My 11th COMMANDMENT


What gut do I have to be ungrateful to God or to complain?

This resurfaced several times in the week ended; I had another episode of experience and learning. A visit to Akonko, a village in the outskirt of Ogun state, almost linking Ibadan in Oyo state was a big one.

I loaded my bag with leggings-socks as we have been told that mosquitoes there are weight lifting and we possibly may be coming back with mosquito bikes like boil. For me, that is the scariest part.  Other expectations were that there is no electricity nor telecommunication network and we are going to be there for about three (3) days documenting the village and its residents. Hmmm, God help us.

We set out early and kept going and going like we were travelling to the east, but we eventually got there and wow! It’s for real.  I have been part of village outreaches, so the village setting; the mud houses and bushes were really not concerns for me (though doesn’t sound like where I would naturally want to be).

Then the lessons began. After resting some few minutes, we visited the farm. I noticed on our way to the farm, everyone we met gave us a well composed greeting with a Big Bold Smile, children and adults alike. For real! or are we riding on the goodwill of our host? I thought. My mind flashed back to what transpires in Lagos and I was quick to conclude this People are indeed courteous and hospitable. There are some places you live in Lagos that you just automatically lose your morals, everyone rides their own horse. These people are obviously tagged the poor, but they’ve got what money cannot buy.

My presumption was confirmed as I further interact with the residents of the village.  They were much more open than I thought, they seem not to have a choice, they just wanted a better life and feel our presence and mission could enhance this.

Looking at the people, they were not different from us, just that they don’t have the opportunity and hope we have. No good water (We didn’t take our baths for three days, only necessary areas with sachet water), no electricity, no good roads, and most pathetic, no single good healthcare centre and no good school. The sight of the school breaks my heart, a dilapidated building that has just three teachers taking from Nursery to Primary. Those attending a better school trek one hour to school and back every day as transportation is another huge issue there. Wow! How can people be subjected to such life, I see a great level of neglect on the part of Government especially when I heard they had voters’ cards. Now that is hell crazy if you understand what I mean.

Reminiscing on where I am coming from, where I am, my high hopes of the future, I sighed and said to myself;

“Thou shall never be ungrateful. By any form of complain or unseemly countenance.”

That sounded like a commandment. Yea, for me, it is my 11th, as being ungrateful or allowing situation affect one’s countenance seem now like a sin. A colleague buttressed, “if God would not further do anything else in our lives, I think He has tried.”

I thought to myself, “We and these people cannot definitely have the same prayer points”. We have hopes alive, cannot explain what their state of mind is (definitely not what you would wish). But if the people in Akonko can live happy, there is then no excuse for someone like me.

Wait a minute, sorry I forgot to mention they made very sumptuous meal with little or no ingredients. The village called Akonko is one I’ll definitely not forget.

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NiPHEC 2015 To Hold June 14 – 20, 2015


The forthcoming edition of the 3rd annual Nigeria Photography Expo and Conference slated for April 6 – May 2 (2015) has been postponed to June 14 – June 20. The 7-weeks shift in date has been necessitated due to the political atmosphere in the country which has affected not just the logistics of organising a successful conference but  also (in more ways than anticipated) the economy of the country.

We strongly believe that the political dust would have settled once the new President of Nigeria is inaugurated by May 29 thereby giving way for many organisations & individuals to part of this monumental event in the photography industry.

Consequently the newly updated schedule will be put up as soon as we confirm the availability of our speakers &  facilitators. We wholeheartedly apologize for whatever inconvenience this might have caused the multitude of attendees that have scheduled their annual leave/holiday during the previously set dates. Kindly share the new dates with those you know might be planning to attend.

With the likes of Jide Odukoya, Demola Olaniran, Abdulahi Maigaskiya, Uche James-Iroha,  Aisha Augie-Kuta, Kikelomo Koleosho, Rick Sammon, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Olamide Bakare, Zach & Jody, Tom Saater, Seun Akisanmi, Bisola Ijalana & other world-class photographers, you’re bound to have a wonderful time of networking & learning. We’re excitedly looking forward to seeing you at #NiPHEC2015.

For sponsorship & exhibition enquiries, please kindly contact the following coordinators:
Niyi Ogunkoya, niyiogunkoya@elophotos.com or +234 9098844036.
Femi Adewuyi (+234 8036105170), Obasola Bamigbola (+234 8034965884)  info@niphec.com

The NUMBER That Changed My LIFE: 12


One would the unprecedented emancipation of the enigmatic lacuna that juxtaposes the essence of the dozen in the seasonal variation in a calendar period. Wow! This could have been another one from Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon. In fact, this sentence requires a 2075 Edition of Cambridge Dictionary to understand. Well, it could simply mean that something unique happened in the month of December.

I could have concluded that I was at the Cinema or the number of movies I watched in recent times has really affected my mindset but this appears to be me as one of the cast. Are these truly the men of old? The twelve disciples gathered together and it seems they were waiting for someone. Apparently, there would have been a schedule for a meeting on that particular day. Suddenly, one of them supposedly to be Apostle Peter just called me…“Bro! Diplomat! Could you please come and quickly take our portrait as well as our group picture”. You mean me, I asked.

