in Photoshop, the larger your RAM ought to be especially if you dont want to be waiting a few seconds before your system responds to an action. The memory on our new system is 6GB. I was aiming for 8GB but I can live with 6GB for now.

3) Hard disk space. Although its very possible to work entirely with an external harddisk, an internal hard disk with a minimum of 100GB is ok to start with. The more space you have for storing your data on the system the better for you, as long as you remember to BACKUP YOUR DATA. The hard disk space on the new system is 750GB.

So that’s just my opinion of 3 of the important specifications to lookout for in a system. It also helps to make sure you’re getting a new system (especially when it comes to laptops because they’re more delicate and fragile than desktops) so as to take advantage of the warranty options. Hp has been known to deal with systems under warranty to the customer’s satisfaction. That’s one other reason I eventually settled for them for our second laptop in 5 years.

One other reason I settled for a laptop instead of a desktop was because of the option to get extra laptop batteries that could give me up to 6 hours of work without external power. With that, I have a quieter option to fueling and using my generator. Just search on amazon.com for a 9cell or 12cell battery for your laptop brand/model.

It’s your call. Choose wisely

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Photographs of a “Fruitful” Celebration


I covered this event some time ago and decided to document “faceless” memories. It will later turn out to be one of the most interesting and creative birthday celebration I’ll cover.


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A Photographer’s Guide to Covering a Protest


In this “EMERGENCY” episode, Seun Akisanmi gives tips that will help photographers to successfully cover a protest. Based on his experience with the recent coverage of the protests in Lagos, Nigeria, this is not an episode you would want to miss…. especially if you’re considering covering a protest. For questions or suggestions, send an email to picturethis@elophotos.com

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Her Royal “EFFIZINESS”


I remember d first time I heard her voice
Twas the month of May
She called to inquire about her future with Photography
And left me with the desire to get my personal BlackBerry
Her questions were interesting:
“Are u sure u can teach me photography in 8 days?”
“Do you have a babysitter that can take care of my child during class?”
“How many installments can I make to settle the fees?”
The more she hurled more questions my way,
The more I doubted her seriousness about her “dream” profession
About 8 weeks went by
Until I came across her missed call
Apparently this lady was serious
She was calling to join the class that had already started
She was calling to ask for the account number to make payment
She was serious & that got me curious
I mean, she gave up her banking career
Because it took too much of her time
Transferred into the law industry
Though she was told there was “no money” there
And now she’s retiring into the world of Photography
I mean, what does this lady really want
She seemed serious & that got me curious
Well, her reasons will be OK by me
As long as she paid the school fees for her new dream
And then I finally met her
Or was it she that met me
Either way, we met
And it was in the middle of one of my photography class
I mean, why do these angels decide to always show up
whenever I need to concentrate the most
They decide to show up and it distracts me
Oh I was distracted quite all right
Thank God she sat in d class with her side facing the teacher: ME
Else my weakness would have been revealed:
The fact that I could not look straight into the eyes
of a beautiful woman for 5 good seconds.
I was distracted.
I was shy
I’m still shy
But I was impressed at her pace of learning
I mean, I had taught ladies photography before
& most of the time, I’ll have to teach a topic at least twice before it was understood
But not so with her
Twas as if she was the granddaughter of Albert Einstein.
She was intelligent
She is intelligent
And by the end of class she had taken enough pictures
to make you doubt the fact that she was an amateur
She was good
I mean very good
The type of “good” that could threaten TY Bello’s career in a few years
She was good
She is good
And very ambitious too
Truth be told: Ambition is her middle name
I mean, how many people will fix a date
For their photography exhibition while they are still undergoing training
How many people will join an international photography club
just so they could be eligible for an international photo contest
When they’ve not taken any contest-worthy picture
You guessed right: one person
At least she’s the only one that I’ve met
That’s like 1 person in every 200 photographers
She’s ambitious
Ambitious with a touch of Effizy (hope my spelling is right)
That is why I refer to her as
Her Royal “Effiziness”
She aims for the best
I had to convince her that she really did not need d top of d line canon camera
before she could get top of the line results
That she didn’t have to get 3 expensive studio lights before she could get expensive photographic results
She had big dreams
She has big dreams
And it was d way she went about her photography
That made me convinced about her level of seriousness
It dawned on me that this was a great opportunity
The opportunity of a lifetime
An opportunity to become the main photographer
that “groomed” the next Kelechi Amadi-obi, sorry, I mean d next TY Bello
So I made sure I gave my best to help her out
Beyond the 120k school fees she paid me,
I went above & beyond
And in the process of being her mentor
I became her protege
She began to inspire me
She continues to inspire me
Her commitment, her hardwork, her resilience, her persistence
I began to learn from her
If more entrepreneurs practiced all these,
Nigeria will have bigger & more successful businesses
So this is dedicated
To the protege that has become my mentor
To the student that has become my teacher
To the acquaintance that has become my friend
All within 7 weeks
To the one who has longed for a “poem” about her
This is the best I could do
This is dedicated to
Her Royal Effiziness

