Portraits with the Tunji's // Part Two

I blogged about my portrait session with one of the tunji's last week. If you haven't checked it out, you can do so by clicking here. Today I bring to you the second of the Tunji's. Happy viewing

Merry Christmas

Christmas. The Greatest holiday of the year. Beyond all the time with family, friends, lots and lots of food, and exchanging of gifts, it's a time to reflect and express appreciation for all the things money cannot buy: health, love and support. For this and so much more I am extremely grateful and thankful. The Ellisoft Clan and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

MenteDeModa December 2014 Trade Fair

Shopping is not really my forte, neither is fashion but I was invited by my client turned dear friend Maju to attend the MentedeModa December 2014 trade fair which held at the Maddox Victoria Island Lagos. Trade fairs are a great way to meet new people and provide a unique networking opportunity for photographers, retailers, stylists etc. So if you fall into one of these categories, you should make it a point to attend. the Mentedemoda holds every other month and you can find about more about them by following them on social media. Here are a couple of images from the fair

Portraits with the Tunjis // Part One

So a very funny (well funny to me anyway) thing happened last week. My pal Femi Fowler stopped by with two models he had scouted and brought them over for a test shoot. The funny thing was they were both named Tunji. Now when working with models, I tend to call them by their names a lot in order to quickly establish rapport but you can imagine the hilariousness that ensued when I would call out "Tunji" and both guys would respond. So at the end of day, we ended up resorting to addressing them as Tunji O and Tunji A.

Here are some portraits of Tunji O.

Music Group Trinity // Group Portrait Session

Meet Trinity. Trinity is an upcoming gospel music group. The harmonies are glorious; their voices to die for and I had the pleasure of taking their first debut portraits. The stopped by the studio and we had an oh so awesome time.

Leo Dasilva // Studio Session

Funny story how we met Leo. My friend and I went into the barbing salon; I was working a beard and it had to go. We sat down to wait our turn and there Leo was getting his hair cut. I don't know what it was about him but he immediately caught my eye. Now said friend is also a model scout and was not going to waste an opportunity like this so conversations were made, numbers were exchanged and the rest as they say is history.

To see more of Leo, you can find him on instagram

Paolo Sisiano // Abstract Portraits

My pal Paolo Sisiano stopped by my place. He needed some help with an assignment for his art class. He needed to create an abstract photo series based on the theme "Eyes that cease to see". Obviously this was a job for Super Elly and his amazing camera (just kidding....... No not really). But I digress.

Fortunately for me, Paolo is very expressive in front of the camera so this shoot went off without a hitch. Here's what we came up with.


I first met Slim (as we like to call him) during the Mr Universe Nigeria 2014 pageant. I was there to dazzle the contestants with my amazing photo skills while he was there to choreograph their opening routine. I think what got his attention was not my photos but more the fact that I learnt and perfected both his and his colleagues choreographies before any of the contestants. After the pageant was done, he wanted me to give him a lil portrait session but as I had so much on my plate at the time, we never got around to it

We eventually met up again during the Mr Tourism Nigeria 2014 pageant and this time Slim was not letting me go. So we decided to visit a stadium to get a few pictures



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I Should have Bought These 5 Things Sooner rather than Later

You've got the photography bug. You can't help yourself and end up taking hundreds of pictures each day. And then you begin thinking to yourself, I could do this for a living. All I need to do is get myself a camera, some lenses and some lights and I'm golden.  While there's some truth to this, it's not the whole truth. I agree that to get started in photography, the barest minimum equipment you would need would be a camera, a lens, a light source and a computer to edit your pictures, there are some other purchases that you would probably make over the course of your career that no one ever tells you about. So here are five equipment purchases that I wish I had bought sooner rather than later in my photography career

1. An External Monitor

Most of us already have a computer. And that computer is most likely a laptop. While I don't think you need to have the most powerful computer for your editing needs, I do think you would benefit from the additional real estate an external monitor provides. Buying an external monitor improved my workflow so much. I could now have numerous windows open side by side, I could cull my photos much faster, not to mention that having a much bigger canvas to work on made retouching so much easier. If you are buying an external monitor, two suggestions I would make would be to buy an IPS monitor and make sure it is a Full HD monitor at the minimum. You also don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good quality monitor. I bought mine from LG (LG 22EA53)and it covers 98% of the SRGB colour spectrum

2. An Office Desk and Chair

If you're going to make photography your business, you might want to invest in a good office desk and chair. I used to edit my photos on my laptop sitting on my bed. Suffice to say after a few hours, I would get tired so fast and my neck would hurt so bad. Good posture is not some myth. You can take my word that it is real and it would come back to bite you in the butt if you do not pay attention to it. Invest in a good desk and a good office chair with adjustable arms, back and height. Not only would you be able to work much faster and work longer, but your back and joints would thank you for it and you'll save yourself some future medical bills

3. External Hard Drives

You went for a shoot and you filled up your 32GB memory card (which is possible if you're shooting RAW; and you should be shooting RAW but that's a whole other discussion) and you copy these pictures onto your laptop's hard drive. After a while these add up and next thing you know you're running out of disk space. You're going to want to invest in an external hard drive. In fact I recommend getting two, especially if you are a working professional and shooting for people. I wouldn't want to find myself in a situation where my laptop drive would crash and I had no backups of a client's wedding for instance. In fact my backup routine consists of copying the entire session's images unto two hard drives, the using Adobe's DNG Converter to convert the RAW files into compressed smaller DNGs which I now burn onto a DVD and store at an offsite location.
 an external hard drive. Better yet get two[/caption]

4. A Wacom Tablet

If there is one piece of equipment that has really been beneficial to my editing workflow, I would have to say it's my Wacom Tablet. After using it and getting used to it (because as with all new equipment there is a learning curve) I asked myself how I could have gone on for so long without having one. The reason why a tablet is so invaluable is that it gives you a form of control that you are so used to; Pen and Paper. Editing with a mouse is kind of like trying to draw with a bar of soap. It might be good but it can never be as good as what you can  achieve with a pen/pencil

5. Internet

Let's face it. Becoming a photographer means you're going to be spending a lot of time on the internet. From sharing your images on social media, watching tutorial videos on YouTube to updating your website. I spend not less than 20GB of data on the internet each month. My business is so dependent on the internet that I cannot afford to skip on my internet bill each month. If you're thinking of becoming a professional photographer, you might want to start checking out the local Internet Service Providers to find a suitable plan


There are so many other purchases I have made over the course of my career, but these 5 stand out to me as significant. What about your experiences? Are there any equipments you felt you should have bought sooner rather than later?