As if we had known each other from Adams. Who told him I am a photographer, I pondered within. Without much ado, I quickly jumped to the offer and brought out my camera, calling them one after the other. I didn’t identify them at first, until Peter was calling out their names to be in order. This was the first time in my life I photographed white aged men. Within me, I was wondering these men would have been resurrected several times.

Camera setting… Action…Smile… All these were my words. In fact, I was overwhelmed by how aged but agile these men were. I photographed them on and on but I could not but paused when I heard John called out Judas Iscariot. It was as if a documentary of him quickly ran through my mind. All his acts written in The Book ran through my memory. It took few seconds for me to bring back my camera to focus. While taking his portrait, in my mind as if my camera should just turn to a gun and shoot him. *winks* I can’t avenge for God but the Jackie Chan in me wanted to fight “Shoki” that moment. *laughs*

Consequently, the session went smooth though stressful because most of them did not bring out their best smiles despite my efforts. Eventually, they noticed the master they have been expecting was around the corner. They just quickly asked me to excuse them. “O my God!”, that could have been one of my best moments to photograph Jesus. That would have given me a Life time Award as a Photographer. Well, if they did not allow me see him, may be another time; I said. I immediately stepped aside to view all the pictures I took. Brrr…! What is this, I shouted. I didn’t put a memory card inside the camera I used.*sighs* this is a terrible mistake, I lamented.

Immediately, I saw myself by the bedside. What could have gone wrong? It is dark. I struggled to find my smart phone to check the time. It is 12 at mid night. I started wondering about everything. I tried to go back to sleep but I could not sleep till the dawn of the day. Ah! Today is the 12th day in the 12th month of the year. Is this a coincidence? I managed to sleep a little until I woke around 12 at noon. Wait! There is something fishing, I said. I remembered that I searched for a photography training institute on the internet some days back. I jumped off my bed. Getting out under a very scorching sun, I grabbed my wallet to check the address. Number 12b! Come! The number of the place is 12b! Definitely, there is a direction with this number. In fact, this is an insight towards my pathway of success in life. The place is eloPhotos. I’m into my second month of training and I’m glad for this awesome privilege. My name is Jide Jokodola & I’m not only going to be a world-class photographer but one with remarkable positive influence across this generation and the ones to come. Watch out for me.

Photography Workshop in Abule-Egba: Doing It Better


Earlier in the month, I was privileged to teach at a photography workshop organized by G-Janth Print Lab situated in Abule-Egba, Lagos. It was particularly interesting to know that a number of the photographers in attendance were  my father’s age-mate. Interesting to know that this many photographers were really hungry to do better in their photography. The workshop was titled “Doing It Better” and we discussed issues ranging from marketing your photography to branding. Attached are some of the pictures taken.
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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

Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (1) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (2) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (3) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (4) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (5) Photography Workshop in Abule-egba lagos (6)

The ENLIGHTENED Makeup Artist


My journey into the world of photography was generated by passion and motivated on my quest for excellence.
As a professional makeup artist (MUA) I was tired of begging photographers at events to help me take shots  ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the bride, which most times disappoint.  I had to resolve to the use of my camera phone which could only do little and these affected my profile and credibility. I remember sharing my ordeal with my uncle who later got me a DSLR (Canon EOS 50D) in 2009 on is way from UK.
Hmmm! now I have a DSLR; problem solved someone would have thought but that only introduced me to a greater challenge of getting professional shots like Seun Akisami, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Jide Alakija, TCD, Atunbi (to mention but a few).
 I barely understood the functions of the machine I had even with the manual attached. I enquired what the problem was from pros in the industry. One said to me, you need a reflector to use this kind of camera to get this kind of shot, so I rushed to the market and got a 5 faced reflector. Another said, you need an external flash with a 50mm lens and I got one. Yet I met another photographer who told me all you need is a zoom lens for that portrait shot and I kept buying. The funniest of this was when I went shopping for strobes and beauty dish after a photographer friend had honestly told me to set up a photo studio since I already have almost all the necessary equipment to setup. I am sure you know what happened there after..lol
At this point you must have thought I was some daughter of a millionaire to be buying all of these. Not so true although I’ve had my own share in life struggles. With all of this put together, one will confuse me for a professional photographer at an event because most of these equipment were not owned by many photographers. On several occasions, I get many of them using my equipment to get better shots while I still battle with my auto mode on my DSLR.

Why not go for a training you would have said? But most professional photography academy didn’t have a flexible time table which would permit me time to do my business while I get trained.

My story changed when I met a family friend who took me through his archives and told me he had learnt photography at eloPhotos Academy during his holiday just for two days. My face was beaming with surprise because he sounded unbelievable. I had to make him use my camera to confirm he was telling the truth and truly my doubt was confirmed as invalid.  I joined the next session (July 2014) at eloPhotos Academy and not only did I learn but in 3days I was a better photographer and person. 