YOU KNOW YOURSELF

N141 per litre of fuel and the effect on the Nigerian Photographer


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Fuel subsidy removal, occupy Nigeria, coalition against fuel subsidy removal, how to download fuel, fuel price increase, Goodluck Jonathan, Most Cursed President……… just a few of the recent top google searches that brings up results that are associated with the Nigerian economy and people.

However, very few have thought about the effect it will have on the Nigerian photographer. Well here’s my take on that. I’ve already started feeling the impact. The pure water I bought for N5 on December 31st, 2011 has suddenly become N10 yesterday. The Maltina I bought on Jan 1 for N100 is now N130. My transportation to church has increased by 40% (now I’m considering attending church services on the internet). Thank God the price of my N50 gala has not changed (you see, there’s always something to thank God for).

With all of these increase in prices happening simultaneously, I began pondering if the key photography vendors would follow suit (i.e. print labs, frames, graphic artists, etc). I decided to call the MD/CEO of one of the top printing labs in Lagos, 5D Imagery. I asked if his organization was considering increasing the price of prints to photographers. All I heard was “OFCOURSE” before the line went dead. I tried calling back but my call was no longer being picked up.

MAYBE HE THOUGHT I WAS FROM CNN. Maybe the gsm network was busy. Maybe he was about saying “OFCOURSE NOT” before the line dropped dead. Maybe….. All I know is that I couldn’t reach him again. I started quizzing myself on the possible grounds they could have for increasing the price of their prints. I assumed that the generators they use at their facilities use diesel and not petrol. I assumed that the fuel subsidy was only on petrol. I assumed that they probably make about N1 million+ in sales daily and spend N20,000 in diesel daily. I assumed that a 120% increase in the cost of their fuel shouldn’t translate into a 100% increase in the price of their prints. Do the maths. I assumed that he’s a very reasonable man who wouldn’t increase his rates by more than 5% considering my calculations except for the sole reason of increasing the salaries of his staff that will be grossly affected by the fuel price hike. All these are assumptions. Time will tell what the final decision will be.

I proceeded to call another print lab to make the same inquiry. The staff at Replica studios was glad to tell me that they won’t be increasing their price at the moment. I was glad on behalf of the hundreds of photographers that patronize them. Please note that I’m not a fan of Replica studios; neither did I receive any compensation from them. We do most of our printing in-house and this report is a result of the journalistic tendencies lurking under my skin.

Another top printing outfit in Lagos, Fotospeed (located in Victoria Island), had not decided to increase their rates yet. So that settles the printing side.

As many of us are already aware that the cost of printing pictures is not the only cost we bear, there are still other areas (e.g. Frames, album designers/graphic artists, album binders, etc) that will be affected. The following are a few tips that I believe could be of help to those that care enough about their business to have read thus far.

1. Have a comprehensive website. In this day & age, a websiteless professional photographer is a unserious photographer. In fact such photographers should remove the word “professional” whenever they’re referring to who they are. The only reason for you not having a website should be because you’ve not taken any pictures and have not “launched” your photography business (and if you fall under this class of photographers, its ok to stop reading this piece now because the rest of the tips might not be as important).
One of the major advantage of having a website now is a reduction in your cost of transportation. Most clients that call me now already have an idea of the quality I bring to the table because they’ve seen my job online. Consequently, the major issue we usually discuss is how & when I’ll be getting a deposit. Even if they ask to see what the final album looks like, there’s a 90% chance that we’ve already sealed the deal. I can’t imagine going to Lekki from Ogba just to show a potential client my collections only to end up not getting the job. Not only would I have wasted over 4 hours for the trip, my transport fare (toll gate fee + fuel) will not be refunded. So be smart, develop your website TODAY.
N.B. You can still register for the forthcoming workshop on website development (Fire your web designer) by the end of January 🙂

