Monday, 15 April 2019

"I Bought My First Camera with My JAMB Registration Fee" - Klala Photography Boss, Adebusoye Ayokunle

My love for photography started while I was a child; I remember buying a camera with money meant for my JAMB registration form back in secondary school just because it was my cousin’s birthday party and I wanted to snap good photos at the event. While I was in University, I was the social director of the student union. I got a digital camera from my brother in the US which was of great use to me throughout my tenure as the social director of the student union government. I ensured that I documented all of our events with the use of my camera; I photographed our jambite nights, award nights, Mr & Miss campus, and the most beautiful girl in Ekiti pageant. Honestly, I never knew I’d become a successful professional photographer, I only knew I had a flair for photography. I’ve always been a fun loving and very social individual; I got a job as the presenter of ‘reggae splash’ on progress fm while I was the social director of the student union government in school and I had to juggle these with my studies.

I started professional photography in the year 2011. It wasn’t an easy journey from the aviation industry to photography. It was quite challenging leaving a paid job at Virgin Nigeria to start up a career as an entrepreneur. It was a story of real hustle for customers in the beginning because social media wasn’t this big, it was all about referrals and who you knew. I remember meeting an event planner who asked me about the type of camera I was working with, I told her I was using a canon 7D, and she told me point-blank that she couldn’t work with me because her photographers had more sophisticated cameras. Back then, as a photographer, you had to market your brand on your own, and that was quite challenging. I was able to breakthrough because I didn’t give up; I was very consistent.

When I joined Instagram, I didn’t know about its benefits so I only used to post my personal photos. I would pose like a King, and take flashy photos to post until I stumbled on pages of some photographers who had a lot of followers and a compilation of their works displayed on Instagram. This was the moment I took Instagram as a big deal, deleted all of my personal photos and started posting my works until Bella Naija posted one of them. This photo got a lot of likes, but nobody knew who the photographer was because I didn’t add any tags. So, I made a serious effort to learn how to use Instagram well. After this realization, I made Instagram my first office; I resume on Instagram before heading to my physical office in Lekki phase 1. I am very grateful that we currently have an average of 700 people contacting us from Instagram in 6 months. Instagram is the best thing that has happened to my business.

A lot of people see us at Klala Photography as just wedding photographers, but
the truth is, we actually do other forms of photography such as street journalism, wildlife, and sports, but all of these don’t pay well in Nigeria the way wedding photography does. One good thing about us is that we don’t limit ourselves to photography, we do videography; we actually started the concept of ‘wedding video like a movie’ because I come from a background of musical videos.

To a great extent, I am fulfilled, but I’m not entirely fulfilled because I haven’t trained as many photographers as I really want to train. I want to give back to the society, train less privileged photographers and equip them with the right gadgets for the profession. I have been able to train some boys, but I intend to raise the number because I derive so much pleasure in training and empowering people. I also want to expand my business and learn more. I am currently back in school studying ownership management program at LBS, Lekki, Lagos. I think this is the best decision I’ve made in my life.

My name is Adebusoye Ayokunle, I am from Ondo state. I studied Accounting at the University of Ado Ekiti. Three months after my youth service, I got my first job with Aviation Logistics for Virgin Atlantic at the International Airport. I was there for three years until Virgin Nigeria came. I resigned and got a job at Virgin Nigeria as a ticketing officer but later resigned to study photography in the US, and also London School of Photography. 

This interview was conducted by Qismat Yinus, publisher,

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