Photography 101: Preparing for a Fashion Shoot.

"Model needed for a fashion shoot tomorrow"! I get a lot of these broadcast messages on my blackberry messenger on an almost weekly basis. It seems like everyday while browsing through my Facebook timeline, I come across numerous images from various "fashion shoots". 

Photography 101: Starting a Photography Business

One of the most frequent questions I get asked ever since I got into photography is how someone can get into photography? I always follow-up this question with another question "do you want to be a photographer or do you want to start a photography business". These two things while sounding similar are completely different.

Portrait Shoot with Ifex Fabian

I met Ifex Fabian at the recently concluded Mr Universe Nigeria 2014 pageant. He was representing Imo State. During the first portrait session I had with the contestants, he stood out to me. His eyes, his personality, his smile...... you get the gist.

I was told to pick who had the best portrait and I picked him. We made plans to meet up for a portrait shoot after the competition and work on some more images for his portfolio

Portrait Speed Retouching - Behind-The-Scenes

[caption id="attachment_470" align="aligncenter" width="800"]before shot portrait rita ojo and sumola anthony lagos nigeria Before[/caption]

In this video, I give a little sneak peek on how I go about editing my portraits. Editing plays a very important role in photography. The right editing can transform a portrait from a good image to a great image.

Some of the techniques used in this video include

  • Frequency Separation

  • Dodging and burning

  • Curves Adjustments

  • Selective Colour

  • High pass sharpening

I also make use of the portraiture plugin by Imagenomic.

[caption id="attachment_469" align="aligncenter" width="800"] after portrait rita ojo and sumola anthony lagos nigeria After[/caption]



Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more of my videos

Love life

How to Organise and Declutter Your Computer Files

Declutter Computer System With an increasing amount of our personal documents going directly on our computers, having a plan to regularly declutter, protect, and organize photos and important files is becomingly increasingly important.

Models: How to book that elusive test shoot

“Dear Sir, my name is XXXXXX. I am an aspiring model. I would like to work with you. I would be very glad if you gave me the chance to work with you. You will not be disappointed”.  This is a sample of one of the numerous mails I have gotten from “aspiring models” wishing to test shoot with me. In case you didn't know, test shoots or testing has become a generic term for photographic shoots where a model acquires photographs to use for the model's promotional materials.. A mail like this usually incites either of two responses; one, I simply forward my pricing list to the model which usually results in never hearing from them or two; I respond with an out of office mail template and forget about it.

After reviewing most of these mails, it occurs to me that most models from this part of the world do not know how to approach photographers for test shoots. I recently attended a Model Workshop which was a first in the country; a forum dedicated to empowering the next generation of models and improving the state of the modelling industry. The workshop however did not address this crucial topic as most models starting out usually rely on these test shoots to start/build up their portfolio. So here are my 4 tips on approaching photographers and booking that elusive test shoot.

Model Test shoot Lagos Nigeria Models Waiting

1. Approach it like a job interview.

Most models feel that simply attaching their picture to a mail is enough to get that test shoot. Wrong. Most photographers have worked with numerous models and have their favourites with whom they have built relationships with and whom they would rather call. In order to get these photographers to give you a chance you’re going to need to sell yourself. A half assed cover letter and a few images attached is not going to incite a response from a working professional photographer (in most cases). When seeking a job you usually do your research on the company, their history, the kind of work they do, their products etc. You take time to write your cover letter and you prep your resume with military precision. The approach to the test shoot has to be taken the same way

Model Test shoot Lagos Nigeria Male Model 1

2. Approach with a great idea.

“I would like you to consider me if you’re doing any shoots”. Really? Like I stated above, most photographers have their list of preferred models that they like to work with and would rather call should they be hit with sudden inspiration. Even when they are booked by people, companies and agencies, these guys usually come along with their own models. Approaching a photographer with a great idea for a shoot, having done most of the legwork of assigning a team (of makeup artists and stylists) is more likely to get a response from the photographer

Model Test shoot Lagos Nigeria Male Model 2

3. Attach your best images.

Most models attach just any picture when sending mails to photographer. In my opinion less is always more.Attaching your best and most flattering pictures is always best. Try not to send overly dramatic pictures to photographers unless the style used in the picture is in line with the photographers style. Sending a portrait photographer who specialises in simple clean black and whites a HDR portrait of yourself is an epic fail in my opinion. In most cases you can never go wrong with a simple head and profile shot

Model Test shoot Lagos Nigeria Male Model 3

4. Have your agency make the approach.

If you belong to an agency, having your agency make the approach is more likely to get a better response than making the approach yourself. In most cases, the agency might already have a relationship with the photographer.


So there are my 4 tips on how to go about getting that elusive test shoot. What do you think? Agree, disagree? Or have any other tips to share? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

UPDATED September 1st 2014

Tip number 5.  Pay.

If you really want that session with that photographer, be willing to pay for it. If you feel that the images said photographer would create for you are so valueable, then why not be willing to pay for them