2. Don’t give your clients any discount. If you’re a business person in Nigeria, you know what the normal buying protocol is: you ask seller for price of product, seller gives you her price, you ask for the “last price”, seller gives you a discount, you act as if you’re not buying anymore and further ask for a “final price”, seller is almost angry (in some cases, seller curses you & your father’s house) but finally agrees to your last price, you seal the deal with seller. Kapish.
Chances are you’ve given discounts to almost all the clients you had last year (don’t tell anyone but I’m guilty of that too). In other to cope with the increase in your “cost of production”, you’ll be better off not giving any discounts than to increase your price. Just tell your potential client “You know the current subsidy situation….you’re still getting a great deal because I have chosen not to be like everyone else by increasing my price.” I have a funny feeling that it will work.

3. Create other streams of income. Until now, all you did was take the pictures; you contracted every other aspect out and finally get a photo book a few weeks later. Well, maybe its time to consider contracting out those other aspects to yourself. Yes, YOU. If you pay someone else to design your albums, start designing yourself. Though it can be tedious, consider binding the albums and creating albums boxes for yourself. Better yet, start marketing to your fellow colleagues that might need your NEW services. You’ll be surprised the extra money you’ll save and make.

4. Sharpen your Unique Selling Point (USP): this is the time you need to seriously market yourself based on your USP. If you’re known to arrive early for events, deliver promptly to clients, design creatively or a good communicator, these are selling points that could help stand you out beyond the price you charge. Focus on them and bring the clients’ attention to the fact that it will be their loss if they don’t hire you.

5. Build a team. Building a team of photography assistants will go a long way in easing your burden. There are jobs that many photographers turn down because they are not paying what you charge. However if you present an alternative for the client that entails having your “accredited & reliable” assistant cover the photography assignment, you could charge lesser than your standard fee and still increase your income. If my assistants or colleagues are assigned to a job, usually the client saves between 20% & 50% in fees. Many photographers may not agree with me on this but with the right associates, you’re likely to increase your chances of going for a vacation earlier than you planned.

6. Choose your friends wisely. Yes, I know things might be difficult at the moment but it is times like this that I’m conscious of associating myself with people that have a plan for a future. I’m likely to be closer to someone who believes he stands a very good chance of getting a photography job (even if it seems the “market” is saturated) than someone who complains and moans about how its hard to make it in life. Yes, they might not be perfect but at least I’ll learn from them that which will help take me to the next level. That’s why I love photographers like Jide Alakija, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Shola Animashaun & Leke Adenuga to mention just a few; they share what they know with you and are not afraid of you ending up more successful than them.

7. Develop a long-term business plan. The situation presently is a temporary one. If you focus too much on it without a long-term business plan, you’re likely to end up with a 9-5(sorry 8am – 8pm in most cases) job sooner than you think. Infact, you should be thinking of incoperating the present fuel price hike as a strategy for taking your business to the next level. You may ask, HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? Trust me, this is a season of unprecedented opportunities for Nigerian photographers. If only you can see it…….if only

8. Take advantage of social media. If you’re not presently utilizing the potentials of social media (facebook, youtube, twitter, google + etc) you’re seriously short-changing yourself. I’ve made over N2 million in the past 18 months as a result of my “business” presence on these social media. Anyway whichever way you look at it, the extra income will be worth it. TRUST ME.

9. Be financially prudent. More than ever before, this is the time to be more prudent in financial matters. I’ve recently had to give up my love for a daily consumption of 100-150cl of Pepsi. Apart from having a negative impact on my health, it had an impact on my finances too. So far, I’ve not drank a drop of Pepsi this year. SO FAR. I had it replaced with a cheaper & healthier alternative: WATER. You might have to reduce your expenses (although some would consider some of these to be an investment) in chocolate, movies, partying, phone calls, & ………….. well you know what else you spend. It is high time you reduce or remove the SUBSIDIES on such items; it will leave you with more resources to invest in your business. Trust me, I’ve already saved over N1200 this year alone as a result of removal of the subsidy I previously allocated to Pepsi. Do the maths & you’ll discover how richer I’ll be by the end of 2012

for daily photography-related tips and articles, visit www.elophotos.com or add us on your BlackBerry 271E3BC8

Lessons From a Family Portrait Session


On December 21, I got a call from a gentleman who referred to himself as PA (initials for his name). We were recommended by his colleague at his workplace, Mobil Producing Nigeria. We covered the wedding of the daughter of his colleague last Christmas (i.e. 2010) and he loved the pictures enough to refer us. Majority of our clients call us because their family, friends (or enemies) recommended us.

