EkimogunMirror’s Bolaji Daramola had an exclusive interview with Adebusoye Kunle Klala Photography one of the leading figures in Nigeria creative photography and cinematography industry. In this interview, he gave a succinct background of his early days as a professional photographer, childhood memories of Ondo city, things needed to be a successful photographer and host of other issues. It is a must read for all business minded individuals who are aspiring to be at the top of their chosen game. Read excerpt from the interview below.
I am Adebusoye Solomon Kunle, a native of Ondo, Ondo West Local Government in Ondo State. I attended Bishop Philips Memorial Primary School in Ondo and also attended the revered Saint Joseph’s College Ondo. I studied accounting at the University Of Ado Ekiti (now Ekiti State University), where I started my entertainment career.
In 2002 I contested for the office of the Director of Social University of Ado Ekiti Student’s Union Government and I lost gallantly, the following year I re-contested and I won unopposed. During my tenure I was able to turn around the social life of the university and the state. I organized lots of campus and off campus shows but the biggest of all was the first ever Most Beautiful Girl in Ekiti State which was sponsored by Nigerian Bottling Company (Coca Cola). The office of the Director of Social was an eye opener to the social world and I learnt a lot. I served in Adamawa state as a teacher and 3 months later I got my first job with Aviation Logistic for VIRGIN ATLANTIC and there I worked for two years and resigned to join Virgin Nigeria . I left Virgin to study Photography in Washington School of Photography and London School of Photography respectively and today we are one of Nigerian leading photographers and cinematographers.
Growing up in Ondo comes with lot of memories…what were your major memories?
Growing up in Ondo was an interesting one. It was funny too cos my father was a farmer and I never like to go to farm during holidays, I don’t know why I don’t always like to ride on his Okada with him as I don’t like friends and girlfriends to see me on Okada Goddam! I always dress well and smell good and I always present myself as omo baba Olowo of which! Nothing dey and honestly most of my friends don’t know my background. It was really fun when my brothers and I now sit to talk about growing up, farming, hunting etc. Ondo experience was onpoint and I also remember I had lots of my cousins living with us in my father’s house then. Two of them came from the USA and three others too so I trained them on how to somersault (back flip) etc and we go various sawmills to challenge others from street to street. I love gymnastic and I can summersault for Africa then lol.
How long have you been into photography professionally and how did it all started?
It’s been 5 good years now and the beginning was very rough because nobody knows you and nobody wanna believe in you. Event planners want the best for their clients and they won’t give you jobs if you are not made – if you don’t have a name. Couple-to-be won’t give you jobs if you don’t have a popular brand and now the question is; who is gonna give you the job? I laced up my shoes and I said to myself everything I wanna achieve in life is achievable, I never relented and I never gave up. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night while others are sleeping to think of a new strategy I can add to my packages to make it more interesting to clients. I introduced wedding video like a movie/documentary, projector and screens for wedding and others followed suit. I made sure every shot counts and every event we covered brought out a unique style. Thanks to my cousin Akinrolabu Adewumi who also stood by me and managed the business very well. Much later I got to know about social media especially Instagram where we got jobs outside Lagos, Nigeria and Africa.
Major challenge/fear at the initial stage?
My major challenge and number one fear was leaving Muritala Muhammad International Airport to study photography was a big decision and a big risk. Secondly building clients base and relationship was another tough situation but with hard work, perseverance and creativity we were able to overcome all.
How do you define your style of photography (Portrait, Wedding or Commercial)?
We are not restricted to a particular style of photography we do weddings majorly because that’s where the money is in Nigeria for now, events as a whole and all types of photography, street photography, wild live, sport, products etc. We have all the technical and interpersonal skills to capture best moments
Who and what influenced you love for photography?
I have always loved photography. I love taking picture from my childhood and I could remember buying my first Fujifilm camera with part of the money meant to procure JAMB form way back in 1993/94 all because me and my SJC friends organized a party at Sun Breakers Hotel, Ondo and I needed to capture all the interesting moments. My believe was that I’ll be able to get the money back and I tell you that year went and I couldn’t enroll for JAMB. During my university days as the Director of Social I was able to get a digital camera from my brother in the US then and I captured all great moment of all the events I organized.