Now I understand the functions of each of my equipment including my beauty dish. Before I forget, you do not only learn photography at eloPhotos; you also learn how to become a successful brand. You don’t want to know the number of books I have had to read up on Business, Life and Photography as it is a watchword at eloPhotos. And I am loving every bit of it. Thanks to my coach, SEUN AKISANMI, you can call me Yetunde Bakare Adedayo the photographer with a twist.

Note to fellow MUAS: Get yourself trained at eloPhotos Academy to understand the business of photography in relation with your job; at least you will stop being a thesis for so called event photographers who only enjoy using your equipment to get great shots while they leave you with poor pictures for your profile. You should be the first beneficiary of your equipment. Attached are a few pictures I took during the 3days training. Do drop your comments and let me know what you think.
# elo photo 123.CR2 elo photo 0991

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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

When Thousands of Photographers Speak….


WHEN THOUSANDS OF PHOTOGRAPHERS SPEAK, THE WORLD MUST LISTEN.

A picture they say represent a thousand words, but a collage of heart quaking pictures speaks for generations. Experience history again at NiPHEC 2014.

Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC) is the largest photography and imaging show in West Africa. It is a platform where photography enthusiasts & professionals have the opportunity to explore photography-related products from different exhibitors, attend conference seminars, keynote presentations, special events & much more.

NiPHEC is an annual photography event for professionals, students, educators and advanced amateurs interested in the photography and digital imaging industries such as commercial, editorial, advertising, wedding, portrait and art photography, among others.

Since a teacher is a light in the dark, classes, seminars and workshop would be taught by seasoned professionals and award winning veterans in the industry. You have the opportunity to choose from over 30 educational workshops and intimate hands-on labs led by top talent with keynote presentations from Uche James Iroha, Don Barber, TY Bello & Kelechi Amadi-Obi.

Subjects such as lighting and posing, wedding photography, business and marketing, social media, software and workflow, video and multimedia would be treated.

NiPHEC 2014 will be holding in Lagos from April 29 to May 3, 2014. For questions and suggestions regarding being a part of this monumental photography event, please feel free to contact them on the following channels.

www.niphec.com

Telephone: 234-8028629706, 234-8036105170, 234-8023008873, 234-8184543364

BB Pin: 74423C2C

Twitter; @NiPHEC
Email: info@niphec.com

NiPHEC Headquarters
12b Fagba Crescent,
Off Acme Road,
Agidingbi, Ikeja,
Lagos State, Nigeria.
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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

A Photographer’s PSALM


Composing a song is much difficult than I thought. David would have done a very tough work composing those Psalms. Kudos to all song writers who are taking the time to write the good songs we listen to. It started on Monday when Mr. Seun at the weekly devotion challenged us to write a new song for God; something I had never thought of doing. He challenged us that if the Psalmist as a person could write those songs, so can we.

So I began ruminating on a new song I would sing for my God. This was a psalm I came up with:

There is none like you o Lord; you are great

Numerous are your works; uncountable are your deeds

You created the heavens and the earth; in your hands they are laid bare

Our ways are unto you comical; your ways are unto us mystical

You are empirical: revealing your way to the feeble

Only the child at heart can comprehend

Therefore From the depth of my heart

I confess that you are great.

I believe I have done a good job. I am not a songwriter but singing a new song is what I encourage everyone to put into practice. It is also a way to task your creative mind.

Fast forward to Thursday, my best day of the week. I took the kind of pictures I had always admired. I had my first studio session with a model. It was a wonderful experience for me; the session was scheduled for 1 pm but started about 50 minutes behind schedule due to the normal “African time”. We have to get that mentality out of our system fast.

I was a bit nervous but thanks to Tayo Babalola who assisted me on the shoot, it was a huge success.  Maria (the model) and her makeup artist Esther did a great job; they were both satisfied at the service I rendered. The shoot ended at about 8:30 pm after four rounds of costume change. I was amazed at the quality of pictures I got.

Part of the things I learnt from the shoot is professionalism. The model insisted on drafting a signed agreement which challenged me a lot. In this business, a detailed agreement can never be overemphasized even when the services are rendered at no cost. This will help both parties (the client and the photographer) understand the terms and conditions of the contract as well as keep one in check from defaulting.

Toye Peters

Your Photographer Psalmist

My 1st Professional Wedding Coverage: Praise & Tosin Fowowe


WoW! It was 7 years yesterday (September 16, 2006) when I handled my first DSLR (Olympus e500 with 2 kit lenses) to shoot my very first wedding. It was the union of two of my friends Praise & Tosin. Going through my archives, I could easily see some improvements I’ve made over time in covering weddings. I decided to post the pictures unedited so everyone will know where the journey started for me photographically. I think the pictures we take now look nicer; perhaps the couple can hire us for the 10th Anniversary REUNION. Here’s to wishing Praise a Glorious Birthday and a Happy Anniversary. 🙂

 

How BEANS Can Make or Mar Your Photography Career


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronke Alao
Writer |Photographer|Poet