“Do you do home service”, PA asked. My response? “You just spoke my language.” We scheduled the shoot for Dec 28 & I explained to him right there on the phone what my minimum charge for home sessions was ($300 as of the time of the telephone conversation…..& could have gone up as at the time you’re reading this :>). I didn’t want to drive for almost 2 hours to get to his house only for him to tell me that was beyond his budget. He was ok with the bill. I was happy that he was ok with the bill.

I took a sample size of one of the 13″ by 19″ frames I’ll be delivering because he wasn’t familiar with sizes & dimensions of frames. He would eventually choose the type of “standard” frame that will go with the 2 pictures he wanted. I packed my camera bag about 3 hours before we set out. Under normal circumstances, this was too late. I teach my students to always have their camera bag & equipment ready at least 12-24 hours before a location shoot. Thankfully I did not forget anything.

I made sure I ate breakfast before leaving for what usually ends up being a 6 hour-minimum ordeal (3 hours roundtrip for transport & 3 hours for the session). I never eat at a client’s house before a shoot, even if the client insists. I’m usually very anxious to get the main job out-of-the-way & receive a cheque than to sit down and be “making myself at home.” Sometimes I wonder if clients really mean it when they tell you to “make yourself at home.” I’m sure they wouldn’t have been happy had I ordered chinese food or pounded yam in an attempt to be free in their home. Anyway, I told him that a glass of water would be ok by me and my two assistants nodded in agreement to my requisition. Most clients that we do home sessions for are usually nice enough to offer food & drinks. In fact there is usually a 98% chance that I would end up enjoying a session with a client that offers food & drinks: they’re usually pleasant to work with.

It was interesting that though he was living in such a beautiful house with his wife & 2 children (maybe the family just moved in), there wasn’t a beautiful family portrait in view. Maybe it was in the master bedroom upstairs. All I know was that I was about to make their “living room” come alive with beautiful portraits. And, boy, did we get beautiful portraits. Like most of our family portrait clients, they wanted a high level of privacy with regard to their pictures; hence the reason you’ll see none of it on the internet except you’re a friend of the family and they give you the password to their viewing folder on our clients website (www.eloclients.com).

Before we started the shoot, I explained to him once again how the whole process works. The family changes into 2 or 3 attires (preferably matching in colors), we take as much pictures as their energy will permit, we upload the low resolution pictures on a passworded folder at http://www.eloclients.com & they choose the ones they’ll want us to frame or print for album(s).

With a glass of cold water quietly going down my throat, we began setting up our Bowens lighting equipment while they changed into their first attire. I always choose a spot or corner to put our bags or other small gadgets. It helps us easily account for anything we might have taken to the location.

Usually the first 20 minutes of the session usually doesn’t result in any “framable” image because the family is still trying to adopt to this stranger that calls himself a photographer.

I don’t just tell them to pose this way or that way; I engage them in conversations that will bring out the expressions that I want. To the 10 yr old boy, I would ask him how many games he has on his Playstation or what he thinks of the cartoon characters “Pinky & the Brain.” To the teenage girl, I would ask who her favorite R&B or pop artist is: Beyunce or Rihanna. And before you know it, you can hear the humming lyrics or Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” To the father, I would talk about how lucky he was to have gotten a lady as beautiful as his wife. I would tell him how beautiful his house is & how I would one day love to be able to afford the BMW 750i that was sitting in the garage. To the mum, wife & mother I would start by complimenting her on her looks or whatever she’s wearing (shoes, perfume, jewelry, etc). I would tell her how lucky she is to have a wonderful husband like hers. Usually & in most cases, all parties end up giving me the facial & emotional responses that translate into great & framable pictures.

I enjoyed the session and once again had to respond to their offer of hospitality: “What will you eat or drink?” “Malt will be ok,” I responded and my assisstants nodded in agreement.