What do you think an aspiring photographer like me should understand or know?
This is a very interesting question. Whoever wants to become a photographer or a successful photographer must know all these points;
Customer service; Customers are the most important part of this business and without them our business will collapse, so you must treat them with courtesy, respect and empathy. We have photographers and we have successful photographers, for you to be a successful photographer you must adopt a unique style full of courtesy and respect on how u talk to your clients and it’s starts from telephone conversation. Imagine a client calls you and your response is; Hello who is this? That’s a turn off already, imagine you arguing or fighting someone that’s paid you to deliver a service?
After customer service, study your environment and identify where you can locate your immediate customers, think of something different from what other photographers around you are doing and make yours more unique and affordable and with time your prices will grow from kobo to naira and naira to dollars and pounds. Train yourself with great self esteem and never argue with a customer. You might be the problem of your business, why the business is not moving because you have a very bad attitude to work, you lack customer relation and you don’t look neat and well kept like a professional photographer. It is very important to shave, dress well, smell good and look presentable before going for a shoot or going to meet a client because first impression last longer and trust me the way you dressed is the way you will be approached.
Learn simple greeting anywhere you go and learn to say I’m sorry. Learn to say sir/ma even though you are far older than the client and always remember you need his/her money to grow. Treat people who come your way very well and they will tell others about you and the quality of your handwork
Do you subscribe to the notion that photography is all about gears (Camera and expensive Lens)?
Photography is not totally about top and expensive cameras and lenses. The higher the pixels of a camera the better the resolution and crisp images, the better the aperture of your lenses the better the image and resolution. Expensive camera with full frame and full effect gives better quality images and low aperture lenses allows you to shoot in low light mood and get a better resolution. The three components of light in a camera which are ISO, APERTURE AND SHUTTER SPEED vary from camera to cameras and these are one of the major components that determine how your images will look. A full frame camera will capture a wider and better image than a normal camera and a low aperture lens either prime lens or zoom lens will give a better job and are more expensive. Lenses vary from size to size and are measured in millimeters. But please you can have an average camera and you still do a very good and great job far better than someone with all the world largest camera and lenses. Creativity and understanding your camera will make you stand out. We usually get scared when we go to work and other co-photographers came with a big bag of lenses and basest, latest and very very expensive cameras and when we are done we still have better images and sometimes when we sneak through their view finder we see that their images are dark and sometimes blurry. Believe in yourself and do more research on google and you will remain on top.
Tell EkimogunMirror about your first paid photography job? (Mistakes and lessons learnt)
My first paid photography job was well captured and well documented. It was in 2010 December and we charged them 200k for photography/Video/DJ/projector etc event went well and my friend in the photography industry took me to where I can print and right in front of me they charged me times 3 of the normal charges at the photo lab in Opebi, Lagos and at the end I realized I didn’t make any gain in after all expenses and I told myself there no gain in photography business and when another job came and I went there to print on my own the price was times 3 lower and I was scared if they won’t print the size I requested for because the price I use to know wasn’t what they charged me. I later found out that my photographer friend who brought me there the last time had spoken with them to charge me times 3 and use the gain to print all his job he brought. I was dazed but what can I do? I gotta move on and today when he sees me, he do tell me to buy him drinks, train him on customer service and branding.
Hard work pays!!!! Bro.
What makes someone an authority in the Photography industry?
What makes someone an authority in the Photography industry is the ability to think outside the box, excellent customer service, creativity, exhibition, seminars, workshops and be prayerful. In addition branding and aggressive marketing is needed quarterly.
Message for co-photographers and those new in the industry….
My message for my co-photographers and upcoming photographers is to read all I have said from beginning to the end and put them into practice. I have talked about so many things that can influence them and their business. Attitude to work and phone calls , customer services , looking good and dress to impress your clients, learn more on Google, social media pays especially Instagram, treat your clients with courtesy, respect, empathy and be extremely polite .
KlalaPhotography can be reached on their website www.klalaphotography.com or other social media platforms @klalaphotography.