I don’t know why but at the end of most of our sessions, I would not get a cheque unless I ask the client for it. Either they forget (yeah, right) or like the conductor in the average Lagos “Danfo”, they want me to forget. HOW CAN I FORGET. I asked for the “small rectangular” piece of paper and he gladly gave it to me. He ordered for an extra frame and I was glad I was about to start the new year on a really high note.

I was so happy with working with him that I offered to give him three 5″ by 7″ complimentary frames for his office. He was happy. My assistants were so happy with the level of hospitality received that they forgot the sample albums we took there. Now that made me unhappy because it will cost me un-budgeted funds for transportation for something that could have been avoided. I guess they learnt their lesson: never leave a client’s house without everything that belongs to you…..including the cheque. NEVER

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Changing Faces


By the mention of Changing Faces I know some of you are reminiscing (if you are in that age bracket) about an R&B all female(?) group that laced the nineties with some of their widely appealing songs. Ok, I forgive you. I had chosen this title for this post before It occurred to me too. (I know I have easily given you a clue about my age too)
Well, it so happens that this music group has as much to do with this write-up as does playing an Elvis Presley song at a ten year old’s birthday today! I can see you keeling over in laughter.
Indeed a ten year old whom I shall call ‘K’was having his birthday and this post is about that story and not the music.

I recieved a late call to help cover ‘K’s birthday the previous evening and by now I knew next to nothing about the client, except the address of the venue.

By photog instinct I reckoned a high FPS SLR camera would be useful to catch kids in their own world and at some point a fast lens would also come in useful if the rare opportunity ever came to take relatively still shots up-close that could be used for portraits. You know children are hardly listless when we adults are already exhausted. By now I can hear you guessing my age. Well let me fill your imagination with more: I knew by now I would be doing a lot of kneeling and squatting to get really good shots that would capture the world through a ten year old’s eyes and my back was going to pay dearly for the exercise.

I arrived at the venue even before the client or their guests were present, studying the light situation in every part of the room. I opened my camera bag and my jaw dropped when I discovered I had only a 50mm prime lens and two camera bodies! Nooooo!

    I cant go to desired wide angle with this!

When all those blessed little things start jumping all over it would be total disaster! Till this moment, it remains a mystery how I had swapped lenses into the wrong camera bags while getting ready to travel to the venue. Fortunately the ‘official. Photographer arrived shortly after and I teamed up with him and the rest as they say was a ”downhill ride”.

But when the official photographer pointed at the client’s family vehicle pulling up to the venue entrance I knew this was the opportunity to capture the celebrant’s expressions at the beauty of the venue, the decorations, cake and eagerly waiting friends.

Confined by my equipment selection error, I quickly trained my sights to frame through the viewfinder on the SLR now fitted with 50mm prime lens. I was cautiously aiming to capture his face as he came out of the car but it appeared he was looking downwards and just being led by his parents.

As they approached the entrance where I already knelt shutter-button ready, waiting to snap up the moment he looked up, it struck me, that as this was his birthday, there was no need telling him to look up and smile, or was there ? But since he wasnt, as soon as he got close enough, I called his name (I had been told his name) to try to cajole him to smile for the camera. He looked straight through my lens and his face changed. He parted his lips to form a smile, and I could tell immediately. – ‘K’ was special – meaning he had special needs as he suffered from muscular dysfunction that made him almost unable to prop his head up and form a straight smile. But he was so happy at they way I called his name, I knew I had touched a chord in his soul that would vibrate for long and kneeling down had paid off because at his eye level, he had looked into my camera with glimmer in his syes that could warm up anybody’s heart.

I knew then immediiately that his facial expressions though largely mixed because of his condition, could not hide the joy he was radiating.

As I lowered my camera for the first time after the first set of shots, I watched him hurry to be among his friends and pose for another picture. I reasoned that ‘K’ was well aware of the difference in his appearance. But seeing that it did not hide his. happiness made me think that in spite of it all I wouldnt change a thing about him for that singular moment I captured on camera. I saw the real him in spite of his rapidly changing facial expressions, knowing that he will grow into a fine gentleman and he will be happy.

So as I put the viewfinder up again I felt tears trying to come up, but held back. And that I did until the event ended…..

While many of us would rather trade our imperfections and if we were ‘K’, the real treasure is in who lies within….. No changing face can beat that!